Without a doubt, Spark was DJI’s most intelligent and next-level drone on the market, at its release. It has since been one-upped by the Mavic Air, a more expensive option with more features. Spark is packed with smart features, but fits in the palm of your hand. The size of it is incredible! It’s smaller than most smartphones, which is crazy. DJI designed this with beginners in mind, adding more features and more portability, while still implementing a great camera.
The spark is DJI’s cheapest drone, coming in at $499 for the drone. This price changes a lot because there are seasonal sales, and also the Spark is growing older and less popular so the price will be sure to continue dropping. The only problem with getting the base pack is that it doesn’t come with the controller. They say you can fly it with your phone or by gestures, but I still don’t like that idea. If I’m going to buy a drone, I want to have a physical controller to play with. Buying the controller is another $150 bucks, or you can buy the Fly More Combo for $599 (again, likely to be on sale a lot). Plus, if you only use your phone, the range is limited to your phone’s wifi signal (depending on the phone, maybe 300-400 ft?), while with the controller, it’s a radio signal that can get you up to 1.2 miles away! [UPDATE: The Spark is now down to $368 on Amazon, $549 for the Fly More Combo]
The onboard features to this drone are incredible. First, the drone takes off from your hand by recognizing your face, and then hovers next to you. Then you stick your hand out and can control the drone by using your hand! This is pretty cool, maybe not something you’d use to take good photos, but still a neat feature. There’s a bunch of gesture controls too, and some preset video shorts, like dronie (the drone moves away from you and up, creating a video that zooms out on you), rocket (the drone shoots up above you), and circle (the drone does a 360 around you). These are neat, especially if you’re a beginner and can’t do those effects manually.
DJI advertises a 16-minute flight time, a big step down from the Mavic’s 27, but still great if you’re a beginner. Besides, new batteries are only 50 bucks each, so those aren’t too hard to get. The spark’s range (as I mentioned before) with controller is 1.2 miles, still not as great as the Mavic, but really, who’s going to fly their drone a mile away? 1.2 miles is definitely fine for a beginner. The Spark also has a great obstacle avoiding sensor on the front, so you don’t need to worry about crashing it. However, it doesn’t have sensors on the sides, so it won’t stop you from flying sideways into a tree…. Overall though, the flight on this drone is perfect for a beginner, especially considering it has a good camera.
The camera on the Spark, due to the small size of the drone, isn’t as good as a Phantom or a Mavic, but it’s still great for someone who wants to make YouTube videos or share photos with friends. It shoots in 1080p, so it can’t shoot in 4k. But if you don’t have a 4k tv or computer, this isn’t a big deal for you. The shots look good for the most part, but if you compare them to the Mavic you’ll see the difference. The other thing that’s a disadvantage about it is it only has a 2-axis gimbal. This means that the camera can’t move from side to side. Not a deal breaker by any means, but it might shake up your videos a bit. That being said, the stabilization on the videos is still amazing. To think that such a tiny drone can shoot such stable videos is crazy. DJI sure went all out on this drone.
Spark is the smallest DJI drone, and the smallest drone on the market with a gimbal. So, it’s ultra-portable. You could fit this in a backpack, a bag, or even your pocket easily. Unlike the Mavic, the arms don’t fold in or retract, but the drone is so tiny anyways that it really doesn’t matter. If you’re afraid to just shove this drone in your backpack, there’s plenty of cases on amazon for it that will protect it from breaking.
If you’re looking for your first drone, and don’t have much experience, the spark is your best bet. Or maybe even buy a cheap drone like a Syma first, to get used to the controls, and then move up to a Spark. However, if you’re buying a drone maybe for professional work, or if you want high-quality photos for some reason, spend the extra few hundred dollars, and get the Mavic Pro or Air. With the Mavic, you won’t have any regrets. But if you are looking for a cheaper option that still has a bunch of features, definitely go for the Spark. It’s a great drone, and you’ll be happy to save that 500 bucks. If you think maybe the Spark isn’t enough for you, check out the Parrot Bebop 2, which is in Spark’s price range.
All in all, Spark is a great drone for hobbyists and beginners, and you can definitely expect DJI-quality performance from it.