DJI Spark Review: The Noob's Best Drone for Travel - Poundit

DJI Spark Review: The Noob's Best Drone for Travel

April 22, 2018

DJI Spark drones

Everybody seems to be in love with drones these days. No wonder: they're getting smaller and more affordable. Packed with cool tech, the latest quadcopters let hobbyists and noobs experience the joy of flying like an expert pilot and shooting aerial footage like a professional videographer.

DJI probably had this in mind when it developed Spark, its first ever mini drone released last year. Despite its size being a far cry from the well-loved Phantom series, the DJI Spark comes fully loaded with the famed drone maker's signature technologies.

Is the DJI Spark "The One" for you? We'll take a closer look at it from multiple perspectives.

DJI Spark: Quick pros and cons

What you'll love about it

  • Compact, lightweight, and travel-friendly
  • Easy and fun to fly, with gesture controls for smartphone-free and controller-free flying
  • Intelligent flight modes  
  • Obstacle detection and avoidance
  • Exceptional mechanical stabilization via a two-axis gimbal
  • Can be charged on the go using a USB cable

What you might not like about it

  • Average flight time
  • No 4K shooting option
  • Occasional weak Wi-Fi connection with a smartphone

Well-designed portable drone for travel

Rating: 5/5

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The DJI Spark is a great drone for travel, as it eliminates the hassle and awkwardness of bringing bulky equipment. Weighing only 300 grams and measuring 143 x 143 x 55 mm, it easily fits into a backpack and can be held with just one hand. This is great news for hobby enthusiasts, vloggers, and regular folks who get easily intimidated by bigger drones.

The Spark mini drone's design is well-thought-out. For example, DJI includes four propeller guards in its Fly More Combo to protect the quad from crashing, especially when flying indoors or anywhere with tight corners. This drone protection feature is ideal for first-time pilots who are just learning to fly their new toy.

Adding a fun touch to the quad flying experience is the variety of colors available for the DJI Spark. While typical drone colors are limited to white, gray, or black, the Spark mini drone comes in Alpine White, Sky Blue, Meadow Green, or Sunrise Yellow. It's the first DJI drone to offer that kind of personalization.

Excellent camera stabilization and video shooting capability

Rating: 4/5 

 

The DJI Spark drone outflies the competition when it comes to image quality. While other drones provide either electronic or single-axis mechanical stabilization, the Spark goes the extra mile with its camera placed on top of a two-axis gimbal.

This two-axis mechanical camera stabilization effectively eliminates shaky movements caused by wind blowing against the drone. However, because it's tiny and lightweight, it struggles to hover when there's a heavy breeze.

The Spark's 12MP camera captures Full HD videos up to 1080p at 30fps. It doesn't shoot at 4K resolution. While 4K cameras produce crisp footage with more vibrant colors, videos in 1080p aren't necessarily bad. 1080p files are smaller than 4K files, so you can shoot more videos and easily share them on social media. 

After all, the DJI Spark is meant for beginners and hobbyists rather than professional videographers, so its 1080p resolution is good enough for recreational use. If you really want a drone with a 4K camera, the DJI Mavic Pro suits you better.

Editing videos captured with the DJI Spark is quick and easy with the DJI GO 4 app (available for both iOS and Android) that lets you choose clips for creating and sharing highlight reels.

Awesome flying abilities

Rating: 5/5 

The DJI Spark makes the drone experience easy, fun, and worry-free with its hand gesture controls, smart flight modes, and obstacle avoidance system.

PalmControl gesture recognition

DJI Spark

Out of the box, you can fly the Spark without the painful learning curve associated with the more sophisticated drones. The DJI mini drone does what you want it to do with just a wave of your hand, thanks to its PalmControl feature that gives wizard-like magical powers of sorts.

To activate the drone, just hold it out with the camera facing you and then double-tap the power button. The Spark will scan and recognize you and will then take off from your palm. How's that for a cool Wingardium Leviosa moment (sans the wand) to show off to your friends?

Wave your hand (like when you're waving goodbye), and the drone will fly away from you and begin tracking your movements. To move the Spark side to side or up and down, move your hands accordingly. Form a picture frame shape with your thumbs and forefingers to make the drone snap a photo.

Put your hands up in a Y shape so that the Spark will return to you. Finally, place your hand underneath it, and the drone will land in your palm.

The PalmControl works only within a three-meter range—farther than that, the Spark may no longer track your gestures. This connectivity limit is due to the drone's compact size that doesn't make room for a larger Wi-Fi antenna.

Connecting this DJI drone to a smartphone increases the transmission distance to 100 meters and height to 50 meters. But it's much better to use the remote control, as it solves the connectivity issue. It further extends the effective range to a distance of two kilometers and a height of 152 meters.

Flying a DJI spark is flawless with a remote control, which comes bundled with the package when you buy the drone from Poundit.com.

New QuickShot Intelligent Flight Modes

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Want to take cool aerial selfies or dronies? The DJI Spark might be the drone you're looking for. It features a Drone flight mode that locks on a subject while flying up and backward.

Three more flight options spruce up the DJI Spark experience with just a few taps on a smartphone. Helix makes the drone move around the subject in a spiral pattern. Circle makes it rotate around the subject while staying locked on. Rocket sends the drone to a quick ascend with the camera looking down.

Obstacle avoidance system

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Like the DJI Phantom 4 Pro and Mavic Pro, the Spark mini drone also comes with a 3D sensing system that detects trees, walls, people, and other surfaces. This innovation—a feature seen in larger drones but not in other portable drones—deters collision so that your precious investment will come back to you in one piece.

The Spark's obstacle sensing range is up to five meters only. Also, the sensors are forward-facing. This means the obstacle avoidance system doesn't work when the drone goes beyond the maximum range, and it may crash onto an object behind it, as there are no sensors at the back of the drone.

Flight time could be better, but not bad at all

Rating: 3/5 

The only letdown to this DJI drone is its less-than-stellar flight time. DJI pegs Spark's maximum flight time at 16 minutes—that's for the ideal no-wind condition. But don't expect much during normal conditions, as the drone flies an average of 12 to 14 minutes from takeoff to touchdown.

How does the Spark's battery life stack up against other drones? Among DJI drones, it currently has the shortest flying time. As for other brands, the best drones in the market operate for 15 to 25 minutes—but then they're pricier, bulkier, and heavier than the Spark.

Considering its size and weight, the DJI Spark's flight time isn't so bad at all. It actually performs better than other compact drones such as the Hover Camera Passport (9 to 10 minutes) and Yuneec Breeze (11 to 12 minutes).

What the Spark lacks in battery life, it makes up for its USB charging capability. It's the first DJI drone that can be juiced up using the USB cable included in the package. You can use a portable power bank to recharge it between flights or when you're traveling.

Great price for a feature-packed drone

Rating: 5/5 

 

DJI Spark drones are the most affordable in the DJI lineup, being almost equal to prices of entry-level DSLR and mirrorless cameras.

In the Philippines, the DJI Spark (without a remote control) typically retails at ₱30,500. The DJI Spark Fly More Combo costs ₱42,700.

But you can find a lower price and a better deal on authentic DJI Spark drones elsewhere. Here at Poundit.com, these DJI drones are discounted at ₱28,000—not to mention that they already include a remote control. Meanwhile, DJI Spark Fly More Combos start at ₱32,830. No wonder the DJI Spark is among Poundit.com's best sellers today.

Poundit.com promo code

Buy a DJI drone from us today, and get ₱500 off your purchase! Just use the promo code VENUSP500 upon checkout, and we'll automatically deduct the discount from your total amount.

Final verdict

With a DJI Spark as your aerial photography buddy, you can shoot professional-quality footage even if you aren't an experienced pilot. It's one of the best compact drones for travelers and first-time aviators.

If you're looking to buy your first drone—one that's budget-friendly yet loaded with advanced features—the DJI Spark makes a worthy purchase.

Poundit.com


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