DJI seems to always push the limits of what’s possible and the most recent product, the DJI Spark, is no exception. For year DJI has been improving and developing the Phantom series of drones. These are the typical white quadcopters nearly everyone is familiar with. DJI released the first Phantom drone in 2013 and at that point the large consumer-grade drone only offered a 15 minute flight time. Each year or so DJI releases a new Phantom series flagship drone and the improvements are incredible. The new Phantom 4 Pro features a 4K video camera, a ton of sensors, and nearly 28 minutes of flight time! As you can see consumer drones have come a long way in less than 5 years.
Although the Phantom series of drones continued to improve, there is still a huge issue and that’s size. The Phantom 4 weights just over 3 pounds and is 11.5″ x 11.5″ x 7.6″ without the propellers. To put that into perspective my Samsonite DK3 21 is just 20.5″ x 14.75″ x 7.5″. As you can see traveling with the DJI Phantom isn’t exactly easy. DJI tried to address this issue a year ago by introducing the DJI Mavic Pro, but even the Mavic is a little too large to carry with you at all times.
Introducing The DJI Spark
The DJI Spark is the first drone which you can actually have with you at all times. The arms do not fold in like the Mavic, but even so the official dimensions are 143×143×55 mm and the official weight is just 300g. The Spark features a 1080p camera and a ton of technology which makes it easy to fly for novice and experienced drone pilots alike. Another awesome feature of the DJI Spark is that you don’t even need a controller to fly it. The Spark has “FaceAware” technology which lets you launch the drone from the palm of your hand. Once airborne you simply control Spark with various hand gestures, a mobile device, or the dedicated controller. Once you’re finished with your flight the Spark lands back in the palm of your hand or back to the home or launch location.
DJI is currently selling the Spark alone for $499 or in a combo package for $699. The Spark combo comes with an extra battery, charging station, propeller guards, extra propellers, the controller, and a shoulder bag. Spark is currently available in 5 colors, Alpine White, Meadow Green, Sunrise Yellow, Sky Blue, or Lava Red.
Incredible DJI Spark Features
Based on the Spark product launch this aircraft is the perfect drone for someone who’s never flown a drone before. As I mentioned the Spark features FaceAware which allows you to fly the drone without a remote. Simply hold Spark in front of your face, double-click the power button, and the drone takes off. Once airborne Spark uses various obstacle avoidance sensors to maintain safe flight. After launching the drone from your palm, the aircraft simply hovers a few feet in front of you. At that point you can hold out your palm to direct the drone side to side and up and down. You can use additional hand gestures to push the drone farther away, take a photo, bring it closer, and summon it to land. Based on the product demonstration I don’t think anyone is going to have trouble flying the Spark.
The Spark also features a 12MP camera which shoots video in 1080p. I personally don’t shoot too much video, but I love the idea of taking photos with the Spark. Users can take selfies by using the hand gestures while you can use the mobile app to take other photos. The DJI Go App is also used to fly the drone. Simply launch the app, pair the drone to your phone, and swipe to takeoff. Once airborne pilots use virtual joysticks to control the vertical and lateral movement of the drone. The DJI Go App also features several programmed maneuvers which will help make you look like a professional drone videographer!
Should I Get The DJI Spark?
I’ve wanted to get a drone for sometime now. DJI is selling the Phantom 3 for just $499 currently, but the size of the quadcopter just isn’t for me. The Mavic Pro mostly address the size issue, but at $1,299 for the combo package I just can’t justify the price. DJI’s Spark mostly addresses the reasons I’ve never purchased a drone. Although the Spark is small I’m worried about the size due to the fixed arms which could make Spark difficult to travel with. I also worry that an estimated 15 minutes of flight time just isn’t enough. Of course you can purchase an additional battery, but then you have to land, change batteries, and take-off again. As I’ve mentioned I’ve never flown a drone so I’m not sure if 15 minutes is long or not for gathering drone images.
Despite my concerns I foresee real value in buying the DJI Spark. For example, I recently stayed at the Indianapolis Marriott North and was unable to get a good exterior shot of the property. I also think adding a drone to my list of gadgets could help add more interesting images to this site. Lastly, the real reason I want a drone is that I’m a 55 year-old man at heart and the just seem so dang fun!
I’ve been on the fence about purchasing a drone for some time, but I think the time has finally come for me to purchase one. The DJI Spark looks incredible, seems easy to use, and most importantly, easily fits in a carry on. I’m currently waiting to receive the United MileagePlus card, but look forward to ordering the DJI Spark once activated. I think I’m going to buy the Sky Blue model however I’m a sucker for lime green.
Featured Image Courtesy of DJI