The other day I wrote about how amazing the DJI Spark is for traveling. DJI created a drone that takes HD video and photo that’s only slightly bigger than a large cell phone. Even cooler, the drone flies without a controller and instead uses your face and hand gestures! If you haven’t heard of the DJI Spark I highly recommend checking it out.
I LITERALLY Couldn’t Wait To Buy The DJI Spark
The day DJI release the Spark I went on their Amazon store and placed pre-order. The DJI Spark only costs $499, but the fly more package (you’ll want that) costs a total of $699. The fly more combo includes an extra battery (needed), a controller (you’ll want this), and some other neat stuff. As I was checking out I noticed on top of the $700 I’d pay for the drone and combo pack I’d also have to pay $50 in taxes. All in I’m now looking at paying $750 for something that should cost just $500!
On top of the higher than expected cost I also started to really scrutinize the specs of the DJI Spark. Flight time is limited to just 12 minutes or so, video is just 1080P, and the form factor isn’t really that great for travel. Obviously the drone is small which makes it easy to travel, but the arms don’t fold. Since the arms don’t fold I saw a potential issue with just throwing it in a bag when traveling.
Lastly, the BIGGEST issue (since I’m impatient) is that I wouldn’t receive the drone and combo pack until June 30! At the time that was nearly 30 whole days. Looking back on it the wait wasn’t that long.
So…. I Bought A DJI Mavic Pro
The DJI Mavic Pro has been out for around a year now, but it’s still one of the coolest pieces of tech out there. The Mavic comes with a fully stabilized 4K video camera, 27 minutes of battery life, AND a range of up to 4 miles! All of that tech folds down to about the size of a standard brick. Since the drone folds down to a compact form factor it’s extremely easy to travel with. Also, best of all it was available that day! (Keep in mind I was trying to hit a credit card sign-up bonus)
Another reason I ended up choosing the Mavic Pro was the price. The Mavic pro comes with everything you’d need to fly for up to 27 minutes for about $980. An extra battery costs around $80 which means for $1,060 you’ll get about 50 minutes of flight time all while recording crisp 4K video!
Obviously I ended up spending more than my original plan of $750, but I feel as though the increased performance of the Mavic Pro more than justifies the added cost.
I Flew My DJI Mavic Pro
My new drone arrived and within an hour I had the Mavic Pro up in the air. I’ve only ever flown a drone a few times before, but flying the Mavic is so incredibly easy. Smooth good looking video is much harder to accomplish, but if your goal is simply to fly you won’t have any issues with the Mavic. Here are a few pictures I took with the DJI Mavic.
After a few flights my confidence soared higher than the drone (400 ft AGL). As time went on I started doing more and more
challenging stupid things. As you can guess by the title, I eventually crashed my DJI Mavic Pro.
I Crashed My DJI Mavic Pro
Well, that was fast. Honestly the crash was pretty dumb. I started flying low under trees when the battery was low. Once the battery hit a critical level the Mavic returns to home on its own. When returning home, the drone climbs to avoid obstacles (funny). Within a few moments the drone hit the trees and came crashing to the ground.
Luckily the damages to the drone were minor. A small piece of metal which attaches the gimble to the drone broke which means the camera isn’t secured. The part is only $10, but a repair estimate totaled $150! The part just arrived and I’m going to try to repair the drone myself. Moral of the story, pay the extra $100 for the DJI Care Refresh program.
I realize this post isn’t exactly travel, points, etc. related, but it does discuss the newest (only) piece of tech I use to take photos on the road. Until now, every photo on this blog has come from my iPhone or iPad (sorry). I originally planned on buying a nicer camera, but instead diverted those funds to purchase a drone. I’m excited to start adding some more interesting drone photos to this blog much like the ones featured above.
All in all I don’t think you can go wrong with either the DJI Spark or DJI Mavic Pro. Both drones take great photos and are extremely user friendly. My only advice (maybe don’t listen to me yet) is to adjust certain settings each flight. If you know you’ll be flying under tree cover it probably isn’t best to set a return to home altitude. Likewise if you’re flying up and over things it may be a good idea to set one. I didn’t follow that advice and I ended up paying the price (literally).
Now back to your regularly scheduled programing.