DJI’s Entry-Level Quad-copter
DJI wowed the crowds when they pulled the wraps off the Mavic Pro in September last year. It was the smallest drone by the famed manufacturer at that time. Capable of shooting clear and crips 4K video, it was aimed towards enthusiasts and filmmakers alike. A few months back, DJI released an even smaller drone — the DJI Spark — aimed at first-time drone owners, who might be new to the whole quad-copter scene. Today, we got a peek at the petite drone (courtesy of MSI-ECS) and finally see what the hype is all about.
What’s in the Box?
The unboxing experience for the DJI Spark was pretty straightforward. Once you open up the packaging that shows the drone, you’re greeted by its foam carrying case and a black box that contains its USB wall charge and micro-USB cable. Pop open the carrying case and you’ve got the teeny-tiny drone that is the DJI Spark.
If you’re familiar with the carrying cases of the Phantom series, the case for the Spark is made of the same material so it’ll be safe to chuck the tiny little drone in your backpack.
Initial Impressions: Perfect for First-Time Owners
We’re probably going to be running out for synonyms for the word small or tiny in this quick review, simply because it’s hard not to bring up the Spark’s size.
As you can see in the photo above, it’s width is much smaller than the OPPO F3 Plus or a soda can (props not included, of course) and it weighs in at just 300 grams; making it easy to pack for family or barkada trips to wherever in the country. Despite it’s minuscule frame, the Spark is well-built; not really a surprise given DJI’s track record for building some of the best drones on the planet.
It’s capable of taking photos with its 12-megapixel camera, which has a 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor. The DJI Spark is capable of taking Full HD videos at 30 frames per second and stabilizing the footage is a 2-axis gimbal. It’s not on the level of the Mavic Pro, but that’s for a completely different crowd and, honestly, the sample footage we’ve seen from YouTubers aren’t that bad.
DJI wanted to make a drone that was easy to use, even for people who have never flown a drone before and we think they’ve succeeded with the Spark. Yes, there is still a bit of a learning curve but they have included several features to make it easier to fly. It has a quick launch function so you can have it take off from the palm of your hands and land there after you’ve taken your photo or gotten that sweet aerial footage.
We’re guessing you’ve heard by now that you can use hand gestures to control the Spark, which kinda makes you feel like a Jedi as you move the drone through the air. It works really well, but you do have to move a little slower to make sure it can track your hand movements.
If you want a bit more control, you can pilot the Spark directly from your smartphone through the DJI app; you’re only getting a range of 100 meters if you’re connected to the Spark via your smartphone. If you want to really take the drone far, you’ll have to purchase the remote controller separately or through the Fly More Bundle. According to DJI, this will take your range from 100 meters to 2 kilometers.
Aside from the usual safety features we’re used to seeing from the drones of DJI, the company has also included several pre-set flight paths so you can get epic footage with ease.
These presets automatically take a 10 second clip and includes:
- Rocket – The Spark goes straight up in the air with camera pointed down
- Dronie – The Spark goes up and away from the selected subject
- Circle – The Sprak rotates around the subject
- Helix – The Spark spirals away from the subject as it flies upward
You still have intelligent flight features like: TapFly and ActiveTrack. If you’re feeling a little brave, you can activate Sport mode on the DJI Spark to take it speeds of up to 50kph; all the sensor are off so make sure you’re flying in wide open spaces. Oh, DJI also says that the Spark can withstand winds of up to 50kph too.
The DJI Spark is officially available through MSI-ECS and is priced at Php 30,500. You can only get one color variant — Arctic White — for now, but the other colors (Meadow Green, Lava Red, Sunrise Yellow, and Sky Blue) should be available soon. They’ll also be offering the Fly More Bundle — which includes: the DJI Spark, two batteries, a charging bay, four pairs of propellers, propeller guards, a remote controller, and a shoulder bag — for Php 42,700, so if you can be a little patient — it’s worth the wait.
We’re hoping to get a review unit to really see what the Spark can do. However, from what we’ve seen so far, it’s high up on our want list.