The DJI Spark was released in 2017 and having gotten my hands on it soon after, I want to give you all you need to know about it. This is my personal review.
Stats & Info:
- Name: Spark.
- Company: DJI.
- Flight time: 10-15 minutes on average for each battery.
- Size: The body is about the size of soda can.
- Price: $399 without remote, and $539 which includes a remote, an extra battery and propeller guards.
- Available colors: Yellow, white, red, green, blue.
- Camera quality: 12 MP, shoots videos on 1080p.
- Rating of product: This thing scores a 50 out of 100 points, which is considered OK.
Getting to know the DJI Spark, my history with it:
I’ve had the Spark for about a month. Officially speaking, this is my “4th” drone and I say officially because one of the 4 which was a GoPro Karma, I ended up returning so I now “just” have 3.
I purchased this cute little drone for a few reasons:
1) This has become a hobby and collection for me.
2) I wanted to test this thing out because everything DJI has been releasing for the past few years has had record breaking, with overwhelmingly positive reviews. From the Phantom series, to the Mavic, and now this…
3) I’ve had friends and family inquire if they could borrow my drone for filming their own things and I figured by giving them this one, I could avoid having to let them borrow the more high end ones like my Mavic and Phantom 4 Pro.
Honestly, I don’t know how well they would fly and I’m very careful about this. At least if something happens, it’ll be the cheapest drone I have that suffers (although hopefully it will not happen!). Yes, you could say the Spark is like my lab rat…
By the way, before I go on with the Spark review, here are my top 3 drone picks:
I own 5 models in total, the Spark being one of them, but I also have seen and tried others, out of those, here are my top 3 picks. In fact, these 3 models get the BEST ratings and reviews from people in the drone community:
1st is the Mavic Pro 2.
This one has all best camera and portability features so far. It has the best connection, best range, best reliability and most safety. Now there’s 2 versions of this, the pro and zoom, I own the pro. Full review.
Rating: 98 out of 100 points.
2nd is the Phantom 4 Pro.
5 sensors, it’s sturdy, a camera just as amazing if not slightly better than the Mavic Pro 2. This drone has some of the best flight controls and is great for hobby and professional filming/flying. Full review.
Rating: 95 out of 100 points.
3rd is the original Mavic Pro.
Despite there being a Mavic Pro 2 on the market, I still keep, value and USE the original Mavic Pro, because it’s simply amazing.
It films incredibly well, flies safely, has great range, flight time and more and the fact that there’s a second pushed the price of the first down. You can get it for less today. Full review.
Rating: 90 out of 100 points.
Now that I have explained about the others, let me get back to the Spark…
The pros and cons of this cute “toy”:
For a small drone, this thing has a great camera. Even a 1080p camera is STILL considered high definition and will produce great images and videos and yes, I tested this. And you can always enhance your footage to 4k if you’re crazy about this stuff.
Forward and bottom sensors. Despite being small and much cheaper than it’s “high end” counterparts, this thing still has sensors that work incredibly well.
Price is OK. For $499 and the controller pack for $699, this is a great price for a GOOD drone, I’d say.
Incredibly fun and easy to pilot for beginners. Even for someone like myself, I found the Spark to be the most comfortable out of all the drones I’ve flown. It flies smoothly, precisely, and is extremely good at reacting to how you use the controllers (I own the controller package).
Sturdy and resilient. While I am doing my best NOT to crash this thing, just by holding and feeling it, you can tell this thing is dense and sturdy, meaning it hits a wall, a tree or anything at it’s normal speed (not counting sport mode), it should be fine. I have seen several reviewers also comment on this perk the Spark has.
Features the same modes you love. The return to home, the follow me feature, a tap to fly and…
Has a never before seen “gesture control”. This thing is cool to show off and adds a “hands off” experience that is worth using if you’re partying, climbing somewhere where holding the remote would be uncomfortable. You basically control the Spark with hand gestures. It can follow your hand in circles, go up and down, fly at a distance to take your pictures with a gesture, follow you around and fly back to you and then on your hand, all without having to use a remote.
Battery can be charged via USB, while INSIDE the drone. This is another cool feature no other product like it has so far. Basically on the back of the Spark, there is an opening where you put the Micro SD in. But next to it, there is a hole specifically designed for a USB cable. Considering this, you can charge the Spark while you’re driving, from an external USB charger, and whatever other means involving USB’s. No need to take the battery out anymore and put it in a special port and charge it through an outlet.
There is an ability to fly this thing without a remote. You “just” connect it to your phone and the DJI app and then you will have a digital remote appear on your phone to help you control it.
Crazy range potential (with remote) considering how small this thing is. Over a mile is the distance limit so far.
It’s very quiet. It doesn’t take long for this thing to be unheard or seen from once it flies away from you. And that’s great to avoid prying eyes or annoying other people who may not like to hear those things buzzing around somewhere. Basically, it’s very inconspicuous.
Extremely portable. Hands down, the thing is the MOST portable drone I have ever had. I can put it in my bookback, my pocket, ect…
I personally found it annoying to set up the whole thing. Ok, so if you’re new, basically, you have to have the remote, the drone itself an an app (in this case, the DJI Go 4 app). The app is what allows you to view what the camera sees. But you have to connect all these things together through a bluetooth.
But installing the Spark involves installing it 2 different ways:
- The first way is through your mobile device.
- The second is through the remote.
Each has it’s own installation and I have found it sometimes breaks up when I try to connect, say the remote to the Spark. I will often have to re-enable the bluebooth on the Spark to help it see the remote.
While this process takes less than a minute to enable, the first time I was trying to figure it out, it was annoying and something I did not have to do with the Mavic or the Phantom, it was WAY easier to set it up with them…
I do not recommend getting it without the remote. You should invest the extra $200 for the propeller guards, the extra battery and most importantly, the remote. Why? Because without it, the distance/connection you have with the drone is severely limited. We’re talking less than 100 meters without the remote and up to 1-2 miles WITH the remote, not to mention a MUCH more stable connection which means you won’t lose control of it as easily.
There aren’t enough editing settings for the camera. Because there are limits on the camera for this thing, so too are the editing options. If you’re OK with a 1080p, 12 MP camera, you shouldn’t worry about this.
Very short battery life. This was one of the reasons (besides the remote) that I got the extra package, because it came with an additional battery. While the average time is said to be around 15 minutes, this varies based on how you use the drone, meaning if you fly it around like crazy in say sport mode, you’re going to drain that battery far faster than say if you keep it hovering in the air.
In any case, I would say 10-13 minutes was the average time I got per battery. I even recently purchased a third battery because even with 2, the fun time just runs out fast, especially if you have other people who also want to fly this thing.
The gimbal isn’t designed to withstand the power of sport mode. Once you switch to sport mode, this thing becomes FAST, but at the same time, if you try and depend on the camera footage that is being displayed for you while you’re flying this thing in that mode, it’ll bounce left and right very quickly, sort of like an old arcade game where you flew planes in first person mode. Some people might like this for the action they get to feel while flying, but I personally enjoy using sport mode and seeing the gimbal stay stable, thus allowing me to film better.
This isn’t a top tier drone for filming of taking pictures. Lots of reviewers/YouTubers say the same thing I’m about to tell you:
The Spark isn’t the type for professional filming. It’s got GOOD footage, but not GREAT footage. There is a difference. Like I said, you CAN enhance images and videos to 4k footage, but for an extra few $100, you can get yourself a Phantom 4 or Mavic which would have that capability from the start. I’m not saying you should, I’m just giving you the unbiased points of view on this thing.
What I think of the Spark & if I recommend it:
Overall, I do like this thing. I do NOT regret my purchase and I happily fly it today, even though I have higher quality ones. Like I said, out of all the ones I’ve flown, this was the easiest and most fun for me, as well as people who have also tried flying it.
I think this is a GOOD drone and I purposely said good in capital letters. It is far superior to most of the others on the market. Though not better than the Mavic or Phantom, it has it’s unique capabilities those do not: Gesture control, easier to handle and quiet.
If you are a collector, get this.
If you are a beginner to this hobby, get this.
If you want an above good drone in quality and flight, get this.
This thing pretty much has the same capabilities as most of the higher tiered drones out there.
If you want something with a high quality camera and longer flight time, look at something like the Phantom or Mavic series.
My position on the Spark. The score and why I like it:
50 out of 100 points. A good product.
The thing is, even though I listed a number of cons, none of them actually depreciate the value or quality of this drone. It is as priced as it should be and most of it’s cons MAKE sense.
A smaller battery naturally = a smaller battery life.
The camera isn’t spectacular, but it is GOOD enough for MOST people.
The only things I really disliked are the set up and the lack of an extra gimbal engineering to stabilize in sport mode. Other than that, I love this thing and will keep flying it! I hope the future products released in this series will improve upon the cons I listed!
Choices: Just the Spark or the combo package? The answer is simple…
If you’re going to get this drone, absolutely, 100%, get the combo package. If you need a reason why, I’m happy to explain:
First off all, for $399, you’re looking at just this:
You JUST get the drone and nothing else. So there’s $400.
But with the combo:
- The Spark: $399 value.
- The remote: $100+.
- An additional battery: $50-$55 (with tax).
- 4 propeller guards: $20.
- 3 battery charger: $69.
- 4 extra propellers (Not 2 like in the picture): $20.
- A bag to carry it all: $50
- Total (if spent separately): $650+.
The combo package fortunately is $539 (you can get it here), or close to $600 and tax which still makes it FAR less (You save over $100) than if you buy this stuff separately. Trust me. At the very least:
- You will NEED the remote.
- You WILL need an extra battery or two.
- You will need something to carry this.
Even if you just buy that stuff, you’re still looking at well over $600, which still makes the combo pack less expensive, and you still get more through it. I learned my lesson with the Mavic and Phantom in that I should have gotten the combo packages as they would have saved me $100’s. I am happy that I did not make the same mistake a third time, with the Spark.
Overall, I love this thing, it’s adorable, and again, VERY high quality.