DJI Spark Review. I Own it. Is it Worth Buying This Cute Drone?

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.dji spark review

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. I do like the model, and it’s great for beginners, but being that I fly more advanced ones, I tend not to use the Spark as much as I use those.

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”:

Pros: 

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:

dji spark footage

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.

dji spark drone front and back photo

Price is OK. For $399 and the controller pack for $599, this is a great price for a GOOD drone, I’d say. Get it here.

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…

Cons:

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. With the remote, you still get a WiFi signal, but it’s significantly more reliable than the one you’d have with a phone connected to it.

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.
  • However…
  • 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:

You get:

  • 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. 

18 thoughts on “DJI Spark Review. I Own it. Is it Worth Buying This Cute Drone?”

  1. The spark looks like a very good drone for a beginner like me. First of all, I like how sturdy it is. Like you said, I can probably hit a tree and it will be fine. I have never piloted a drone before so I doubt I will do very well the first time. The package also seems to be the way to go compared to just buying the drone by itself. This is especially true because of the batteries which only last for about 15 minutes tops. I was thinking about getting this drone and then using my phone to connect to it but I guess that’s not possible because Bluetooth has a very small range. The remote is the way to go. By the way is learning to fly a drone very difficult?

    • Typically, every drone I’ve ever flown (DJI ones) are very easy to figure out, just try it in an open field and yeah, I would absolutely recommend you get the remote, it’s way easier and more precise to pilot it with that vs just through your phone. And the extra battery is a must.

  2. Hello there! I’m looking for a drone to use. I used to have a dji phantom 1 before. I found your article very informative and interesting. I’m not sure if I wanna buy this dji spark, dji mavic or phantom 4. Which drones is the best and worth the money? I really appreciate your response.

    • The Spark is much higher in quality than the Phantom 1 John. But when you compare it to Mavic and Phantom 4 for example, I’d say the Mavic is best out of the 3. But if you film professionally, perhaps the Phantom 4 Pro or Inspire 1 & 2 would be a better choice. 

    • Buy the Phantom 3 Advanced. I have had mine 2 years and it works extremely well in all respects. You will pay a lot less for it now than I did.

      • Very nice alternative option Larry. I’ve looked into the P3 a number of times and watched videos of it. While it’s not as good as the P4, it’s camera is better than the Spark.

        2 places I would say where the Spark is superior is in terms of portability and controlling. Otherwise, in all other respects, the P3 is certainly superior.

  3. We go to the park very often and we always admire people flying drones there. This DJI Spark has my husband’s interest pumped up in wanting to get one, as I shared this article with him while reading it. Getting the package will be good for him considering that he is a newbie. Our first thought was just getting a drone, not knowing what it all entails. Do you have any specific advice for him considering that he has never flown a drone before?

    • I think the Spark would be perfect for your husband. It’s a high class drone mixed with the fact that it’s perfect for beginners. It’s also a lot of fun to play around with. I personally don’t like to buy low end drones because they break or have chances of crashing much more easily, which is why something like the Spark provides a lot of safety, quality and fun mixed together. 

  4. Well thank you so much for this review on drones. I saw The Hodgetwins on YouTube, some guys that I follow with regards to exercise use a drone. I did look them up and they are pretty expensive but I know my sons and even my daughter would like to have these, I probably would like one myself but thank you so much for this review.

    • They’re awesome things to film with Michelle. I am familiar with the Hodgetwins by the way and never knew they used a drone.

  5. This looks like such a great drone! I have been flying some of the cheaper “toy” models for a while now and want to step up into something that is more professional. I don’t need a 4k camera (yet…) so this looks like the perfect fit for me! Thanks for such a great review.

  6. This seems like a nice drone, I have been looking for one for my hobby. I go hiking in the mountains looking for old gold mines. I have been thinking if I bought a drone, I could save myself from some dangerous climbs. 

    But I think the flight time may be a problem for me. Can you recommend anything else that would have a longer flight? 

    Although the extra pack with the second battery might be helpful, the flight time may still be too short. Thanks for providing the info, if you can recommend one with better flight time, I would appreciate it. 

    Doug

    • Hi Doug, depending on the budget, the next best thing is the Mavic Pro with over 20 minutes of flight time at LEAST. I’ve gotten about 25 on most flights. The next choice after that is either a Phantom 4 or Phantom 4 Pro, both of which get about 25-30 minutes.

      You did mention you like to hike a lot and I think it’s a great experience if you bring a drone as I personally do this and get some great shots. You’re totally right in that a drone may save your time and possibly life by showing you where the mines are and save you from climbing the mountains yourself.

      However, given the choices I provided, I will say the better option is the Mavic and the reason why is that it’s smaller, portable and lighter, meaning if you go hiking, you probably don’t want anymore weight on your back than you already have with other gear I imagine. 

      Whenever I go hiking, the Mavic is the go to drone for me. 

  7. Seeing as you say this drone offers good quality but not as good as some more expensive models, would you say it’s better suited to those brand new to flying drones? I’ve never had one of these before but they look pretty interesting and I think I could figure out how to put it together.

    If not what one would you recommend?

    • If you’re looking at a GREAT and easy flying experience as a first time flier, then the Spark is awesome. The footage is GOOD. I would say this is a great one to try out because you get a high quality drone that has a lot of options and it’s better than buying cheaper ones which may break down and not function well. 

      In my view, if you take ALL the drone models that exist in the world, anything Spark and up is considered good/high quality.

  8. Hi, great review, but now confused what to buy. I had originally intended to buy a decent quality field scope for my bird watching hobby, but then thought, hang on, maybe a drone would be better. Yes, was happy to spend the £699 (UK) for the Spark Combo, which has only recently become available here. But should I fork out double to get the Mavic Combo? Also, my concerns are the camera, which obviously wont be upgradable, whereas, a drone with a Go Pro camera attachment, would mean camera can be upgraded. Appreciate your comments for a novice to the drone scene. Thank you.

    • Hi Kevin, there’s a few things I’ll mention to help you out:

      1) Bird watching is a very cool hobby, but I am not sure if a drone would be the most suitable tool to use to film them. The reason I say this is because for example, in the states, generally areas with exotic birds are places where you cannot fly drones for fears of disrupting the wildlife. I would check with the areas you are looking to fly in to see if this is allowed.

      I am certain you have no intention to do harm, but there’s people out there who are either bad pilots or just have bad intentions unfortunately…

      If you’re not allowed to fly a drone in the area where you want to film birds, perhaps the regular bird watching option with a scope would be better.

      2) If you are allowed to fly drones where you plan on bird watching, the Spark would be GOOD for the quality of photos you’d get, and GREAT at being very quiet which would cause little to nor disturbance to the birds. The higher up on the drone size you go with the Mavic being next, the louder it would get so you’d have to film from a distance obviously with the Spark, but with the Mavic, it would have to be farther due to the noise.

      Although the drones themselves are pretty quiet, birds are very sensitive to noise.

      3) Now onto the camera and GoPro question. I think it was a Phantom 2 or 3 which had an option to use a GoPro camera. The Spark, Mavic and Phantom 4 series and above do not have that option, but their cameras in my opinion (the Mavic and Phantom 4 series and up) are superior to the Go Pro. I know this because I also own a Hero Black 4 and 5 and I have to say, the Mavic camera is unbelievable and the Phantom 4 Pro’s is even better.

      Also consider the fact that you can zoom with the Mavic and Phantom.

      So if you’re looking for GREAT shots at minimal disturbance for the birds, the Mavic would be great in my opinion. The phantom 4 pro would offer the best image and video quality though. And this is all provided that you can legally film these birds.

      If you can go this route, it may be better to return the Spark and reinvest the money into a Mavic or Phantom 4 Pro. Just my thoughts.

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