If you are looking at the DJI Spark, I won’t blame you. It looks amazing, is super small, has a very nice gimbal camera, and gestures are the coolest way to impress your friends. But once you are done showing off, you will quickly find yourself just staring at the spark wondering what you are going to use it for next. Let’s take a look at the video quality, range, features, gestures, and compare it to the Mavic Pro, my favorite travel drone and the best drone all around.
The basic spark kit with a single battery and no controller for $500 is a tempting kit but probably not the one you should consider. It is very difficult to get cinematic moves with your phone without feedback, it’s difficult to see where your fingers are on bright sunny days, I get signal warnings as soon as I fly 30 ft away, and I have 15 minutes of flight time which really means I need to be landing in under 12 to be safe.
If you plan on doing anything more cinematic and professional, you will absolutely need to purchase the $700 kit which is the only one I would recommend buying to get you the extra battery and controller which will extend the range and allow you to get softer more gradual movements.
Let’s talk about the Sparks coolest features: gesture controls. Again, once I was done showing off, I tried to wonder why I would ever want a selfie shot taken with a drone with such an elaborate setup. Also, while it works well, recognition is not 100% and for those times you will be waving at your space ship for 10 minutes until it eventually lands itself from a dead battery so it really works better if you connect your phone. The other upside is the camera and although it doesn’t shoot 4k, it is very similar in quality to the Mavic or original phantom 3 which is quite good for a drone. However, you completely lose some advanced video features which further demonstrates who this drone might be meant for.
The DJI Spark is a fun option for taking to the park, getting some unique but not exactly practical shots from the sky, and showing off to your friends. At $500 plus a memory card for a basic setup and $700 for the kit needed to do anything more than that, it is extremely expensive for that kind of use. But if that price sounds reasonable to you and your expectations are in check, I’m sure you will enjoy it. For anything more serious or for those of you looking for a travel drone, seriously consider the DJI Mavic which offers better quality in a more portable design or the Phantom 3 which at the same price still fits in your car for park days but has a longer flight time, included controller, the same great quality, and more advanced video options.