The new DJI Spark is the drone maker’s first step into lower cost, strictly consumer-targeted drones.
With the new DJI Spark, DJI fans will be able to purchase their first drone priced at an initially cost of less than $500. There’s only one other sub-$500 DJI drone out there on the market right now; currently users can also buy the DJI Phantom 3 Standard for about $500, though it was initially priced closer to $1,000.
But it seems the debate is: which is better? The DJI Mavic Pro? Or the DJI Spark? Here are the specs:
|DJI Mavic||DJI Spark|
|Takeoff Weight||1.62 pounds||0.66 pounds|
|Max Speed||40 mph||31 mph in Sport Mode|
|Max Flight Time||27 minutes||16 minutes|
|Diagonal Distance||13.2||6.7 inches|
|Cost of extra battery||$89||$49|
|Controller||RC controller or smartphone||RC controller, smartphone or gesture control|
|Sensor||1/2.3” (CMOS), Effective pixels:12.35 M (Total pixels:12.71M)||1/2.3″ CMOS
Effective pixels: 12 MP
|ISO Range||Video: 100-3200
|Video Resolution||C4K: 4096×2160 24p||FHD: 1920×1080 30p|
There are some obvious differences between the two, like size. The Mavic was revolutionary for its ability to fold up to the size of a soda can — making it much more convenient than something like the Phantom to tote around. But the Spark is even smaller.
And with the smaller size, it also means the Spark is a lot quieter, and a lot less annoying.
Here are some other differences:
As far as cameras go, the Mavic is better for videos. A big deal-breaker for some with the Spark: no 4K recording.
The Spark can record in full HD 1080p video, but the Mavic can capture videos in 4K resolution at 30 fps.
For still photographers, it might make less of a difference; both cameras take still images with a 12-megapixel camera. However, the Mavic can shoot images in RAW and JPEG, while the Spark can only take images in RAW.
Most of the cameras have the same shooting features like ActiveTrack or FollowMe, but the Spark also offers a new mode called ShallowFocus which takes pictures with a shallow depth of field.
The Mavic clocks in at much more flight time than the Spark at 27 vs. 16 minutes, presumably because the Mavic is able to pack in a bigger battery. Want a second (or third battery?) The Mavic will cost slightly more.
The Mavic can fly at 40 mph vs. the Spark’s 31 mph.
One thing I love about the Spark is that it has a microUSB charger, so it can be charged through your laptop or car cigarette lighter, which is super handy for people on the go who don’t have a wall outlet to recharge their batteries.
For many, range is a big deal. The Mavic can offer up to 4.3 miles of range, while the Spark is just 1.2 miles.
The gesture control is really what sets the Spark apart. It’s completely unlike anything else on the market.
The Mavic did have some level of gesture control. There was the ability to take a picture by simply making a hand gesture on the Mavic, and of course the Mavic offered a sensor to detect objects in front of it.
But the Spark is at a completely next level, allowing users to take-off and land without a controller, and simply wave their arms to indicate which way the drone should fly. It can also land on your hand by placing your hand underneath it. It’s the stuff of Jedi mind tricks.
That being said, it’s not perfect. The sensor does struggle to lock on your hands, especially if you move quickly. It is certainly awesome, but for someone needing to move the drone to get an extremely precise shot, the gesture control cannot be relied upon.
While the Spark can be controlled entirely by gesture control and/or a smartphone, for precise flight, you’re really going to want a remote controller. The controller is the same one that the Mavic uses, also folding up to an extremely compact size — smaller than a soda can. The remote controller is available in the “Fly More Combo” which comes with the remote controller as well as extra batteries. That costs $699, which is something you’ll more than likely want to buy — something considered when comparing price on the two.