DJI Spark Drone
The DJI Spark drone is a new line in the DJI series that is aimed directly at the mass market that just want a small, simple to use drone. Spark is a tiny phone sized camera drone that shoots full HD 1080p video using a 12 megapixel camera setup on a 2-axis gimbal. Spark has 16 minute flight time and can fly up to 31mph (50kph) with the optional remote in the sports mode setting. Spark uses a phone or tablet to control it and can fly up to 100 metres away, this can be increased to over 1.2 miles (1.9km) with the DJI remote control (sold separately).
Its DJI flight autonomy includes GPS / Glonass, forward facing 3d vision sensing and vision positioning that all keep it flying stable. A nice feature of the Spark is that it supports direct charging over Micro USB, but also has a removable battery. Spark is controlled by the DJI Go 4 app and is full of useful flight features.
Spark is packed with gesture controls for taking photos and video. Its intelligent flight modes include QuickShot, ActiveTrack, Tap Fly and Gesture. A wave of the hands can take a photo or land the drone on your hand. QuickShot is for creating cinematic movements and includes rocket, dronie, circle and helix, each creating a stunning style of video movement. TapFly allows you to simply tap where you want the drone to fly and it will use its front-facing sensors to fly there safely. ActiveTrack is perfect for following a moving subject. For photo it packs in pano and shallow focus modes for professional looking shots.
The Spark drones software can record video clips and edit them down in to video for you. Fly, Create, Share is the mantra of the Spark and the idea is to just have fun with it and share what you make without having to download it all and use edit suites before sharing. You can launch Spark from your hand using facial recognition, use some of the video features and have it return to home all with very little effort.
The Spark also has an open developer SDK which is great for the platform because it allows 3rd party developers to work on features for the drone. Then the best features can be cherry-picked and integrated in to the software later down the line.
In many respects theDJI Spark is a good drone to build on as it has the option to buy the additional remote and first person view goggles. The price tag of $499 (£519) is much more widely affordable than the newer Phantom and Mavic Pro series drones. It does take the best features from the two series, combining all the portability of theMavic Pro with the fixed body design of the Phantom as well as integrating all the intelligent flight modes and even adding a couple.
The DJI Spark is available now in 5 colours direct through the DJI Store for £499 ($519) or you can upgrade to the ‘Fly more bundle’ for £699 ($699). This bundle is currently reduced by £196 ($154), it is unclear whether the price will rise after the first batch have shipped. Spark starts shipping in mid June.