Well worth the DJI Spark
Content: You can find these tips here
DJI Spark in the test
For whom the purchase of the DJI Spark is worthwhile
With the Spark puts DJI an exclamation mark. The drone promises videos in full HD quality, decent photos and is hardly bigger than a Coke can. In addition, DJI Spark is affordable. The basic version of the Spark without accessories costs 380 euros (as of March 2018). The highly recommended Fly More Combo costs 590 euros. There is a remote control, a second battery, a charger for three batteries, the propeller protection, additional propellers and a practical shoulder bag. But does the Spark keep what the manufacturer promises? We put the drone through its paces. Read our Reviewwhether and for whom the purchase of the DJI Spark is also in comparison to the larger and significantly more expensive DJI Mavic worth it.
There is one to fly your drone insurance mandatory to prescribe. Here you can find our drone insurance comparison.
The first impression of the DJI Spark
The first impression is convincing. The DJI Spark in the Fly More Combo comes in a chic white outer box. Inside everything is kept in noble black. The Spark itself is in a sturdy styrofoam transport box. There is still space for two spare batteries and propellers. The remote control, the propeller protection and the charging cable with charger are in a shoulder bag. Whoever opens the black transport box should be amazed at first. Anyone who has never seen the Spark live will be surprised how small the drone really is. With 143 × 143 × 55 mm, the Spark fits in any larger jacket pocket. Only the propellers, which, unlike the DJI Mavic, cannot be folded in, are a small obstacle. Anyone who lifts the drone out of the box will also be surprised by the weight. The DJI Spark weighs just 300 grams. That's about the weight of two iPhones.
Before the first flight with the DJI Spark
Before the first flight, you have to download the DJI app DJI GO 4 onto your smartphone and register. Of course, this only works if you have internet reception. So if you take a drone out into the pampas, you should do it at home if possible. If you have problems with the Spark on your first flight, you should read our article → “DJI Spark: First flight, problems & tips - you absolutely have to know that”. We also had a bit of frustration at first. The problem: If you order the “Fly More Combo”, you first have to pair the remote control with your smartphone instead of the Spark. However, this is not clear from the instructions.
The first flight with the DJI Spark
After this slight delay, the Spark was finally able to take off. Operation is child's play. Simply press the “Take off” button in the app, slide the slider to the right and the Spark will start fully automatically. It doesn't matter whether you use the Spark to lift it from the ground or by hand. As is typical for DJI, the motors roar briefly and the drone starts up and then floats in place at a height of 1.20 meters. You can easily control the Spark with the remote control or your smartphone.
However, the range of the smartphone is severely limited at 100 meters in the distance and 50 meters in height, especially since these values only apply under optimal conditions. That's enough for a quick selfie (video), but if you want to go higher you need the remote control. Operation with the remote control is even easier than with a smartphone. According to the DJI, the range increases to an incredible two kilometers. But nobody in Germany can try it out. It is simply forbidden to fly the drone outside of the field of view. A drone as small as the Spark disappears from the pilot's eyes much earlier (especially when it is white). In addition, the maximum permitted altitude in Germany is 100 meters. The two kilometers are only valid in the laboratory anyway. Our flights with the Spark ended much earlier. Even if you can still see the drone quite well, the remote control often loses contact. The drone will then automatically return. Then you can take control again. The image transmission also stalls at greater distances.
The gesture control
The third way to control the Spark is without any additional devices. Yes, you read that right. The Spark has gesture control. DJI markets this feature as PalmLaunch. That's how it's done:
- Turn on the drone (press the battery briefly and then again until the drone is on)
- Press the battery's power button twice. The LEDs should blink yellow slowly.
- The drone recognizes your face (the camera should of course point towards you) and the LEDs should glow green. The Spark should beep twice and the front LEDs should change from green to red. The engines start. Now you can gently let go of the drone (don't throw it!)
- The drone hovers in the air
- Extend your arm and slowly move your hand with stretched fingers to the right or left - the Spark follows the movement
- To determine the altitude, raise or lower your arm
- To activate the Follow-Me mode, wave to the Spark. The drone rises a little and moves away a little
- If you move, the drone will follow you
- To take a selfie, turn to the Spark and frame a frame with both thumbs and forefingers (thumb on forefinger)
- The trigger is activated with a delay. The LEDs start flashing red slowly. The selfie is taken when the front LEDs flash quickly
- To land the Spark, stand in front of the drone and hold both arms in the air (like a Y)
- The drone is now slowly coming back and stopping in front of you. Slowly bring your hand under the Spark. The drone lands and turns off the propellers
The gesture control doesn't work perfectly, but with a little practice and getting used to it, it works quite well. After a firmware update, the Spark should even be able to record videos in gesture mode. But we still have to test that.
The Follow-Me mode
For us, the coolest gimmick is clearly the Follow-Me mode. The best way to activate it is in the app. On the smartphone you can now simply select the person that Spark should follow. As soon as the Spark has recognized the target, it will be outlined by a green frame. If the person moves, the Spark follows every step. However, the drone must not be too far away. This makes really great selfie videos.
If you operate the Spark in Follow-Me mode (this also applies to the other modes, of course), you don't have to worry about the drone getting stuck in a tree. As soon as an obstacle comes into the drone's airfield, the Spark stops and thus also ends Follow-Me mode. With us, the obstacle detection works perfectly. It is your own fault if you are heading towards a mast at full speed. Even the best obstacle detection is no longer of any help.
Flight stability & flight time
Despite its small size, the DJI Spark does very well. Even gusts of wind do not cause the drone to spin. According to the manufacturer, the drone can withstand wind speeds of 20 to 28 km / h. However, the Spark is not quite as stable in the wind as the Phantom. DJI states that the maximum flight time per battery is 16 minutes. Ten to twelve minutes are more realistic. That's not a lot, but the Spark's batteries are also very small and comparatively cheap. You should have two to three batteries with you for a longer hike.
Fly indoors with the DJI Spark
Even in small rooms, you can take off with the Spark without any problems. The sensors prevent the Spark from colliding with walls or objects. The sensors ensure that the Spark hovers in place even without GPS. This is also a real selling point in this price range and by no means a matter of course.
The photo quality of the DJI Spark
The DJI Spark is marketed as a selfie drone - and that's exactly what it is. If you expect high-resolution photos, you are wrong with the Spark. The 1 / 2.3-inch sensor has a resolution of 12 MP and delivers decent images. Anyone who takes photos in good lighting conditions will be satisfied with the result. The Spark is a minus point because it does not save the photos in lossless RAW format (at DJI DNG), but only in JPG format. It is not possible to process the images as in RAW format. The DJI Mavic Incidentally, it also has a 1 / 2.3-inch sensor, but saves the images in RAW format, which opens up significantly more potential for photos. As with the larger DJI drones, the camera can be swiveled downwards.
The video quality of the DJI Spark
The DJI Spark records full HD videos (1920 × 1080 videos at 30 frames per second) in MP4 format. With the DJI Mavic 4K videos (4096x2160 videos at 34 frames per second) are possible in the MP4 and MOV video formats. So if you value 4K, you have to use the Mavic. Anyone who uses the drone like us for outdoor videos for Youtube will be more than satisfied with the video quality of the Spark. Unlike the Mavic, the Spark only has a two-axis gimbal (Mavic: three-axis gimbal) for image stabilization. What really worried me at the beginning turned out to be completely unfounded in retrospect. The recordings are completely calm and I don't miss the third axis in the videos in any way.
- Excellent workmanship
- With a takeoff weight of 300 grams, it is extremely light and handy
- The remote control is also very compact
- You don't need a flat surface or a second person for take-off and landing - your own hand serves as a landing place
- Control via smartphone or gestures possible
- Very simple controls
- Indoor flights are also possible thanks to sensors
- The obstacle detection works reliably (but of course only forwards)
- The camera can be swiveled horizontally
- At 799 euros in the Fly More Combo, the Spark is not a bargain for a selfie drone
- Full HD videos are usually sufficient - but 4K would of course be better
- The flight time is okay with ten to twelve minutes per battery
- The Spark does not reach the specified range of 2000 meters by far. But it is enough to make beautiful videos
- Photos are not saved in RAW (DNG) format
- The rotor arms do not fold in like with the Mavic. This makes the little Spark comparatively bulky
- Setting up the drone, pairing it with the smartphone, etc., can be very annoying. Here we tell you how to pair the → DJI Spark with your smartphone via WiFi. And here we tell you how to reconnect the → DJI Spark to the remote control.
Conclusion DJI Spark
Our decision to switch from the DJI Phantom 3 to the DJI Spark was absolutely correct. For our purposes on trips and long hikes, the DJI Spark is the perfect companion. The drone weighs just 300 grams and fits in every pocket without any problems. In addition, the drone is ready for use in a few seconds. This is particularly important if you want to quickly film a short passage on a mountain tour. The reliable Follow-Me mode is the icing on the cake. But why the DJI Spark and not the DJI Mavic? Sure, the Mavic makes photos and videos even better. When it comes to daytime recordings, however, the difference is negligible and we simply don't need 4K at the moment. In addition, the also very compact Mavic is more than twice as heavy at 734 grams and, on top of that, significantly more expensive. The DJI Spark is the perfect choice for our very special requirements. If you value high-resolution videos or even better photos, you inevitably have to resort to the DJI Mavic or even the even more expensive and bulky DJI Phantom 4. Even those who want to fly in stronger winds or who value a long range have to resort to the large drones.
Order DJI Spark and essential accessories
The DJI Spark is ideal for anyone who wants to take great aerial photos, but doesn't want to carry around a lot of weight. Via → this link you can order the DJI Spark * and support our work. We urgently recommend the → DJI Spark Fly More Combo *, which contains a remote control, a second battery, a charger for three batteries, the propeller protection, additional propellers and a practical shoulder bag. The surcharge for the “naked” drone: just under 200 euros. Just because of the → remote control * and the second → battery * you should definitely buy the Fly More Combo. Without a remote control, the drone is only half as fun. A → protective cover for the camera and gimbal * is also very useful. This little gimmick has already saved our drone from real damage one time or the other on long journeys. If you want to be on the safe side, you should take a look at a → transport case * for the drone.
By the way: You are not allowed to start your drone in Germany without a → drone license plate *! Good drone liability insurance is also a must. It doesn't even have to be expensive. You can insure your drone from just 19 cents a day. Here you can find our large → insurance comparison for drones.
Technical data DJI Spark
- Takeoff weight: 300 grams
- Dimensions: 143 × 143 × 55 mm
- Maximum rate of climb and descent: 3m / s
- Top speed: 50km / h
- Maximum altitude: 4000 meters
- Maximum transmission range remote control: two kilometers
- Maximum flight time: 16 minutes
- Operating temperature: 0 to 40 degrees
- Maximum wind speed: 20-28 km / h
- Charging time for batteries with the battery charger: 52 minutes with one battery inserted, 55 minutes with two batteries and 85 minutes with three batteries
Have fun flying
We hope our Spark test helped you a little with your purchase decision for or against Spark. In any case, we wish you a lot of fun with your drone, no matter which model you choose in the end. But we still have one big wish: Please note no-fly zones. As tempting as it may be, these zones make sense!
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