The Best Beginner Drone:
DJI Spark Review
Drones have easily become one of the most common holiday purchase these days. Whether it’s a gift for someone or for personal use, the drone industry has tripled over the past year. It’s no surprise, as owning a drone is safer and easier now, than it ever was. Having said that, if you don’t own one yet, now may be a good time to get one. The very best beginner drone has just gotten a huge discount, and it’s the DJI Spark.
If you are not familiar with what a drone is, it’s essentially a remote-controlled aircraft which probably has a camera attached to it. When the DJI Spark Drone initially launched, it retailed for $499 without a remote controller. You had to download an app on your mobile device to be able to fly it. But now, you can get the DJI Spark for much less with a free controller which costs over $100. DJI Spark is already the most powerful drone in its size category. And with a $200 discount, it’s now become the best beginner drone “bang for your buck” purchase of 2018.
Meet The DJI Spark Drone
DJI Spark is probably the coolest drone you will ever see. When it first came out, a lot of people were surprised by how small and powerful it is. It’s almost the same size as a soda can, with the exception of its wings of course. Therefore, you can easily launch it directly from your palm. The aircraft weighs no more than 300 grams and has a dimension of 143 x 143 x 55 mm.
Despite its size, it can run at a decent max speed of 31 mph (50 kph) in sports mode without wind. The DJI Spark can also fly at a max altitude of about 40 to 50 meters depending on Wi-Fi strength and obstacles.
All About Flying:
Whether you use your smartphone to control the aircraft, or you choose to use the remote controller, flying this thing is a breeze. However, using a remote controller for the Dji Spark has its advantages over a smartphone.
In using a smartphone, you need to be connected to the Dji Spark Drone through a Wi-Fi Direct connection. Keep in mind that this only has a 100m range before you get disconnected. Don’t worry, as the Dji Spark will use its return to home function if it ever loses connection.
You also need to download the DJI GO 4 app where you can use the virtual on-screen control sticks to maneuver the DJI Spark and its camera. Furthermore, for fine adjustments, the controls aren’t going to be as precise as a controller would be. However, the app does have some pretty neat features. It offers a security feature where it will tell you if you are in a “no fly zone” area. If you are in a restricted area, the drone won’t even take off no matter what you do. Also, the app allows you to edit your videos where you can add music or visual effects.
With a controller, the use is pretty straightforward. No need for downloading apps, and the remote control range is about 2 km tops. In addition, it also unlocks the Sports mode option, which will allow the Dji Spark to achieve its top speed of 50 km/h.
Marketed as a selfie drone, it’s no surprise that the DJI Spark is equipped with a 12MP camera sensor. The only downside to this is that the DJI Spark is only equipped with a 2-axis Gimbal. Which means, the camera can tilt sideways and up or down a little bit, but is not capable of rotating.
DJI Spark Drone offers a lot of different capture modes. There’s the normal single shots, 3 fps burst mode, auto exposure modes and interval shooting mode. It also has a panoramic capability, which captures 9 different pictures and combines them all in one huge picture. As a selfie drone, the Spark is very good at capturing up close shots and finding a way to balance exposure.
When it comes to video recording, the DJI Spark only records 1080p video at 30 fps. It still has a 4k sensor, but it uses software techniques to maintain stability. Not to mention, 1080p is still a full HD quality, but to some, it’s a sub-par specification these days as 4k videos are available now.
Video stabilization is the key feature to quality drone footage, and the DJI Spark is no stranger to it. DJI used multiple techniques with the Spark to keep things steady, like the mechanical gimbal and the digital stability in only recording a floating section of the overall image capture.
What truly separates the DJI Spark Drone from others, is its gesture feature. This means that when the drone is in the air, you can control it with your hands or fingers. For example, you can signal Spark to take a picture of you from above. In addition, you can also just wave at it and it will fly 10 feet away from you to capture a gorgeous selfie.
3D Sensing System:
The 3D sensing system of the DJI Spark Drone is the spearhead of its obstacle detection and collision avoidance system. From 16 feet away, the Dji Spark can detect any obstacle and will slow down automatically as it approaches the detected object. Having this feature is priceless, as it makes sure your drone will never crash into anything while in flight mode.
What makes the DJI Spark a selfie drone is its facial recognition feature. With this, it also has an active track feature which programs the drone to follow a specific person around. This feature is very handy when you’re skiing, wake-boarding, hiking, or any activity you want them video recorded.
Return to Home Function:
This is one of the key features that you have to pay attention to. There are 3 types of Return to Home Function: the Low Battery RTH, the Failsafe RTH and the Smart RTH.
The Low battery RTH is pretty self-explanatory. Because of its intelligent battery system, DJI Spark can automatically calculate the battery when its return will be compromised. It will automatically warn you through the app. At this point, your drone will now ascend to the set RTH height and will return to your designated home. If in any case, you reach a critical battery level, the drone will automatically land itself no matter where it is.
Failsafe RTH happens when you lose connection to the drone for 3 seconds if you’re using a remote controller, or 20 seconds if using a mobile device. When this triggers, it will do one of 3 things depending on how you set it up. Firstly, if you set it to RTH, then it will ascend to the designated height and fly back to you. Once you re-establish the connection, you can manually override the RTH. Secondly, you can set it to hover. At which point, your drone will just hover in the air waiting for you to reconnect once again. Lastly, you can just set it to land. I do not recommend this last option, as you may be above a body of water, and it chooses to land itself there.
Finally, the Smart RTH. A user-triggered RTH that allows you to manually return the drone into its home. With a single tap of a button, the drone will ascend to the set RTH height and start flying back to you. You can easily cancel this at any time whether you’re using a controller or a smartphone. All in all, making this the best beginner drone in the market today.
The Dji Spark is equipped with the most advanced features that any top-notch drone possess. However, it comes with a price in the form of its battery life. Equipped with only 1480 mah battery, it only has a maximum flight time of 12 to 15 minutes, depending on wind resistance. To most people, this is a very inadequate battery life and you will most likely need a second battery. Good news is, batteries are not that expensive, and they are very accessible to purchase.
DJI Spark Drone Review
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
The DJI Spark Drone scores an 8.5 out of 10 in this review. I would highly recommend this product especially if you’re toying with the idea of your first drone. There are only 2 knocks on the DJI Spark, which is the video quality and the battery life. If you are someone who can’t be satisfied with a 1080p video quality, then this product isn’t the right one for you. As for the battery, purchasing extra batteries will suffice. It’s a little trade-off for all the features they’ve fitted into its very small frame.
Above all, the DJI Spark is a truly enjoyable drone, its currently the very best beginner drone. The specs are more than enough to capture any moment you want without burning a hole into your pocket. In addition, the simplicity and the ease of flying it make it suitable for any ages. You can purchase the DJI Spark Drone at Amazon.com.