DJI Spark Review 2020: 3 Years OF Flying And Many Surprises
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The DJI Spark drone is one of the most popular and affordable consumer drones at the moment. It’s DJI’s most affordable drone, so it’s a big hit with beginners and DJI fans alike.
But still, it can’t exactly be considered a budget drone, so is it worth the extra money? Here’s an honest review of the DJI Spark to help you decide for yourself.
UPDATE: DJI no longer makes the Spark but you can still buy it here. If you want the latest drone from DJI, check this review out here.
The camera quality is GREAT
DJI’s other drones like the Inspire mostly all have 4K cameras, and whilst the Spark only has a 1920x1080p camera, this is still pretty good.
Obviously you won’t get the same stunning quality as you would with the Mavic or Phantom, but for a fun camera drone, for selfies, short videos, or just general playing around, it’s more than adequate.
Even if you’re hoping to capture videos, maybe even put them on Youtube, you’re not going to be disappointed with the quality.
The palm control is quite a cool feature
What makes the Spark such a fun drone, and one that’s a big hit with young pilots and families, is the palm controls.
You can set up hand gestures to control the Spark with when it’s in the air, so you don’t have to constantly hold the controller. Plus, you won’t be able to help but feel a bit like a wizard as you wave your hands around frantically to take a selfie.
Using your phone as a controller can be a pain
One of the downsides of the Spark is that if you buy the Spark on its own, you’re expected to use your phone as the controller. You need to download the DJI Go app, and control it via that.
Now, there’s nothing really wrong with the app, it’s just that it’s not anywhere near as easy as an actual controller. If you’re looking up at the drone, it’s easy for you to slip and press the wrong button.
There’s also the fact that when you control the Spark with your phone, the connection sometimes skips out. So the Spark might be mid air, and your phone will lose connection, meaning you have to wait for it to reconnect before having control of it again.
It’s worth paying more for the Fly More package
Whilst your phone might not be the best controller, there is another option so that that’s not a problem. The Fly More package come with an actual controller that on its own costs over $100.
The controller is much easier to use, and is one of the best drone remotes you could hope for. It has a simple joystick design, with scroll wheels for the camera, and you can clip in your phone, so that you can see what your drone sees. Plus it sorts out the dodgy connection that you get when using just your phone.
The Fly More package also comes with an extra battery, which is more handy than you might think. Drone batteries aren’t particularly long in life, and the chances are, when you get your Spark you’re going to want to fly it as much as possible. Having two batteries means you can alternate the two, and get more flight time from a day.
The battery life and flight time is fairly good
Most budget drones only have flight times of 2-6 minutes, whilst the higher end consumer drones have closer to 20 minute flight times.
The Spark has a flight time that’s not far off the Mavic or the Phantom. You can get about 15-18 minutes of flying on one battery, which isn’t bad considering that’s only a couple of minutes less than the Mavic, but for half the price.
It’s a great size and easily portable
The Spark is technically a mini drone, so compared to other high-end drones it’s super small. It’s size means that it’s no trouble to take it out and about for the day, as it can easily be fitted into a rucksack or a handbag.
This also makes it a great drone for traveling, as you can fit it into your hand luggage, and still have space for any other travel essentials.
The Spark has a good range
For a small drone, the Spark’s range is quite impressive. You can fly it up to 2km away, so you can really take to the skies and explore the area.
Many other drones of its size can only fly 50 meters or so away from the pilot, so in comparison, you’ve got a lot more freedom with the Spark.
You can turn it into an FPV drone
Whilst the DJI Spark is quite well known for being a camera drone, it can also be turned into a little FPV racer.
You can buy goggles that connect to the Spark, so you can experience everything that your drone does. You can also modify parts of the Spark, to make it more suitable to FPV flying or racing.
This makes it perfect not just for beginners, but for racers and experienced drone flyers as well. There’s even a ‘sport mode’ on the Spark, for when you’re ready to take the speed up a notch.
The Spark’s body is pretty sturdy
The Spark may be small, but it’s well built, and there’s no denying that the body is sturdy as anything. You’ll be surprised how heavy the body actually is.
The sturdiness of the body’s build means that the battery and the majority of the important technology is protected by the hard shell.
So even if your drone takes a particularly bad crash, more often than not, the drone will be alright.
The propellers aren’t so sturdy
That being said, the propellers aren’t quite as sturdy as the body. The propellers that come with the Spark will break or snap if they take a bad hit.
Luckily though, they’re easily replaced, and can even be upgraded with more strong and durable ones.
Some tips on improving the DJI spark
I actually have a few things you can do to improve the experience with the spark. I’ve used this drone for almost two years and I have to say it’s not crashed ONCE. It’s performed perfectly. Here’s a video I made showing some mods:
But mainly, you just want to make sure you’re protected. Get spare batteries (included in the fly more package) a nice case, and make sure you get these finger guards if you like to land it in your hand (I didn’t have these before, and sliced my finger and nail open!).
The Spark is hard to crash
Thanks to the sensors built into the Spark, and the obstacle avoidance features, the Spark is hard to crash, even for the beginner.
Whether you’re flying indoors or out, the Spark will stop you from flying into obstacles that appear in front of it. This saves you lots of crashes, especially if you’re using active track and not really looking at where the drone’s going.
The only times to be wary are when using the palm take off and land feature, and when flying in FPV mode. When taking off from or landing on your palm, make sure not to drop the drone!
And when flying using the FPV camera, be careful if you fly backwards, because the sensors are only front facing.
DJI Spark review after using it for 2 years
So I’ve actually had this drone as my MAIN camera drone for about two years now (just under). I have to say, it’s performed SO well. I’ve tried other drones and considered upgrading to other things like the Mavic Air, but I just can’t justify the higher price.
The Spark does SO much of what these other drones can do but at a MUCH lower price. Not only that, but the little size of it means you can carry the drone, and 3 spare batteries in the same tiny case, whereas the batteries for the bigger drones like the Mavic pro are MASSIVE.
In fact the batteries alone of the Mavic pro series are pretty much the same size as the spark. This means it’s heavier and harder to carry. I’ve gone on massive hikes up hills and mountains with the Spark and I’ve hardly felt the weight of it at all.
It has its problems: Every product has it’s problems and there have been a couple of annoying things about the spark. The sound for example, it’s quite loud and high pitched compared to the bigger drones with the noise cancelling propellers. But I don’t mind that too much.
There’s also been the occasional connections issues but I discovered that was actually because I was using my Iphone without airplane mode on. If you put Airplane mode on it makes the connection much stronger because the phone isn’t competing and confusing itself with all the incoming mobile network information.
So to summarize my DJI Spark review, the Dji spark is a great drone for beginners and intermediate pilots and videographers.
It performs very well, and for 90% of us it’s everything we need. However, if you’re after a flying CAMERA that you can customize the settings of, look to the Mavic Pro.
The best value way of buying the Spark is on Amazon!