During DJI's "Seize the Moment" event in New York City, the drone maker unveiled the tiny new Spark, a $499 drone that pushes the company's vision of highly portable consumer drones further.
Last year's Mavic Pro, complete with its folding mechanism and relatively small size — it could fit in a backpack — was proof enough that DJI was betting on the portability of these flying little machines. Over half a year later comes the Spark, a nearly palm-sized drone packing very decent specs.
Of course, Spark isn't exactly what you'd call cheap. But it's worth noting that pundits have been saying that anything under a $1,000 price point window is a wise move for DJI.
One can't deny, however, the fact that budget homespun drones already populate the market, making $499 a bit of a tough sell by contrast. Yet the Spark could truly become DJI's first mainstream drone because of the excellent features it comes packing with.
DJI Spark Stands To Hit Mainstream Audiences
Plenty of rumors about the Spark have been passed around even before the unveiling, with some even speculating it to be a racing drone. That's completely false it seems, as the Spark is still chiefly for capturing video footage and photographs. DJI is marketing Spark as a "storytelling" tool — a thing you can actually carry around and play with sans much hassle.
"Spark has been designed to be the perfect lifestyle accessory you can take anywhere," reads DJI's official announcement. "Spark is ready to launch within seconds whenever inspiration strikes and can be operated by a remote controller, a mobile device, or hand gestures alone."
DJI Spark's Gesture-Based Control
The Spark is the first drone users can control via gestures, thanks to DJI's "powerful technology," which is highly impressive. For example, smiling with one's arms folded will trigger the Spark to take your photo, which is a seemingly amusing and sophisticated way of taking a selfie.
But for more complex aerial movements, there's also a companion app that can be used to launch the drone in various patterns, allowing for some visually striking footage.
DJI Spark Specs
The Spark sports a 12-megapixel camera that can output 1080p video, so no 4K, which means the Spark won't likely be your daily driver if you're a professional drone filmmaker. Think of it as a personal camera that can take photos, record videos, and fly. That said, there are a number of filters included that create effects such as shallow depth of field, for instance.
The Spark can reach speeds of 31 miles per hour, sports a 3D-sensing camera, packs in a GPS/Glonass, and boasts an onboard vision positioning system to keep the machine stable midflight. There's also a two-axis gimbal to help stabilize video, which gives the user smoother and less-shaky footage.
In terms of battery, users can swap juice on the fly, which is a big thing for portability. There's also a microUSB port for recharging.
The DJI Spark is now available for preorder and will hit shelves next month in a number of colorways: Alpine White, Sky Blue, Meadow Green, Lava Red, and Sunrise Yellow.
At the end of the day, the Spark is still a pretty expensive toy. But for beginners looking for an introductory drone experience — that's where the Spark could most likely shine.