DJI has just launched its latest drone at an event in New York. And it’s a big change from the norm for the world’s most popular drone manufacturer. The DJI Spark is here and it’s tiny. Looking for all the latest news and specs? We’ve got you covered.
Small and customizable
Following in the Mavic’s footsteps, the Spark is a small but powerful drone designed to be ultra-portable. For fashion-conscious selfie lovers, it also comes in five different colors. This kind of customization isn’t something we’ve seen from DJI before.
— DJI (@DJIGlobal) May 24, 2017
The Spark can also take-off directly from your hand. Its FaceAware technology can recognize its user before initiating take-off and hovering in place.
The Spark has been designed to work seamlessly with a smartphone, although it can also be purchased with a remote controller. Its range with a phone isn’t huge – just 109 yards, but connected to the controller the range ups to an enormous 1.2 miles.
At about half the size of the Mavic, half the flight time is to be expected. The Spark can stay airborne for up to 16 minutes. Its top speed is 31 mph in sport mode.
Aerial photography just got smaller
DJI insists that the Spark has the best camera compared to any of its smaller rivals. It comes with a 1/2.3” CMOS sensor that captures 12-megapixel photos and shoots stabilized HD 1080p videos. Spark’s 2-axis mechanical gimbal and UltraSmooth technology dramatically reduce shake and rolling shutter effect to capture cinematic shots with ease.
— DJI (@DJIGlobal) May 24, 2017
Intelligent flight modes
DJI has designed several new flight modes to get the best kind of selfie photography with the Spark. These include Helix and Circle, which are essentially creative alternatives to your standard Orbit function, as well as Rocket and Dronie. Several flight modes have also carried over from the company’s latest models, including TapFly, ActiveTrack and Gesture.
The DJI Spark is a lot of technology in a small package
Arguably the most impressive element of the Spark is that DJI has managed to fit in a version of its sense and avoid technology. The Spark can recognise obstacles in front of it. It’s also fitted with a similar vision positioning system to the Mavic Pro, helping it fly steady in place regardless of GPS connection.
Spark’s FlightAutonomy system consists of the main camera, a downward-facing vision system, a forward-facing 3D Sensing System, dual-band GPS and GLONASS, a high-precision inertial measurement unit, and 24 powerful computing cores. These features allow Spark to hover accurately with vision system assistance at up to 98 feet (30 meters) and sense obstacles from up to 16 ft (5 m) away.
The Spark can return to its home point automatically with a sufficient GPS signal. If the battery gets too low or connection is lost the Spark flies back to the preset home point while sensing obstacles in its path.
Price and availability
The Spark is starting at $499, with a fly more combo package available for $699. Pre-orders are now open on the DJI website and shipping is expected to start at the beginning of June.
DJI’s play for the mainstream
After months of speculation, DJI’s latest drone will help the company compete at the lower end of the market. Instead of just dominating the top end and relying on older models to filter down, the company can now genuinely say that it has a strong and original proposition in every market sector.
We’ll have a more in-depth look at the DJI Spark in the coming days. Check back soon!