“Now everyone can fly” was the line that stuck with me the most after DJI launched the Spark in Malaysia. Ignoring the obvious reference to a popular budget airline’s tag, “everyone can fly” is probably the best way to describe what DJI’s Spark can do. It’s an amazingly tiny drone that takes almost no effort to get up in the air.
The DJI Spark is Chinese drone giant DJI’s latest achievement in their consumer drone market. It’s the smallest and most affordable drone they make yet it also packs some of the most advanced features in any DJI drone.
Spark’s strengths lie it in its ability to keep thing simple. Yes, its camera is only mounted on a 2-axis gimbal. Yes, it can only take 1080p video and 12-megapixel stills. Yes, it also only has a maximum flight time of 16 minutes. But it makes EVERYTHING so absurdly easy.
DJI’s Spark, however, has no such problems because it doesn’t even need to be on the ground to take off. It’s got a quick take off ability that means you can launch the drone from the palm of your hand. And it works flawlessly probably 90% of the time.
All you have to do is hold the drone out in the palm of your hand and face the camera to you. Double tap on the button at the back and wait for the drone to recognise you. Once it knows what its looking at, the rotors will spin up and FWOOSH the drone takes off.
From there, you can control it via a smartphone (up to 100m), a controller (up to 2km) or through hand gestures. I didn’t get to try the former two, but I got to spend some time sending the drone around with my hand gestures.
Just below the two front rotors on the Spark there are coloured lights that tell you what the drone is doing. If it’s yellow, it’s looking for you, green means it recognises you and your gestures, while red means it doesn’t recognise any input.
This way, it’s really easy to tell when the drone will do what you want it to do. Hold up your hands, wait for the lights to turn green and you can start issuing gesture controls to it. Turn your hand and body to the right and the drone will follow suit. Raise your hand and it will climb, lower your hand and it will descend.
What I was surprised with was how well it actually worked. I thought it would have a much lower success rate than it does but I was gladly proven wrong. You should be careful about swinging the drone around, though, as it won’t be able to detect obstacles from the side so you might cause it to crash into someone’s head when you’re too caught up in your Jedi master tricks.
Telling the drone to land, is just as simple. All you need to do is pull your hand back (so, don’t hold your hand out) and the guide lights will turn red. Once they’re red, you can reach under the drone and Spark will slowly land in the palm of your hand. Once the propellers stop spinning, you might want to grab on to the body because it can tilt if your palm isn’t flat.
DJI’s Spark is seriously small. It’s the tiniest camera drone I’ve ever held and I think that means its strength goes beyond just being pocketable. Because it’s so small, it’s also far less intimidating to the novice pilot.
Never have I seen so many members of the media jumping at the opportunity to give the Spark a test flight. In previous events, DJI wouldn’t even let those of us who wanted to fly it have a go.
That just shows how confident the company is with this drone and from my experience I think their confidence is fully justified. It’s super easy to fly, super easy to pocket and is just a whole lot of fun to have around.
Unfortunately, I can’t speak about the quality of the image because I didn’t have the chance to take a look at the recorded footage, but there are plenty of reviews on YouTube so you can have a look there in the meantime.
If you’re interested in picking this baby drone up, the DJI Spark will go on sale for RM2,288 at all authorised ECS outlets from today onwards. This price is for the drone only and the first batch will only come in White.
If you fancy the other colours, or want to pick up the RM3,188 Fly More package (which gives you stuff like 4 pairs of propellers, a remote control, propeller guards, a charging hub, necessary cables and a shoulder bag), you will have to wait awhile because those only come in mid August.