DJI has introduced a brand new drone to the world, and this time, it really is for the masses. The DJI Spark is a small, colourful drone that can take off from your hand.
Once it’s in the air, you can control it just using hand gestures. In other words: you’re going to feel like a Jedi Master flying this thing.
DJI has been making waves in the drone market for some time now, arguably never more so than when it launched the Mavic Pro last year. It is a drone packed with all the smartest sensors and tech, but also folds so small it can fit in your backpack.
This latest drone essentially looks like a much smaller version of the Mavic Pro and, somehow, has many of the same technologies built in.
The company describes the quadcopter as a lifestyle accessory that you can take with you anywhere. And, with it weighing just 300 grams, it won’t be a burden, regardless of how you carry it. What’s more, when it launches from your hand, it automatically enters Gesture Mode, so you can control it with hand gestures.
Of course, you can also use a remote control too which has the benefit of a 1.2 mile range, and the ability to stream 720p video in real-time directly. Like the Mavic, there’s also the option of using a smartphone to control it, although that doesn’t have as long a range.
Once in the air, there are several sensors and processors to keep it there and make flying it a doddle. It has the main camera, a downward-facing vision system to help it find its home point and altitude, as well as a forward-facing obsactle avoidance system.
For location tracking, there’s GPS and GLONASS plus 24 computing cores and a high-precision movement tracker.
All these sensors combine to enable the Spark to hover accurately at heights up to 30 meters from the ground and sense obstacles from 5 meters away.
Like most of DJI’s newest drones, there’s a return to home feature. When activated, the drone returns to the point where it took off from, sensing obsactles on its way. Using the remote control, it’ll also return home when the connection is lost or when the battery is too low.
One other new feature here is QuickShot, which creates a 10-second video, tracking a subject while performing one of four included flying manouvers.
All four of these QuickShot flying modes are designed to create really cool video effects captured in 1080p by the 12-megapixel 1/2.3″ sensor in the camera.
Rocket mode sends the drone straight up into the air, with the camera pointing downwards. Dronie flies up and away from the subject, while Circle rotates around it. There’s also Helix, which spirals upwards and away from the subject.
As with other DJI drones, there’s also the TapFly and ActiveTrack modes. The former lets you tell the drone which way to fly, or a specific location to fly too. The latter is the awesome technology that locks the drone’s vision on to a specific object, and then track it.
For the brave, there’s the Sport mode which can kick the Spark up to 31mph. In this mode, the camera moves to its first person view by default and will be compatible with the DJI Goggles for real-time FPV footage beamed straight to your eyeballs.
Each battery is built to last up to 16 minutes of flight time, which isn’t at all bad given its size.
All in all, it’s an impressive piece of kit considering its size. Understandably then, it won’t be as cheap as the toy drones you normally get in this size.
When it launches in June, the DJI Spark will be available in several colours, including blue, red, green, white and yellow. The basic kit, which includes the drone, battery, charger and three sets of propellers will cost £519.
There’s also the £699 “Spark Fly More Combo” kit includes the drone, two batteries, four sets of propellers, a remote controller, propeller guards, charging hub, shoulder bag and all necessary cables.