DJI Spark Evaluation and where to buy now

Selfie is quite common, but it is really uncommon to take selfies in air with your hands.

On the evening of May 24th, 2017, DJI released Spark Selfie Drone in New York. In order to figure out how the magic device has transformed our selfie experience, we got a Spark immediately to give it a shot.

Although Spark is not so impressive at the first glance as Mavic Pro just released, it is still one selfie drone with a great many of bright spots waiting us to discover.

From Packing Box to Battery, Spark is all about Exquisite
Foam box again.


Just like Inspire 2 and Phantom series, the youngest member of the DJI family also uses the classic foam packing box. As for a portable selfie drone that can be packed in a bag, the packing box can help to protect the device while maintaining extremely lightweight and convenient. Without remote control and other accessories, the packing box is no more than 500 g (a drone:300 g; an extra battery:95 g). You can easily pack it in your backpack or shoulder bag.


Upon opening the foam packing box, a litchi-red device caught my eyes immediately. Although I have already known it is a small-size selfie drone last night, it still surprised me a lot as I hold it in my hands. Standing with Mavic Pro side by side, Spark looks like a mini baby.


Two battery positioning holes are on both sides of the aircraft. Provided that a battery can last for a maximum of 16 minutes, a box like that can last for about 48 minutes. In light of the actual flying conditions, however, it is good enough for three batteries to last for 30 to 40 minutes.


There is a safe lock in each side of the battery. Just press the safe lock and push down with your fingers, you can remove the batteries. The 95g-weight battery is 1480 mAh, 16.87 Wh,1.5 times that that of Mavic Pro. According to DJI, it will take about 1 hour and 20 minutes to refill the battery. Precise calculation has been carried out yet, but the charging time is a bit long.


There is a polyethylene undercarriage and a metal contact on the bottom of the battery. With the metal contact, one can directly recharge the drone in a charger without removing the battery. As the drone will normally be placed in the foam box, you don’t have to worry about that the mental contact will be wore out.


There is a power button and a battery indicator on the rear of the battery. And you can also find a Micro USB interface and a SD card slot below the sign of “SPARK”.

Pragmatic Accessories, Packed Separately

In addition to the drone, you can also get some core accessories such as a blade protective shield, a battery manager and a charger. However, there is no enough room in the foam box for these accessories, which means you have to leave some room in your backpack for them. If you bought a comprehensive suite, then all accessories along with the drone can be packed in the standard backpack.


The design of the battery protective shield is quite ingenious and clever. Only with a small buckle, the battery protective shield can be fixed on the wings without any screws. When you install the protective shield, please do remember to match its color with the color signs on the quick release blade. If you do it wrong, that will be troublesome……If you want to know the reason, please check the above photo.

 


(White protective shield with white quick release blade, and that’s exactly the right installation method)


Battery manager must be an old friend of drone players. When you put in three batteries, the battery manager will start to recharge them from the one with more power. That will save a lot of troubles for you, which means you don’t have to change the battery frequently.


A Fancy 3D Sensing System

For all the ordinary camera and relatively short flying time, Spark still has a unique selling point, that is exactly the fancy 3D sensing system on top of the camera,

The so-called 3D sensing system is a TOF depth camera, which means the camera can collect not only images but also can calculate the physical distance between two pixel points in the image. That is to say, Spark can not only “see” my palm, but also know the distance between it and the palm. If you want to know the detailed working procedures, please refer to the official descriptions on the DJI website.

Small size depth camera can constantly collect the gesture and visual information in the three-dimensional space. Those gestures images collected can be transferred into the CPU of the aircraft to send specific commands and instructions based on calculation and analysis.

 


Spark can only detect obstacles within a maximum of 5 meters, which means it still leaves far behind its family members. However, DJI endows Spark with superior visual recognition and tracking functions, which is exactly the same as it shows in the launch event. In addition, the drone can only track an object for a maximum of 3 meters in the gesture control model, therefore you don’t have to worry about it when the drone is flying.

Better Camera

Compared with the fancy gesture control, the camera of Spark is ordinary. 1/2.3 inches CMOS with 25mm equivalent focal length is just the standard configuration and the 1080P 30fps video is a little bit inadequate. We will uncover the secrets behind Spark in the evaluation passage in details.


It is not a camera without any spotlight. Compared with Mavic Pro with flexible flat cables and screw holes, it looks much more elegant and sophisticated and can integrate well with the fuselage.

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