DJI Spark UAV Fresh Unboxing & Review: The Strongest handheld UAV Ever.


1. Preface

Originally I thought that the MAVIC PRO released last year is the most lightweight portable UAV of SZ DJI Technology Co., Ltd. (Abbreviated as DJI), when the release of MAVIC PRO I was very excited, the UAV is so small, and the performance is so strong. At that time, I started the review of MAVIC PRO all night and first posted on SMZDM! DJI recently released the latest “Xiao” Spark UAV, which is much more portable and more convenient to carry than the MAVIC PRO.

Many consumers love and fear the UAV, love is because of the God’s perspective of shaking and overwhelming the moments, the most worrying things are that the operation is difficult to use, and it is not easy to carry when traveling. So DJI developed this “Xiao” Spark, only 300 grams of weight plus gesture control and one-touch shoot a short film features, so that newcomers and amateurs can easily use and play the aerial shoot.

After receiving “Xiao” Spark, it rained every day in Kunming and could not test.

Seeing that there is only two or three days left to hand over the test report, I had to go to JiangChuan to try my luck. Fortunately, although the clouds were overcast, it did not rain, so that I successfully completed the flight test.

DJI Spark UAV Fresh Unboxing & Review: The Strongest handheld UAV Ever.

The structure of the article is as follows:

1. Preface

2. Ordering and unboxing

3. New function: gesture control

4. New feature: one-touch shoot a short film

5. Pointing to flight and intelligent follow demonstration

6. Photo taking and video recording

7. Charging and endurance capacity

8. App manipulation and obstacle avoidance

9. Summary

2. Ordering and unboxing

In addition to the white Spark standard suit, there are additional batteries and blade shields and a gift 16G card. In order to successfully complete the evaluation, I also bought 60 USD DJI Care. After placing the order, I felt regret that if I added a little more money I could buy an all-around suit with remote control and charging housekeeper!

It’s very inconvenient not to have these two key accessories, and I’ll explain them to you later.

After receiving the goods, I can’t wait to open the package. The Spark box is smaller than I had imagined, and is similar to the ordinary router:

DJI Spark UAV Fresh Unboxing & Review: The Strongest handheld UAV Ever.

In addition to the package, there is a blade shield, 16G TF card and additional batteries. I am a veteran, so I do not intend to install a protective cover. The additional batteries and TF card will not have to show. After unpacking there is a foam box, the foam box buoyancy is good, can carry the UAV floating on the water (pure joke, do not imitate).

The foam box is just enough to put down Spark and two batteries, and if you have a battery on your UAV, you can take three. There are two blades in the box.

DJI Spark UAV Fresh Unboxing & Review: The Strongest handheld UAV Ever.

All accessories of Spark, including charging head, Micro USB charging cable:

DJI Spark UAV Fresh Unboxing & Review: The Strongest handheld UAV Ever.

Despite its arm, Spark is smaller than IPhone 6. Turning over, there are LED indicators under the four motors, indicating the head and various states. There are four contacts on the battery that can charge directly by placing the Spark on the charging base.

DJI Spark UAV Fresh Unboxing & Review: The Strongest handheld UAV Ever.

Unexpectedly such a small body also carries 2-axis mechanical anti-shake cradle, so that the picture is more stable:

The small red window on the nose is an infrared sensor, and Spark’s forward obstacle avoidance function is based on this sensor for ranging:

DJI Spark UAV Fresh Unboxing & Review: The Strongest handheld UAV Ever.

Visual location and obstacle avoidance functions are achieved by the bottom of the camera and the infrared sensor:

DJI Spark UAV Fresh Unboxing & Review: The Strongest handheld UAV Ever.

The power key is on the battery and is located at the end of the machine. Press the power button can show the quantity of electricity. The Spark can be turned on by a short click and a long one:

At the top of battery are the TF card slots and the Micro USB charging port, and inserting 64G TF card without any pressure.

Do you feel this little thing full of technology?

After the unboxing picture shooting, I can’t wait to connect DJI GO 4APP to activate and test flight. Activation is easy, connect the Wi-Fi of the UAV is OK, because the DJI CARE is bought together with the UAV, they are bound automatically, so do not need to operate on your own. If you are buying DJI CARE separately, you need bound within 48 hours of UAV activation. Remember it! I think 60 USD DJI CARE is worth buying, a year can be changed twice, even it fells, takes in water, you don’t feel bad. There is an accident insurance of the third party.

Testing flight indoor, visual positioning is very awesome, as long as it is not solid color and other special grounds can hover.

3. New function: gesture control

I think DJI positions Spark as a portable travel UAV, so this time DJI has designed the gesture control function for Spark specially. It doesn’t need a phone or a remote control, and it can shoot just take it out of the bag. Let me give you a try here to see if this gesture control function is practical.

DJI Spark UAV Fresh Unboxing & Review: The Strongest handheld UAV Ever.

First, take off from the palm, turn the head on your face after starting up, double click the power button, if the face recognition success, the headlamp will turn green, then the motor will start, after the motor starting can release the hand. The sweetie, who had never played with an UAV, tried it once and succeeded with a little nervous and hesitant. Mind! The novice must install protective cover to prevent blade from cutting hand!

It’s also easy to land in the palm. Let the UAV hover in front of you and put your hand under Spark’s belly. When landing, be careful not to let the UAV tilt so that the blade cuts your hand or falls directly to the ground!

Waving at Spark after takeoff and it will be away from you for a while, and then you can make a photo gesture for selfie. Notice that Spark flies backwards when waving away. Make sure there are no obstacles behind Spark!

Holding out your arms toward the UAV can recall Spark, which will drop and fly to you.

Reaching out to Spark can also give it “mind control”, as shown in the picture. This is the only way to accurately control the location of Spark when you don’t have a phone or remote control.

I think Spark’s gesture control function is very useful, according with her travel selfie UAV positioning. When you need to take a selfie or take a group photo, take out Spark and put it in the palm for taking off. Take a selfie in a few photo positions without having to use a smartphone or other intelligent devices. At present can only use the hand gesture to manipulate Spark shooting, can’t control the shooting of video, if in the future DJI can develop gesture control shooting video and one-touch shoot a short film features, which would be perfect.

4. New feature: one-touch shoot a short film

Spark also has another useful new feature: one-touch shoot a short film, which makes it easy for novices to shoot special effects such as rotations. One-touch shoot a short film feature is also very simple to use. After taking off then into the one-touch shoot a short film feature, selecting the target then pressing the GO, the target can be human or object. The UAV returns to standby after shooting and generates a 10-second video with music directly on the phone, which can be sent directly to moments. It is very convenient and no longer needs to be edited by you own. The original will be stored in the TF card of the UAV, and can also be downloaded directly in the APP for editing on the phone.

At present, there are four modes for the one-touch shoot a short film feature: gradually far, rotation, spiral and skyrocketing.

Let’s take a look at the gradually far mode, which is the UAV away from the subject gradually, especially suitable for the grand scene. What we should pay attention to is that the mode is retrogressive flight, we must first see if there are trees and buildings and other obstacles behind the UAV!

Rotation is the most common term in aerial photography, “brush pot”, with the goal as the center 360 degrees rotation shooting. Make sure there aren’t obstacles around before shooting.

The spiral is similar to the rotation, and it is also shot around the target. The difference is that the altitude of the UAV will gradually rise and the radius will gradually increase during the shooting.

Finally is the skyrocketing, the altitude of the UAV is gradually rising:

5. Pointing to flight and intelligent follow demonstration

Pointing to flight is also one of the easy and practical functions. After starting the pointing flight, click the target to be reached, and Spark will automatically fly there without having to manually control it.

DJI Spark UAV Fresh Unboxing & Review: The Strongest handheld UAV Ever.

Then introduce the intelligent follow function, intelligent follow has two modes: common and parallel. In common mode, the UAV will keep and track the target distance for shooting, such as scooters, bicycles.

Common follow mode can also surround track by adjusting angle at any time. That is, tracking the target at the same time around the target circle, pay attention to make sure that there aren’t obstacles around. For example, if the last track electric vehicle you click the surround mode, it would definitely hit the tree on the right side of the road.

Parallel follow mode, keeping a distance from the side of the target, for parallel shooting:

6. Photo taking and video recording

Spark uses CMOS of 1/2.3″, whose biggest aperture is F2.6 with 25mm focus, owning 120 thousand pixels, belongs to wide-angle lens. In terms of the figures, it is not as good as Mavic Pro, but such a little camera carries 2 axis anti-shake head. You know this size of UAV normally have electric anti-shake head.

As the photo shows, the automatic exposure mode is tacit, and it even provides a manual mode. But it is a pity that Spark cameras don’t support the output of RAW. Of course, for the users who don’t need post-production, the RAW is not essential.

DJI Spark UAV Fresh Unboxing & Review: The Strongest handheld UAV Ever.

A single photo taking, bursting and time lapsing is all supported when in driving mode. The time lapse is practical, which make post-production much easier; when it is in the Depth of Field, the effect of blur can be simulated; when it is under panorama, Spark will automatic regulate to different directions to take 9 photos in wide-angle, or to take 3 photos in vertical angle. And Mavic PRO didn’t have this function before.

Wide pictures can be taken in panorama mode. But if in bad weather, just have a passable look. Maybe you will take some blades, but you can just cut it down.

Spark has its practical mode of camera stand, which will try it best to fixed the position, in order to make photographing easier, When it got dark I took 15 photos in this mode, and here is the result:

One day, it was at dusk, and the weather cleared up, I used the UAV to take several photos, and it shows below. There were some distortions when using 25mm wide-angle. But this shot of Spark coped with this problem smoothly. It was a pity that the remote control could only make it go 50m high, which made the picture not very magnificent.

It seems ok when the photos are enlarged by 100%.

The photos taken by Spark are pretty good, and they look similar to the prevail smart phones. But your phone doesn’t have 2 axis head! As for the videos, they don’t support the recording in 4K resolution. But actually, the 1080P can also satisfy most people’s requirement. The videos are attached, from which we can appreciate the great results. (You are advised to watch in at least 1080P):

7. Charging and endurance capacity

The battery of Spark is 11.4V with a capacity of 1480mAH, in an ideal condition, it can endure for16 minutes. But to be honest, the UAV can’t always work in an ideal condition. So in fact, the endurance is about 10 minutes per time as I have texted, and the limitation is 12 minutes. It’s a half of time comparing with MAVIC PRO. And here are the records:

It’s danger to text the limited endurance. As the picture shows, 9% of the power can only work for about 1 minute. If the UAV was still in the sky over the water, the result would have been disastrous. So we should count the time when it is working, and stop it when the time is approaching to the end.

DJI Spark UAV Fresh Unboxing & Review: The Strongest handheld UAV Ever.

As for charging, there is no ‘manager’ in the standard package. It can only charge by wires and one battery for one time. And it takes 1 hour (from 10% of the power to charge) for each time. It’s inconvenient when making examinations. It takes too much time to wait for the batteries. So it may be better for you to add a little more money to buy a super package before.

What worth praising is that the Spark can be charged by power banks. It’s a real UAV for traveling. Spark also supports charging by QC3.0. So I prepared another 20000mA power bank of Besiter, which also supports it, to charge. And it concluded that it can correctly recognize QC3.0 to charge in 12V 1A.

Charging by power banks take almost the same time by using plugs, and it will take 35% of the power for each time. In other words, a 2000mAH power bank can charge about 3 batteries of Spark. But be careful to use a power bank which supports QC3.0, otherwise, it will cost much more time.

In traveling, we may not wait it for a long time, so you can put it in the suitcase and go on your way. I did it the other days, but the suitcase can keep the temperature, and it may also be too hot after flying. So it needs cooling after working and before charging.

8. App manipulation and obstacle avoidance

After activation, Spark will upgrade itself when checking out a new system. The main interface is shown below:

According to the records which were shown by the picture in these days, the UAV has been flying for 2 and a half hour, for 21 times. Charging, flying, and then charging:

Without a remote control, it can only be operated by gesture or APP, which have a lack of hand handle. What’s worse, it will be limited to the high of 50m, the distance of 100m ,and cannot start the moving mode. So the advice is: using the phone of at least 5.5 inch to control. I had attempted to use iPhone SE, but the screen was too small. As the photos show:

Spark has obstacle sensors on the front and the back, which can probe the barriers when it is flying. It will take a brake and ring the alarm when it spots some dangers on manual operation, while it will try to avoid the barriers when it is in automatic mode. I have tried to control the UAV to fly toward the tree behind a brand on purpose. But it proved that the obstacle avoidance is reliable. I also did some examinations in other mode, such as automatic return, it can also avoid all the barriers successfully. But they are too much to shown. However, we cannot rely on this function. On the contrary, we should form a good habit to control, and be cautious of the environment and the pictures sent from the UAV.

As for the function of wind resistance, although it is not as good as the elves, it is good enough with such a small size. As the picture shows, it flowed over the river to shoot, and the offset can almost be ignored:

The photos and videos can be easily arranged and shared in the editors.

You can also edit the works you have taken, such as cutting, adding music and filters.

9. Summary

Just have a summary about Spark at the end:

  1. The convenience of the size and weight: it weighs only 300g. Including the wing, it is merely as big as a palm, for which it was named as hand-held UAV. It’s particularly convenient to take when traveling.

  2. The batteries’ endurance capacity and the time of charging: The endurance is about 10 minutes, a half of that of Mavic PRO. It supports QC3.0 charging, which takes 1 hour to be full charged, can also be charged by power banks.

  3. The function of wind resistance: I ever held the thought that such a small UAV must be weak at wind resistance. But as a matter of fact, the wind resistance of Spark is pretty good. Details have mentioned above.

  4. Its anti-shake performance: The 2 axis anti-shake head is not bad at all. From the paragraphs above we learned that the photos which taken by Spark is very clear.

  5. The property and the flying experience: The highest speed of Spark can up to 500km/h by using remote control, the distance of information delivery is 2km; but without a remote control, the height and the distance are both limited. Comparing with other UAV, there is no doubt that Spark is the best.

  6. Camera imaging: CMOS of1/2.3″, a camera with 12 million pixels, 25mm wide-angle lens, is similar to prevail smart phones.

  7. Obstacle avoidance: Spark has obstacle sensors on the front and the back, which can probe the barriers efficiently, so that it decreases the probability of crash.

  8. Characteristic: Gesture control brings new experience of operating UAV. When the light is adequate, the sensor of gesture will be very sensitive. And I do hope that more functions of the gesture can be developed in the near future. What also useful is the short video taking, by which you can send the work on WeChat immediately when you are on your trip.

She has a little size which is convenient to take; she brings new, unique experience and photographing fashion. It can’t be difficult no matter who is using it. The small Spark absorbed the experience and technology for decades, and none of the functions can be cut off. The listing of the Spark lower the sill of UAV, which make more and more it closer to normal people. You deserve to have your first UAV of Spark.

Author: zhenzhenmeng


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