Big Memories, Small Drone
THE SPARK WANTS TO JOIN YOUR NEXT BOATING ADVENTURE—AND YOU’LL BE GLAD IT DID.
In case you haven’t realized it yet, we’re living in the Age of the Drone. Entering this brave new world is DJI’s Spark, which gets my vote for the item you didn’t know you needed to bring on your next cruise—until now. The Spark exists at that rare crossroads, when innovation finally catches up with or surpasses the user’s expectations, and for that reason especially, it’s an exciting moment.
Look closely at that outstretched hand. If the Mavic Pro, DJI’s next largest offering, is the size of a hero sandwich, the Spark is the size of a hearty pastry. Weighing in at just over 10½ ounces, it’s the smallest drone DJI has ever produced.
DJI wants us to think about “seizing the moment” with this itty-bitty drone, and the company has a point, since it’s small enough to throw in a backpack on your next cruise to Bimini. It can take off and land on your palm, which is a huge boon, especially if you’ve ever experienced the dread of being tossed around on a sportfisherman in the Gulf Stream while trying to land a drone on the transom.
Space-saving convenience comes with compromises, however. With a maximum speed of 30 mph, the Spark is not as fast as the Mavic Pro’s 39 mph. It also has a maximum transmitting distance of 1 mile, and around half the battery life of the Mavic Pro: 16 minutes as opposed to 27. But if your aim is to take selfies on the flybridge or running shots of your boat, this will do the trick. And with its obstacle avoidance technology and intelligent flight modes—one that lets you control it with your hand—this little guy packs a punch.
With an MSRP of $499, The Spark is the cheapest drone in Mavic’s stable (The Mavic Pro retails for about $1,000). If you’re a beginner to this whole drone thing, or just want to fly one like a pro, the combo package that comes with a controller and includes one hour of flight training for $699 is, in my opinion, the best way to go. With the Spark you’re getting a bigger bang for your buck, even if it is smaller.
You can launch and land the Spark from your palm.