Big Mem­o­ries, Small Drone

THE SPARK WANTS TO JOIN YOUR NEXT BOAT­ING AD­VEN­TURE—AND YOU’LL BE GLAD IT DID.

Power & Motor Yacht - - GEAR -

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.

BY SI­MON MUR­RAY

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