DJI just launched its own selfie drone. The smallest, lightest, and least expensive drone in the company's hangar, the DJI Spark costs $499 and is designed for those looking to easily capture spontaneous moments. Chief among its features is the ability to launch, land, and fly the drone without ever needing your smartphone or a separate controller. The Spark is available for pre-order now, and will ship in June.
After it takes off from your palm, the Spark will look for your hand, and then move left, right, up, or down as you move your hand in the corresponding direction. You can also have it move farther away and snap a picture with other hand gestures, similar to another selfie drone, the Hover Passport. It's pretty cool how responsive the Spark was; it was almost like using the Force to move it around.
Using your smartphone, you can receive a live feed from the Spark's camera, and control it out to distances of 100 yards; use the optional remote control, and you can fly the drone up to 1.2 miles away.
The camera in the Spark has a 1/2.3-inch sensor which can take 12MP stills and 1080p video at 30 fps, and is mounted on a 2-axis gimbal. That's more modest than the company's other super-mobile drone, the $999 DJI Mavic Pro, but that drone is twice as expensive.
Battery life for the Spark is estimated at 16 minutes, which is about five minutes less than the Mavic Pro, but reasonable given the Spark's size.
DJI updated the controller app for the Spark, which not only enables some autonomous flight modes, but makes it easier to edit your videos afterwards. For example, you can set the Spark to spiral around you slowly, spin outwards in a helix-like pattern, or zoom away from you dramatically. After you're done taking video, the app can then combine multiple clips into a single movie, along with a soundtrack.
The Spark will come in blue, green, red, white, or yellow. DJI will sell it alone for $499, or in a combo pack with an additional battery, a charger, the remote control, four extra propellers, and a carrying case for $699.
We're looking forward to flying the Spark ourselves. If it's as easy as it looks, it could open up drones to a whole new market.