I HATE my DJI Spark. I also love it, a little.
Back in May of 2017, DJI announced the release of the new Spark drone (quadcopter). I ordered one, immediately. The size, image quality, and look of this new drone from DJI really spoke to me. So did the price, $499!
Of course, I would later realize, that I really needed the remote to get any distance shots with the DJI Spark, so it really costs $550 (less with the Fly More Combo that was not available when I ordered mine).
DJI Spark Drone Review: What Do I Love
We’ll get to why I say I hate the DJI Spark, but first, let’s start with the positives.
- Image quality
The size of the DJI Spark is ridiculously small. I know DJI has now come out with the DJI Mavic Air, which is even smaller, but back when I ordered my DJI Spark and went from a Phantom 3 to this one, it was shockingly small.
Pictures don’t really even do it justice. It can land in the palm of your hand, it’s so small. That little foam case that’s underneath it fits perfectly in my day bag. I LOVE it! It can go everywhere with me. And does.
The image quality on the DJI Spark is fantastic, too! Better than my previous Phantom 3, by a lot. It’s not 4K, but I really don’t feel like I need it.
Here’s one of our vlogs where I was able to use the DJI Spark.
I also got some good footage on our Adventures by Disney trip, out West. It’s about 3 and half minutes into this vlog.
DJI Spark Review: Why I HATE the Spark
Both of these vlogs bring back nightmares of why I hate the DJI Spark.
- Altitude issue
- Overall glitches
You see, in that Moab/Arches National Park vlog, the DJI Spark actually crash landed. There’s a known issue with measuring altitude and the Spark “thought” it was 5′ above the ground when it was actually about 75′ above the ground. It nearly burned itself into the ground in a crash landing.
Nothing appeared to be broken, but the altitude issue continued.
Now, I’d carried this thing all the way out to Utah and into Arizona. Most of the places I’d been were National Parks (no drones allowed), so I hadn’t used it much.
I was a little irritated that DJI and their customers knew that there was an altitude issue with the DJI Spark and here I was without a usable drone in Utah. Oh well, what can you do?
What I did was all the resetting, updating, and other rigamarole that DJI recommended. Check.
Then, we get down to the Dominican Republic, and the altitude issue continued.
Now, the whole point in having this small, easy to carry drone is to get drone footage, when I’m able, on these amazing trips we get to take. Getting all the way down to the Dominican Republic, with spotty wifi and no cell was no place to get stuck with a non-functioning drone. I was a bit peeved.
BTW, I had tested it at home before leaving and the altitude issue seemed to be fixed. Nope. No bueno.
I eventually had to send the Spark back to DJI for replacement/repair. Under warranty, of course, but still a pain.
DJI Spark Updates
Oh. My. Gosh. The number of updates on this drone is RIDICULOUS! Every. Single. Time I turn it on, the remote has a new update, the drone has a new update, the safe fly zones have a new update, there’s a new update to the new update to the new update!
For crying out loud, I just want to use my DJI Spark! I love it when it works, but it never seems to work!
You’ll notice a complete lack of drone footage in this vlog of an absolutely EPIC day of snowmobiling in Minnesota.
I can tell you in this DJI Spark Review post, it was not for lack of trying.
I brought the drone. Carried in my backpack for the 8.5 mile loop of snowmobile trails before breaking it out to get some amazing footage of us driving snowmobiles on a frozen lake.
Too bad the drone needed a “required update” to function. $&*#()#$*(!!
We were close to the lodge where we rented the snow machines, so I stopped to see if I could get the update downloaded from their wifi. No go.
You’re in the middle of nowhere. Of course, the wifi is slow. Of course, it’s not going to download the update. Of course, I just wasted half an hour of our rented snowmobile time to download ANOTHER stupid update to the DJI Spark.
Now, I know, I should have checked before leaving the cabin. I mean, I should know, by now, that there’s ALWAYS a freaking update needed. But, I didn’t. So, I didn’t get any drone footage.
Summary of DJI Spark Review
The DJI Spark is a great drone, when it’s working. The image quality is fantastic. It flies great. Super easy controls. Heck, I can even use my phone as a remote, if I don’t need to fly long distances!
It also has “gesture” flying capability, but I’ve never used it. It’s a little gimmicky and frankly, I don’t want to mess around with something that could become another issue with this drone.
I LOVE this drone. When it works. Unfortunately, most of the time, I find myself hating the DJI Spark.
Updated June 2018