Personal drones are more relevant today than they ever were, altering the way we create content and consume entertainment.
The company leading this expanding industry is DJI. Throughout the years, they’ve made compelling drones packed with amazing features at affordable prices; especially their older generation ones. Two of their most compared drones are the DJI Spark and the DJI Mini 1st gen.
Pros of DJI Spark
- Intelligent features. The DJI spark is feature-packed with obstacle avoidance, object tracking, tapfly, quickshots and impressive gesture modes; however, these features can be gimmicky than useful in the long run. Most people would pick battery life and video quality over anything else, and frankly, the Spark falls short in these categories.
- Can be used with either remote or smartphone. This comes in handy for those quick memories that need to be captured ASAP. Note, the smartphone control is clunky and range is widely affected when the controller is not used. Nonetheless, this feature makes the Spark more versatile and ready for operation.
- Durable quality. The Spark is well built and can handle multiple crashes without a problem.
- Uses the more superior DJI Go 4 App which offers more features. Regardless, this shouldn’t be a deterring factor for the Mini.
Pros of DJI Mini
- Small size at 249g. The DJI Mini is extremely portable and lightweight. This falls under the micro-drones category for drones under 250g. Drones from this weight class are exempt from registration or pilot certificates and have fewer restrictions. Check with your country’s law before operating.
- Portable. The drone is already impressively small and it can be folded for extra portability.
- Good image quality. The DJI Mini records in 2.7K video quality which is better than the 1080p washed-out quality found in the DJI Spark. Pictures and videos are sharper and dynamic range is heavily improved.
- Great battery life. 30 minutes flight time vs 12 minutes that you’ll get with the DJI Spark. This feature alone can be a deciding factor for most people.
- 3-Axis Gimbal. Video is stable and accounts for yaw movements. This is a step up from the 2-axis gimbal found on the DJI Spark.
- Better transmission signal at 4km vs the 2km that the Spark offers
Cons of DJI Spark
- Battery life is rated at 16 mins flight time (usually 10-12 mins in real-world usage) vs 30 minutes of the DJI Mini.
- 2 Axis Gimbal.
- Arms are not foldable.
- 1080p Video quality looks horrendous compared to the 2.7K quality of the Mini.
- Range signal is not good. Maximum transmission is 2km using FCC.
Cons of DJI Mini
- Uses the inferior DJI Fly app.
- No advanced features such as; obstacle avoidance, active tracking, selfie gestures and more.
It might seem like a reasonable decision to pick the DJI Spark over the Mini because of its obstacle avoidance and active tracking. However, the Mini is clearly the superior drone, with longer battery life, portability, range and most importantly, video quality. In addition, third-party apps such as Litchi can be used with the DJI Mini to unlock features like active tracking. (Note: Other features like obstacle avoidance cannot be added with software, it requires sensors built in the hardware)