Chinese-based drone maker DJI up to this point has largely focused its efforts on the mainstream market. With the exception of the Phantom 3 Standard that debuted at $799 a couple of years back, its cheapest drone starts at $999 (the Mavic Pro).
Priced at a mere $499, the Spark positions DJI to compete with companies like Parrot and ZeroTech which offer quality products that are accessible to a wider range of buyers (financially speaking).
Roughly the size and weight of a can of soda, the Spark offers 16 minutes of flight time and can be recharged on the go via micro USB. Transmission distance is rated at 1.2 miles with its Visual Positioning System (VPS) working up to 30 meters out, DJI says. Its camera works on a two-axis gimbal and can snap up to 12-megapixel stills and 1080p video.
DJI has baked plenty of tech into the drone as well. In TapFly mode, tapping on your phone’s screen commands the drone to fly to that location (rinse and repeat) while ActiveTrack mode allows Spark to automatically recognize and track objects in motion (like your kid riding their bike, for example). There’s even a Gesture mode in which you can take selfies and control Spark’s movement using just hand movements.
The DJI Spark is being offered in white, green, yellow, blue and red color schemes with an estimated ship date of June 15. For an additional $200, the Spark Fly More Combo includes a propeller guard, quick-release folding propellers, an extra battery, a shoulder bag, a charging hub and a remote controller.