CNET First Look
DJI's Spark is all the camera drone most people will ever needSmall enough to slip in a backpack, but with the features of more advanced models, DJI's selfie drone is one you can grow with.
DJI may have been a little late to the selfie drone category. But the ultra compact, 500 dollar spark is easily one of the best. When it launched in May, DJI put the spotlight on it's gesture controls that let you launch it, focus the camera on yourself, move it into position and then have it snap a photo. All without connecting to a phone or controller. Sensors in front keep it from getting too close but you can also give your hand a wave and it will fly back some to get a wider shot for groups, or just more of the background. It's an attention grabber for sure, but it's limited to photos at the moment, which for me limits its appeal. These hand gesture controls are just a fraction of what the Spark can do, though. Paired with the DJI go for app you can snap more sophisticated selfies with the quick shot mode, and it's four preset flight paths to create instant video clips with music. Other flight modes trickled down from DJI's higher end models too and you can also pilot with virtual sticks, no it's not the best experience. So, if you plan to do a lot of manual flying, spend $150 to get it's excellent little controller, so you can take full advantage of its capabilities, including its 31 mile per hour sport mode. You'll probably wanna add a couple of its $50 batteries to your cart, too because flight times are less than 16 minutes. The good news is the Spark can be charged by micro USB so you can always fly and charge on the go. And it also has the best camera you're going to find on a drone this size, due in part to its two axis motorized gimbal. Outside of a wind gust the little drone stays steady and captures great looking full HD video. Still between the drone, batteries and controller you'll be a few hundred dollars away from the more capable DJI Mavic Pro. But if your main goal is getting impressive automatic aerial selfies first and maybe learning to be a pilot down the road. Start your shopping here.