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DJI's new Spark mini drone is superslick and relatively cheap

DJI has officially unveiled its rumored mini drone, which may be small, but it's still packed with features -- and only costs $500.

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David Carnoy
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David Carnoy

Executive Editor / Reviews

Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.

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Watch this: DJI Spark makes piloting a drone as simple as waving your hand

For those you waiting for a smaller, more affordable drone from DJI, the wait is over: the Spark, an easy-to-fly mini drone that features all of DJI's signature technologies, including intelligent flight control options, a mechanical gimbal, and a 1080p camera, has officially arrived. It costs $499 (£519) in a bare-bones version and ships in June, with preorders starting now.

One of the interesting new features is that the drone can take off from your hand and be controlled by hand gestures (it automatically enters Gesture Mode when it takes off from your hand). You can also use a smartphone to control it or buy a dedicated controller for $149.

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The Spark is available in multiple color options.

DJI

With the new QuickShot Intelligent Flight Mode, Spark will fly along a preset flight path while recording a short video and track a subject along the way. Four QuickShot modes -- Rocket, Dronie, Circle, and Helix -- are available to send the Spark on different flight tracks to create different visual effects. Previously introduced Intelligent Flight Modes such as TapFly and ActiveTrack are also available.

Here are the Spark's key specs:

  • 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor captures 12-megapixel photos and shoots stabilized HD 1080p videos.
  • Fits in almost any bag and weighs only 10.6 ounces (300 grams).
  • Flies at speeds of up to 31 mph (50 kph).
  • Hovers accurately with vision system assistance at up to 98 feet (30 meters) and sense obstacles from up to 16 feet (5m) away.
  • Maximum flight time of up to 16 minutes.
  • 720p real-time video transmission from up to 1.2 miles (2 km) away.
  • Available in five color options with a base price of $499 or £519.
  • Spark Fly More Combo ($699; £699) includes an aircraft, two batteries, four pairs of propellers, a remote controller, propeller guards, a charging hub, a shoulder bag and all necessary cables.
  • Compatible with DJI Goggles.
  • Preorders will start shipping in mid-June.
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