Piloting a drone isn’t exactly an easy task as you’re attempting to fly a hefty camera via remote control while avoiding all the usual navigational hazards – power lines, trees, people, house pets and anything else that could send prang your expensive flying camera and render it into expensive scrap metal. Needless to say there’s quite a learning curve involved and buying a drone isn’t on a whim as they cost quite a pretty penny. DJI’s casual Spark drone handily addresses both concerns as it’s still comparatively less pricier than a full-blown professional DJI drone and – get this – is able to be controlled with hand gestures.
The Spark is a quad-propeller drone that weighs in at around a can of Coke with similar dimensions while being compact enough to cram into a backpack. In terms of hardware, the DJI Spark has a flight time of up to 16 minutes and packs dual-band GPS and GLONASS along with 24 computing cores to allow it to hover smoothly at up to 30 metres in the air and sense obstacles from up to 5m away.
When you launch the drone, it will attempt to recognise your mug and hand via facial recognition even as it hovers in place. Hold your hand up like Caesar and it follows your hand. Wave your hand and it dips back to a slightly longer range. If you need to call it back, you simply hold your hands up in a Y shape in a manner akin to a Freddie Mercury performance. When you need to take a selfie, you just have to form a square with both thumbs and index fingers. That’s surprisingly elegant and smart. To date, this is so far the only DJI drone to have this functionality and it’s an innovative way for casual users to get in on using it right out of the box.
All this is captured on the Spark’s 12-MP camera that comes with a 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor to capture 1080P video. If you aim to ditch all the video snapping shenanigans, the drone has a Sports mode that lets you fly it at a nippy 50kph and the option to control it via a phone or slate or via a dedicated remote control. It’s also compatible with DJI’s Goggles for a first person VR-esque experience. If giving a drone a hand floats your boat, the DJI Spark is distributed in Malaysia by ECS Astar Sdn Bhd for RM2,299 though there is a ‘Spark Fly More’ combo pack with more goodies in it for RM3,188. For more details swing by www.dji.com/spark.