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Spark Review from X5R user

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I thought I would jot down some bullet point thoughts about the Spark from a relatively experienced Inspire X5R owner, as with no disrespect, the drone is considered entry level and sometimes the advice you get is from people at the start of this hobby. I also accept there is a higher level than the inspire :)

I'll cut to the chase, the spark is a pretty amazing piece of kit but there are some issues which vary in severity depending on where you buy the unit.

Size & Portability: You all know how small it is, but its only when everything you need to get going is in a small bag that you can fit into a glove compartment do you realize that the appeal of this thing for that reason alone is huge.

Society is getting really dumb about drones, and this thing is like a toy, but it has the performance of something you would want to use. It takes you back to basics when you flew purely for fun and amazement, and because the investment to do this is now so easy/"affordable"/portable you will do just that.

Stability & Speed: I thought this thing would be a lot more toyish than it is, but its not, I put it in strong wind next to the X5R, and it looked more stable than its big brother! You can really fly this thing with confidence in less than perfect conditions.
Its also very nippy if you put it into sport mode. Yes, its notably faster and more agile than the Inspire 1. I suspect the Inspire 2 will give it a better run for its money, it will probably do a better job of staying close to the inspire 2 than the inspire 1 does to this!

Photo Quality: It does not do raw, but the jpegs are of very acceptable quality.

Video Quality: 1080p @24mbps, sounds crappy on paper but again, it holds up pretty well.
Night Time performance as you might expect with a small sensor and low bitrate is notably lacking. But remember, this is a fun drone so you find yourself cutting it more slack.

You will need an ND filter if you are semi serious about video, if you use auto mode in daylight, the unit selects high shutter speeds to compensate (& high iso at night), if you don't know why having a shutter speed of 500 at 30 FPS is not great, then don't worry about the filter, if you do, then there are filters about.

Gimbal Stability: There appears to be a fair amount of twitching issues with the gimbal, even when the wind is not that high. I hope they will resolve this with firmware updates because its quite common to have a twitch which takes the immersion away from your video. Put it up in the air and letting it hover with simple, pan movements returns pleasing results.


Wifi or OTG: I skipped the wifi and went strait to the OTG cable. I'm a big fan of wires when it comes to internet and mice, and I heard you get better range.

How much range?

I bought the unit in the UK/EUROPE, and I hear the power output of unit has been heavily capped here.
Despite this, I was able to get a reliable 450-500 meters with clear line of sight, and as far as 800-850 meters under near perfect conditions with a little help from a cheap and nasty parabolic thing off ebay.

I am seriously considering selling this unit and trying to import one from the USA, I really feel with a more reliable connection, not only would I have better long range potential, I would have a more solid connection for the shorter distances as from time to time, there was a bit of breakup at distances you would not expect.

Hand Gestures: I bought the fly more combo pack as I had no intention of using this with hand gestures, the remote does its job and feels ok, there isn't much else of worth to say, apart from the battery time on it seems a little low, but not problematic, especially when everything is so easy to charge, even portable power banks that charge your phone can be used to charge the drone and controller batteries which ups the incentive to take this everywhere.

Overall I am very happy with the drone, the weak link (EU) is the range and connection issues (but not deal breakers) which are probably not even a problem in the USA, and if you get keep your shots simple, you can return with some cinematic stuff.

Overall, I will say right now this is a drone you have to have, if you have the mavic that argument gets a lot harder to make, but if you saw me flying this thing around the house with complete confidence, I'm not sure even the Mavic could do that due to its extra size.

There is obvious scope for improvement, but this is such a great drone for so many reasons, if you were on the fence like I was, just buy it. You get the feeling like a lot of things with DJI they could sell it cheaper, but in true DJI style, they have you by the nuts (sorry-this is not transgender or female friendly) because they know there isn't really anything else like it.

If anyone has any questions, I will be happy to answer them.
 
Last edited:
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That is a phenomenal review from a professional user, much appreciated for sharing @x5yo. ;) Since the release of the Spark we've always been amazed when people pick one up and it in their hands and there's always a sense of "wow, this feels solid, maybe it's not a toy?" I personally love getting out with the Spark just for fun and flying it bat sh** crazy as it's definitely nippy as you mention. Nippy is a great way to put it. Much agreed on photo quality, it does a pretty decent job for the size of that sensor. This was a nice shot we took with the very first Spark unit we received in. Completely dead night and this HDR turned out pretty decent:

Spark-Sunset2-Advexure.jpg

Our one complaint is the gimbal twitching as you mention. The aircraft gets tossed around and the gimbal does a decent job but the twitches can most definitely be seen in video. OTG hands down on the connection, understandable that DJI wanted to try and introduce a "selfie drone" you can fly without a physical RC but for any user that is flying Spark outside of this use, OTG is the way to go for a reliable experience.

Love your last line (haha!), yes they have us all by the nuggies! :p

Again, great write-up and review. Glad you are enjoying your Spark, and safe flying!

If anyone has any particular questions regarding the SPARK we'd be more than happy to help. We do carry the full Spark line (all colors and all accessories).

Cheers!
-The Advexure Team
 
Sounds like a fun quad to play with :) As with cameras, if you accept and understand the limitations of the platform, then you can get great results :cool:

Not sure you'd win anything by importing from the USA as (AFAIK), the transmission powers are set by the region you're flying in (via GPS location), so if you flew a EU sourced unit in the USA, then you'd have USA frequencies and power output and vice-versa. i.e. DJI make a single set of hardware and the power and frequencies employed are auto adjusted at point of use according to your GPS location.
 
Sounds like a fun quad to play with :) As with cameras, if you accept and understand the limitations of the platform, then you can get great results :cool:

Not sure you'd win anything by importing from the USA as (AFAIK), the transmission powers are set by the region you're flying in (via GPS location), so if you flew a EU sourced unit in the USA, then you'd have USA frequencies and power output and vice-versa. i.e. DJI make a single set of hardware and the power and frequencies employed are auto adjusted at point of use according to your GPS location.

Thanks for that I was not aware. I will defo be looking into ways to get more range though.
If there is anyone in the UK who will do this (antenna mods) let us know, I don't have the patience to pull these things apart anymore.
 
I thought I would jot down some bullet point thoughts about the Spark from a relatively experienced Inspire X5R owner, as with no disrespect, the drone is considered entry level and sometimes the advice you get is from people at the start of this hobby. I also accept there is a higher level than the inspire :)

I'll cut to the chase, the spark is a pretty amazing piece of kit but there are some issues which vary in severity depending on where you buy the unit.

Size & Portability: You all know how small it is, but its only when everything you need to get going is in a small bag that you can fit into a glove compartment do you realize that the appeal of this thing for that reason alone is huge.

Society is getting really dumb about drones, and this thing is like a toy, but it has the performance of something you would want to use. It takes you back to basics when you flew purely for fun and amazement, and because the investment to do this is now so easy/"affordable"/portable you will do just that.

Stability & Speed: I thought this thing would be a lot more toyish than it is, but its not, I put it in strong wind next to the X5R, and it looked more stable than its big brother! You can really fly this thing with confidence in less than perfect conditions.
Its also very nippy if you put it into sport mode. Yes, its notably faster and more agile than the Inspire 1. I suspect the Inspire 2 will give it a better run for its money, it will probably do a better job of staying close to the inspire 2 than the inspire 1 does to this!

Photo Quality: It does not do raw, but the jpegs are of very acceptable quality.

Video Quality: 1080p @24mbps, sounds crappy on paper but again, it holds up pretty well.
Night Time performance as you might expect with a small sensor and low bitrate is notably lacking. But remember, this is a fun drone so you find yourself cutting it more slack.

You will need an ND filter if you are semi serious about video, if you use auto mode in daylight, the unit selects high shutter speeds to compensate (& high iso at night), if you don't know why having a shutter speed of 500 at 30 FPS is not great, then don't worry about the filter, if you do, then there are filters about.

Gimbal Stability: There appears to be a fair amount of twitching issues with the gimbal, even when the wind is not that high. I hope they will resolve this with firmware updates because its quite common to have a twitch which takes the immersion away from your video. Put it up in the air and letting it hover with simple, pan movements returns pleasing results.


Wifi or OTG: I skipped the wifi and went strait to the OTG cable. I'm a big fan of wires when it comes to internet and mice, and I heard you get better range.

How much range?

I bought the unit in the UK/EUROPE, and I hear the power output of unit has been heavily capped here.
Despite this, I was able to get a reliable 450-500 meters with clear line of sight, and as far as 800-850 meters under near perfect conditions with a little help from a cheap and nasty parabolic thing off ebay.

I am seriously considering selling this unit and trying to import one from the USA, I really feel with a more reliable connection, not only would I have better long range potential, I would have a more solid connection for the shorter distances as from time to time, there was a bit of breakup at distances you would not expect.

Hand Gestures: I bought the fly more combo pack as I had no intention of using this with hand gestures, the remote does its job and feels ok, there isn't much else of worth to say, apart from the battery time on it seems a little low, but not problematic, especially when everything is so easy to charge, even portable power banks that charge your phone can be used to charge the drone and controller batteries which ups the incentive to take this everywhere.

Overall I am very happy with the drone, the weak link (EU) is the range and connection issues (but not deal breakers) which are probably not even a problem in the USA, and if you get keep your shots simple, you can return with some cinematic stuff.

Overall, I will say right now this is a drone you have to have, if you have the mavic that argument gets a lot harder to make, but if you saw me flying this thing around the house with complete confidence, I'm not sure even the Mavic could do that due to its extra size.

There is obvious scope for improvement, but this is such a great drone for so many reasons, if you were on the fence like I was, just buy it. You get the feeling like a lot of things with DJI they could sell it cheaper, but in true DJI style, they have you by the nuts (sorry-this is not transgender or female friendly) because they know there isn't really anything else like it.

If anyone has any questions, I will be happy to answer them.
There is no such thing as a US or UK/European version.
They are identical aircraft and remote controls.
As @NickU mentions, the EIRP and frequency allocation is dependent on geographic location which is set by GPS (as well as applicable phone MCC data). This includes access to differing wi-fi channels depending on where in the world you are using the platform.
If you took your UK purchased Spark on holiday with you to the States you would have FCC output powers until you returned home where once again they would throttle back to CE limits.
 
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As a Spark user I must confess that I'm completely satisfied with my purchase. I bought mine from www.aeromotus.com almost immediately after it hit the market. So, I use it for four months and I didn't find any shortcomings. Except for the flight time, but it would be ridiculous to consider that such a small drone can fly more than 16 minutes. Extra batteries solve the issue))))
 

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