Take hands-free selfies with DJI’s new palm-sized drone

by Haadi Bakar
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Quadcopter drones are generally bulky, difficult to use and expensive, so it’s not exactly practical for those just who want one to take hands-free selfies.

Well now you can – DJI is finally making a drone that fits on the palm of your hand, and it can be controlled with motion gestures so you can take pictures and videos easily.

Weighing in at just 300 grammes, the Spark is the smallest and lightest quadcopter drone in the Shenzhen-based company’s lineup, and it’s also their most affordable yet, retailing at $499 (around B$700).

At that price point, it could drive even more people to buy drones this year, so they’re no longer just for hobbyists.

The Spark’s built-in camera is a 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor that can shoot 12-megapixel stills and 1080p videos.

The aircraft also has 3D depth-sensing and vision position systems to help detect objects and environments for up to 96 feet, and it uses the space-based satellite navigation system GLONASS sensor.

For the built-in motion gesture sensor, you can simply wave your hands like a jedi 10 feet from the drone to maneuver it in any direction within 10 feet from where you stand, and use hand-framing gestures to take the shot.

Beyond 10 feet,  however, you’ll need to use the included remote control and companion app for the smartphone (you use the phone as the live screen). The app and remote control lets you fly the Spark at a maximum of 300 feet.

The app also lets you select present shooting modes, including QuickShot, Dronie, Circle and Helix.

QuickShot is an interesting mode that puts a professional cameraman inside the mini drone and take cinematic shots by locking onto the subject and follow it a round for about a minute. It then automatically creates a 10-second clip that you can later share online.

The Spark also features intelligent flight controls found on DJI’s premium drones such as ActiveTrack and TapFly.

The Spark can fly at a maximum top speed of 31MPH (49 KPH), and the maximum flying time is only 16 minutes, so you’ll have to charge the drone frequently if you plan on using it heavily.

It comes in five colours: Alpine White, Sky Blue, Meadow Green, Lava Red and Sunrise Yellow. DJI is really targetting the average consumer with the Spark.

While palm-sized drones have been around for some time, the Spark has the advantage of carrying a stronger brand name – DJI has made hit after hit of products such as the Phantom Pro, Mavic Pro, Osmo, and more recently Goggles.

The Spark will be out in June. You can pre-order one on DJI’s official website today.

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