When the Spark came out, many people were excited about it, but there were a lot of people (me included) that didn’t like the quality of the video. There was an even larger amount of people who didn’t like the fact that the arms weren’t foldable.
Now the Mavic Air is out, and it aims to solve all of the main issues that people had with the Spark while still being cheaper than a Mavic Pro. If you were on the fence between buying the Spark and the Mavic Pro, you can now buy the Mavic Air. If you’re on the fence between the DJI Spark or DJI Mavic Air? Which is Best for Beginners? well, this article is for you.
The Spark might come across as more of a toy drone, but it does way more than you might think. For example, it can be completely controlled with hand gestures so you don’t need a controller to fly it. Launch it from your palm and then use hand gestures to get it into the position you want for a quick aerial selfie and then land it back in your hand when you’re done. It even has obstacle recognition from the front so you don’t accidentally crash it into yourself while you’re getting those selfies.
The Air is larger than the Spark, but it still folds up small enough to fit in a jacket pocket. Actually, because of the folding design, it’s even easier to travel with than the Spark. That goes for the included remote, too, which folds up small and has removable sticks that store in the controller.
Like the Spark, you can control the Air with hand gestures, an iOS or Android device or a controller. But everything from the camera and gimbal to its flight range and battery life is improved. It’s better at avoiding obstacles, too, with sensors in the front, back and on the bottom that it uses to not only sense obstacles in its path but also fly up and over them.
There are a number of differences in design between the Spark and Mavic Air, but the most important is undoubtedly the foldable arms. Like the bigger Mavic Pro, you can collapse all four of the arms on the Air, while the small Spark has completely rigid arms.
Due to being foldable, the Mavic Air is far easier to carry around in the side pocket of a rucksack – or stowed away in an inner bag compartment – than the Spark. It’s much narrower and thinner than the Spark when folded, but is bigger when unfolded. That said, at 430 grams, it’s heavier than the 300 gram Spark.
Colour choices are less varied with the Mavic Air, however, with only Alpine White, Onyx Black and Flame Red available at launch. Spark’s range is more colorful, with Sky Blue, Lava Red, Meadow Green and Sunrise Yellow available alongside the Alpine White.
It’s amazing how much flight time the Mavic Air gets even with the added weight and extra sensors. With the Mavic, you can expect 18 minutes of hovering around slowly. The Spark will do about 13 minutes which just isn’t enough in my opinion.
Those five extra minutes might not seem like a lot of time, but when you’re looking around for different shots, you usually don’t start getting any great ideas until you’re a few minutes into the flight.
A great drone is nothing without a great camera. Spark is a great drone, but the video quality is subpar in my opinion. It’s ok for the average consumer, but if you’re into filmmaking, you will find all of its limitations pretty quickly. In this section, we’ll see how much better the Mavic Air camera is.