Recently YTD got hands on the DJI Spark Combo package. The combo package comes with a lot of extra goodies at a $200 premium over the simple Spark. First thing we noticed was the absolutely minimal footprint of Spark. If you think Mavic Pro was small, then you need to check out the Spark in person. The weight and dimensions of Spark makes it a perfect go-to drone for beginners. Despite its tiny foot print, it packs a lot of tech and sensors. From tracking movements to avoiding obstacles, it has covered all the latest features. After spending a month with the device and testing it both indoors and outdoors, we noticed a number of impressive and not-so-impressive things about this little drone.


Inside the DJI Spark Combo Package

  1. DJI Spark
  2. Remote Controller with up to 2 km signal range
  3. 2 Batteries (1480 mAh)
  4. Propeller guards
  5. 2 sets of propellers
  6. 3-Slot battery charging dock
  7. Micro-USB charging cable
  8. Battery charger adapter
  9. DJI branded carrying bag for controller and its accessories
  10. DJI branded Styrofoam case for the Spark, Propellers and 2 extra batteries

Flying Experience of Spark

There are a number of ways to fly the Spark. Since the basic Spark does not come up with the remote controller, therefore, it can be launched right from your palm and controlled through hand gestures. Although it sounds awesome but it’s more of a hassle to fly it with hand gestures. Another way of controlling spark is through DJI GO 4 app on an iOS or Android device. However, the flying distance would be limited to 100 meters and height to 50 meters. In order to take full advantage of Spark’s capabilities and to experience a more stable signal quality, Your Tech Dose highly recommends getting the Spark controller. It not only extends its range up to 2 KM but also ensures a steady signal. Not to mention, having a physical controller is much more intuitive than using virtual joysticks on the DJI GO 4 app.


Using DJI Spark indoors

Although Spark is not marketed as an indoor drone, but in our indoor flights, it performed surprisingly well. Most of the times it was getting between 10-13 GPS signals under the roof, and its stability was hardly compromised while flying without GPS (Atti Mode). Thanks to its advance sensors and obstacle avoidance features, DJI Spark exceeded all our expectations in the indoor flights. However, it is highly recommended to use propeller guards and maintain a safe distance from the device while flying indoors.


Battery Life of Spark

There are a number of factors that influence the battery performance of Spark. While flying outdoors, it is important to keep a check on wind speed and heat levels. From our experience, in moderate wind speed of 15-20 Km/h, Spark did a pretty good job of maintaining its position and capturing stable footage. However, it resulted in a battery loss of about 60 to 80 seconds. As far as the heat levels go, Spark provided the best battery time around dusk (25 Degrees Celsius) when it wasn’t as hot as mid-day (35 Degrees Celsius). Lastly, using propeller guards also reduced the flying time by 60-70 seconds.

On average, DJI Spark gave a flying time of 13 minutes on a single charge. 2 new batteries were used to test the above mentioned flying time.


Gimbal & Camera Quality of the DJI Spark

The camera of Spark is more of a mixed bag. DJI makes a lot of consumer drones with 3-axis gimbal for stabilization, however, due to the minimal size of the DJI Spark, they could only fit 2-axis gimbal. It performs pretty well most of the times, however, there have been a few instances, where a significant jerk was felt while panning it from one side to the other.

Furthermore, Spark has the 1/2.3” CMOS image sensor capable of taking 12MP stills, and the video resolution of up to 1080P at 30 FPS. It would have been much appreciated if DJI would have managed to provide 60 FPS video.

By today’s standards, the video quality is just average, however, one thing that Spark really excels at, is its remarkable image quality. The 4K sensor certainly provides a much crispier photo with a nice level of photo saturation.


Verdict on Spark’s performance

Spark offers a lot of amazing features in a small package. Although the video quality is not as good as some other drones, however, the portability and overall user experience makes it the best drone in its price.


 


When iPhone 7 & 7 Plus were launched last year, a massive hype was created by the dual-lens camera system on the iPhone 7 Plus. Many consumers assumed  that it can be used as an alternative to DSLR cameras. The hype of dual-lens created a tremendous amount of curiosity amongst users, especially photographers. In this review, we will do some camera crunching and see if the assumptions are true.


How does the dual lens camera work?

The dual lens mechanism is capable of utilizing both lenses together as well as independently. These lenses are fixed at two focal lengths, in iPhone 7 Plus case, 28mm and 56mm with an aperture of f1.8 and f2.8 respectively. The lenses work coherently to take a “Portrait Photo” in which the background is digitally blurred. This results in a shallow depth of field, which is ideal for capturing portraits and close-ups.

Apart from working together in Portrait mode, these lenses can also work independently at their respective focal lengths. For instance, in Photo mode, 28mm lens is used unless the user decides to zoom in. At 2x zoom, 56mm lens powers up the image. Hence, one clear advantage of having two lenses is that they can attain an Optical Zoom of 2x instead of Digital Zoom (which just digitally crops the original picture). Hence, it translates in to a much refined and better picture quality when zoomed in.


What about the Video Quality?

With better lens and a mighty A10 Fusion chip inside a sleek form factor, this is the area where iPhone 7 stands out the most. It’s ultrafast and responsive when it comes to capturing videos. It has plethora of video qualities to choose from, maxing out at Ultra HD resolution at 30 frames per second (fps). It is also capable of recording slow-motion videos at up to 240 fps. The new iPhone also comes standard with Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), which in theory should reduce the jerkiness while recording handheld videos. However, this is one area that needs a lot of refinement, as the OIS didn’t work as expected.


Is it good enough to replace a professional camera?

Let’s find out.

Starting with some numbers. A new iPhone 7 Plus starts from around $850 and goes up to over $1000 for its 256GB version. So for the sake of this comparison, we’ll be using a combination of a Digital SLR camera and an upgraded Lens, which collectively costs around $950. The lens paired with the Nikon D5200 DSLR is from the popular Sigma Art series, which has a Focal range of 18-35mm at f1.8.

Camera Comparison of iPhone7 Plus and Dslr
Camera Comparison of iPhone7 Plus and Nikon D5200

From the comparison, it can be deduced the pictures taken from the DSLR are much more crisp and well lit. Another important thing to note is that the iPhone struggled a lot while focusing on the subject and it required a lot of effort to engage the “Depth Effect” or blurred background in simple words.


Verdict

iPhone’s camera has definitely improved a lot and it boasts class leading technology. However, replacing a professional camera with an iPhone 7 Plus would be a stretch. Serious photographers know the worth of wide optical lenses and the iPhone definitely isn’t capable enough to replace them as yet.

However, having such an advanced camera system in such a sleek form factor is definitely commendable. Apple has done an outstanding job in blurring the lines between portability and professional quality. Hence, it is definitely a step in the right direction!