DJI Mavic Pro Vs DJI Spark VS DJI Phantom 4, which is the best DJI drone to buy?

While there are a lot of companies building and selling drones of all shapes and sizes one company always manages to come up on top and that is without a doubt DJI. With the latest unveiling of the DJI spark, DJI now has an option for almost every budget out there starting from just below the $500 up to several thousand dollars for the top of the line Inspire 2 drone. So if you are looking into buying a consumer level drone but not sure which drone to choose then you are in the right place. So we will compare the DJI Mavic Pro VS DJI Spark and will also discuss the DJI Phantom drones and even the DJI Inspire 2 to decide which is the best DJI drone to buy…

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P.S. This is a another super long and detailed article, if you just want to know which is the best DJI drone to buy then click here

DJI Spark Drone

dji spark vs dji mavic vs dji phantom

Let’s start with the baby model of the DJI consumer level drones, which happens to be the latest model, the DJI Spark. The Spark is designed more like a “selfie” drone rather than a full-fledged camera drone, because of its very small size and lightweight you can launch it anywhere, take your photos and videos and simply slip it back into your pocket or bag.

But if you take a look at our best foldable drones comparison you can see that there are other alternatives to the DJI spark which even start from $50. So while the Spark is the cheapest quad in the DJI lineup it is nowhere near being the cheapest selfie drone out there.

Best Foldable Drone

Check out my extensive roundup of the best foldable drones.

So for about $500 is the Spark worth it?

In a word, YES… or more like HELL YES!

The DJI Spark flight time of 16 mins, top speed of 31 mph (50 km/h) and an operating range of over a mile (2 km) indicate that this is no ordinary selfie drone. And to sweeten the deal even further it packs a few nonstandard features, like GPS, obstacle avoidance, mechanically stabilized camera, a high resolution down link to your phone so you can even fly FPV and finally it has the latest DJI trick of gesture control which allows you to control the DJI Spark camera with your hand gestures.

But how does the DJI Spark compare to the DJI Mavic?

Size and weight differences, DJI Mavic Pro VS DJI Spark

DJI Mavic Pro VS DJI Spark

When the Mavic Pro first launched it was dubbed as the most compact prosumer drone out there. And it indeed was a thing of a beauty. You could simply fold it and slip it into your bag in a few seconds. Now though when you compare it to the DJI Spark, the Mavic is just HUGE!

The Spark dimensions are 2.1 x 5.6 inches compared the to the Mavic Pro dimensions of 3.5 x 12 inches it is about half the size. The smaller size of course means that the spark weigh less than the Mavic. The difference in weight is even more than double, the Spark weighs about 300 grams and the Mavic weighs about 770 grams. So you Will notice the difference between the two.

The same goes for the batteries as well. The Mavic battery weighs 240g while the Spark’s battery weighs only 95g. The Mavic’s battery by itself weigh almost as much as the Spark drone.

DJI Mavic Pro VS DJI Spark

A small caveat though is that the Spark arms do not fold inside like the Mavic pro arms, so while it may be smaller, the Mavic pro is that much more protected while transporting than the spark, which is why you should invest in a bag for it.

Another thing to note as well is because of the smaller propellers the DJI Spark is a lot quieter than the Mavic making it less annoying to others and easier to sneak up on people if that is your thing.

So the Spark wins this round.

Camera differences, DJI Mavic Pro VS DJI Spark

With a higher price tag, you would assume that the Mavic has a better camera, and you would be correct. But not by much. The smaller quad is capable of shooting in Full HD resolution of 1920×1080 pixels at 30 frames per second for videos and it takes 12 mega pixel images. The Mavic on the other hand shoots 4K videos and produces images at a slightly better 12.35 MP.

DJI Mavic Pro VS DJI Spark

The two drones use the sensor size, a 1/2.3 CMOS. In terms of aperture, the Mavic is the better choice since it has an f/2.2 while the Spark has f/2.6. In non-technical terms, this matters because the wider aperture allows the camera to gather more light in all kinds of situations especially in low light conditions. Finally, the Mavic Pro camera settings can be adjusted prior to flight unlike the Spark camera, which you are restricted to the default settings.

Another important issue to consider is the physical stabilization. The Spark has a 2-axis gimbal but the Mavic Pro has a 3-axis gimbal. What difference does this make? Well if you are shooting videos in low wind conditions then there won’t be much of a difference, but if it gets slightly windy then the videos on the Spark will get a bit shaky.

All of this makes the DJI Mavic the winner of this round.

Battery and Flight time, DJI Mavic Pro VS DJI Spark

DJI-Spark-battery-3

Being smaller in size, DJI had to use a smaller battery for the Spark which means that the flight time is much lower. To put it in numbers, the Spark quoted fly time is 16 minutes while the Mavic can stay up there for a quoted 27 minutes. Of course, in reality these numbers will probably be less because of wind and other factors. The battery on the Spark is 1480 mAh compared to the Mavic 3830 mAh. Considering that you can get a relatively cheap 10000mAh USB battery pack from right here you can charge the Spark’s battery almost 7 times over which is about how long the remote battery lasts on a single charge.

The Spark has one thing going for it though, which is the way you charge it is by placing it on a dock rather than having to remove the battery like the Mavic, or you can simply plug the micro-USB cable directly to the drone and let it charge that way, just like any Android phone!

This round is easily won by the Mavic pro.

 

Drone control differences, DJI Mavic Pro VS DJI Spark

Being a newer model with a newer software, the DJI Spark has a few new tricks up its sleeve, most important of which is gesture control. While with the Mavic you can gesture to it so it takes a photo of you the Spark goes a few steps farther. You can completely control the Spark drone without any controller or even a phone of any kind; simply take it out, turn it on, double press the power button and point it to your face so it knows it is you to follow then it will simply take off and you become Master Yoda. Simply do some gestures at it to move closer or move away and to take a picture.

dji spark drone gesture control

This is pretty cool feature and makes it fun to play with the drone, but in reality it is a bit of a gimmick, because while the technology is indeed very impressive, the drone will not always pick up the correct gesture so if you actually took out your phone and controlled it using that things would go much smoother. Nevertheless, DJI is working hard on improving the gesture control and you can check out the thread about it in DJI forum’s right here.

This gesture control is not available on the Mavic Pro, it may become available in the future with a software update. So for now, the Spark wins this round.

Control distance, DJI Mavic Pro VS DJI Spark

The operating range for the two quadcopters varies with the way you choose to control them. If you choose a mobile device then the distance will be the same, about 109 yards. However when using the dedicated controller the Mavic Pro can go much farther than the Spark reaching distances of over 4 miles compared to about 1.2 miles for the Spark. Of course, you will have to take into account that these numbers are best-case scenario, actual control range will probably be less than that especially in urban areas where there is signal interference around. You can always get a signal booster from here to extend the control range even further.

dji spark range extender

While we are taking about the controls, the Mavic Pro and the Spark both have similar controllers but they are not the same, the main difference is of course Ocusync technology, which is a proprietary communication technology by DJI that allows the Mavic to be controlled over the 4 miles distance as we mentioned above. On the other hand, the Spark controller uses HD-WiFi technology, which obviously is more limited. You should also note that the base model of the Spark does not ship with a controller; you will have to pay extra for it or simply go for the upgraded kit.

DJI-Spark-vs-Mavic-Remote-Top_thumb

Ocusync technology allows the Mavic Pro to communicate wirelessly with the DJI Goggles providing better range and latency as well as allowing the drone to stream 1080p videos instated of 720p, which is always nice to have.

In addition, the controller for the Mavic has a nice built in screen to display all the important inflight information needed which the Spark controller lacks. The Spark controller has only a single custom function button compared to two on the Mavic’s controller and because there isn’t a screen there is no exposure wheel on the back of the Spark’s controller. But still, it gets the job done.

To be able to use your mobile phone to control the drone you will have to pair the drone with the phone after installing DJI GO 4 app. This is a neat piece of software, it allows you to view live feed from your drone in FPV mode and of course it displays all the inflight information needed.

Using the App, you can initiate all the latest cool built-in tricks, which are already preprogrammed. Moreover, it makes controlling the drone a relatively simple task and you get to “slide to take off” just like you unlock your iPhone.

Therefore, the winner of this round is the Mavic Pro by a mile… 3 miles actually.

Flight modes, DJI Mavic Pro VS DJI Spark

Again because the Spark has newer software compared to the Mavic, DJI as managed to add a few extra cool features to the Spark. All the “basic” flight modes like active track, tapfly terrain follow are the same on both model, however the new model has QuickShot modes, which the Mavic does not, yet at least.

Rocket, where the drone flies straight upward with the camera pointing downward.

 

Dronie, where the drone flies backwards at an angle and upwards with the camera locked on the subject.

 

Circle, the drone flies around the subject in circles as it moves around.

 

Helix, is a combination of rocket and circle where the drone flies around the subject in circles while at the same time flies upwards making for a very dramatic scene.

 

This round the Spark wins it.

Sensors, DJI Mavic Pro VS DJI Spark

Both drones offer obstacle avoidance to prevent them from accidental damage while flying away from you, however the technology used in each of them is different. The Spark uses an infrared sensor to simply measure distances ahead of it, but the Mavic Pro uses two RGB cameras to generate a 3d map allowing it detect smaller objects which are farther away from it.

Mavic sensors

To put it in numbers, the Mavic Pro can detect objects which are up to 49 feet away from it and that’s while it is flying at over 20 mph, while the Spark can detect objects which are only 16 feet away from while travelling at up to 6.7 mph.

So this makes this another round for the Mavic Pro

 

Accessories, DJI Mavic Pro VS DJI Spark

The great thing about buying a drone from DJI is that they are so big and you can find lots of cool add-ons and accessories to make your life that much easier or make your drone that much cooler.

And in this regard both drones do not disappoint. For example, you can find car chargers that can charge your drone controller as well as extra batteries at the same time. Click here for the Spark and here for the Mavic Pro.

You can also find some expanded backpacks to carry all the extra batteries and accessories for both of them. Click Here for The Mavic Pro backpack and here for the Spark backpack.

Even cool stickers and decals are already out there for both the Mavic Pro and the Spark. Click here for the Mavic Pro stickers and here for the Spark stickers.

So go ahead and browse all the cool accessories on offer both drones right here.

This round is a draw!

 

Price Difference, DJI Mavic Pro VS DJI Spark

Now we come down to probably the most important factor, price. the Spark is a cheaper version of the Mavic. But how much cheaper? As of the time this article was published, the Mavic costs double the cost of the base model of Spark, but who buys base models anyway, right?

 

So you should probably consider the fly more combo which costs extra but adds more batteries, more propellers, bags and most importantly a controller.

Another thing to note is the price of the different accessories for the Mavic Pro, like the batteries, propellers, etc. will be more than that of the Spark.

Which is better? The DJI Mavic Pro or the DJI Spark?

So after it’s all been said and done, now we have to decide, which is the better drone? The Mavic or the spark…

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We’ll make this very easy for you, you should go ahead and buy both!

Ummm… You probably shouldn’t, because I know at least my wife wouldn’t be happy with that.

 

Pros and Cons, DJI Mavic Pro VS DJI Spark

PROS:
  • Price
  • Weight and Size
  • Newer software
  • More control methods and gestures

CONS:
  • Battery life
  • Range
  • Speed
  • Video and image quality and features

So what you should do is consider why you are buying the drone. If this is your first drone or simply want a gift for a someone who is not really hardcore about flying then you should get the DJI Spark, it is lightweight, easy to fly and even FUN to control with all the gestures and stuff. Also the fact that it is cheaper does not hurt.

On the other hand, if you have the money to spare and want to do some more serious video shoots then the Mavic Pro is the drone to get because it simply is better on almost everything except for the size and the new shooting mores. And if I would take a wild guess I would assume that DJI will update the software for the Mavic in the near future to include the modes and gestures of the Spark.

 

DJI Mavic Pro VS DJI Spark VS DJI Phantom VS DJI Inspire

To make things a bit more interesting, let’s take a look at the other options from DJI.

DJI Mavic Pro VS DJI Spark VS Phantom 3

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The Phantom 3 might be a bit old for this comparison but it is still on sale and there is still room for it. Because so many newer models have been released since its introduction, the DJI Phantom 3 has come down in a price to about $499 or even less which is about the same what the Spark costs now.

It is bigger and heavier making it that much more stable in air and it also can carry a GoPro camera if you wish to upgrade it. Other than that the Spark and the Mavic beat it hands down.

Checkout the DJI Phantom 3

DJI Mavic Pro VS DJI Spark VS Phantom 4 Advanced

DJI-Phantom-4-Advanced-00

The DJI Phantom 4 Advanced features like 4K videos at 60 fps and a long flight time of 30 minutes along with all the advanced features you expect from a modern DJI camera drone, like GPS control, return home, advanced shooting modes make this an awesome drone that can do great things. It’s drawbacks are obvious though, it is big, it is heavy and it is expensive. However, if you are a pro who needs the quality of it offers then by all means go for it!

Checkout the DJI Phantom 4 Advanced

DJI Mavic Pro VS DJI Spark VS Phantom 4 PRO

 

The DJI Phantom 4 PRO is one of the greatest drones DJI ever made. Even though on paper it is very similar in specs to the Phantom 4 Advanced, it packs in a few extra features to make it worth the extra $150. Most important of which is the built in touch screen within the controller that saves you from fiddling around with a separate tablet. Also its obstacle avoidance is upgraded making it work both towards the front and the back and below.

Checkout the DJI Phantom 4 PRO

DJI Mavic Pro VS DJI Phantom 4 VS DJI Inspire 2

 

Now we in the big leagues. The DJI Inspire 2 is not in the consumer level as the above drones discussed here. It is much bigger, much heavier and much more expensive than even the DJI Phantom 4 Pro, but with a good reason. The DJI Inspire 2 can shoot videos at 5.2k resolution in HDR. While you fly the Inspire 2 you can employ another cameraman to control the dedicated camera controls of the drone to allow you to shoot some pretty impressive videos.

The DJI Inspire 2 can even link to a satellite truck allowing you to broadcast 1080i videos live. All of these are beyond the requirements of a typical consumer but even though the Inspire 2 is expensive, it is not as expensive as other professional level drones.

Checkout the DJI Inspire 2

Now it is back to you… If you have any comments or questions please do not hesitate to comment below. I would love to hear from you.

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