I’m new to drones and picked up a DJI Spark Fly More Combo during Prime Day, where it was $50 off. The price before tax was $500. The combo includes the remote control, an extra battery, and more helpful accessories.
The Spark hardware is a marvel of engineering. It’s not that big, but it packs a lot of technology inside. I chose the Spark since I wanted something small & novice friendly. The operating noise is very loud for my taste, but it’s to be expected for current drones.
The setup experience to start using the drone was very confusing. After charging my batteries & the remote control, it took me a long time to understand how to pair & fly the Spark.
The key revelation is that the Spark drone and the remote control each have their own WiFi network. Depending on which way you want to fly (using phone or remote), you have to connect to the right WiFi network. The problem is that the WiFi network(s) don’t always show up.
I couldn’t find any Spark WiFi networks, so I had to hold the power button on my drone for 10 seconds to reset the drone’s WiFi. Then I could connect to the drone with my phone.
Despite being able to connect to my phone, I wanted to use my remote (instead of the phone’s virtual joysticks). This link about rebooting the remote helped fix my issue. With the remote WiFi to phone being so unreliable, I’ve gone and ordered a 3rd party Lightning to USB Cable.
The drone to phone or remote pairing process is very painful. The process involves pressing & holding various buttons on the drone or remote and waiting several seconds for different beeps & lights. It’s about as user unfriendly as you could get. There is potential for a firmware update or DJI GO 4 mobile app update that would help resolve some of these pain points, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.
Once you are able to pair the drone to the remote control (and pair your phone to the remote control), the flying part is fun. There’s a learning curve, but the remote control’s hardware joysticks make flying intuitive.
One other note, I’m currently residing in Los Angeles. LA is not drone friendly as there are many airports and restrictions. It’s very likely you can’t fly where you want to in LA. Definitely check out where you can fly drones in your area before purchasing a drone.