DJI Spark vs Mavic Mini: What Should You Choose?

Can't decide between DJI Spark and DJI Mavic Mini? We compared them for you.
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Last updated: January 17, 2024
DJI Spark
vs
DJI Mavic Mini
Can't decide between DJI Spark and DJI Mavic Mini? We compared them for you.
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In our DJI Spark vs Mavic Mini comparison guide, we’ll help you choose between the two well-liked, budget-friendly camera drones from industry leader DJI. The DJI Spark and Mavic Mini drones are two of DJI’s products for the mainstream market. The ideal one for you will rely primarily on the activities you have in mind rather than the model most recently introduced to the marketplace.

The Spark symbolizes an earlier, more hopeful period in the development of the drone business, portraying drones as fun-loving, ethereal cameras that can hover above your activities and capture the highlights for later storage. Meanwhile, the Mavic Mini is a contemporary drone that is lightweight and affordable. It boasts excellent battery life and a controller similar to a bigger drone, but the functions are few, and it cannot be easy to control in the wind.

Quick Overview Table

DJI introduced Spark in 2017, a little drone with many entertaining flight options. If you want to find more information, you should also check out our DJI Spark Review. When the DJI Mavic Micro was introduced a few years later, the mini drone industry was revolutionized. 2.7K Quad HD recordings, a lightweight design, and the latest DJI Fly app make the DJI Mavic Mini an excellent drone for regular content producers.

It’s been a while since the Spark and Mavic Mini were introduced, and not just because of advancements in technology. Drone laws have also been implemented in many parts of the world, limiting drones to under 250 grams before the owner can register the drone with their community aviation authority (FAA, CAA, etc.). As a result, the Mavic Mini’s 249g weight was probably the most important feature on its spec card.

Considering how important weight is, the Mavic Mini belongs to an entirely different market. It just has no competition at all if you’re searching for a drone that weighs less than 250 grams to fly it in the US without registering it. The Spark is somewhat thicker because it isn’t foldable and hence not as portable. So if you don’t mind registering, the weight difference isn’t that important.

That will be sufficient justification for a small percentage of people, especially those skeptical of governmental institutions (let’s hope they don’t place their tin foil helmets on the remote control). Otherwise, please continue reading to find out which gives what you need.

DJI Spark DJI Mavic Mini
Dimensions unfolded 9.8 x 3 x 8.2 in. 9.6 x 11.3 x 2.1 in
Weight 10.6 oz 8.78 oz.
Flight time 16 mins 30 mins
Max. speed 31 mph 29 mph
Max. wind resistance 13‑18 mph 18.8 mph
USA range limit 1.24 miles 2.48 miles
Photo resolution 3968 ×2976 pixels 4000 x 3000 pixels
Video resolution 2.7K
VIEW ON AMAZON VIEW ON AMAZON

 

The Mavic Mini is appropriately titled since it folds up and resembles a smaller model of the Mavic Air 2, which also resembles a smaller Mavic 2. That’s okay since they’re all beautiful airplanes that fold to a proper size once you learn the procedure. The Mini may fit easily in a jacket pocket. However, protecting the propellers is highly advised. In addition, you’ll need to take care of the remote control. The Spark’s stiff frame may make it chunkier while having a smaller diagonal spread. The arms do not wrap out of the way as the propellors do, which is why they are so short.

Although the Mavic Mini’s wings do somewhat flex when opened, the Spark cannot be faulted for this. However, that flex seems not to be an issue; in fact, it’s probably a positive feature should you be involved in an accident. That’s a little bit more possible with the Mini as well because it doesn’t have any other collision sensing technology than downward touchdown sensors. This allows the Spark to “sight” up to 5 meters in the distance. That allows it to avoid hitting an item while it is flying toward it and also enables subject tracking. Cleverly, the Mavic Mini’s shell contains two vents that appear to be a pair of binoculars but aren’t.

Flight Performance

DJI Mavic Mini has strong flying performance, offering up to 30 minutes of flying time and a 4-kilometer HD transmission range.

  • A CE-compliant model is 2.5 km, whereas an FCC-compliant model (MT1SS5) is 4 km (SRRC). The airplane was flying at a steady velocity of 14 kph when the measurements were obtained, and the areas were clear and interference-free.

In contrast, the DJI Spark has a maximum flight length of 16 minutes and HD Wi-Fi video transmission of up to 2 kilometers.

  • The estimated flying duration is based on a steady rate of 20 kph in windless circumstances. The length of your flight may change based on your surroundings.

Flight Safety

The DJI Spark and Mavic Mini feature a solid flight experience when connected to a GPS connection, and downward proximity sensors guarantee that both aircraft can hover perfectly. A 3D sensing technology is also included in the DJI Spark, allowing it to identify objects 5 meters apart.

Users of the DJI Mavic Mini may affix a 360° Propeller Guard to the aircraft to safeguard it from harm and themselves and others while flying.

Altitude and Control Range

The Mavic Mini’s maximum altitude is 3000 meters, 1000 m lower than the Spark’s maximum altitude. It’s great for flying in several hilly areas, although you could have trouble in South America.

Why? Throughout the continent, there is a significant amount of high-altitude landscape. Regardless of whether you are in the mountains, certain communities are situated at a high elevation, and you can notice that the drone is unresponsive. However, if you currently have a Spark and are satisfied with it, the Mavic Mini would work well for you.

The transmission distance isn’t a precise indicator of how far the aircraft can fly; rather, it shows how strong the radio signal may be in a flat desert where there isn’t any wind or other radio interference. The whole range of your flight is often 500 meters or the distance you can still see your drone, whichever is shorter. Both drones can operate inside legal airspace, but in actuality, the Mavic Mini is far more effective in this situation. Since both work on a Wi-Fi operating frequency band version, which is constrained compared to high-end drone radio frequencies and susceptible to interference, neither must be operated too far from the pilot.

The Mavic Mini’s remote control must be hooked into your smartphone to be used as a screen; a different remote is only optional. Since you must rely on your phone’s Wi-Fi to connect to the Spark, your range is effectively limited to 100 meters or fewer.

Gimbal Pitch Tracking, a function that is only available while you are NOT utilizing the optional control, is a capability that is exclusive to Spark. With this, the gimbal actively adjusts the camera’s inclination to fit the angle at which you hold your phone.

As earlier hinted, due to local laws, the maximum estimated range of these aircraft will vary depending on where you reside; for North America, use the FCC figure and for Europe, use the CE figure.

Gimbal

DJI Spark vs Mavic Mini: What Should You Choose?

The technology distinguishing camera drones from toys is not the camera’s presence but how well the camera is cared for. A motorized gimbal, a tool swift enough to adjust for all that nasty wobbling, is used to shield the camera from vibrations and sudden tilting and dipping of the fuselage. It also enables you to adjust your image from the skyline down to achieve a more aerial position at will.

Both the Mavic Mini and the Spark have one; however, the Mini’s 3-axis gimbal also accounts for yaw, while the Spark’s employs the bare minimum 2-axis approach and depends on software and the operator to prevent sharp left or right turns.

Although the third axis is a plus for the mini and can help the video appear smoother, the first two axes are the most important (especially when the drone makes a complicated turn).

Additionally, the Mavic Mini has a little wider range of motion than the Spark, reclining right down to a plane surface at 90 degrees as opposed to 85. Also, the Mavic Mini may tilt up to 20 degrees if you want. However, it is set to zero by configuration.

Stills

The 12-megapixel drones are virtually identical in quality, and they both include 1 / 2.3-inch image sensors, similar to those seen in mid-range smartphones.

However, neither aircraft take  RAW photographs Trusted Source What is RAW in Photography, and why should you shoot in RAW? - Finding the Universe Ever wondered what RAW is in photography? This post will answer that question, as well comparing RAW vs JPEG, advantages and disadvantages of RAW, and more! www.findingtheuniverse.com , so photographers are essentially in the same situation. In reality, the Mavic Mini looks to gain from a few more years of improving DJI’s processing algorithms and seems less prone to extreme saturation. To deal with excessively strong sun, you could (and may want to) apply ND filters. You should also pay attention to the preview you see while composing since any blown highlights would probably stay blown.

The Spark uses depth detection to enhance your images by providing merged panoramas in vertical and horizontal orientations and a still-pretty-cool ShallowFocus alternative (at a social media-like 1440×1080 resolution). Although just three shots with 0.7EV bias are available, bracketing and bursts are also available.

Speed and Obstacle Avoidance

DJI Spark vs Mavic Mini: What Should You Choose?

Both drones include retractable propeller shields for extra protection and are intended to be used close to family and friends, giving them an almost pleasant presence. However, neither drone is well adapted for windy situations; it isn’t advised to fly above a Gentle Breeze on the  Beaufort scale Trusted Source Beaufort Wind Scale One of the first scales to estimate wind speeds and the effects was created by Britain’s Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort (1774-1857).  He developed the scale in 1805 to help sailors estimate the winds via visual observations. The scale starts with 0 and goes to a force of 12. The Beaufort scale is still used today to estimate wind strengths. www.weather.gov .

Due to their shared stable origin, their flight characteristics are largely comparable. DJI drones are often controlled using two sticks in “Mode 2” (if you run the Spark alone without the radio controller, you may use virtual sticks on your smartphone’s screen). This is simple to master, especially because both feature height sensors and GPS/GLONASS location sensors, ensuring that the aircraft will merely hover in place if you leave the controls.

The Spark slows down to around 13 mph when its obstacle detectors are active, although photography and videography don’t frequently call for fast flying. The Mini’s “C Mode,” where the drone purposely slows down to an extremely low pace to record magnificent cinematic images, is where you’ll find most of its greatest videos.

Portability

Drone portability is influenced by the weight and unique design elements combined. At 300 g, the DJI Spark has a lightweight construction and is a decent weight for a small drone. DJI Mavic Mini has collapsible arms and weighs just under 250 grams, making it easy to carry in a bag. The DJI Mavic Mini leads the pack in terms of portability.

If you love this material, you should check out our compilation of the best DJI Mavic Mini accessories.

Noisiness

The DJI Mavic Mini’s quietness may be a concern for you, with the possibility that its small size and noisy propellers would cause it to buzz while flying.

What is the Mavic Mini’s decibel rating?

The average noise level of the Mavic Mini is 64 decibels, while that of the Spark is 69 decibels.

The DJI Spark is noisier than the Mavic, in our experience, because the sound’s pitch seems to vary a little with drone size.

Image and Video Quality

DJI Spark vs Mavic Mini: What Should You Choose?

Professionals will want 4K or 8K footage, but given how these aircraft are normally used, more resolution may cause more issues than it fixes. If you frequently publish your videos on YouTube, Instagram, or another social media platform, the Mavic Mini’s “2.7K” quality is an excellent option. You can easily include a 2.7K picture without anybody seeing it into a 4K clip. With a lens this tiny, it is clear that noise will be visible in low light, but the video will be sharp and of extremely reasonable quality.

The Spark falls short, having a maximum resolution of “just” 1080P (Full HD), even though this quality is more than sufficient for most uses. Unfortunately, the bit rate is decreased, but since fewer pixels, the footage is very high quality. More disappointingly, there isn’t a higher frame rate feature, given the emphasis on entertaining selfies and action. On the Mavic Mini, 1080P footage can be captured at up to 60 frames per second, which is excellent for slow-motion editing.

In essence, both drones will produce stunning videos. Still, the Mavic Mini’s video can blend into more sophisticated editing (with speed adjustments and the like), while the DJI Spark focuses more on capturing the moment.

A 12MP 1/2.3-inch camera on the drones gives them excellent photographic capabilities for producing social media content. Beginners will find the 1080p video and 12MP stills on the DJI Spark excellent. Selfies can be taken using these.

Autonomous Mode

Every camera drone makes a different trade-off between processing capabilities, sensors, and pricing to deliver pre-programmed effects and target tracking functions. This is because no self-respecting drone will anticipate acrobatic precision from its pilot. The Spark is superior in terms of hardware, as it has specialized object detection sensors that can take control at close range.

Both drones provide a range of “Quickshots” (15-second features like orbiting you in a circle or zooming in on you).

Additionally, Spark offers a feature known as “Jedi Mode” in the community (or, put more simply, gesture control). Basic hand motions can control the drone’s location or snap pictures. It’s simple to learn. However, some moves require you to be somewhat robotic.

The Spark still has ActiveTrack, which keeps track of a target that the drone’s intelligence can recognize with its main camera. Although it necessitates a little more processing power than the lightweight Mini supposedly lacks, it is still a fantastic feature. The Mini does have Smooth Motion, a slow movement option for cinematic shoots that, while frequently sufficient for capturing the shot, is not necessarily automatic.

Battery Life

DJI Spark vs Mavic Mini: What Should You Choose?

If you are acquainted with DJI’s drone batteries, you will know that most of them use so-called “Intelligent Flight batteries,” which have an integrated one-press charging meter (4 LEDs). The batteries also keep track of the time they have been sitting inactive and begin to deplete to a stable level within a few days. That’s the more obvious aspect of intelligence.

The DJI Spark, built on a 3S (3 cells) LiPo that generates 1,480 mAh out of its 95g weight, does all this in the same way as the more sophisticated versions. When its battery is installed, the check button is easily accessible from the drone’s back, but the design feels excessively bulky – compared to DJI Mavic Mini’s.

The Mini adopts a different strategy, employing a similar Li-ion battery that has been enhanced to the point where it can provide 2,400mAh inside a 2S configuration. This battery pack’s 100g weight is almost entirely used to store charge, and it lacks an internal battery meter.

Overall, though, three things outweigh the difficulty of not having self-testing batteries:

  • The batteries on the Mini have almost twice as much flight time,
  • The airframe of the Mavic Mini has a tester circuitry integrated into it so users can quickly check the battery,
  • Spare batteries are less expensive because of the less technically challenging design.

The Mavic Mini’s ability to function as a charger when attached to a USB-C power source is highly useful because it reduces the travel equipment you need to bring.

Flight Time

When considering a drone purchase, flight time is crucial, and DJI has been able to marginally extend the Mavic Mini’s flying time over the Spark.

The Mavic Mini can fly for up to 30 minutes and hover for up to 29 minutes. The Spark, on the contrary, has a maximum flight time of only 16 minutes and a maximum hover time of 15 minutes. Given that the Spark and Mini Mavic are precisely the same in price, this is a considerable improvement.

Intelligent Functions

Even though DJI Spark is a beginner-level camera drone, it is loaded with clever technologies like TapFly, ActiveTrack, Gesture mode, and QuickShots. With only one tap, QuickShots allow you to create artistic films, TapFly allows you to fly DJI Spark by touching your phone’s screen, and ActiveTrack skillfully follows the object of your desire.

Additionally, the DJI Mavic Mini has QuickShots like Dronie, Rocket, and others that let you take pictures that appear to have been taken in a Hollywood set. The latest DJI Fly app provides a streamlined flying experience with the Everyday FlyCam. Mavic Mini is the ideal drone for casual drone users thanks to its incredibly uncomplicated user interface, imaginative pre-made layouts, and editing software.

Due to DJI’s move to replace the Mavic Mini’s program with a more basic phone app and remove functionality like the integrated battery indicator and return range alert chart, the Mavic Mini is rather constrained. It’s a small loss, but it’s still unfortunate.

In essence, the Mini has perks over the Spark because it is newer and weighs less than the magic 250g. However, if the two had been released simultaneously, the Mini would have been the lower model. This is a somewhat subjective decision, and neither option is incorrect. For many producers, the added functionality of the Spark might or might not be outweighed by the video resolution.

If you’re looking for a drone with more smart features, you should check our list of the best smartphone-controlled drones.

Final thoughts

In comparing DJI Spark vs Mavic Mini, both are excellent drones, but they cater to somewhat different markets. There is no disputing the Mavic Mini if you want higher-quality output and, like the majority, believe a controller should be included in the box. The greater video resolution and longer battery life will not be regrettable for professional vloggers who have buddies there to record their footage.

However, the Spark does provide a tempting selection of intelligent features that would make it a better travel companion on, say, a family vacation. Most of us may revisit pleasant experiences with 1080P video’s sufficient level of detail, Jedi mode’s enjoyment, the automatic features’ sense of high value, and the frame’s sufficient robustness.

We hope the DJI Spark vs Mavic Mini comparison will help you to choose your perfect drone.

References

1.
What is RAW in Photography, and why should you shoot in RAW? - Finding the Universe
Ever wondered what RAW is in photography? This post will answer that question, as well comparing RAW vs JPEG, advantages and disadvantages of RAW, and more!
2.
Beaufort Wind Scale
One of the first scales to estimate wind speeds and the effects was created by Britain’s Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort (1774-1857).  He developed the scale in 1805 to help sailors estimate the winds via visual observations. The scale starts with 0 and goes to a force of 12. The Beaufort scale is still used today to estimate wind strengths.
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