During a family vacation last year, I routinely kicked myself for not bring a selfie drone. There were so many incredible photo ops we missed. But I didn’t want to deal with a remote or even an app. I just wanted a flying camera that could quickly capture my family with dazzling sights in the background.
I should have bought, and brought, the DJI Spark. It’s fairly compact (though its arms don’t fold, which is a bummer), and it can perform all kinds of selfie magic without app or remote. You just launch it from your hand, perform a few strategic gestures and presto! Beautiful selfies from above.
It originally sold for $500, but for a limited time, and while a rather limited supply lasts, TomTop has the DJI Spark for $234.99, shipped free from a US warehouse (as opposed to China). That’s the lowest price I’ve seen. Last time around, it was $250 refurbished. Update: This flash sale has ended, alas.
The Spark is amazingly sophisticated, with features that rival larger, pricier models. In addition to the aforementioned palm-based takeoff and landing and gesture-based flight and photo capture, it offers obstacle avoidance and a built-in HD camera mounted on a two-axis gimbal.
You can do a lot more when you add the app into the mix, and more still with the sold-separately Spark controller. The latter runs $119, which would bring your total to $354 — still cheaper than buying the Spark new with controller included ($389).
I’ll turn you over to CNET’s DJI Spark review for a deeper dive. I agree that DJI’s app is as confusing to use as ever, and that you may want to spring for an extra battery. They cost around $50 apiece, annoyingly.
I also agree that the Spark offers “all of the camera drone features most people will ever need in an impossibly small package.” I think my sole complaint with this model is that its arms don’t fold up, making transport a little more challenging and a carrying case a little more essential.
You’ll get a charge out of this
When you travel with your Qi-compatible phone, I bet you miss having wireless-charging capabilities by your bedside. Good news: There are portable power banks with built-in Qi charging pads.
Like this one: For a limited time, and while supplies last, the Jarv 10,000-mAh portable 2-in-1 Qi charger is $27.99 with promo code CNETQIPOWER. Regular price: $40.
In addition to the Qi-certified charging pad, this power bank has two standard USB ports for plugging in other gear. It also has an LCD status display that shows how much juice is left.
There are no user reviews, but Jarv backs it with a one-year warranty. To me this looks like just about the ideal mobile charger: right size, right capabilities, right price.
Originally published on Aug. 17, 2018.
Update, March 21: Republishing the DJI Spark deal with new seller and price. The Jarv deal is all new!
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