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DJI Mini 2 SE vs. Spark (Here’s My Choice)

While DJI has released several newer models, many of their older ones are still worthwhile, too, and could make good beginner drones, especially if you are on a budget.

Image Credit: DJI

Many people consider two drone models for their first drone or as a gift for loved ones looking to get into drones: the DJI Spark, an older drone model, and the DJI Mini 2 SE, a recent drone with more basic technology.

So, the DJI Mini 2 SE vs. the DJI Spark, which one would I choose? Read on to find out why I prefer the DJI Mini 2 SE.

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DJI Mini 2 SE Brief Overview

Image: Dan Bayne

This is a simpler and cheaper version of the DJI Mini 2, offering a more accessible entry point to drones.

It reuses some of the technologies found in the DJI Mini and Mini 2, offering a simple yet functional drone that ticks most of the boxes of a beginner drone.

Below are its main features:

  • 2.7K resolution for creating decent footage.
  • OcuSync 2.0 provides a stable transmission for short-range and slightly longer flights.
  • Foldable design for portability.
  • Sub-250 grams weight, which exempts you from some regulations.
  • Intelligent flight modes like Quickshots and Panorama.
  • A 1/2.3-inch sensor size is decent if you want to get into photography.
  • RAW shooting capability allows you to learn how to edit RAW footage, a necessary skill for professional photography.

» MORE: Is the DJI Mini 2 SE Worth It?

DJI Spark Brief Overview

The DJI Spark is a beginner drone aimed at providing a more straightforward entry-level into drones at a time when most drones were either complex or quite expensive.

Below are the features that appealed to most users and would appeal to most people today:

  • Hand gestures for easy control and having fun when outdoors.
  • Compact size for portability.
  • Subject tracking (Follow Me) to add creativity and fun to your outdoor activities.
  • 2-axis gimbal for stabilized flights.
  • Tapfly for ease of use.
  • Front obstacle avoidance for safe flight in areas with obstacles.
  • There are two control options: smartphone and controller, allowing you to choose one that fits you.
  • Automatic flight modes allow for creating cinematic shots more easily.

» MORE: Can DJI Spark Fly in the Snow? Here’s What You Need to Know

Quick Verdict

The DJI Spark has many fun features that have since been improved or eliminated in DJI’s later releases. However, when it comes down to which drone to choose between the Spark and the DJI Mini 2 SE, I would go for the Mini 2 SE.

Why? It comes with the OcuSync transmission, which works better than DJI Spark’s Wi-Fi transmission. Secondly, you get to film in a higher resolution.

Lastly, the DJi Mini 2 SE is a newer drone, so its batteries will be mostly new, and you can also get warranty coverage.

I wouldn’t say the same for the DJI Spark since it’s discontinued.

» MORE: DJI Mini 2 SE – Beginner’s Guide

What are the Main Differences?

DJI Mini 2 SE vs. DJI Spark – what’s new?

Featuring newer technologies and being a newer release, below are the main differences that set the DJI Mini 2 SE apart from the Spark.

  • Longer range – The DJI Mini 2 SE comes with OcuSync 2.0, which offers a relatively more extended range and better performance in various situations compared to a standard Wi-Fi connection like the one on the Spark.
  • Better quality footage – While both drones have a similar sensor and shoot 12MP stills, the DJI Mini 2 SE seems to offer a better quality imaging experience. It also allows you to film in 2.7K with more frame rate options, while the Spark is limited to 1080p and has limited frame rate options.
  • Better battery performance – If you could find a DJI Spark, chances are it will be a used one, so the batteries will not be at their optimum condition. As a result, you may not get as much flight time, and it will be challenging to get more batteries.

» MORE: DJI Mini 2 SE vs. Potensic Atom SE (Here’s My Choice)

DJI Mini 2 SE

DJI does its best to release drones targeting different users, and the DJI Mini 2 SE is one such drone.

While a lot of people were looking for more features to be included on the DJI Mini 2, all many users wanted was a simple drone that they could start with, learn how to fly, and possibly take good footage as they consider whether they need to get a more advanced drone, or keep having fun with their current drone.

» MORE: Is DJI Mini 2 SE Good for Beginners? (Hands-on Review)

That’s why even after releasing the DJI Mini 3 Pro, the DJI Mini 3, and later the DJI Mini 4 Pro, the DJI Mini 2 SE still appeals to many users – those at the beginner end of the spectrum.

Great Starter Drone
DJI Mini 2 SE
$299.00

Lightweight and Foldable Mini Drone with 2.7K Video, 10km Video Transmission, 31-min Flight Time, Under 249 g, Return to Home, Automatic Pro Shoots, Drone with camera for Beginners.

Buy from Amazon
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03/06/2024 06:16 pm GMT

DJI Spark

At the time of its release, the other drones in the market were the Phantom series and the DJI Mavic Pro. These were larger, more expensive drones that were not very appealing to beginners.

» MORE: DJI Tello Vs. Spark: Which Drone Is Better?

The DJI Spark changed everything by being cheaper and smaller while offering many features that could make owning a drone fun.

DJI Spark
$590.00

Flight SafetyWorry-free flight in the palm of your hand ; Propeller guards are recommended when using these functions.

Buy from Amazon
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03/07/2024 10:16 pm GMT

Head-to-Head Comparison

Photo and Video Recording

Photo taken by Dan Bayne with DJI Mini 2 SE

Winner: DJI Mini 2 SE

If you want to get into serious photography and videography, you will have a better experience with the DJI Mini 2 SE camera. DJI has come a long way, and they can now fit several camera features into a miniature drone.

That’s why you get a better sensor and can do more with a small drone now compared to five years ago. The 12MP you get from the DJI Mini 2 SE will look better than the one from the DJI Spark.

As mentioned earlier, the DJI Spark is also limited to shooting at 1080p at 30fps, while the Mini 2 SE can shoot 2.7K and 1080p with a wider range of frame rates.

The DJI Mini 2 SE also features a 4X zoom, allowing you to shoot decent footage from a distance. You can’t achieve the same with the DJI Spark.

How about image stabilization? The DJI Mini 2 SE features a 3-axis gimbal, compensating for vibration in the Pitch, Roll, and Yaw drone movements.

On the other hand, the DJI Spark features a 2-axis gimbal that only stabilizes footage in Pitch and Roll, so you might get shaky footage if you incorporate Yaw movements into your shots.

Lastly, the DJI Mini 2 SE supports shooting RAW footage, which allows you to edit the footage to your liking. To start doing professional photography, you must learn how to deal with RAW footage.

Users hoped DJI would eventually add RAW footage capability to the DJI Spark, but they never did, and they aren’t developing any improvements for this drone, as it’s discontinued.

Intelligent Flight Modes

Winner: DJI Spark

DJI designed the DJI Spark as the ultimate selfie drone, featuring several automated features, which is why it features a couple of intelligent flight modes, some of which we do not see in more recent drones.

Intelligent Modes on the Spark include:

  • Panoramas – This feature allows the drone to take several images and stitch them together to form an image that looks like it was taken with a wide-angle camera. If you want to show the expansiveness of a landscape, Panoramas would come in handy.
  • Quickshots – This features a combination of automated drone movements. You can use them to automate filming a subject in various aspects, which can be helpful when you have limited battery life and have a lot of filming to do. These movements include Circle, Helix, Rocket, and Dronie.
  • Tapfly – If you want to fly to a certain point quickly or are still not good at flying, you can tap on the screen, and the drone will automatically fly to that point. You can also use it to film a subject by guiding the drone to fly towards it.
  • Gesture control – This is another fascinating feature that made the DJI Spark quite popular. With a few clicks, you can activate gesture control, allowing you to control the drone by waving at it – talk about superpowers! Wave to the right, and the drone will follow your arm. You can also depict framing a shot telling the drone to take the selfie.
  • ActiveTrack – At the time of its release, we had already seen ActiveTrack in drones like the Phantoms. This feature allows you to track a subject automatically, and it can identify common subjects like people or cars. I was surprised to learn that this drone had this feature, too. However, many users experienced issues with the drone losing the subject. You’d have to use it in a straight line without taking sharp corners to avoid this. DJI has since improved the ActiveTrack feature, and it works much better now, but it was great to have it on a tiny drone.

The DJI Mini 2 SE does feature QuickShots and Panoramas, so it’s not that badly off. Besides, it also includes an extra Quickshot, Boomerang, which adds even ways to use your drone outdoors.

» MORE: DJI Mini 2 SE Intelligent Functions (All You Need to Know)

Weight and Design

Image: Dan Bayne

Winner: DJI Mini 2 SE

While the DJI Spark is tiny, it is not foldable, so it’s not as easy to package as a foldable drone. However, the propellers fold in to make it easier to pack up.

It also weighs 300 grams, which is light but over the 250-gram limit that exempts users from registering their drone.

On the other hand, the DJI Mini 2 SE is small, foldable, and weighs 242 grams, so you will not have to register it unless you use it for professional purposes.

» MORE: Drone Laws in the United States

Range

Winner: DJI Mini 2 SE

The DJI Mini 2 SE comes with OcuSync 2.0, which ensures a range of up to 6 miles. In areas with lots of interference, it offers a decent transmission.

The DJI Spark doesn’t have OcuSync. Instead, it features an HD Wi-Fi transmission system that ensures a range of up to 1.2 miles.

One user observed that you get good transmission when flying in a straight line, but when you start turning, the range reduces. There are accessories you could buy that could help concentrate the signal or even amplify it, but you will not get the same experience as you would with the OcuSync system.

It’s rare to get the full range advertised by the manufacturer, but in a real-life test, the DJI Mini 2 SE outshines the DJI Spark.

» MORE: DJI Mini 2 SE Range Explained (Everything You Need To Know)

Safety Features and Obstacle Avoidance

Winner: DJI Spark

Obstacle detection is another surprising feature in the DJI Spark, especially for people who are used to the drones DJI released much later. However, these sensors are at the front, so they will not detect obstacles on the sides, top, or back.

Still, even the DJI Mini 2, which is slightly better than the Mini 2 SE, doesn’t have obstacle avoidance.

The DJI Spark’s other safety features include GPS, RTH, and Vision Sensors that help stabilize its flight indoors.

When using this drone, be very careful with the automatic flight modes. It’s best always to test them outdoors to gauge how they react before trying them in confined areas.

Some users have crashed their drones when they initiated the Quickshots too close to obstacles and the drone flew right into them.

While the DJI Mini 2 SE doesn’t feature obstacle avoidance, it includes vision sensors, GPS, and RTH, which are great to have, and you can have safe flights if you carefully select where to fly.

» MORE: Drone Safety Features (All You Need to Know)

Flight Time

Image: Dan Bayne

Winner: DJI Mini 2 SE

While both drones are advertised to offer more than 30 minutes of flight time, you have a better chance of getting at least 20 minutes with the DJI Mini 2 SE than with the DJI Spark.

Most users reported getting 12 to 16 minutes. Besides, most batteries you can get are old, extensively used, and not that stable due to usage.

The DJI Mini 2 SE is a much newer release, so getting new batteries is easy to do.

» MORE: Flight Time of All DJI Drones (Explained)

Methods of Control

Winner: Depends

The DJI Spark slightly wins out in this category because it allows you to control it in two ways: the controller and the smartphone.

If you are looking for an easy and cheaper way to use the Spark, using a smartphone is a good option. All you need is the DJI GO app, and you will have access to the controls right there on the app.

However, using your smartphone limits the operating range and transmission quality. The controller comes at an extra cost but allows a longer range and better transmission.

The DJI Spark is also compatible with DJI Goggles, the first FPV goggles from DJI. However, these are also discontinued, and you may not easily be able to get used ones that are in good working condition.

The DJI Mini SE uses the RC-N1 controller, a standard controller that you will find for the Mavic, Air, and Mini drones. It’s easy to use, needs a smartphone, and even though there is the RC-N2, the RC-N1 is not discontinued.

The DJI Mini 2 SE also uses the DJI Fly app, which is much easier to use.

Don’t get me wrong, the DJI GO app offers more control options, but it was sometimes too complicated for DJI Spark users, and things would have been less complicated if it came with the DJI Fly app.

The DJI Spark seems appealing if you are looking for a drone with different control methods. Still, I choose stability and better connection, and I have no issue attaching a smartphone to the controller.

That’s why I’d still go for the DJI Mini 2 SE.

» MORE: How to Hand Launch / Land a DJI Drone (Step-by-Step Guide)

Color Options

Winner: DJI Spark

If you’d like the option to select your drone’s color, the DJI Spark comes in different colors, including Alpine White, Lava Red, Meadow Green, Skyblue, and Sunrise Yellow.

DJI no longer does this, and most of their later drones only come in gray. You can customize the Mini 2 SE with stickers or skins if you want, but they will not be from DJI.

Conclusion

The Mini 2 SE, with its better transmission, higher filming resolution, foldable design, and improved battery performance, outshines the DJI Spark in almost every aspect.

For users seeking a reliable entry-level drone with modern features, the DJI Mini 2 SE is a clear choice.

Its sub-250-gram weight exempts it from certain regulations, making it an excellent option for beginners and enthusiasts alike.

The Mini 2 SE’s intelligent flight modes, 3-axis gimbal for stable footage, and extended range via OcuSync 2.0 contribute to an outstanding aerial experience.

DJI Spark has carved its place in history as an innovative and compact drone, and it was a great drone at that time. Still, its aging technology and limitations in transmission and resolution make it less competitive in today’s drone landscape.

» MORE: Autel EVO 2 Pro vs. DJI Mini 2 SE (Here’s My Favorite)