Share on Pinterest

DJI Mavic Mini Vs DJI Spark Vs Mavic Air

DJI
MAVIC MINI
  • 30 min
  • 2.7k camera
  • 4km range
DJI
MAVIC AIR
  • 20 min
  • 4k camera
  • 4km range
DJI
SPARK
  • 16 min
  • 1080p camera
  • 2 km range

DJI Mavic Mini Vs DJI Spark Vs Mavic Air (Ultimate comparison)

I made a review on the newly released Mavic Mini already…

But I was curious how it differs from the rest of the DJI Drones.

So, this article is going to compare every single spec and feature between them in depth!

I chose the Mavic Air and the Spark, as they are about the same size format, camera and price as the Mini.

If you want a similarly priced drone as the Mavic Mini but 4k and manual video settings, you should check the Xiaomi Fimi X8.

Drones
Under $200

Drones
Under $300

Drones
Under $500

Drones
Under $100

Battery life ( Why the Mavic Mini Destroys competition)

Drones for Sale
Tool

Cheap
Drones

Drone
VS
Drone

Other
RC

Mavic Mini has surprised us with it’s 30 minute battery life, not seen before in such a small sized drone.
 
Usually the smaller the quad, the less it stays in the air for.
 
I don’t know what sorcery DJI did with this new one, maybe it’s the really low weight and efficient motors, but compared to it, the Mavic Air has a 20 min battery life and the Spark only 16 min at most.
 
These are the numbers for perfect flight conditions, no wind, flying at a constant speed and such.
 
So what are the numbers for the real life scenarios ?
 
The Mavic Mini flies for 27 min in normal conditions while the Mavic air for about 17 and the spark 14 min.
 
This makes the Mavic mini that much more suitable as a reliable camera drone, as you simply don’t have the time with drones like Spark to carefully plan and shoot all that you want.
back to menu ↑

Range (Did the Spark fall behind?)

The Mavic Air and the Mavic Mini both can fly as far as 4km(2.5 miles) away while the spark can fly for about 2km, a bit more if you’re lucky.
 
This is the range in FCC mode, and it seems no one is talking about this, but if you’re getting the drone from Europe, the range will differ a lot because they will use CE frequencies.
 

FCC mode is made only for the US, but it’s illegal in the EU (although there are some workarounds).

What’s the Maximum range in Europe?

 

The Flight distance for the Mavic Mini in Europe is 2km, same for the Mavic Air, but for the DJI spark is about 500m. Which is a big difference.
back to menu ↑

Is the weight difference that important?

The Mavic Mini is in a completely different segment if we consider the importance of weight.
 
If you’re looking for a drone that’s under 250 grams so you can fly it without registering in the US, then it simply doesn’t have any competition whatsoever.
 
If you don’t care about registering your done, the weight difference isn’t that significant, as all these drones are about as portable, with the Spark being slightly bulkier since it’s not foldable.
back to menu ↑

How fast are they?

I initially though the Mavic mini will be much slower than the Spark because it would have smaller motors and less overall power, however, that’s not relaly the case.
 
The Mavic mini can fly up to 47km/ hour while the Spark can reach 50 Km/h, a measly 3 km difference. 
 
The DJI Mavic Air has the big prize iwth 68 KPH max speed in sport mode.
In the table I even compared the drones to the maximum speed Usain Bolt has ever reached.
back to menu ↑

Optical sensors( is obstacle avoidance useful?)

Speaking about obstacle avoidance, all three have bottom sensors for flying inside and better landing, but the Mavic mini lacks the forward facing sensors, even if it may look like it has them.
 
The Mavic air wins this with both forward and backward sensors included.
 
Personally, I usually deactivate the sensors just to have more freedom in flight, so I’m more than willing to compromise in this department.
 
In what scenarios is obstacle avoidance useful?
 
  • When you’re using things like follow me or other flight modes.
  • Flying backwards for a shot
  • Return to home ( it’s better for the drone to stop there and you get it later than simply crashing into something)
  • Cables ( these are harder to see sometimes but the obstacle sensors detect them)
  • flying while looking down ( this means you can’t see what’s in front of you so it makes it a little more dangerous
back to menu ↑

Can the Mavic Mini be flown inside?

Yes, it’s the best drone from DJI to fly indoors.
Thanks to the bottom sensor, it flies really steady, and even more, you can get the 360 prop guards from the Fly more combo and you can hit the walls however you like without crashing and damaging the propellers.
 
Ijustine just tried to fly the Mavic Mini Indoors and it was a complete success, even with all that screaming and wall-hitting.
back to menu ↑

Camera( Is the Mavic Air that much better?)

At 250grams I expected there wouldn’t necesarily be an improvement from the Spark, but oh was I wrong.
 
As you may know, first of all, the DJI Mavic mini comes with a 3 axis gimbal, just like the Air.
 
This makes the side movement much smoother compared to the Spark for example that only specs a 2 axis gimbal and can get jittery if you do circles around an object for example.
 

What is bitrate and why it's important?

And the 2.7k resolution is a considerable improvement from the DJI Spark.
 
I usually actually record in 2.7k with 4k drones too because it’s easier to process and still has plenty of sharpness and detail in the image, so the Mavic Mini is perfect by default.
 
But it’s understandable why you’d want to record in 4k in some situations, so the Mavic Air winds this one.
 
Another easy way to tell how good a camera records details is the Bitrate, this is basically a number of bits of information that’s processed in a unit of time.
 
So the more bits, the more information the image has, and the more details can be captured in that respective time frame.
 
The Mavic Air has 100Mega bits per second which is really amazing, the Mavic Mini has 40, but believe it or not, the DJI Spark comes with only 24 mega bits per second, which is quite a difference.
 
Remember that the DJI spark has been released in 2017 and camera and drone technology has evolved a bit since then.
back to menu ↑

Camera Settings(Which is better for professionals?)

Unfortunately, the Mavic Mini doesn’t have the option to change ISO and shutter speed manually while recording video, and that’s a shame because it means you can’t really use precise image adjustment in a professional setting.
 
The automatic mode does a great job for most people though.
 
We’ll have to see if they release some ND filters as that might change things a bit.

Photo Modes

They all take 4k photos, with slightly varying resolutions and they’re all great at that.
The Mavic Air and the Mavic Mini can go up to 3200 ISo in manual mode when taking photos, while the spark is limited to 1600, but of course, the image is going to be pretty noisy at that point anyway.
 
One area where the Mavic Mini isn’t that great is the Photo Modes.
 
The Single Shot and interval photo shots are the only tricks it can do.
 
While the Mavic Air and Spark can do panoramas, burst HDR and even ShallowFocus.
I personally don’t use any of these so I don’t care, I like taking good old  standard photos.
 

Does the Mavic Mini Shoot RAW?

But you know what I care about and most photographers will too?
 
Shooting RAW.
 
And one thing is certain, the Mavic Mini doesn’t shoot RAW photos, only JPEG, exactly as the DJI Spark… But the Mavic Air does take both JPEG and RAW photos.
So if you really need RAW images for better post processing and playing with them, the Air is the way to go.
back to menu ↑

Transmitters and mobile apps

The Mavic Mini Transmitter is as simple as it gets:
  • no LCD display
  • no back custom buttons
  • just RTH button
  • camera and photo button
  • scroll wheel for the camera
The sticks feel a bit more plasticky than the other DJI drones so far, but it works just as great and they are removable.
This time, compared to the Spark, this transmitter does come with a cable that you can connect your phone with, so it has less latency.
 
The DJI Mavic air transmitter also doesn’t come with a screen and has the same functions and it also comes with a latency reducing cable, but also with the custom back buttons
 
The spark connects the phone to the Transmitter though wifi, which is cable free, but a little more troublesome sometimes, as you experience slightly more lag this way and the range also suffers a bit.

Flight modes ( The main drawback of the Mavic Mini)

You see, the Mavic Mini uses a new app called “DJi FLy” and it’s taylored more for beginners and simplicity.
 
It still has the main functions and settings like RTH height, gimbal sensitivity and some camera resolution settings, but It definitely lacks some important features.  

Does the Mavic Mini come with FOllow me?

Probably the biggest downfall is that the Mavic Mini doesn’t come with a Follow me option.
 
That may just be because DJI didn’t want to put it there, as it’s simply a matter of app software. And they probably didn’t allow it because the Mavic Mini doesn’t come with obstacle avoidance and it could become a problem if handled by a beginner in follow me mode.
 
Both the Spark and the Air have really good follow me modes and generally a few more flight modes compared to the Mavic Mini which is quite stripped down to the basics.
 
The mini does come with quickshots like Dronie, Helix, Orbit etc, that can actually use subject tracking while you’re doing them,so it’s there.
 
This basically means that it follows the subject but while circling around.
 
Speaking about obstacle avoidance, all three have bottom sensors for flying inside and better landing, but the Mavic mini lacks the forward facing sensors, even if it may look like it has them.
The Mavic air wins this with both forward and backward sensors included.
 
The Spark also has some more advanced quickshot modes like palm movement and Asteroid shot and other gimmicks like that.
back to menu ↑

Which one do I recommend and for who?

Now, it seems that besides the weight, the Mavic Air does have the overall advantage over the Mavic Mini and the Spark seems inferior in most cases and it’s not even foldable.
I would frankly buy the spark only if you can find it second hand at a really good price. It’s a great drone, dont’ get me wrong, it’s just inferior to the Mavic Mini in most cases.
 
But these drones are priced diferently, and that’s a really really important factor.
 
The mavic Air is a bit over $900 for the standard package while the Mavic mini is $399, that’s a $500 difference.
So the mavic Air is more than twice the price of the Mini, yet, it’s definitely not twice as good.
 
The spark… it’s even more expensive than the Mavic mini with about $100 normall, but even so, I wouldn’t recommend to buy it at this point in time.
back to menu ↑

But what if you want to upgrade from the Spark? Is it worth it?

 
I would say that in many cases actually is worth upgrading from the Spark.
 
If you already have it registered with the FAA, the weight shouldn’t be a problem and if you’re using it casually just for fun flying and shooting some video for yourself you should keep the spark.
 
However, if you’re a vlogger or want to get the best travel videos you can get and don’t want incredible flight times, sell you drone and put $200 more and get the Mavic Mini.
back to menu ↑

Is the Fly More combo Worth it?

In my Mavic Mini review on the site I make a comparison between what you’re going to get in the package for the standard package and the fly more combo.
 
You definitely need at least one spare battery and the Bag is also pretty useful, and those by themselves make about $100 over the standard price, which costs as much as the fly more combo.
 
So, yes, the FLy more combo is totally the way to go, you get 3 batteries, a multi charger that also shows how much battery you have remaining. Prop guards for flying inside if you want, safely and other spare accessories.

I'm a big drone enthusiast, the owner of DronesGator.com and I also make weekly videos on my drone YouTube channel.

3 Comments
  1. Great review, and almost tailor made for my purposes.
    Never used a drone before.
    Never even seen one in the flesh. (or is it ‘plastic’…
    Planning a trip around India for several months, looking to film some local bands, and shoot a lot of scenery as I go, which is where the drone comes in.
    I’ll be on a motorcycle, so portability is crucial, but I still need near professional quality, and from what you say, the mini looks like it fits the bill in nearly every department.
    Thanks.

  2. Thanks a lot very comprehensive review

  3. Hi,

    Thanks for the comparison and your reviews so far on the Mavic Mini. There are a couple of areas on the Spark comparison chart I think should be added:-
    1) Photo mode should also include AEB Burst (Although you do have this listed in your article)
    2) Flight mode should also include Sports mode for the Spark (And also for Air)
    3) Phone cable. It may not come included in the box, however there is an OTG cable from DJI (And you can buy after market) which will work between the remote and your phone for the Spark. And in my experience it allows you to fly much further without signal loss and delay.

    A couple of other things I think that need to be added to your comparison list are:-
    1) Remote controller:- Programmable function buttons. This is a sore loss on the the Mini’s remote. I always have my buttons on the Spark to AE lock and Gimbal Up/Down. (You mentioned this in the article but I also think its worth adding to your comparison chart. Its an important function that I couldn’t live without going to the Mini.
    2) Quick release props. This also so a disadvantage with the Mini. I shoot a lot from the beach where I live in QLD Australia. The last thing I would want to be doing is fiddling around with a tiny screw and screw driver in the sand to replace a split prop. I have no doubt that you make one false move and you will lose that screw in the sand never to be found again.

    There is so so much to like about the new Mavic Mini with its 2.7K, 3 axis gimabl, 30 min flight time, and 249gr take off weight.. But geez they took out some really important features that are currently available on the Spark. I think as it stands, its a hard sell to a Spark user to upgrade, unless DJI do ever come out with a firmware/software update for the Mini to add some extra functionality back in.

    Leave a reply

    close

    Copy and paste this code to display the image on your site

    DronesGator
    Logo
    Compare items
    • Total (0)
    Compare
    0

    Be updated

    Want to be the first to find out about newly released drones?