With just two taps of a button, lights began blinking, propellers started to swirl, and a tiny camera set about studying my face. All I had to do was release the miniature drone from my grip and it was instantly airborne. Such is the experience with the new DJI Spark, the company's smallest and cheapest drone yet. The $499 drone -- half the price of the company's high-end Mavic Pro -- is about the size of a soda can, making even the compact Mavic look gargantuan in comparison. But the Spark's most compelling feature is the ability to launch and pilot the drone entirely through hand gestures.
When GoPro announced it was working on a drone, pretty much everyone thought that it'd have some sort of "follow" feature. But it had the required technology all along. Finally, today, Karma is being updated to unlock that feature, along with a few other goodies. There are two new auto-path modes in today's update: Follow and Watch. The former, as you'd imagine, allows Karma to follow you, but there's a small concession: It only follows the controller, so you'll need that with you, whatever you are doing.
It's a simple question: How would you sell my Dad a drone? Right now, most drone buyers are professionals, hobbyists or video enthusiasts. That leaves a pretty big number of people not currently browsing for a quadcopter. My Dad is one of those people, so if you can sell him one, you're onto something. When I asked that question to Adam Najberg, DJI's Global Director of Communications, his answer was simple: "Size is going to be an issue.
Chinese drone company DJI unveiled Tuesday a new model that it claims is nearly as compact as a water bottle when packed up. The Mavic Pro, shipping on Oct. 15 for 999, is debuting a week after action camera company GoPro unveiled its long-awaited Karma drone, which also folds up for easy transportation. The Mavic Pro's arms and propellors fold alongside its body, making it possible to fit in a backpack or purse, DJI says. DJI's focus on portability extends to the Mavic's controller as well, which is smaller and can be used with or without a smartphone to display live video from the aircraft. DJI will be selling the Mavic Pro without its controller for 749 and a combination package which includes the drone, two extra batteries, extra propellors, a charging hub, an adapter, and a shoulder bag for 1,299.