DJI’s lineup of drones have been industry leading for years. But there’s always seemed to be a hurry to get product out the door before engineering has truly finished making the optimal drone. Take the Mavic Pro for example: it wins on so many levels because of its size, battery life, folding arms and 4K video. But the still photos from a 12MP camera just don’t match the rest of the drone. Just slightly less than perfect.
The less-than-year-old DJI Spark was the first palm-launch intelligent drone that could be controlled by gesture. But it’s 2017 and a 1080p camera is bottom end. And the gimbal is 2 axis, not the standard 3.
You can tell the marketing department at DJI had a big hand in aiming the Spark squarely at a slice of the consumer market that was just waiting for it. Don’t get me wrong, we love the Spark. In fact it’s usually the go-to drone when we are rushing out to film something on the quick.
But at CES2018 in Las Vegas last week, RC maker Walkera launched their Spark challenger, the Peri, that has all many of the features that the Spark is missing….all packaged in a very familiar looking body.
If you go to the Walkera website you can see just how similar the Peri is to the Spark, not just in form, but even in the marketing photos taken. Here’s a perfect example:
As you can see from the above photos, either DJI and Walker used the same photographer/agency or one is going to school on the other.
But marketing aside, there are some good reasons to take a look at the Peri if you’re considering a DJI Spark.
The first reason is that the Walkera Peri uses a Sony CMOS image sensor that captures 4K video at 30fps. 1080p at 30fps is also an option. In a year or two, no one will want to be filming in 1080p. Why make a drone camera that is so limited?
The Peri also has a 3 axis mechanical gimbal, unlike the Spark’s 2 axis gimbal.
Spark battery life, at 16 minutes, is just 1 minute longer than the Walkera Peri’s 15 minute smart battery. We’ll call that one equal…both should be aiming to improve that to 20 minutes in our opinion.
And just like the Spark, the Peri has intelligent, pre-programmed flight actions including Active track, Rocket, Dronie, Helix, Gesture, Timer, Time-lapse and continuous shooting.
Like the Spark, Peri is controllable from a smarphone or an optional RC. In Walkera’s case there are two optional remote controls to consider. The first is labelled a ‘mini folding transmitter’ that has basic controls for video start/stop, take still photo, and switch between Manual, Auto and Sports mode.
With an optional, Karma-like ‘Integrated Remote Control’ you have a flip up screen and advanced flight and camera functions at your disposal with HD 1080p image transmission up to 1km.
Peri only will retail for US$449, or US$499 with transmitter. No pricing yet available for the Integrated RC.
Walkera is taking pre-orders now, with shipping expected in the Spring.
Our advice, based on the customer service challenges of many of these offshore manufacturers, is to wait until the Peri is available on Walkera’s Amazon page so you can deal with issues via Amazon which are so much smoother.