DJI Spark vs Phantom 3

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The Spark is one of DJI’s newer drones, which a range of unique features, such as its miniature size and ability to be flown with hand gestures. But how does it compare to the more established Phantom 3 range? Lets found out the crucial differences so that you can make the best purchase.


The first thing you will notice is the significant size difference between the Spark and the Phantom 3 range. The Spark is a minuscule 300g with a diagonal distance of 170mm (without the propellers). The Phantom 3 models are all around 1300g with diagonal distances of 350mm (without the propellers). Basically, when compared side to side, the Phantom models appear about three times the size of the Spark. The Spark truly is a mini-drone which wins out in terms of portability.

+1 for the Spark

Camera Specs

The more powerful the camera, the crisper and sharper the photos and videos. That’s why it pays to know what you’re getting with your drone.

As far as still shots are concerned, each camera is pretty much the same, weighing in at 12 Megapixels. What does differ is video quality? Only the Phantom 3 4K and Phantom 3 Pro can shot in 4K. Next up is the Phantom 3 Standard and Phantom 3 Advanced. They can both hit 2.7K, while the Spark comes in last at 1080p.

Now while 1080p is still considered HD, a camera that can only shoot at this rate is getting a bit dated. The same can also be said of 2.7K video. 4K is by far the better quality and important for professional and semi-professional filmmakers.

ModelMegapixelsFrame rate
Phantom 3 Standard1230fps (2.7K)
Phantom 3 4K1230fps (4K)
Phantom 3 Advanced1230fps (2.7K)
Phantom 3 Pro1230fps (4K)
Spark1230fps (1080p)

+1 for the Phantom 3 4K
+1 for the Phantom 3 Pro

Flight Time

The longer your drone can stay airborne the more fun you will have and the more footage you can take. That’s why flight time is crucial. Have a look at the figures below.

ModelFlight Time (minutes)
Phantom 3 Standard25
Phantom 3 4K25
Phantom 3 Advanced23
Phantom 3 Pro23

As you can see the Phantom range all come in at roughly the same. The Spark, on the other hand, lags behind with a mere 16 minute flight time. Is this enough to make the most of your done, of course, but more would definitely be better.

+1 for the Phantom series

Top Speed

All the Phantom 3 drones have the same top speed of 35.8mph. They can descend at up to 6.7mph and ascend at up to 11.2mph. Now the Spark is slightly slower with a max speed of 31mph. It can descend and ascend at up to 6.7mph. Overall not a major difference.

+1 for the Phantom series


All drones use GPS and GLONASS to determine their position, so no variation here. Each model can connect to Russian and American satellites, which makes for a high level of coverage and accuracy.

Don’t forget about vision position. What is this? Well, all drones, except the Phantom 3 Standard, come with an array of sensors to help determine their position when close to the ground or in areas with no GPS signal. This allows them to maintain a high hover accuracy, without excessive displacement.

Vertical Hover Displacement:

  • ±0.1 m (with Vision Positioning)
  • ±0.5 m (without Vision Positioning)

Horizontal Hover Displacement:

  • ±0.3 m (with vision positioning)
  • ±1.5 m (without vision positioning)

+1 for the Spark
+1 for the Phantom 3 4K
+1 for the Phantom 3 Advanced
+1 for the Phantom 3 Pro


The Phantom 3 range has controllers with a range of flight and camera buttons, as well as two large steering sticks. At the top there is a mount for attaching a Smartphone or Tablet so that users can view their flight footage through the DJI app, while also staying in control. Overall the controller is functional and easy to use. The only let down is that the Phantom 3 Standard comes with an older version of this controller, which has fewer buttons and a mount which can only fit a smartphone, not a tablet.

The Spark is designed to be flown by using hand gestures and with the DJI app. These methods do work pretty well, but manual flight is a lot more fun and functional. To do this, you will need to get a controller. Standalone models don’t include one.

The major advantage of having a controller for the Spark is the increased range. Without one you’re limited to 100m! But with one, you can hit 1.2 miles. The controller also allows you to enable sports mode so that the drone can hit its top speed of 31mph. Don’t forget about the dedicated flight buttons and two control sticks. So, if you do end up wanting a Spark then look for bundle deals that include the controller. It’s definitely worth it.

+1 for the Spark
+1 for the Phantom 3 4K
+1 for the Phantom 3 Advanced
+1 for the Phantom 3 Pro

Obstacle Avoidance

The Spark really wins out in this category. Its high-tech sensors can detect objects up to 16 feet ahead. These include obstructions like mesh, power lines, and chain link fences. This really makes it tough as nails.

Unfortunately, the Phantom 3 range lacks this dedicated obstacle avoidance system. This won’t matter if your flying in wide open spaces, however, if you want to fly indoors, low to the ground, or some other hazardous area, then the Spark is the better option.

+1 for the Spark


All drones come with DJI’s traditional intelligent flight modes, such as:

  • Waypoints- Allows users to customise an automatic flight path for the drone.
  • Course Lock- Makes the drone’s controls function relative to its flight direction.
  • Home Lock- Makes the drone’s controls function relative to its home point.
  • Beginner- Allows new flyers to practice safely by limiting speeds.

The Spark includes a few more:

  • Rocket- Causes the drone to ascend with its camera pointing This gives a unique perspective.
  • Dronie- This causes the drone to fly backward and forwards, with its camera locked onto a subject, allowing for an array of exciting shots to be taken.
  • Circle- Causes the drone to circle a subject.
  • Helix- Causes the drone to circle a subject but with the circle radius increasing over time.
  • Gestures- This mode allows you to control the drone using hand signals.

+1 for the Spark


These are the current drone prices at the time of writing. You can check Amazon for the latest ones.

ModelApproximate PriceCheck Current Price
Phantom 3 Standard$500
Phantom 3 4K$600
Phantom 3 Advanced$700
Phantom 3 Pro$800

Note: The Spark price is for a bundle which includes the controller because it seems silly to buy one without it.

+1 for the Spark
+1 for the Phantom 3 Standard

Which Is Best?

First off, let’s check out the overall results.

Phantom 3 Standard3 (flight time, speed, price)
Phantom 3 4K5 (flight time, speed, camera, positioning, controller)
Phantom 3 Advanced4 (flight time, speed, positioning, controller)
Phantom 3 Pro5 (flight time, speed, camera, positioning, controller)
Spark6 (portability, obstacle avoidance, positioning, price, controller, modes)

You have a decision to make. Are you someone who just wants the highest quality video footage or would you prefer a more portable and robust drone? If the answer is the former than the Phantom 3 Pro is the best option. If you can’t afford it, then go a bit cheaper with the Phantom 3 4K.

If you’re more concerned about portability and obstacle avoidance, then we recommend the Spark. It doesn’t have the best camera nor the fastest speed, or longest flight time. However, it is a tough and affordable drone.

In general, we don’t recommend the Phantom 3 Standard; it is rather dated and no longer being produced by DJI. While there are still many affordable new and second-hand ones being sold on Amazon, we reckon that by spending a little bit more you can get a much better and longer lasting drone.