DJI Spark vs Parrot Bebop 2
A lot of people ask us which is better, the Spark or the Bebop 2. The answer really isn’t that simple. They are probably the two best drones you can get for under $500, but when you are talking bang for the buck you’ll have to dive a little deeper. The DJI Spark can be found as low as $399 and the Parrot Bebop 2 FPV package often can be found on sale at $299. Which one is best for you? Let’s take a look.
Let’s start with the arguably the most important part of a camera drone, the camera. The DJI Spark uses a 12 MP camera operating on a mechanical two-axis gimbal. It will shoot 1080p video at 30 fps and is surprisingly good. We have even used it to do real estate photography in a pinch.
The Bebop 2 relies on a 14 MP camera. While it may have an extra two megapixels on the Spark, it will be using them to stabilize the video. The wide angle fish-eye lens captures an incredibly wide field of view then stabilizes the video by cropping the image to a fraction of its original size. The electronic image stabilization is impressive and you can even pan and tilt like you would if you were using a mechanical gimbal.
The quality of the video from the Bebop suffers a bit but it is still pretty solid as a hobby drone. At the end of the day, you definitely can’t get as good a video out of the Bebop, but you can capture smooth footage while flying at higher speeds than the Spark. The Bebop’s gimbal-free camera is a feat of engineering, and better than anything else you’ll find for $300 or less.
The Spark is a smaller and lighter drone. It only weights 0.66 lbs. Coming in at 1.1 lbs, the larger Bebop 2 isn’t heavy but is definitely a bigger quadcopter.
When it comes to flight time, the Bebop 2 has the Spark beat. With an impressive flight time of 25 minutes, it has the Spark’s 16-minute flight time beat by a solid 9 minutes. The Bebop 2 Power edition has a flight time of 30 minutes, but that model will cost you more than the Spark’s current $399 price tag. Other than some firmware updates and a better battery, the Power Edition doesn’t add much else. Unfortunately, Bebop batteries aren’t known for their longevity so you can expect diminished flight time after several flights.
Both the Bebop 2 and the Spark can be flown via WiFi using your smartphone but we do not recommend it. You’ll lose range and precision. If you pick up the Spark remote or the Skycontroller 2 for the Bebop you will get a range of 2000 meters for both. That is about 1 1/4 miles.
Top speed is something that is fairly misunderstood. The Spark in sport mode will top out at 31 mph and the Bebop will hit 37 mph. However, don’t expect to get good video at those speeds. The Spark gimbal doesn’t have enough travel to fully stabilize the video. The quality of the Bebop 2 video at top speed will be significantly affected as well.
Because both of these quads have dual GPS technology, they are capable of a handful of excellent flight modes. There are a handful of flight modes that utilize DJI’s Active Track technology. You can track subjects or have the drone follow you. You can do also do dronies, rockets, circles and a handful of impressive flight modes.
The Bebop is capable of follow me and flying via waypoints but those are only available via an in-app purchase. It will cost you an extra $20. Like the Spark, you’ll get a return to home and an orbit mode without having to pay extra.
Do You Want Obstacle Avoidance?
The build of the Bebop is interesting. It doesn’t have the high-quality feel that the DJI Spark does. There is a lot of flimsy plastic and styrofoam in the construction of the Bebop. The Spark has a more polished look and feel to it. The Spark also has obstacle avoidance in the front. While I think side and rear avoidance are more important than front, it can certainly come in handy. The Bebop has no obstacle avoidance. So you are completely on your one with the Bebop
The Bebop 2 FPV package comes with FPV goggles. We were skeptical about the Cockpitglasses after our sub-par experience with the Parrot goggles that came with the Mambo FPV quad. Cockpitglasses surprised us, with a nice fit and a good FPV experience. You won’t see any glare and the experience of flying FPV is exhilarating. To be able to fly with goggles with the Spark you’ll have to pick up the DJI Goggles or Goggles RE and that is going to cost almost as much as the Spark, or more if you opt for the RE edition.
Which One is Best for You?
Both of these drones are excellent flyers and we would recommend either to a beginner. Which one is best for you largely depends on one thing, budget. If you need to stay under $300 then the Bebop 2 FPV package is an excellent deal. You won’t find a better drone in this price range. Learn more about the Bebop 2 HERE.
If you can stretch your budget to $399 then we’d recommend the Spark with the remote. The mechanical gimbal and the DJI flight modes make this a spectacular option and you won’t find one better for under $500. Learn more about the Spark HERE.
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