As much as drone enthusiasts love high-end drones especially the ones from DJI, when a new competitor hits the market, it gets everyone excited. The reason is not just the price alone. For many tech-savvy individuals, the anticipation of whether a new brand can take on the existing drone ruler is almost palpable.
The same phenomenon took place when Evo from Autel hit the market. There were a lot of rumors that it was a direct competitor to the Mavic Pro. This alone was enough to rev up the drone enthusiasts to test it out left and right.
But at almost the same price as its existing competitor, does the Evo have anything new to offer? Is it as good as the manufacturers advertised it?
Let’s find out in this comprehensive review.
Autel Evo Review
The first thing that catches your eye about the Evo is its bright color and compact design. Unlike traditional drones that are a minimalistic black or white, the Evo is bright orange. Spotting the drone anywhere is a breeze with this feature.
The arms of the Evo folds along the sides of the body. When the propellers are folded, it has a dimension of about 5.5 x 5.5 x 10.0 inches. A thoughtful feature which the manufacturers added was that the legs of the drone do not cross each other, so it makes the arms very intuitive.
It weighs about 860 gm or 1.9 lbs, which is a lot heavier than other drones. While this is a substantial weight in comparison, by no means it deters its portability.
The overall construction of the drone is sturdy and feels a lot reliable.
The camera of the Evo is something that you cannot ignore. It features a 12MP camera so you can enjoy recording at 4k. The image sensor, however, is a ½ inch rather than the anticipated 1 inch. The videos are recorded at 60fps, which is impressive.
If you have a problem with too much sharpness while shooting with the default profile as we did, you can fix this by fine-tuning the default color. You can also choose to shoot footage in 30, 48 and 60fps as well.
There is one thing about the gimbal that you might want to know beforehand. It continually features a horizontal tilt in the pictures. Unfortunately, this is more of a problem with the software, so calibrating the gimbal will not fix it. However, some users on the internet did not seem to face this problem, which made us believe that Autel has done some upgrading.
Despite this fact, Evo holds its ground under different weather conditions, including wind and fog, which is a big plus. Overall the pictures and videos are of outstanding quality. The field of vision of this drone is also a lot better than its competitors.
The Evo also has some tools that assist in an exposure. Among them, the Zebra and the EV indicator are most useful.
The overall quality of the still images, as well as the videos, is of high-quality. This makes up for the slight issue with stability. However, you might not have as much luck while shooting at night or in dimly-lit conditions. This is even though it has a sturdy obstacle avoidance feature in place.
Flight modes and features.
The Autel Evo comes with standard flight modes and also a couple of intelligent flight ones. These include:
- Orbit or circle mode
- Follow me
- Object tracking
- Atti or attitude mode
- Sport mode
While the built-in flight modes work great, they are by no means enough. The Evo has an outstanding array of features, so the flight mode also could have been worked on.
Flying the Evo does not require a lot of expertise, which is excellent. It is very intuitive, so anyone with a little bit of experience can fly the drone. However, it may not be the best for beginners. The reason is that the stability of the Evo is not the best, especially in the earlier versions.
But on the positive side, the Evo has a decent hovering precision. Another notable feature of this quadcopter is that it has no geofencing. This gives you the freedom to fly your drones almost anywhere.
Before you fly the drone, you do have to manually unfold the arms. But the rest is taken care of by the centrifugal force, so you just have to focus on piloting it.
The top speed of the Evo as is 44 mph as advertised, and it is the same in real life. However, the speed gets affected when the obstacle detection in the front is enabled. Another thing you might want to know is that although the Evo can handle windy conditions like a champ, after the 10 mph mark, the wind can affect its performance.
This quadcopter also has dual obstacle sensors, and they are quite sensitive. It stops dead in its tracks when it comes close to some kind of obstruction in the flight path. But before it happens, several warnings along with the distance from the obstacle appear on the screen, which is a great advantage. The sensors are located in the front, as well as the back. You can also automate the tracking in both directions.
The Evo has a remarkable altitude of 2600 feet. This ability, coupled with no geofencing, can tempt you to push the drone as high as you possibly can. However, you must keep the altitude within the legal limit, especially if you are flying in the United States.
You should make it a point to know the legal boundaries of flying a drone wherever you plan to operate it. Legal limits from flying the drone vary from one place to the other.
Controller and App
The Autel Evo has an excellent controller, which is also called the transmitter. It has a decent screen, which is 3 inches. The buttons on the controller are standard, much like other drones. The gimbal pitch and the selection wheel form the two main focus of the buttons.
You can adjust the tilt of the camera, the exposure, land, take off, and many more using the remote. You might face a little bit of difficulty getting used to the button for landings. There is also the return to home feature that you can activate using the remote controller.
The remote controller can be used on its own. However, there are also provisions for hooking up a smartphone for a more enhanced experience. You can view the live feed of the drone on the transmitter’s screen as well.
It has a compact design which makes it very easy to use. The addition of the hand grips at the bottom is a thoughtful feature that the manufacturers should be applauded.
You can explore all the advanced features of the drone using the Autel Explorer app. It is free for download and works seamlessly with both iOS and Android. You can use the app in tandem from a device of choice with the transmitter or as a standalone.
Additional information about the Autel Evo
The Evo has a top-flight time of 24 to 25 minutes, which is a little short of the advertised 30 minutes. This is not a bad duration at all. But of course, it will be affected by the settings as well as the features that you use during the flight.
The aircraft is powered by a 4300 mAh Li-Po battery, which is rechargeable. You can also buy an additional battery from the brand, which retails at $85. This is an excellent option as 25 minutes of flight time is nearly not enough to enjoy everything this drone has to offer.
The Evo comes with a good number of accessories from the manufacturer. These include a USB cable, a power cable, and cable for the remote controller, propellers as well as micro SD.
An excellent camera that shoots 4k at 60fps
Compact and folding design
Bright color unlike the traditional drones
Good battery life
Comes with several safety features
Very limited flight modes
Some units have stability issues with the gimbal
Even though there are some minor issues with the drone, the Evo is a great aircraft. You will love using its many advanced features.
The optical lineup is impressive in this one, and so is the speed as well as the battery life. Some might argue that this drone is not perfect in comparison to some high-end ones on the market. However, there is also no denying that it packs some impressive features that can rival the old-timers that have reigned supreme.
The absence of geofencing can be a huge thriller for some. But this is one feature that you need to exercise caution as it can get you into trouble. Other than this, in our opinion, the Autel Evo is an excellent drone, especially if you have some experience in flying this type of innovative piece of aircraft.