There’s one very significant section of society that has always wanted a drone.
And It’s called MEN! I think you’d agree they’re a pretty substantial part of the population.
Men disagree with each other on a lot of stuff, but all of them share a love of cool, useful technology. But what’s cooler and more tech savvy than a drone?
Just kidding; you don’t have to be a man to appreciate drones. They’re pretty cool to everyone.
Now, let’s be realistic. Even though most people appreciate a drone, not many find much use for one. Only if you’re a tech-savvy, adventurous, and outdoorsy kind of person, you’ll want what is essentially a flying camera.
If you are that kind of person, then boy, do I have a drone for you!
Hi, I’m Dhia, a travel freak, a flyer of drones, and today, I’m reviewing the Autel Evo for you. Before we start with the review, let me take you through the specs of the Evo.
Top Features of the Autel Evo
- Flight time: 30 minutes
The Autel Evo rocks a 12-megapixel camera that captures stunning 4K resolution video at a frame rate of 60 frames-per-second. It is built around a three-axis stabilizing gimbal platform for stability and sports a 94-degree field of view.
- Flying Safety
The Evo is equipped with GPS and GLONASS, and along with two cameras in the front, the Evo can create a digital 3D map of its surroundings and maneuver around them effectively.
The controller has a 3.3-inch OLED screen built into it, so you can see the drone’s activity in real time. It also allows you to call the drone back home, change camera settings, land and take off, etc.
- What’s included?
In the box, you’ll find a remote controller with a screen, a USB-C type cable with an adapter, a battery, three pairs of propellers and a 32GB micro-SD card.
I’ve reviewed and used many drones during my travels through Asia, Europe, and North America, so the bar was set pretty high for the Evo. Fortunately, I’m glad to report that the Evo fulfilled nearly all my expectations and I’d be happy to take this with me on any future trips.
It’s well-built, comes with class-leading features, has a reasonably good flight time and is pretty durable.
Design and Hardware
The Autel Evo is one of the most well-designed drones on the market today and boasts hardware to match. Being a robotics engineer, I’m naturally just as interested in the design as well as the software of a product like this.
Starting with portability, the Evo is foldable, and I found folding and unfolding it to be a pretty simple task. In typical drone fashion, it features a propeller on each corner.
In the center, you have the body of the drone, and at the front, you get two cameras for the drone’s navigation. And underneath those, there’s the main 12MP camera for photography and videography.
On the bottom, I found two ultrasonic sensors, which prevent the Evo from landing on uneven surfaces and at the back. It also features an IR sensor which protects the Evo while flying backward.
Autel claims it tests each component of the Evo and that they go through rigorous tests before being ending up on the drone. During my time with it, nothing went wrong with the Autel, and the parts felt sturdy and well-built, so durability and reliability shouldn’t be a problem.
Ease of Use
Drones are complicated enough as they are, and using them shouldn’t make things more complicated.
For a robotics engineer and cool-stuff-buff like me, the Evo is as complicated as using a faucet. But bearing in mind that not all buyers spend their days holed up in a basement, tinkering with motherboards, I have evaluated its ease of use keeping the average user in mind.
Using the Autel Evo is easy. From the moment it took off till the moment it landed, the product responded to my inputs with minimal lag or signal drop. The controller features two joysticks for movement and camera control, which are simple enough to use (ever played on a PlayStation or Xbox?).
Where usability takes a hit, though, is the sheer number of features the Evo offers. While I am not complaining about the plethora of features, I did find utilizing them to be slightly tough. It’s clear that Autel had the best intentions in mind while designing the intuitive menus, but there’s only so much a menu can do.
Image and Video Quality
The Autel Evo features a 12-megapixel camera that is capable of recording 4K video at 60 frames-per-second. It is mounted on a platform comprising a three-axis stabilized gimbal to reduce blur.
I tried the Evo in many different kinds of conditions, such as extreme winds, fog/haze, etc. but irrespective of the challenge I threw at the Evo, it simply rose to the task.
Images look stunning, color reproduction is great, and noise is kept to a minimum. The resolution could’ve been higher, and a multiple-lens setup would’ve been nice, but really, I’m nitpicking here. My friends were looking at the photos with their mouths wide open. So, purpose served!
The videos, especially in 4K, are stunning. I didn’t capture any blur or shake in any of the videos, and the focus and lighting were always well-judged.
I can see myself taking the Evo as my primary snapper on the next trip!
Battery Life and Performance
I found the Evo’s battery life to be satisfactory, but nothing more than that.
The rechargeable 4300 mAh Li-Po battery affords a maximum 30-minute flight time to the Evo, meaning the flight time could wary on the basis of the operating conditions and the features being used.
The controller features a bigger battery at 6300 mAh, and I found myself wondering, why didn’t Autel fit a bigger battery into the Evo? Well, you only have to look at its form factor, as it’s a compact drone that’s stuffed to the gills with features. So there isn’t much space for a bigger battery.
I found the performance, on the other hand, to be amazing! I’ll explain what I mean with these points.
1. The IR and Ultrasonic sensors
The Evo sports a pair of ultrasonic sensors on the bottom and an IR sensor on the back. It uses the ultrasonic sensors to prevent landing on uneven surfaces and the IR sensor to fly backwards without crashing.
2. The stereo camera
The stereo camera creates a 3D map of the Evo’s surroundings. Using this map, the Evo not only stops when confronted with an object but actively maneuvers around it. Meaning, you can take it with you for a jog in a dense forest!
You can also set the Evo to orbit around a specific object or follow a set course of waypoints, and I think that’s more features than you’ll ever need. All of them work well, and I honestly don’t have any complaints.
Value for money
The Autel Evo is available at a price close to a thousand dollars. And while that may seem pricey at first, remember that this is a top-of-the-line drone after all. Also, compared to its rivals and keeping the features in mind, this drone is worth every penny.
What I liked
- Navigational suite is packed with features and works well
- Video and image quality is superb
- Controls are as intuitive as possible
- Build quality is incredibly good
What I didn’t like
- Battery capacity could’ve been greater
- Plethora of features means some people might find it a bit complex
I’ve been in the business of testing and using drones for a fair while now, and it’s been a long time since I came across a drone as good as the Autel Evo.
It is packed full of features. The navigational suite is the best there is and works well. So well, in fact, that I believe the Evo would have no problem competing in a slalom competition! Read buyers’ reviews and decide your self.
The video and image quality are also top-class, and I was positively stunned at the clarity of the photos I took. And from a drone! Moreover, the ability to record 4K@60FPS is just the icing on the cake, even if you’ll need to invest in a 4K display to reap the benefit.
Lastly, the Evo’s design and build quality are incredible, and I have no doubt believing that Autel designed this drone with the end-user in mind.
Having said all that, my verdict is that it’s a great product and you won’t regret buying it.