Autel Robotics Finally Unveils Their Next Highly Anticipated Drone
First, let me introduce you to Autel Robotics quickly, you may not be familiar with the previous Autel Robotics drone, the xStar premium, it has gained quite a following with its great camera, the camera offered by xStar is far superior to the original Phantom 4 , with impressive dynamic range and excellent optical performance, while the xStar is no better than the P4pro camera in dynamic range, many users will be quick to point out that they still consider the optical xStar better than the Phantom.
This is the premise of the stage in which the Autel EVO was launched. From the top of the box, Autel seems to have checked all the right boxes, with a 7km range, 30 minutes of flight time, a high-quality 4K camera, and a really cool built-in color screen on the controller.
Autel EVO Nano Camera Dynamic Range.
Let's jump straight to the main character in this story. The three-axis gimbal camera is stabilized. Preliminary tests show a dynamic range of 11.5+ stops. I tested the DJI P4pro with similar numbers. Read it again slowly. The dynamic range of the AUTEL EVO is comparable to, or at least very close to, the Phantom 4 pro.
I'm very careful with my tests, but in general I've found that my tests show a little less DR than similar tests for DXO, usually they show 0.5 to 1 more stop than I do. I can live with it, just because my data is consistent, I believe the EVO and P4pro are there, it could be a little better or a little less. But it's very close there.
When talking about cameras, it's worth mentioning that the camera has a screw-mounted UV filter, which is great because it makes installing an ND filter super easy, as I always say, if you're serious about your video , your kit needs to include a set of NDs, preferably a graduated ND, if you can get one.
Autel Robotics made a really interesting choice for the controller, including a full-color screen where you can drive the EVO without using a smartphone, which, for me, is a bigger feature than I initially expected , because whenever your phone's battery runs low, you can just use the screen on the controller to continue flying another flight. And if you're one of the many people who choose not to have the latest smartphone at all, this controller is still great for you.
Quickly walk around the controller and you'll see the video recording button on the left, and still shooting on the right shoulder, with the camera pitch dial on the left. The right dial is used to adjust camera settings, and Autel Robotics made a smart move with the right dial, you can navigate camera settings and switch from ISO to shutter speed, and even use the dial to select camera modes.
At the top of the controller, so to speak on the front end, there are the now standard RTH buttons as well as auto takeoff and autoland buttons.
It's worth noting that you can live without the auto takeoff button, just push the stick down and center and you can arm and disarm the drone. I prefer this because I'm not keen on any buttons that fire up my drone and put it 6 feet in the air. There are two programmable buttons on the bottom of the controller.
You're looking at a typical modern smart battery that will give you about 30 minutes of total flight time, but the low battery warning will go off sooner than that. It's a good idea to have an idea of how far you've flown and what percentage of battery power you'll need to get home.
At the bottom of the Autel Robotics EVO you can see two acoustic sensors that manage low flight altitudes. Also clearly visible are the front- and rear-mounted downward facing cameras, which manage the lower level position and lock the EVO into place quite successfully. The alloy base plate also has heatsinks, you can see the heatsinks, I have always been surprised by the changes in drones, no one thought a few years ago that portable mini drones would have cooling fans.
The included wall charger is suitable for a variety of voltages so you can take it with you, the charger has a dedicated battery plug and a USB plug for charging the controller, it is a very powerful USB charger, so It also works when iPhones and tablets are not charging the controller.
The charger also reminds me of one of my most wanted accessories, there is no 12v car charger on the accessories page, it's an important accessory for me, and I hope they add one in the future, until then I'll just have to Using the inverter while charging the EVO battery in the car, I'm probably charging the EVO battery 90% of the time.
EVO vs MavicPro
The EVO looks a lot like a Mavic but many of the solutions are very different, here are a couple of photos showing the EVO side by side with my old MavicPro, the MavicPro has been living under the front passenger sitting in my car because it's so compact And easy to fly, so while not my best camera drone, it's been my go-to for a body-worn video drone since its release. That changed, the new EVO fits neatly under the front seats, and its image quality matches the Phantom 4pro, which has become my favorite portable video drone.
Left is DJI Mavic Pro, right is Autel EVO