When shopping for a drone, you don't have to consider as many makes and models as you do when choosing a new smartphone or fitness tracker. In fact, you can divide most drones into two broad categories: large outdoor vehicles, and smaller drones with low-resolution cameras or no cameras at all.
Which one you choose will depend on your needs. For some people, a drone isn't worth buying unless it can capture jaw-dropping footage from the sky outdoors. But for others, it's enough to control a cool onboard machine -- they're happy to play in it, sacrificing some picture quality for a lower price tag.
Another difference is how you drive them. Larger drones often have their own controllers that allow the user to operate the machine and an integrated camera that is usually attached to them. Smaller toy drones, on the other hand, don't have controllers, so you can steer them directly from an app on your phone.
More recently, though, premium models for the outdoors have begun to fall into two subcategories—budget and premium. More expensive drones will fly longer, shoot better video, and have more advanced features, such as the ability to automatically spot and avoid obstacles. However, the line between these two subcategories is not always clear.
Finally, there are two other types of flying gadgets you should have on your radar: racing cars and professional drones -- although they're designed for power users. The first category is geared towards speed-conscious consumers and typically comes with kits of parts that buyers must assemble. Professional drones, on the other hand, are a common tool for broadcasters and filmmakers because they can provide excellent video quality. It's also the reason why they're raising thousands of dollars at higher prices. If money is no object, both types of drones offer better specs and speed, but you really need to know what you're doing if you want to get the most out of these machines.
The Autel Evo Lite standard model features a 1/1.28-inch camera sensor capable of capturing up to 50MP images and 4K video. Pixel binning produces a 12.5MP image that should be sharper than a straight 50MP photo. Autel Robotics even includes some lossless zoom, enjoying up to 2x lossless zoom on 4K video and 4x lossless zoom on 1080p video, for a total zoom of up to 16x. Lossless zoom is achieved by utilizing all available pixels on the camera sensor. It's not an optical zoom. An additional zoom level is digital zoom.
The Evo Lite Plus features a 1-inch camera sensor that captures 20MP stills and 1080p video at up to 6K at 30fps, 4K at 60fps, or 120fps. The larger camera offers up to 1.3x lossless zoom at 4K, 3x lossless zoom at 4K, and up to 16x digital zoom overall.
As camera drones, images and video captured from the sky are critical to some pilots. We're pleased with the Evo Lite Plus' results, especially the low-light performance of the Moonlight setting, which produces pleasantly low-noise photos of dark scenes.