The Autel Evo was originally released in June 2018, and has gone through various updates and improvements since that time. This article will be looking at it in its current state running firmware version 1.3.46 and is the first in a three-part series. Below is a first look and focus on the basics of the drone, what’s in the box and general observations.

Part two will showcase how it flies. Here I’ll have two people fly the drone who have no drone flying experience and include their feedback in the article and I will also fly the drone and give you feedback from an experienced drone flying perspective. In part three, I’ll take a look at how the drone does at taking good quality photographs and video.

This will be interesting for me because I have flown only DJI drones to date. I own and fly professionally an Inspire 2 with X5S camera. I’ve also flown a Phantom 4 Pro, Mavic Pro and Mavic Air.

By the way — I contacted customer support with multiple questions as I was preparing this article and I got to talk to a person and that person either had the answers or found them out and called me back! Really excellent customer service!

The basics

The Autel Evo offers the following features:

  • Advanced computer vision system providing forward obstacle avoidance, rear obstacle detection and bottom sensors for accurate landings and stable indoor flight
  • Flight times up to 30 minutes (many users are reporting between 23-27 minutes)
  • Dual GPS and GLONASS systems allowing for hands-free hovering
  • Forward and rear obstacle sensors (with sensors active the top speed is 22mph)
  • With sensors turned off the drone can reach speeds up to 44mph
  • A range of 4.3 miles
  • Low battery warning
  • Return to home feature
  • A glass optics camera with 3-axis stabilized gimbal
  • UHD 4K at up to 60fps (frames per second)
  • DCI 4K at 24fps and 30fps
  • Recording in H.264 and H.265 codecs
  • Photos at 12 megapixels

The first thing I noticed when opening the box was the feeling of quality in the packaging and the components. Nothing felt cheap or an afterthought. It was all laid out in a very professional manner. You even get a 32GB microSD card and cables to connect your tablet or phone. The drone itself is a bright orange with black legs. It is much easier to see in the sky and on the ground that other drones.

The drone weighs 1.9 pounds (862 grams) including the propellers and battery. This is comparable to the Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom. When folded down, the drone measures 8.5″ long, 5.5″ wide and little over 4″ high, which is a little larger than the Mavic 2 Pro and Zoom.

The remote controller is unique from what DJI offers in that Autel is using a full-color built-in 3.3″ 720p OLED display (think high contrast, rich colors and easy to see).

Autel Evo - front of remote controller

The remote also lets you can fly the drone without an additional tablet or phone. In the basic mode when you power on the remote controller, you will see the telemetry, battery, etc. If you press the Disp (Display) button shown below, the remote will display what the drone camera sees. From this mode, you are still able to change things like the shutter speed, frame rate and other settings.

Autel Evo Remote Disp button

For even more control and advanced features, you’ll want to download the Autel Explorer app for Apple iOS and Android devices. This will give you access to the more advanced settings and autonomous/intelligent flight feature like Dynamic Track, Viewpoint, Orbit, VR first person view and Waypoint mission planning.

Another thing to note is that the Autel Evo doesn’t have the No Fly Zone restrictions of the DJI. Autel doesn’t restrict where you can fly. Without the No Fly Zone in place, it puts the responsibility on us as pilots to make that call, so do be careful and understand the rules of where can and cannot fly.

What configurations can I buy it in?

The Autel Evo drone comes in 3 configurations that I’m aware of.

The Autel Evo drone basic is available for $999. It includes the following:

  • Autel Robotics EVO Quadcopter
  • Remote Controller
  • Micro-USB Cable
  • USB-C Cable
  • Remote Controller Cable
  • Intelligent Battery
  • 3 x Spare Propeller Pairs
  • microSD Card
  • Limited 1-Year Warranty

It’s also available in an On-The-Go Bundle for $1099, which includes all of the above plus two extra batteries and a soft case. A bundle with a hard-shell case is available for $1199.

Next time we’ll look at how the drone flies from the perspective of two beginners and a commercial drone pilot.

Fly safe and have fun!