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Autel Robotics Autel Robotics Evo Lite
Retail price: $1,249.00
What we like
What we don't like
Autel Robotics Autel Robotics Evo Lite
Autel Robotics has a history of competing with DJI to make the best consumer drones on the market. In particular, it’s fair to compare Autel’s Evo series of folding quadcopters to DJI’s Mavic series of drones. Can it beat the very best? Find out in this Autel Robotics Evo Lite Plus review.
What you need to know about the Autel Robotics Evo Lite Plus
- Autel Robotics Evo Lite: $1,249 (base model), $1,549 (premium bundle)
- Autel Robotics Evo Lite Plus: $1,349 (base model), $1,649 (premium bundle)
The Autel Robotics Evo Lite series was announced in late 2021, with shipments landing in early 2022. It comes in two versions, with the “plus” model which we tested offering a larger camera. The airframe is a compact, folding quadcopter design, very similar to previous Evo drones, which is also similar to DJI’s Mavic drones. It’s an effective and efficient design, offering enough aerodynamics to attain airspeeds over 40mph, and flight time up to 40 minutes.
Check out: 10 best drone apps for Android
The Evo Lite standard model delivers with a 1/1.28-inch camera sensor, able to capture up to 50MP images and 4K video. Pixel binning produces 12.5MP images that should prove crisper than the outright 50MP shots. Autel Robotics even included some lossless zoom, enjoy up to 2x lossless zoom on 4K video, 4x lossless zoom on 1080p video, with up to 16x total zoom available.
The Evo Lite Plus has a 1-inch camera sensor that captures 20MP stills and up to 6K video at 30fps, 4K at 60fps, or capture 120fps at 1080p. This larger camera offers up to 1.3x lossless zoom at 4K and 3x lossless zoom at 4K, also offering up to 16x digital zoom overall.
As camera drones, the images and video captured from the sky are all that matter for some pilots. We are happy with the results from the Evo Lite Plus, particularly with the low-light performance of the Moonlight settings that produce pleasantly low-noise photos of dark scenes.
We are also pleased that Autel Robotics has taken the time to learn from past drones, and listened to the requests of pilots, as the Evo Lite series offer some of the best flight features on top drones today. Reliable obstacle avoidance will help keep you safe in the sky. Stable gimbals keep your video silky smooth. Long-range connectivity enables some pilots to reach up to 7.5 miles of flight range, while most of us that must adhere to line-of-sight drone laws are assured a solid connection to the drone.
The Evo Lite Plus is fairly lightweight, with carbon fiber propeller arms, and the battery makes up most of the rear of the fuselage, cutting down on extra framework.
The battery is relatively huge, at least in terms of capacity. At over 6,000 mAh, it is one of the largest consumer drone batteries around. The result is up to 40 minutes of flight time.
What’s not so good?
Overall, we think the Evo Lite is a great drone, but there is one instance where we could not get the drone to fly as we wanted: indoors. The lack of GPS connectivity was expected, but the resulting turbulence from the prop wash was more than the drone could manage, and we couldn’t figure out how to keep the obstacle avoidance sensors turned on.
This machine, built to fly hundreds of feet into the sky, is not our first pick for flying in the living room.
Evo Lite Plus camera samples
Autel Robotics Evo Lite Plus: Should I buy it?
First and foremost, between the Evo Lite and the Evo Lite Plus, we think you should invest in the Evo Lite Plus model. The price is only a little bit more, but the larger camera is more bang for the buck.
The Autel Robotics Evo Lite Plus is a compelling drone. We are happy to say that it is a viable alternative to the DJI Mavic series, if you were looking to try something else. At launch, the best part about the Evo Lite Plus is the price. We think that the top competitors for the Evo Lite are the DJI Air 2S ($999) and the DJI Mavic 3 ($2,199). The Evo Lite series is priced in between those two DJI drones, laying out a range of options that allow you to get a solid drone at several price points.
Top Evo Lite Plus questions and answers
Q: Do both versions shoot 6K video at 120 fps?
A: Sadly, no. The Evo Lite shoots up to 4K at 60fps, and 1080p at 120fps. The Evo Lite+ shoots 6K at 30fps, 4K at 60fps, and 1080p at 120fps.
Q: Is “lossless” zoom an optical zoom?
A: The lossless zoom is made possible by utilizing all of the available pixels on the camera sensor. It is not an optical zoom. The additional zoom levels are digital zoom.
Q: Can I really get 40 minutes of flight time?
A: It is possible, yes. Flight times for drones are more like the fuel economy of a car than like the battery life of a smartphone. The longer you spend at idle, or the harder you push the drone, the shorter your time in the sky will be. In a typical flight, turning on the drone, connecting the controller and your smartphone, maybe running an update, then flying around in various ways with a bit of wind to contend with, then landing with a safe amount of juice left in the tank, please expect to get about 33-35 minutes of actual flight time on average.