Is the Autel Robotics EVO Worth buying in 2020?

Is 4K60p Good Enough? Who uses 6K/8K Video Anyways?

For the novice drone pilot, all you want is an aircraft that can record good video, is reliable, and easy to operate.

Having flown the Autel Robotics EVO drone multiple times, I can attest to its reliability in various weather conditions.

The EVO features a 4K60p camera, with multiple frame rates and resolutions, from 120fps in HD to DCI 4K24p.

Unlike most of its competition, the EVO has a controller with a built-in live view from the camera feed, perfect when you don’t have a phone or tablet.

Autel Robotics’ EVO battery life averages around twenty-five minutes, and in my tests charges within an hour or less.

  


Autel Robotics EVO Drone

Autel Robotics EVO Drone

  

Video

Video quality from the EVO is decent, its smaller sensor doesn’t work well in low-light environments and has a limited dynamic range in high-contrast environments.

Apart from the limitations of the small sensor, in video mode, the LOG recording profile does renders a suitable image for color-grading in post production to maintain highlights and shadow details.

For novice filmmakers, the LOG profile is too much work for quick editing or posting to social media, and should be reserved for project that allow extra time to color correct properly.

Photos

I find the stills from the camera, especially RAW files, are very easy to manipulate in editing and have a wide gamut range and color-accurate performance.

For exposure bracketing needed to create HDR photographs, the process is simple and quick within the app.

Photos can be captured as JPG or DNG and JPG+DNG.


6-Exposure HDR Shot

6-Exposure HDR Shot


6-Exposure HDR Shot

6-Exposure HDR Shot

EVO Features

  • 4K UHD 60FPS camera equipped on a 3-axis gimbal

  • Front & Downward (Computer Vision) and Rear (IR Sensor) Obstacle Avoidance Systems

  • 3.3 Inch built-in OLED screen remote controller with 720p live video

  • 30-minute flight time

  • Speeds up to 20 meters per second

  • 4300 mAh Li-Po Battery, 1.3 hour recharge time

  • 7km (4.2 mi) Range

  • Autel Explorer app allowing for intelligent flight features & more

What’s Missing?

Overall, the EVO is a very user-friendly drone, but I do have a few minor issues with its design and user experience, some which can be fixed with firmware updates.

  • The remote control is small and the joysticks are very sensitive

  • .MOV and H2.65 codecs require a fast computer with a dedicated graphics card

  • With the newest mobile app update, YouTube streaming isn’t permitted unless user has 1000 subscribers

  • No 360 degree panorama photo feature

  • Limited amount of third-party accessories, most manufacturers design for DJI drones

  • Poor low-light capabilities, noise noticeable at ISO 1600+

  • Tracking feature is hit-or-miss, will lose subject quite easily and not lock back on

Conclusion

Should you purchase the Autel Robotics EVO 1st generation or consider their newer 6K and 8K models?

I would buy the newer Autel Robotics EVO II series, since it adresses a lot of the misssing functionality of the EVO 1.

But, for the money, the EVO 1 is perfect for high-quaity 4K video and 12MP photos.

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