Compared to DJI models

From left to right: The Autel EVO II, DJI Mavic 2 Pro, and the DJI Mavic Air 2. The Mavic Air 2 boasts a similar camera and capabilities to the standard EVO II.

It won't escape your notice that we've made many comparisons to DJI drones throughout this review. That's inevitable. DJI owns nearly 77% of the consumer drone space in the US alone, and it's likely that if you're considering the EVO II, you're doing so either as an alternative to DJI or because you want a specific feature not available on a DJI drone.

The most comparable DJI models are the Mavic 2 Pro, which uses a 20MP 1"-type sensor similar to the one found on the EVO II Pro, and the Mavic Air 2, which uses a 48MP Quad Bayer sensor similar to the EVO II.

Autel EVO II Autel EVO II Pro DJI Mavic Air 2 DJI Mavic 2 Pro
MSRP $1495 $1795 $799 $1599
Sensor 48MP 1/2" CMOS 20MP 1"-type CMOS 48MP 1/2" CMOS 20MP 1"-type CMOS
Lens 26mm equiv. (F1.8 fixed) 29mm equiv. (F2.8-11) 24mm equiv. (F2.8 fixed) 28mm equiv. (F2.8-11)
Obstacle avoidance Forward, backward, downward, upward, sides Forward, backward, downward, upward, sides Forward, backward, downward Forward, backward, downward, upward, sides
Max video resolution 8K/25p, 6K/30p, 4K/60p, 2.7K/120p, HD/120p 6K/30p, 4K/60p, 2.7K/120p, HD/120p 4K/60p, 2.7K/60p, HD/240p

4K/30p, 2.7K/60p, HD/120p

Max bit rate 120 Mbps 120 Mbps 120 Mbps 100 Mbps
Codecs H.264, H.265 H.264, H.265 H.264, H.265 H.264, H.265
Log gamma 10-bit A-Log 10-bit A-Log Cinelike 10-bit D-Log-M
Zoom 8x (up to 4x lossless) 8x (up to 3x lossless) 2X digital zoom up to 4K/30p N/A*
Maximum speed 72 km/h 72 km/h 68 km/h 72 km/h
Flight time 40 min 40 min 34 min 31 min
Dimensions in mm (folded) 228 x 133 x 110 228 x 133 x 110 180 x 97 x 47 214 x 91 x 84
Takeoff weight 1150g (2.5 lbs.) 1191g (2.6 lbs.) 570g (1.26 lbs.) 907g (2.0 lbs.)

*The similar Mavic 2 Zoom model is available with 2x optical zoom and 1/2.3" CMOS sensor camera

For the introductory price point of $799, the Mavic Air 2 offers the best overall value. The EVO II starts at $1,495, while the EVO II Pro is $1,795, and the latter is almost $200 more than the Mavic 2 Pro.

To put this in perspective, you're spending up to twice as much money for 8K/25p or 6K/30p video when, for many use cases, 4K/60p will suffice.

The flying experience: Autel vs. DJI

I know an Autel EVO II owner who came up with the best analogy for flying the EVO II: 'It feels like flying a bus.' It boasts a robust frame, looks and feels durable, and the bright orange color makes it easy to spot. Autel went bigger with its airframe to house a larger battery to power the aircraft up to 40 minutes.

When it comes to takeoff and maneuvering, and even attempting to fly in a straight line, the EVO II is not as agile as the Mavic Air 2, which is nimble and adept at maneuvering through narrow spaces, or the Mavic 2 Pro.

I didn't find the initial ascent as smooth as other drones I've flown. When the drone takes off, it pauses shortly at an altitude around 20 feet before continuing its ascent. Once airborne, it maneuvers well enough but not as smoothly as its DJI competitors.

Boats captured with the EVO II Pro camera.

The EVO II doesn't have the same range as its competitors either. When flying in Chicago, the drone got disconnected at a much lower altitude than my Mavic 2 Pro and lost connection for a good two minutes before my visual observer and I could regain control and land safely. In contrast, the Mavic 2 Pro performs spectacularly well in congested urban environments.

Even outside congested areas, the EVO II has a shorter transmission range than its competitors when launched from the same locations.

The EVO II's biggest shortcoming is the Autel Explorer app.

However, the EVO II's biggest shortcoming is the Autel Explorer app. The company would do well to hire a user experience specialist to streamline its features. I felt flustered at times switching back to Manual Flight Mode to adjust my photo or video settings and, even then, I would have to deactivate Burst Mode and select Single Shot, for example, to switch from Manual to Shutter mode for shooting.

DJI's Fly app, which currently powers the Mavic Air 2 and Mini, has pared down its interface. All the important features are easy to access. The Explorer app packs in too many features and not all of them are necessary.

Baseball stadium captured with the EVO II (standard camera).

Additionally, I found it much easier and straightforward to activate Dynamic Track and Orbit Mode in DJI Fly's app compared to Explorer. I'm not suggesting Autel emulate everything its competitor does. Still, there's a steep learning curve for taking advantage of all the additional features the EVO II packs in. Smart Orbit, which was recently introduced, allows users to trace a box around the main subject. Hopefully, Autel replicates this feature update across their other modes.

I noticed the EVO II was quieter in flight than recent DJI drones I've operated. This is likely the result of updated ESCs (electronic speed controllers) and props with a bit of an arch.

Overall, the imagery I was able to capture was consistently crisp, clear, and sharp for both photos and video.