Autel Evo 2 – EVO II, EVO II Pro & EVO II Dual: Drones with 8K / 6K Camera
The Autel EVO 2 drone series was unveiled in January 2020 at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. In the meantime, the drone, which is available in the three versions EVO II, EVO II Pro and EVO II Dual, is now available for purchase.
The Autel EVO 2 series are high-class drones designed for both demanding private users and professional use.
In the following, we will show you what makes the EVO II so special, explain the differences between the various variants and present the diverse functions and features in detail.
The highlights of the Autel EVO 2
The EVO II series is manufactured by Autel Robotics, a US-based company founded in China in 2014. The EVO II series is a further development of the first EVO drone, which was launched in 2018.
The manufacturer mainly targets its drones at demanding private users, filmmakers and photographers and is thus in direct competition with DJI. However, due to its professional features, the EVO 2 series is also interesting for various applications in commercial and industrial environments.
If you want to buy an EVO II drone, you have the choice between the models EVO II, EVO II Pro and EVO II Dual. All models feature flight times of about 30 to 40 minutes and can be controlled at a range of up to 5.6 miles (9 km) (USA) or 3.1 miles (5 km) (Europe). The biggest differences between the three versions are in the camera used.
The highlights of the EVO 2 series at a glance
- Mechanical 3-axis gimbal
- Support for H.264 and H.265 codecs at 120 Mbps
- HDR video up to 4K resolution
- 10-bit color depth
- Approx. 35 to 40 minutes flight time
- Up to 9 km range
- 360° obstacle detection and avoidance
- Remote control with 3.3″ display
- No geofencing
- No online login required
As the first consumer drone ever, the EVO II has a 1/2″ CMOS sensor for video recording in 8K. It can shoot photos at up to 48 megapixels.
The EVO II Pro has an even larger 1″ CMOS sensor that allows for 6K video and photos in 20 megapixels. The EVO II Dual model has an 8K camera with a 1/2″ CMOS sensor, plus an additional 640 x 512 pixel LWIR thermal camera from FLIR.
All variants can record 6K video at 30 fps, and 4K video at 60 fps. The EVO II Pro and EVO II Dual are also capable of 2.7K video at 120 fps.
The design of the EVO II series
In terms of design, the three models hardly differ from each other. All variants have a striking orange housing with black arms, so that the drones always stand out well against the sky.
At 39.7 cm in diameter, the EVO II models are slightly larger than the DJI Mavic 2 Pro. Similar to DJI’s top model, the EVO II’s arms can be folded for transport.
EVO 2 Drone Weight
The Autel drones can hardly be called lightweights. All three models weigh more than 1 kilogram.
- EVO II: 1150 g
- EVO II Pro: 1191 g
- EVO II Dual: 1150 g
Speed and flight characteristics
All EVO II drones are equipped with extremely powerful motors that allow very high speeds. In standard mode, the drone reaches up to 54 km/h (15 m/s). In the so-called Ludicrous mode, even up to 45 mph (72 km/h) or 20 m/s) are possible.
In general, the EVO 2 is extremely stable in the air, even in relatively strong winds. The accurate GPS enables precise hovering on the spot. To launch the Autel EVO 2 into the air, a simple push of a button is enough. Alternatively, the launch can also be performed with the help of the two control sticks or even by voice command.
The drone is landed either manually or conveniently via Return to Home mode, which, by the way, works extremely precisely and returns the drone to the starting position with pinpoint accuracy.
A key feature of the Autel EVO II is the absence of a geofencing system. While many a professional pilot might be happy about the fact that there are no flight restrictions whatsoever, the lack of such a system naturally poses a safety risk for private users.
Unlike DJI drones, an Autel EVO II can be launched in no-fly zones, which can become a danger to others. On the other hand, the lack of a geofencing system allows commercial users with the appropriate permit to easily ascend in otherwise restricted areas.
Obstacle detection and avoidance
One of the biggest highlights of the Autel EVO II series is definitely the 360° obstacle detection with a total of 12 sensors on all sides of the drone. Unlike the DJI Mavic 2 Pro, the EVO 2 also has sensors on the top, which can be an advantage in many situations.
The system can detect obstacles at distances of up to 100 feet (30 meters) and avoid them independently. Additionally, colored lines in the live image on the display indicate the obstacles and thus provide an additional control option.
We really like the fact that the drone also detects height differences in the environment and adjusts its height accordingly.
Despite the omnidirectional sensors, caution is required in certain situations. Obstacles that are diagonal to the sides of the drone can sometimes be missed, as minor blindspots can occur here, according to Autel.
When the anti-collision system is activated, the maximum speed of the drone is limited to 22 mph (36 km/h). Accordingly, the system does not work in Ludicrous mode.
By the way, those who want to additionally protect their drone as well as bystanders can attach the optionally available prop guards to the copter. The prop guards can be easily attached to the drone’s motors in just a few seconds via a clip mechanism.
Flight time and range
The flight time of the drone is up to 40 minutes for the EVO II and EVO II Pro models and up to 38 minutes for the EVO II Dual. Since these values are maximum values, about 5 minutes less are realistic in practice, which are still very good values.
The long flight duration is made possible by a 365 gram 7100 mAh LiPo battery (3S). The charging time of the battery is about 90 minutes. A handy status LED that provides information about the charging progress is also included.
The maximum range at which you can control the EVO II drones is 5.6 miles (9 km) (USA) or 3.1 miles (5 km) (Europe). The signal transmission works on the 2.4 GHz frequency. However, please note that drones may only be flown within visual range.
Remote control and app
The EVO II’s controller has a 3.3-inch OLED screen that has a very good resolution and color reproduction. However, the display could have been a bit brighter, since it reflects slightly in strong sunlight. The video transmission of the drone’s live image is in 720p, which is more than sufficient for the size of the display. In addition to the controller’s display, a smartphone can also be attached to the top of the remote control.
Via the smartphone, you have access to the Autel Explorer app, in which various setting options can be made before and during the flight. The app is available for Android and iOS and can be downloaded for free from the respective App Store.
Compared to DJI’s Fly app, the Autel Explorer app still seems a bit underdeveloped. Not all important setting options are intuitively accessible and the menu navigation can be a bit confusing at first. This is where you notice the lead that DJI has after several years of development. Hopefully Autel will soon follow suit and update the app.
The Autel Evo 2 series cameras
As mentioned at the beginning, the different cameras of the EVO II series are the biggest differences between the three models.
A special highlight and a real unique selling point of the EVO II drones is the fact that the cameras are interchangeable. So unlike other drones with cameras in this price range, you don’t have to commit to a specific model, but can simply buy a different camera if needed and mount it on your existing drone. This is an immense advantage, especially price-wise.
So, for example, you can buy the EVO II and then just purchase the EVO II Pro camera module and use that in addition. According to Autel, an easy switch is possible in just 10 minutes without any technical knowledge. The modular cameras make the Autel EVO II series so future-proof, as in all likelihood newly released cameras can also be used.
All three camera systems have a 3-axis gimbal, record video at a bit rate of 120 Mbps, and feature 10-bit color depth and HDR (High Dynamic Range). The cameras can be panned from vertical down to about 30° above the horizon. It is possible to record in A-Log and then edit the footage in video editing programs such as Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cit Pro X using the eight LUTs provided. The best prerequisites for generating ultra-high-quality video material.
Photos can optionally (and also simultaneously) be taken in JPEG and DNG/RAW, which makes subsequent post-processing possible without any problems.
We also really like the EVO II drones’ zoom function, which can be used variably even while filming.
As for the maximum video resolution, only the EVO II can record in 8K. However, 6K at 30 FPS and 4K at 60 FPS are possible on all models.
For photos, the Burst Shooting mode is available in addition to Single Shot. Automatic Exposure Bracketing (AEB) and the option for long exposure shots (up to 8 seconds) are also available. The ability to take photos in Shutter Priority mode is also particularly practical.
Timelapse recordings can also be created, in which the drone takes photos at continuous intervals that can be subsequently combined into a time-lapse recording.
- JPEG: 2s/5s/7s/10s/20s/30s/60s
- DNG: 5s/7s/10s/20s/30s/60s
For low-light shooting, you can switch to HyperLight mode (for 4K and JPEG). The mode is used for noise reduction and should thus enable usable recordings even under reduced lighting conditions.
All three versions of the EVO II feature 8 GB of internal storage, which is readable via a USB-C port on the side of the drone. Additionally, a microSD memory card of up to 256 GB can be used to store the high-resolution recordings.
The quality of the video recordings (comparison to the DJI Mavic 2 Pro)
Videos from the EVO II series are generally extremely detailed, very sharp, and deliver crisp colors and contrast. In a direct comparison to the DJI Mavic 2 Pro, we think the EVO II models are just ahead in terms of sharpness and clarity and offer even more beautiful and detailed shots.
The photos are also convincing and offer great contrasts, rich colors and impressive sharpness. In terms of camera quality, the EVO II drones are among the best currently available on the drone market.
The camera of the Autel EVO II:
The camera of the Autel EVO II has a 1/2″ CMOS sensor with quad layer technology. Videos can be recorded in up to 8K (7680×4320 pixels) at 25 fps. The ISO range for movie recording is 100 to 6400.
Photos are taken in a maximum of 48 megapixels (8000 x 6000 pixels). Here, the ISO range is 100 – 3200.
The focal length of the lens is 26 mm. A fixed aperture of f/1.8 is installed. The EVO II camera can be zoomed by a maximum of 8x (4x loss-free).
Video resolutions of the EVO II:
- 8K @ 25 fps
- 6K @ 30 fps
- 4K @ 60 fps
The camera of the EVO II Pro:
The EVO II Pro camera has a 1″ CMOS sensor that allows videos in a maximum of 6K (5472 x 3076 pixels) at 30 fps. The ISO values range from 100 – 6400, which speaks for a very good low-light performance.
Photos are captured in up to 20 megapixels (5472 x 3648 pixels), at ISO values between 100 and 12800.
The focal length of the lens is 29 mm, and the aperture is adjustable between f/2.8 and f/11, which makes the EVO II Pro very attractive, especially for filmmakers. Zoom can be set to a maximum of 8x (3x lossless).
Video resolutions of the EVO II Pro:
- 6K @ 30 fps
- 4K @ 60 fps
- 2,7K @ 120 fps
The cameras of the EVO II Dual:
The EVO II Dual is the only one of the three EVO II models that has two cameras. The main camera has a 1/2″ CMOS sensor for 8K video recording at 30 fps. The ISO range for videos is 100 – 6400.
Photos can be recorded in a maximum of 20 MP at an ISO of 100 – 12800.
The EVO II Dual can also zoom in on shots up to 8x (3x lossless). Like the EVO II Pro, the EVO II Dual has a focal length of 29 mm and a variable aperture between f/2.8 and f/11.
The FLIR LWR thermal camera on the EVO II Dual has a resolution of 640 x 512 pixels. This is four times the resolution of the DJI Mavic Enterprise Dual and therefore allows for very detailed thermal imaging.
Video resolutions of the EVO II Dual (main camera):
- 6K @ 30 fps
- 4K @ 60 fps
- 2,7K @ 120 fps
The EVO II Dual is particularly interesting for professional users, such as rescue forces, police or security companies, as well as for inspection flights on technical installations.
Flight and recording modes
In addition to manual flight, the EVO II drones offer a total of eight other flight modes as well as three mission modes.
Dynamic Track 2.0: This special tracking mode works similar to DJI’s well-known ActiveTrack mode and is used for object and person tracking. Simply mark an object or person on the app’s display and the drone will begin tracking. The marked object is kept in view at all times while video is created.
Since obstacle detection is also active in Dynamic Track 2.0 mode, the EVO II automatically avoids any obstacles while recording. Incidentally, this also works for elevation changes in the terrain. So the EVO II will automatically gain altitude when you go to an elevation.
Tripod Track Mode: In this mode, the drone stays in one place while keeping moving objects in view.
Parallel Track Mode: Another mode for tracking people and objects. Unlike Dynamic Track 2.0 mode, here the drone flies parallel to the object or person. This can be extremely handy if you want to position the drone with its back (the rear) to the sun, for example, to prevent overexposure of your shots.
Viewpoint: Viewpoint mode works similarly to DJI’s TapFly feature. Highlight an object on the display and the drone will automatically fly in the direction of the object. Obstacle detection and autonomous avoidance also work in this mode.
Orbit Mode: In Orbit Mode, mark an object and the drone will fly a circle around the marked object while simultaneously recording a video. If you want, you can also move the gimbal during the circle flight to pan the camera.
Gestsure Mode: this mode allows you to give commands to the drone using body movements. For example, extend your arms to let the drone take a photo of you after three seconds.
Precision Mode: In this mode, the drone flies slower and even smoother at low altitudes, which can be especially handy for making special movie shots. In Precision Mode, you can set the maximum speed vertically and horizontally, as well as set a limit for the drone’s rotation speed.
Dual Stability Mode: This feature lets the EVO II drone accelerate and decelerate more slowly for even smoother video.
In addition to these shooting modes, the Autel EVO II still offers the ability to create different missions. These include the Waypoint Mission, the Rectangular Mission, and the Polygon Mission.
Waypoint Mission: Various settings can be made before the flight. For example, you can set the altitude and speed at which the EVO II should fly during the mission. Afterwards, pilots can mark various waypoints on the map in the app.
The waypoint mission is practical, for example, to fly the same route again and again over longer periods of time. For example, to document the progress of a construction project or to continuously monitor an industrial or agricultural area. For this purpose, the mission can be saved in order to be able to call it up again and again in the future.
Rectangular Mode: This mode is particularly suitable for cartographic applications and for systematically flying over and documenting a larger area. To plan the flight route, you first view the rough target area for the images on the map in the app. Here, you can now use your fingers to define a rectangle on the display, which you draw over the area to be photographed. Within the rectangle, the distance to be covered is displayed in the form of an S-pattern. The rectangle can be stretched, compressed and rotated.
In addition, the overlap can also be set and the flight angle within the rectangle can be determined. A dual grid for double coverage can also be set.
Polygon Mission: This mode is similar to the Rectangular mode, except that here the route to be flown can be further modified. Additional points can be defined and individual patterns can be created.
Autel EVO II vs. DJI Mavic 2 Pro
The Autel EVO II vs. DJI Mavic 2 Pro comparison reveals both advantages and disadvantages of the Autel drone compared to DJI’s top model.
One trivial but still worth mentioning difference is the color of both quadrocopters. Thanks to the orange color scheme, the EVO II is easier to spot in the sky, which can definitely be an advantage in some situations.
Looking at flight performance, the EVO II has a slightly longer flight time than the Mavic 2 Pro. The EVO II is also a bit quieter than the Mavic 2 Pro, although the difference is not great.
In return, however, the DJI drone is a bit more agile and can therefore be maneuvered better in confined environments. The EVO II can also be controlled very precisely, but the Mavic 2 Pro has the edge here.
In terms of range, the DJI Mavic 2 Pro has a slight advantage with a maximum of 6.2 miles (10 km), even though flights at such distances should be extremely rare. Nevertheless, the general signal stability is better with DJI, especially in urban environments with many buildings and obstacles, DJI has advantages here.
The point also goes to DJI in the area of user-friendliness. The Autel Explorer app is not quite as intuitive to use as DJI’s Fly app – this is where you notice the experience advantage and can only hope that Autel will soon follow suit.
In the area of photo and video quality, however, Autel is once again the winner. Both the EVO II and EVO II Pro’s photo and movie recordings are superior to the Mavic 2 Pro. The differences in terms of sharpness and colors may not be huge here, but they are noticeable. Autel also offers 8K and 6K video, respectively, as well as 4K video at 60 fps.
All in all, both the Autel EVO series and the DJI Mavic 2 Pro are two excellent drones. The differences are marginal, and which drone is better for you is something you’ll have to decide for yourself in the end.
Scope of delivery
The EVO 2 and EVO 2 Pro are each available as a standard version or rugged bundle with additional accessories. The scope of delivery of the EVO II includes the following components:
- 1x drone
- 1 x remote control
- 3 x propeller pairs
- 1x charger
- 1x charger cable
- 1x remote control charging cable
- 2 x smartphone cables
- 1 x LiPo battery (2 x in Rugged Bundle)
- 1 x carrying case (only in Rugged Bundle)
- 1 x Micro SD card holder (only in Rugged Bundle)
Please note that there is no Lightning cable included to connect an iPhone to the controller.
The three models of the EVO II series are clearly among the best currently available on the drone market. Whether you are a demanding private user or a commercial pilot, the EVO II drones offer excellent flight characteristics, outstanding features and, above all, impressive photo and video quality.
Autel Robotics presents itself as a competitor on par with DJI with the EVO II series, offering true alternatives to DJI’s Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom drones.
The photo and video quality of the EVO II, EVO II Pro and EVO II Dual is exceptional, and the many flight and recording modes offer countless possibilities for creative shooting.
Thanks to 1/2″ sensor for 8K video and photos in 48 MP (EVO II) or 1″ sensor for 6K video and 20 MP (EVO II Pro, EVO II Dual), you have plenty of room to maneuver in post-production (e.g. lossless cropping for 4K projects).
Since the cameras of all models are also interchangeable, you can easily switch to a different system without having to buy a completely new drone. It also ensures that you are set up for the future and can upgrade cameras that appear in the future.
Other highlights of the Autel EVO II drones include 360° obstacle detection and avoidance, up to 40 minutes of flight time, and a maximum range of 5.6 miles (9 km) (US) or 3.1 miles (5 km) (Europe).
However, with all the praise, the points of criticism should also be mentioned. First and foremost, the integrated display of the remote control should be mentioned here, which is not too well visible in strong sunlight. The lack of geofencing could also be a deterrent for some private users. Last but not least, the weight of more than one kilogram should be pointed out once again. Due to new drone regulations, a drone license is thus mandatory for operating the EVO II drones in many countries.
However, if these points do not deter you, you will get an impressive piece of technology with an EVO 2 drone, which allows great flying fun and first-class photo and film recordings!