The EVO Lite + from Autel Robotics falls into the folding mid-size category of drones, competing directly with the DJI Mavic Air 2S.
Folded, it measures 210 X 123 X 95mm. While unfolded and ready for flight those figures become 427 X 384 X 95mm, and a weight for take-off of 835g.
The EVO Lite comes in 2 variations, the Lite and the Lite+. The difference being only in the stronger camera capabilities of the Plus, which sports a 6K video camera with a 1” sensor, and uniquely, variable aperture – user controllable from f2.8 through to f11.
The lens has a field of view of 82 degrees, and an equivalent focal length of 29mm. Video coding is H264/H265 in MP4 or 8-bit MOV, with top resolution of 5472X3076 p30/25/24, or in HDR mode, 3840X2160.
Photo resolution is 5472X3648 using 3:2 aspect, or 5472X3076 using 16:9, with shutter speeds of 1/8000 to 8s. Full camera specs can be found on the Autel Robotics site. While the EVO has 6GB of built-in memory, these camera specs would dictate an additional SD card, and the unit can support up to 256GB with minimum UHS-3 speed rating.
Autel claim a flight time of 40 minutes in ideal conditions, and that is probably fair, with real world conditions reducing that to around 35 – still quite impressive.
The Lite+ controller has no inbuilt screen and requires an iPhone or Android to be fitted – not a new concept, but perhaps a retrograde step given this unit may well be targeted at serious photographers or videographers who find such things rather tedious. The controller’s battery is 3930mAh giving life of 2.5h if connected to a phone, or 3.5h if not. Charging is via USB-C. The Autel Sky mobile app is a free download.
Three modes of operation are available, and somewhat reminiscent of Tesla, they are ‘smooth’, ‘standard’ and ‘ludicrous’. Ludicrous gives a maximum ascent speed of 5m/s, and level flight of 18m/s (64kph). While obstacle sensors will cause the EVO to stop short, it doesn’t have the capacity to navigate around the obstacle autonomously.
It is a limited field when shopping for drones in this size range, with this camera ability, and the EVO Lite+ is a strong contender. The default video profile is quite a saturated look, often referred to as ‘vivid’ by some manufacturers, although a flat profile is also available. Options in the app for adjusting sharpening and saturation are unfortunately lacking, however the ability to adjust aperture is a bonus.
Autel have done a solid job with the EVO Lite+, and the internationally recognised Red Dot and iF awards think so too – folks whose opinions are highly regarded.
Our Final Opinion on this Gadget
Autel Robotics EVO Lite+ drone – despite a few annoying limitations, a strong candidate in this niche drone category.
The Lite+ comes in three colours – orange, white, grey – and comes ether as the Standard package with the usual inclusions, or the Premium, which adds 2 extra batteries, a triple charger, a set of neutral density filters, and a carry case.
No, it does not, so you need to do your own research in whatever area you choose to operate.