Autel has launched its new EVO Nano and EVO Light drones, which are aimed at competing with DJI’s line of compact, lightweight drones. Autel is perhaps the most direct rival DJI has in the consumer drone space, and that rivalry just got a bit more intense.
First up is the EVO Nano, with its notable 249-gram weight, which falls below the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) 250-gram threshold. Drones above that weight must be registered with the FAA in the U.S. This is the same lightweight category currently dominated by the DJI Mavic Mini 2, against which the EVO Nano possesses a few notable advantages. For one, it features three-way obstacle avoidance, which is a unique innovation in a drone weighing less than 250 grams.
Another advantage the Nano drones have is in its cameras: A 50MP 1/1.28-inch camera sensor in the Nano+, or a ½-inch 48MP sensor in the Nano. Both cameras easily outstrip the much smaller 1/2.3-inch 12MP sensor found in the DJI Mavic Mini 2.
The EVO Nano drones are also equipped with 4K 30 frames per second (fps) video, and transmit live 2.7k video to the controller with a range up to 6.2 miles. These drones offer 28 minutes of flight time.
The EVO Lite drones are slightly bigger and heavier, but are much more powerful. The EVO Lite+ offers a larger 1-inch 20MP sensor that’s perfect for shooting in low light. It also cranks the UAV’s video capabilities up to 6K 30 fps for ultra-high-resolution filmmaking and offers a variable aperture of F2.8-F11. That variable aperture gives it an edge over the comparable DJI Air 2S.
The EVO Lite shares a camera with the EVO Nano+, and though this is a step down in terms of image quality from the EVO Lite+, it makes up for it with a 4-axis gimbal that allows you to flip the camera on its side and shoot vertical video for sharing on social media. The EVO Lite drones bump up the maximum range to 7.4 miles and offer 40 minutes of flight time.
These new drones come with all the automatic tracking and cinematic modes you’d expect in a modern consumer drone. They feature video game-style controllers that connect to your smartphone for video transmission and control.
The EVO Nano will retail for $649, with the Nano+ costing $799. The EVO Lite will set you back $1,149, and the EVO Lite+ will cost $1,249. Autel has not yet announced when these drones will be available for purchase.
It’s worth noting that these prices are significantly higher than comparable DJI drones. Though they offer some significant upgrades, it may be an uphill battle for Autel to win customers from DJI’s more affordable and recognizable lineup of drones. It’s great to see such fierce competition in the UAV space, which has for a long time been very one-sided in favor of DJI.