Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Product Review: Autel Robotics Evo

The unit I am reviewing today is an Autel Robotics Evo Drone. This unit is a compact folding drone, giving you the ultimate pack, go and fly opportunity. It has so many features and I want to make sure I don't miss any of them. Let's start with a list of most important features:

  • 4k Camera mounted on a 3 axis stabilizing gimbal. Which records at 4k 60fps video and 12 megapixel stills, packed with glass optics with 94 degree field of view
  • Dual GPS and GLONASS systems for hands free hovering.
  • RTH (Return To Home) with fail-safe engagement during low battery or loss of controller connection.
  • Advanced Computer Vision Systems to avoid obstacles and ensure safe flights.
  • Remote Control with display, so you can fly without an additional mobile device.
  • Intelligent Battery that runs approximately 30 minutes, on charge 8, I am getting around 27 minutes of flight time.
  • 32 Gigabyte Micro SD Card Included.
  • A Soft Carrying Bag for travel.
  • A Complete set of replacement Rotor Blades.
  • Specifications show max control and video transmission distance 4.3 miles. (not tested by myself)
This is my first high end drone, and I must say Autel makes stepping into this high end of thehobby so easy. It really is a smart drone. Autel's design is very user friendly, it allows you to take control of the device and shut off the safety features as you are comfortable. It is important to first learn the basics of flight and control so that if the safety features fail, you can safely control and land the drone. The Autel Evo, has an absolute feel of quality, from the folding landing legs, to the physical attachment of the battery, to it's 3.3 inch oled remote control and it's camera and gimbal cover. The app is well laid out, with it's camera settings being super easy to get to, as well as the settings on the drone. I also love the placement of the record and snapshot buttons, with them right at your finger tips, there is no looking, when your eyes are on the drone. The fact that it comes with a travel bag is such a bonus, it literally is ready for you to grab it and go fly your next mission. I have to mention the durability of this unit, it has survived not only my first landing, but a slight collision with a tree about 25 ft in the air... See video below to understand it's durability. You may have noticed in the specifications, it states a 4.3 mile range on control and video transmission. I have watched someone on YouTube put these numbers to the test. That is amazing, but with federal regulations, at least the way I understand them when flying these aircraft they must stay in VLOS or Visual Line of Sight. Needless to say I will not be testing those limits. I have flown mine at several parks and my home, and I have not witnessed any drops of any sort in it's control interface or video. I have never exceeded a 1000 foot perimeter but around the house there is a lot of interference and the EVO system and video communications are rock solid. The EVO has several flight modes that are also pretty amazing. One is it's Dynamic Follow, which is exactly what it states, it will follow you as you walk, ride a bike, or even in a car at limited speeds. It also has an orbit mode, that will basically circle a target. The one mode that I want to play around with is it's Waypoint. You either program it via a flight marking several waypoints, or you can draw it out on a map in the software, it then will fly the flight path you created giving you control of the camera for excellent footage. I will be spending my time with this unit honing my craft of flying collision free while controlling the camera for better video. Be looking for some cool videos in the future. The video and images that the EVO produces are absolutely stunning.

I forgot to mention that with the latest firmware update this EVO drone can achieve 44 mph in Ludicrous mode, I do have to mention that with it on you lose the Obstacle Avoidance, so don't make that switch until you are comfortable flying this beast!

The Autel Robotics EVO is incredible, to list all of the pros, would be exhausting.

I have just a few cons, but they are pretty lame:
  • I wish it came with one extra battery (extra battery costs $85)
  • I wish it would have come with landing pad. I have seen them on Amazon for $20-$30(I ended up making my own with a fold-able sun shield for a car)
If you're looking for a great device to add to your collection, or starting a new collection, the Autel Robotics Evo is the drone for you.

I do have to note, before you lay the cash out for one of these devices, you will need to register with the FAA, and do a little bit of research for your area, it may be more difficult than you would imagine to fly it around where you consider a safe place. Here is neat map website that gives you some insight for your area, it is called AirMap. But once you find a few safe places, it is a bunch of fun.

Here are the photos of the product as it arrived.

Below is a shot of my homemade launch pad:

Below are three videos, the first is a compilation of some of my rookie footage, and the next two are my first two incidents, that have not damaged this tough little drone. 

*I do have a material connection regarding this piece of equipment or its manufacturer*

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