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AUTEL EVO Nano Review

AUTEL EVO Nano
Review

Price when reviewed

£599

$563
Check current price

Our Verdict

Slipping in at just under the 250g max drone weight limit, the small EVO Nano is a surprisingly solid performer. The compact camera and gimbal put in a sterling performance, capturing high-quality 4K video that rivals the DJI Mini 2.
In almost every respect, the two compact weight-busting drones are matched, however, you have to remember that the Mini 2 has been superseded by the outstanding Mini 3 Pro.
As with the video quality, the build quality equals that of the DJI drone. However, the controller is slightly more ergonomically designed and comfortable to hold.
At the end of the test, when it comes to building and performance, the Autel EVO Nano is an excellent option. However, against the newly released DJI Mini 3 Pro, the features of the Autel EVO Nano are matched and bettered, but the price still makes this a desirable option.

For

  • Well priced
  • Solid Flight
  • Superb video quality

Against

  • Not a huge price difference between this and the DJI Mini 3 Pro
  • RTH cannot be overridden

What is Autel EVO Nano?

For years DJI has ruled the skies, and with the companies extensive range of drones and gimbals, it leaves little room for any other manufacturer to get a look in. Autel has been chipping away at DJI’s place for some time, and when the EVO Nano was launched, it was streets ahead of the DJI Mini 2, featuring a large 1/2-inch sensor and object avoidance sensors.

Like the DJI Mini 2 and Mini 3 Pro, this drone comes in under the 250g weight limit, which means you can fly without registering for a drone licence.
The EVO Nano is available in two options the Nano that I’m looking at in this review and the cheaper Nano+ 1/2.3-inch sensor. Essentially aside from the size of the sensor, the two drones are visually the same.

When you compare the Nano against the Mini 3 Pro again, the similarities are easy to see. Both feature flip-out arms and come in at under 250g, but the Mini 3 Pro boosts the framerate options.

AUTEL EVO Nano

Ultimately the EVO Nano is a very exciting drone, that from the outset, impresses with a comprehensive three-battery kit, handset, easy to use App, for iOS and Android, and a decent case to carry everything.

Specification

  • Takeoff Weight (without Accessories): 249g
  • Max Ascent Speed: 5m/s (ludicrous), 4m/s (standard), 3m/s (smooth)
  • Max Level Flight Speed : 4m/s (ludicrous), 3m/s (standard), 2m/s (smooth)
  • Max Flight Time (no wind) : 28min
  • Navigation: GNSS GPS, GLONASS, Galileo
  • Imaging Sensor: CMOS:1/2 inch;
  • Effective pixel: 48M
  • ISO range Video: ISO100 – ISO 3200
  • ISO Photo: ISO100 – ISO3200
  • Shutter speed : Photo Mode:1/8000 ~ 8s
  • Shutter speed Other: 1/8000 ~ 1/frame rates
  • Photo resolution : 48MP, 12MP
  • Photo format: JPG(8-bit) / DNG(10-bit) / JPG+DNG
  • Video coding format: H265/H264
  • Video resolution: 3840×2160 p30/25/24, 2720×1528 p30/25/24 1920×1080 p60/50/48/30/25/24,
  • Max bitrate: 100Mbps

Build and Handling

The small Autel EVO Nano may be compact and lightweight, but it feels solid. The main plastic body is well designed and made from a good quality robust plastic, that’s more than capable of standing up to a knock or two. The main arms are also strong and ridgid with the front arms folding out first before the rear arms are folded back.

The folded size is perfect for slipping into a backpack side pocket.
Checking over the drone, you can see a selection of sensors; two on the front, two on the back and a couple on the underside.

On the back is a USB Type-C port and MicroSD Card slot; above is the battery with a large on/off press button in the centre. To clasps on either side lock it in place and enable the battery to be removed and replaced in seconds.

AUTEL EVO Nano

On the front of the drone is the camera with a 1/2-inch sensor suspended on a 3-axis gimbal. The mechanics of this are impressive, and checking it out in flight, it’s good to see how fast this gimbal reacts to changes in direction and angle.

The drone follows the standard design layout that we’ve become familiar with and has, over the years, been tweaked and perfected.

While it’s great to see avoidance sensors and the large imaging sensor, this small drone hasn’t quite stepped up to the full feature list of some of the larger drones. For instance, there are no side or vertical sensors and the propellers are screwed in rather than featuring quick release, but I think this is a good balance in order to keep the weight down.

AUTEL EVO Nano

Features

Aside from the compact size, one of the big selling points of this drone is the Takeoff Weight which, without accessories, comes in at 249g. This weight is important as it enables you to fly the drone without a licence, and many of the restrictions that affect drones over this weight limit don’t apply.

This means that with the Autel EVO Nano you have a high-quality imaging drone that weighs in at the same amount as a toy drone. How long this weight limit will remain outside the licence requirements we will have to wait and see, but for now, this does enable plenty of flexibility over where you can fly.

The size is compact, but the small motors pack in power with three flight speed options; Ludicrous, standard and smooth. In ideal conditions with no wind, you can expect over a level flight speeds of 4m/s (ludicrous), 3m/s (standard), and 2m/s (smooth), which is by no means sluggish considering.

AUTEL EVO Nano

Flight times are also impressive, with each of the three batteries in the kit providing a maximum of 28 minutes. The RTH safety feature kicks in well before this, and with a headwind, this flight time will reduce, but as a stated flight time, it’s very good.

The sensors provide flight stability and include the GNSS GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo connection. The drone is surprisingly quick to locate the satellites, and the amount connected can be seen through the app interface.

Aside from being lightweight, the camera is the big feature of this drone. Featuring a large 1/2-inch sensor capable of capturing 48MP images with a photo and a video sensitivity range of 100 – 3200. There are also plenty of shutter speed options with the 1/8000 to 8s.

AUTEL EVO Nano

Images can be captured in either JPEG, RAW or both and video at H265 or H264 at 100Mbps.

When it comes to video resolution, while the drone can’t quite reach the 4K framerates of the DJI Mini 3 Pro, there are still many high-quality options. Video can be shot at 4K 3840×2160 p30/25/24, 2K 2720×1528 p30/25/24 and 1080p 1920×1080 p60/50/48/30/25/24.

Setting up the drone takes a few moments once the App has been downloaded. First, the controller is plugged into the mobile phone, and after a few seconds, the App says it is connected, then the drone is switched on, and again the App confirms everything is connected and you’re ready to fly.

AUTEL EVO Nano

Tapping the camera icon in the App brings up the live view, which is clear and crisp. Navigating settings is quick and easy, and accessing flight modes, camera settings etc, is all straightforward.

Performance

After the initial setup taking off the drone is easy, pull the two sticks towards the middle, and the props start, ease up on the left stick, and the drone raises steadily off the ground.

After a few quick flight checks, everything seemed in order, I switched on the object avoidance sensors from the outset, and the first flight was smooth and solid in standard flight mode.

Switching to smooth and the flight speed is lethargic, but sure enough, the quality and stability of the footage can only be described as smooth. With the speed of flight in Smooth mode and the sensors, the EVO Nano is incredibly easy to control. While the conditions are calm, with only the lightest of breezes, the drone’s control is reassuringly solid.

AUTEL EVO Nano

Switching to ludicrous flight mode and the pace picks up – it’s by no means FPV speed but fast enough for you to have some fun and get the drone to the position you want to start filming before switching to Smooth.

Filming can all be controlled through the Autel Sky App, with a simple touch on the screen to start and stop recording. Likewise, all settings are accessed through the touch screen interface.

If you want to, there’s a direct record/shutter button on the top right of the controller. Alongside the button is the gimbal angle adjustment; rotate it left or right to lower or raise the angle during flight.

While I’m on the controller, there’s the home button, tap this, and the drone will return to the take-off point, although once it has started its journey, there’s no stopping it or cancelling the command.

To the right is the pause button; this is handy if you want to take a break from flying and leave the drone hovering in one position; press release it back into flight.

Accessing all the different photo and video modes is also extremely easy. A tap on the icon at the top enables you to switch between manual camera, panorama and many more options.

Overall in flight, the small Autel EVO Nano was outstanding, smooth when you needed it to be for filming and picking up the pace when you wanted to have fun.

Returning home and checking through the footage and the quality instantly stood out; this drone was more than capable of capturing some of the highest quality footage possible from a drone of this size.

The detail of the 4K video at 30fps is exceptional, although dropping the framerate down, to me, makes little or no sense. Checking the footage at 2K and 1080p, the quality of the tone and colour is excellent. It’s a shame that the framerates at 1080p are still limited to a rather low 60fps.

There is also a slight issue with a lens flare that you’ll see in some of the footage; overall, considering the drone’s size, the quality however is outstanding.

Verdict

It’s great to see another drone on the scene with functions and features that rival DJI’s. The Autel EVO Nano is a well-designed sub 250g drone with a great camera and lens quality.

The overall build and design are excellent, and for me, the controller was a real winner; it is based on a traditional-style game controller design that makes it incredibly easy to hold and use.

In-flight, the small drone feels stable, and the three flight modes give plenty of flexibility regarding how you use the drone. The Smooth mode is sudate and an ideal option for filming; the Ludicrous is fast, but not Ludicrously, so it is fun.

AUTEL EVO Nano

The important feature for us as photographers is the imaging quality, and on this front, the small drone provides plenty of quality and video and photo options.

A feature that will appeal to photographers is the panorama mode. Position the drone and tap the button, and then the drone will automatically capture a large-scale scene image. Ok, this is nothing new, and we’ve seen this on the DJI drones, but it’s a must-have feature so well worth a mention.

The quality of the 4K video is superb; it’s just a shame it doesn’t push it to 60fps. Likewise, the 1080p footage should be pushing the 120fps mark. However, the 100Mbps video capture and latest H265 compression option give you plenty of recording options.

Overall the Autel EVO Nano is a great drone with plenty of features to keep you happy. Flight is fun, and the image quality is superb. The DJI Mini 3 Pro might be slightly ahead in imaging options with the 4K@60fps and 1080p@120fps, but in all other respects, the two drones are level pegging. In the end, it will be the price that will be the decider.

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