January 29, 2023

Creators and hobbyists searching for a drone typically goal plane with 249g takeoff weights with a purpose to sidestep the hassles of FAA registration. Autel’s tackle the idea is the Evo Nano collection, which matches featherweight engineering with gimbal digital camera stabilization for completely steady aerial footage. Like the fundamental Nano ($799), the Nano+ ($949) we’re reviewing right here helps 4K HDR video, sports activities sensors to forestall collisions, and may fly for practically a half hour between expenses. It is an general good performer, but it surely’s not fairly as properly polished as our Editors’ Selection, the $669 DJI Mini 3 Professional, which gives higher video high quality for fewer {dollars}.


A Mild Airframe Sidesteps Registration

We do not consider ounces and grams as a function level for a lot of merchandise, however the Nano+’s 249g takeoff weight issues for drone pilots. For these flying within the US, it makes it a bit simpler to get began as you will not must trouble with an FAA registration payment. As a substitute, you merely have to take an internet information take a look at. And for pilots in different areas, Canada and Europe are a lot much less strict for ultra-light drones.

You Can Belief Our Evaluations

Autel Evo Nano+, three-quarter view with arms folded in


(Credit score: Jim Fisher)

Autel markets the Nano+ in its signature orange colour scheme, which we acquired for evaluate, in addition to Arctic White, Blazing Purple, or Deep Area Grey. I do just like the colourful orange model, which stands out clearly in opposition to a blue sky—it is simpler to identify from a distance compared with a grey drone, particularly on overcast days. 

Plastic development goes a protracted method to preserving weight down. The supplies used within the Nano+ are lighter grade than the composite materials DJI makes use of for its Mini 3 Professional, however fall properly shy of being known as shoddy. The propeller arms fold snugly into the physique for storage and transport, and the battery locks solidly into place.

Autel Evo Nano+, front view showing camera and obstacle sensors


(Credit score: Jim Fisher)

Autel markets the Nano+ by itself for $949, a configuration that features the drone, distant, and a single flight battery. PCMag acquired the Premium package for evaluate, a $1,099 bundle that provides two extra batteries, a multi-charger, and a small carrying case. The multi-charger is helpful, and works with an included USB-C plug, however whereas the bag is properly made, it is a little bit tight to carry the drone and equipment comfortably.

There isn’t any inside storage within the Nano+, a slight shock on condition that the bigger Evo Lite+ comes with 6GB of reminiscence. As a substitute, it’s essential add a microSDXC card to avoid wasting video; the cardboard slot is on the rear of the airframe, slightly below the battery and subsequent to the USB-C knowledge port. The Nano+ does not assist in-body charging of its battery; it’s essential use the included exterior charger to replenish it.

Autel Evo Nano+, rear view showing memory card slot and battery


(Credit score: Jim Fisher)

The Nano+ is rated for about 28 minutes per flight by Autel, and received near that in our take a look at flights. Our assessments point out that real-world efficiency is nearer to 26 minutes of flight time, although the way you fly your drone and ambient circumstances come into play. The DJI Mini 3 Professional is a little bit higher performer right here, with as much as 34 minutes of airtime with its commonplace battery.


Distant Management and Autel Sky App

The Nano+ is the primary in a brand new collection from Autel, however drone pilots who’re conversant in the model could keep in mind the previous Evo II, one of many few drones to ship with a distant with a built-in display screen for digital camera view and management. That design is out. If you would like a small drone that you should utilize with out a smartphone, the DJI Mini 3 Professional is obtainable with the touch-screen DJI RC distant for $909.

Autel Evo Nano+ remote with iPhone attached


(Credit score: Jim Fisher)

The brand new distant sports activities up to date USB-C connectors for each charging and plugging your telephone in, in addition to detachable joysticks so it will possibly match into the drone’s extra-snug Premium satchel. Autel bundles quick connector cables for iPhones, in addition to micro USB and USB-C handsets. All and all it is a good distant management, although I’ve a minor grievance: There isn’t any storage onboard storage compartment for the detachable joysticks, so it’s important to take additional care to maintain observe of them.

The Autel Sky app is a free obtain for Android and iOS. I test-flew the Nano+ with two completely different telephones over my evaluate interval, first with an historical iPhone 8 Plus and later with the marginally smaller iPhone 13; the distant’s telephone clip dealt with each telephones, even when utilizing a case with the chunky iPhone 8 Plus.

Autel Sky app screenshot


The Autel Sky app is used for digital camera management
(Credit score: Autel)

The Sky app exhibits a view from the digital camera in your telephone’s display screen, together with telemetry knowledge to point out airspeed and altitude, and a map that exhibits the place the drone is situated at any given time. You additionally see a readout of the anticipated battery life, visualized utilizing a digital gas gauge along with numerical proportion and (estimated) remaining battle time readouts. If the gauge goes to yellow you are at risk of not getting all the way in which residence to the launch level in your remaining battery, so control it.

The battery gauge is not the one security function of notice. The Nano+ features a GPS to find out its location, and helps automated return-to-home within the occasion of low battery or a lack of connection to the distant management sign.

Autel Evo Nano+, drone standing upright showing the downward obstacle sensors


(Credit score: Jim Fisher)

The drone additionally helps downward, ahead, and rear impediment avoidance sensors. These successfully detect obstructions throughout the flight path and cease the Nano+ in place. That is so far as the performance goes, nevertheless, because the Nano+ is not fairly as sensible because the DJI Mini 3 Professional in that regard—the Mini 3 Professional is ready to regulate its flight path to keep away from obstacles, not simply halt in place.

DJI additionally pus an ADS-B receiver within the Mini 3 Professional, which is ready to warn you if there are manned plane flying close to your drone, not included within the Nano+. However, pilots who could also be annoyed by DJI’s strict FlySafe geofence will discover an Autel drone to be a breath of recent air. It will not stop takeoff based mostly on airspace restrictions, so be sure that to double-check the FAA B4UFLY(Opens in a brand new window) website to verify drones are allowed in your neighborhood.


4K Video With RYYB Shade

The Nano+ makes use of a brand new digital camera for Autel, a Sort 1/1.28 CMOS chip matched with a large 23mm f/1.9 lens. The digital camera helps 4K30 video with commonplace, HDR, or 8-bit Log colour, and may snap 12MP Uncooked or DNG stills, in addition to 50MP JPGs.

Autel Evo Nano+ sample image, landscape at sunrise


Out-of-camera JPG
(Credit score: Jim Fisher)

The excessive pixel depend is not the digital camera’s solely differentiating function; on a technical facet, the colour filter array makes use of a RYYB colour filter array, reasonably than the extra typical RGGB. Yellow filters transmit a bit extra gentle than inexperienced, for an image high quality benefit in dim gentle.

In follow, I discovered it to be a modest profit for video and JPG imaging, but it surely makes working with Uncooked DNG pictures a little bit tough. In Adobe Lightroom Traditional, reds shift to yellow, one thing that is fairly noticeable when evaluating an early morning dawn scene in JPG format (above) with DNG (under).

Autel Evo Nano+ sample image, landscape at sunrise


Uncooked processed with Lightroom’s default colour profile
(Credit score: Jim Fisher)

Adobe does not provide a customized profile to match up with the RYYB colour, however when you’re savvy sufficient with Lightroom to put in a customized profile, you possibly can lean on one made by Lodge Picture(Opens in a brand new window). It does a greater job with colours; I used it to make a 3rd model of the identical picture, under.

Autel Evo Nano+ sample image, landscape at sunrise


Uncooked processed with Lodge Picture profile
(Credit score: Jim Fisher)

The 50MP picture mode can turn out to be useful, relying in your subject material. When evaluating overhead photographs of a panorama scene, a creek, and surrounding panorama, I used to be fairly underwhelmed by the 50MP output; for advanced element like foliage and grass, the downsampled 12MP photos look higher.

Autel Evo Nano+ sample image, overhead view of suburban neighborhood


(Credit score: Jim Fisher)

However for city and suburban aerials, in addition to close-up scenes, the 50MP outcomes are clearer, with crisper views of homes and parked automobiles. I would nonetheless say that, for many everybody, 12MP is the way in which to go, however it’s possible you’ll discover the high-pixel depend possibility helpful for specialised instances, like inspection work.

For video, the 4K30 footage gives handsome, correct colour, and the three-axis gimbal makes for completely easy aerial footage. You additionally get a helpful digital zoom—its most 16x magnification is a bit blurry, however at its midrange setting the outcomes are clear.

I’ve one grievance, and it is that the video profile is overly sharpened. It results in some shimmering results and a loud look. Sadly, there isn’t any method to fine-tune the video profile, a function Autel dropped for this technology.

If you would like extra management over how your video seems, you possibly can swap to a Log seize profile. It is solely out there with computerized publicity settings, although, which is puzzling as it is a function with extra attraction for specialists who’re probably to make use of guide settings. An HDR profile is obtainable too, which can be restricted to auto mode.

Along with fundamental picture and video modes, the Nano+ has a couple of different seize modes, some extra helpful than others. We like Hyperlapse, the place the drone takes a collection of pictures and places them collectively in a fast time-lapse video, and there are a handful of automated Fast Photographs (Fade Away, Flick, Orbit, and Rocket), in addition to dynamic topic monitoring. A portrait mode, which is meant to blur backgrounds like a smartphone digital camera, is much less helpful; I’ve tried it on a couple of completely different Autel drones and it does not actually work.

All and all, the digital camera is a barely combined bag. For stills, out-of-camera image high quality is nice, and whereas the 50MP seize mode is not wanted for each shot, it does not take something away both. But it surely’s very onerous to get the appropriate colour of the digital camera if you wish to use Uncooked DNG. For video, the 4K30 footage is obvious, colourful, and steady, however overprocessed.


The Little Drone That May

Autel drones have their followers, and I can see why. The Evo Nano+ is a peppy little flyer that’s sized properly for journey, gentle sufficient to keep away from FAA registration necessities, and gives up ample battery life. Add in security options like a dependable GPS and impediment avoidance sensors, and there is a lot to love.

Even so, the Nano+ has some drawbacks. Its retail worth is a bit excessive compared with the DJI Mini 3 Professional, and Autel’s providing merely is not as sturdy or slickly engineered as DJI’s. Likewise, the Mini 3 Professional wins out in image high quality, with better-looking 4K60 and 10-bit Log video.

Autel Evo Nano+, front view


(Credit score: Jim Fisher)

When you’re eager to strive a model that is not DJI, nevertheless, Autel’s drones are about pretty much as good because it will get. The EVO Nano+ is protected to fly and has a really succesful digital camera; it is an particularly sensible choice for newbie pilots. The Nano+ is not fairly as properly polished or engineered because the Mini 3 Professional, which stays our Editors’ Selection, but it surely nonetheless gives lots for drone, pictures, and video fans searching for a substitute for DJI.

Execs

  • 4K30 video with gimbal stabilization

  • Digital camera helps 12MP and 50MP photographs

  • Automated fast photographs and Hyperlapse

  • As much as 28 minutes of flight time

  • Three-way impediment sensors

  • GPS with return-to-home performance

View Extra

Cons

  • Uncooked photographs are tough to course of

  • Overprocessed look to video

  • Log profile is barely 8-bit

The Backside Line

The Autel Robotics Evo Nano+ is an ultra-light drone you can fly with out coping with FAA registration. Its 4K30 digital camera is succesful and it helps impediment detection, but it surely’s not fairly as refined as lesser-priced rivals.

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