Autel Evo II
Autel’s second EVO, like the Mavic 2, is available with a variety of camera options, at least in principle (supply has been spotty in its early months, but 2020 hasn’t been an easy year). Both are based on a heavy, rugged-looking (but average-feeling) orange airframe that foregoes stylish consumer-friendly design in favour of straightforward functionality. It’s a little chunkier than the Mavics, but it can fly for a longer period of time and is larger when unfurled.
While its partner app, Autel Explorer, lacks some of the elegance of DJI’s equivalents, it does provide all of the tracking tools you might want. Furthermore, it has the significant advantage of being optional: the remote features a 3.3-inch OLED screen, which means you can fly without ever attaching the phone. Another significant advantage is that the drone has omnidirectional collision sensors, which it employs in routine combat (the Mavic 2 has side-sensors, but only uses them in some automatic modes). The drone, which is intended for professional use, also lacks DJI’s big-brother geofencing.
So far, the ‘lesser’ 8K variant is the most readily available, with the 6K ‘Pro’ model following and a dual infrared-enabled version on the way. Why is 8K considered ‘lesser’? In reality, it employs the same Sony IMX586 half-inch image chip as the Mavic Air 2, although the 6K pro has an IMX383 1-inch sensor (four times the area) and can shoot 10-bit footage with variable aperture. It’s also worth mentioning that 8K has a 25fps restriction, 6K has a 50fps restriction, and 4K has a 60fps restriction.