The Autel EVO 2 Pro drone is a very powerful drone with many features, but it does have a few drawbacks that I have found while using it. Despite the issues I have experienced, the Autel EVO 2 Pro is still a great drone that I would recommend to anyone looking for a foldable drone with a 20MP camera.
While the Autel EVO 2 Pro is a strong drone model overall, there are a few areas of weakness. The controller, lack of accessories, and flight characteristics could use some work on Autel’s end to get this drone to the top of its class.
Even with the problems I have experienced, there are still many ways to fly the EVO 2 Pro issue-free. Let’s take a closer look at some of the issues you might experience and ways to work around them to get the footage you’re looking for.
1. Autel EVO 2 controller issues
As a professional drone operator, I have used a few different drone controllers and think the controller that comes with the EVO 2 Pro is just too small and not balanced properly. Let’s discuss the controller balance first.
The controller is on the small side when it comes to drone controllers. While this can be nice for those who want a compact drone, it also throws the balance of the controller off. When my phone is connected to the controller and I set it down, it tips back onto the antennas and basically rests on the phone holder and antennas instead of sitting flat.
This causes the antennas to fold up against the phone which could impact the transmission signal from the drone. When I set the controller down, I will usually just reset the antennas when I pick it back up, and so far this has prevented any issues with the transmission signal.
As you can see this is not a deal-breaker, however, it is a minor annoyance and an additional thing that needs to be done each time I need to set down the controller for any reason.
Customizable button placement
The buttons on the back of the controller are in a spot where I am constantly touching them. The buttons are customizable and need to be held for 1 second to perform their assigned function, so pressing them accidentally isn’t usually a big deal, but it can cause you to miss your shot.
For example, I have one of the buttons on the back set to snap the gimbal to 0° and 90°. While I was flying one day, I was accidentally pressing the button, and all of a sudden, I was looking at the ground. This caused my video footage to be useless.
Some pilots have the back buttons turned off just to prevent this issue. Luckily the battery life is great so I was able to reset and get the desired shot without having to land the drone.
The small size of the controller has also been an issue for me. I prefer to use an iPad over a phone while flying because the larger display is easier to see. It is also a bit easier to know the shot I’m taking is the one I really want.
The Autel EVO 2 Pro controller is not able to hold a tablet without the use of a tablet holder. This can be overcome by purchasing a tablet holder separately, but only if you can find one. It would be much more convenient if the controller was built with the capacity to accommodate a tablet.
2. Lack of accessories
In the time I have owned the Autel EVO 2 Pro I have had a hard time finding accessories for this drone. The replacement parts are reasonably easy to find, but additional accessories like tablet holders are a bit harder to get ahold of. I believe it is because Autel is not the most popular drone manufacturer so “aftermarket” support is not as good as it is with other manufacturers like DJI.
I’m not saying tablet holders and add-on accessories are non-existent, it is just harder to find a distributor with these accessories in stock and ready to ship.
If you are able to find the accessory you want, the price is the next thing that might stop you in your tracks. I looked for a tablet holder for the Autel EVO 2 Pro and found one that is all-aluminum and looks pretty robust. It cost around $90.00 which seems high for just a tablet holder.
It is also bulky and I’m sure it adds a significant amount of weight to the controller, and probably throws the balance off even further. I searched for the same product for the DJI Mavic 2 Pro and found a large selection of different tablet holders that range from around $20.00 up to about $60.00.
I personally didn’t want to spend almost $100 on a tablet holder so I went the DIY route for my EVO 2 Pro tablet holder. It consists of an old phone that doesn’t work anymore and some Velcro. I put two strips of Velcro onto the phone and two strips onto the back of the tablet. I put the phone onto the controller and then used the Velcro to stick the tablet to the phone.
While this solution does work, it isn’t as secure as I would like. It also throws the balance of the controller off a little more and makes it a bit more difficult to hold onto.
One way to combat the controller/tablet issue is to purchase a Smart Controller for the EVO 2 Pro that has a built-in 7.9” display. This is definitely the best way to get a balanced controller and not have to worry about a small phone-sized screen.
The smart controller is another accessory that is a little difficult to find and costs about $1,200 if you do find one. As far as smart controllers are concerned $1,200 isn’t too bad, however, it is still a significant cost add-on to an already expensive piece of equipment.
3. Inconsistent flight characteristics
The flight of the Autel EVO 2 Pro is smooth but not as precise as I’ve come to expect with “prosumer” drones.
Unpredictable variable speed
The first time I flew the EVO 2 Pro I noticed it was not maintaining a consistent speed while flying forward. I had the stick pushed all the way forward and the drone was flying at its normal speed and then slowed down a bit, then sped back up to the normal speed. I am not sure why this was happening but it made the video footage I captured unusable.
Turning right or left
I have also heard that other EVO 2 Pro pilots have had issues with the drone turning left or right while flying forward. This issue has not happened to me personally, but I can see how frustrating this could be if you’re in the middle of getting video footage and out of nowhere the drone is turning.
Slow response to controls
While flying the EVO 2 Pro, I have noticed that its positioning is not as accurate as I would like. If I’m flying towards my subject and I let off the stick, the drone keeps traveling forward further than I am used to with other drones.
I don’t know if this is designed into the drone to keep the footage smoother, but I do know that I have come pretty close to contacting objects that I didn’t think I would even get close to.
Even with the issues I have found in the Autel EVO 2 Pro, I still thoroughly enjoy flying this drone and will continue to use it regularly.
It has the best camera I have ever used on a drone and the image quality is outstanding. It has many different features and intelligent flight modes to capture almost anything you might want. I have also heard from a few different pilots that the Autel customer support is one of the best in the industry. Maybe with a few more firmware updates the flight issues will be improved and this drone will be at the top of its class.
Image Credit: Autel Robotics