It was a great day when the DJI Mavic 3 Classic came out.
Equally exciting was the Autel EVO II Pro, especially the V3 edition, an excellent, bang-for-your-buck drone that still has some of the best video resolution on the market.
Both drones are capable of commercial projects and recreational exploration. However, if you’re here, it’s because you’re firmly stuck on which of these is the right call for you.
This guide will get down to the nitty-gritty on the Autel EVO II Pro and DJI Mavic 3 Classic. You’ll learn all about their differences based. I’ll also compare them where it counts, in areas like battery life, flight performance, image and video quality, smart features, and portability. You’ll feel readier to make your own choice, just as I chose the Mavic 3 Classic as the better of these two drones.
I’ve got plenty of great info waiting for you, so let’s not take a second longer to get into it!
To help, we’ve identified and reviewed the best drone courses for beginners and professionals.
Autel EVO II Pro
The Autel EVO II Pro V3 came out in autumn 2022, a little over a year after the V2 version was released.
The V3 is the latest and greatest edition of this winning Autel drone and includes a full kit to get you started.
Although the V2 was one of the most impressive to enter the market upon its release, the EVO II Pro V3 is even better, improving on the design of this classic drone series further to maximize enjoyment and efficiency.
So, what kinds of awesome features keep the EVO II Pro worth talking about, even as time keeps on ticking along?
Only so many, like:
- An industry-topping 6K Ultra HD video quality through the 1-inch Sony CMOS sensor. Most DJI consumer drones can’t touch that kind of video quality!
- A 20 MP image quality, with the freedom to set the aperture and save files in 12-bit DNG for more flexibility in how you shoot and edit your photos. These features also reduce the time you spend in post, which is always great.
- Some of the best obstacle avoidance in any consumer drone, as the EVO II Pro V3 has dozens of sensor groups, including camera and UV sensors, to collect obstacle data and make smart choices in real-time.
- A strong flight time of 40 minutes that belies the age of this drone. Autel set the standard here.
- Enjoyable yet professional smart features, including Dynamic Track 2.0 to track more than 60 items at once, 6K Hyperlapse photography, and the upgraded Moonlight Algorithm.
DJI Mavic 3 Classic
Showing up in 2022, the Mavic 3 Classic continues DJI’s long-running Mavic line. It has the distinction of being the first drone to get a European C1 certification.
That’s not only among DJI drones, but all drones globally.
It deserves all the praise it gets, and not only from me! The Mavic 3 Classic is one of the best examples of what DJI can do.
DJI continues to pave the way forward in drone innovation, leaving everyone else eagerly trying to catch up.
Here is what won me over about the Mavic 3 Classic:
- A Hasselblad camera with Swedish engineering that features Vision Detection Auto Focus Technology or VDAF, an appealing native dynamic range, 20 MP pixel quality, and a togglable aperture. You can also save files in 12-bit RAW for more retained detail.
- Color enrichment via the Hasselblad Natural Colour Solution or HNCS, which infuses the L2D-20c lens of the Mavic 3 Classic’s camera with natural hues. Skip the color presets and reduce your time in post. The drone also has 10-bit D-Log.
- Autel-rivaling 5.1K video quality at 50 frames per second, which is among the best DJI has achieved in a commercial drone.
- An advertised battery life of 46 minutes, with a promise from DJI that the Mavic 3 Classic will hover for 40 minutes. You’ll get more done when you choose this drone.
- Exceptional Intelligent Flight Modes bolstered by APAS 5.0 for safety, including Cruise Control, Smart RTH, ActiveTrack 5.0, Waypoints, Panorama, MasterShots, Hyperlapse, and QuickShots.
Sometimes, being reminded of all the exceptional features packed into both drones can make what was already an agonizing decision feel even harder.
However, I’m here to guide you, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
And the winner is?
The DJI Mavic 3 Classic is my preferred drone between it and the Autel EVO II Pro. The Mavic 3 Classic has a powerful camera with natural color gradation and great dynamic range, more features to eliminate time spent in post, the best Intelligent Flight Modes around, excellent safety, and a strong battery life.
This is not a knock on the EVO II Pro at all. In most areas, it’s very close to the Mavic 3 Classic, and sometimes, it’s even better than the DJI drone.
For instance, the EVO II Pro has better video quality, and its obstacle avoidance is so good.
However, in many ways, the Mavic 3 Classic is the answer to this Autel drone, and it excels or matches the EVO II Pro in many key areas.
What are the main differences?
There are more than enough differences between these two drones to go around. Let’s take a closer look at them.
- Color: Autel is a colorful drone brand that sometimes gives you the option to select from several hues for your drone. The EVO II Pro doesn’t have customizable colors, but it does come in a bright orange. This bold color is fun and increases drone visibility. The Mavic 3 Classic doesn’t come in any head-turning hues.
- Speed: The top speed of the EVO II Pro is 45 mph or 20 meters a second. When flown in Sport Mode, I’ve reached speeds of up to 47 mph with the Mavic 3 Classic, so it’s just a hair faster.
- Weight: The Mavic 3 Classic weighs 895 grams, which is not bad for a drone outside of DJI’s Mini series. The EVO II Pro is heavier, as it weighs 1,191 grams.
- Size: These two drones are both foldable, but their sizes vary. Unfolded, the EVO II Pro is 457 millimeters by 558 millimeters by 108 millimeters. The unfolded Mavic 3 Classic without propellers is 347.5 millimeters by 283 millimeters by 107.7 millimeters.
- Flight time: Although only an advertised difference of seven minutes, the battery lives of these two drones is a unique identifier.
- Max descent speed: Here’s another area where I’m admittedly splitting hairs, but it is different. The maximum descent speed of the Mavic 3 Classic is six meters per second versus four meters per second for the EVO II Pro.
- Max altitude: These drones can also reach varying altitudes – 7,000 meters for the EVO II Pro and 6,000 meters for the Mavic 3 Classic. Regardless of your drone’s top altitude, you must still stay within the legal altitude limits in your country.
Autel EVO II Pro
The V3 edition of the Autel EVO II Pro is still a spectacle over a year after its release (as of this writing).
First, there’s the sheer multitude of included accessories, one of my favorite parts. Many drone brands (I’m looking at you, DJI) don’t bother to include much of anything with your purchase besides the drone, a basic battery, and a remote control.
The EVO II Pro has everything you need to get out here and fly on Day One, whether you’ve never taken a drone out for a spin before or you’re an experienced pilot chasing new horizons.
I’m talking about parts like props, battery chargers, cables galore, a spare battery, and even a carrying case.
Take your streaming to the max with the EVO II Pro, as it’s compatible with the Live Deck 2. You can stream live video for over seven miles in 1080p at 60 fps quality.
Goodness knows you’ll want to stream or at least fly this drone as often as you can, as it has some of Autel’s most advanced flight features. One is Dynamic Track 2.0. How does tracking 64 objects at once sound?
Crazy? Well, you can do it with the EVO II Pro.
Between its full scope of obstacle avoidance due to nearly two dozen groups of sensors, you don’t have to stress if you get more focused on tracking animals or vehicles than you do flying your drone.
The Moonlight Algorithm 2.0 works a treat if you can legally fly after dark.
You know how nighttime or low-light photography is usually riddled with noise, right? Well, not anymore. Your videos and photos will come through as clear as…yeah, day.
The CMOS sensor from Sony supports 4K HDR video and 6K Ultra HD video full of brightness, richness, and immensity. The 20 MP image quality is bolstered by a customizable aperture range, between f/2.1 and f/11, the same as the Mavic 3 Classic.
The color rendering the EVO II Pro is capable of is ridiculous, as it has almost 69 billion colors and is even better than 10-bit color rendering.
That’s part of what makes its 12-bit DNG so powerful, as your photos have more dynamic range and color without as much work editing.
You can post your footage immediately, or almost immediately, never skipping a beat in your work.
DJI Mavic 3 Classic
The Mavic 3 Classic might not have the triple-camera system of the Mavic 3 Pro, but it’s still an incredible drone in its own right.
The single camera it does have comes from Hasselblad, a partnership DJI began with the Swedish company years ago that has paid off for consumers since. Why?
This L2D-20c camera with a 4/3 CMOS sensor shoots in 20 MP image quality and up to 5.1K video quality.
The 12-bit RAW files you’ll generate each time you shoot are full of detail at a level you’d expect from DJI.
They’re not as noisy as most RAW files, so you can post them as-is or polish them up before proudly putting them out into the world as part of your portfolio.
Feeling like a pro drone photographer comes naturally with the Mavic 3 Classic, between its VDAF and aperture settings. Two color features produce natural, lifelike color to a degree the EVO II Pro doesn’t quite match.
They are 10-bit D-Log and HNCS.
If you love the Moonlight Algorithm the EVO II Pro offers and feel disinclined to give it up, the Mavic 3 Classic has an equivalent feature called Night Shots.
This drone also boasts comparable obstacle sensing, thanks to APAS 5.0. The Mavic 3 Classic is the right choice for beginners who want to fly worry-free.
Content creation comes easy, as the Mavic 3 Classic has perhaps DJI’s most enviable collection of Intelligent Flight Modes yet.
Speed up or expand time with Hyperlapse and Panorama, respectively, track with the best of them with ActiveTrack 5.0, improve your drone cinematics with MasterShots, and automate drone flight using QuickShots.
You can also set Waypoints (okay, that’s still fun) and use Smart RTH and Cruise Control to reduce beginners’ anxieties about flying drones.
- DJI RC remote controller
Winner: DJI Mavic 3 Classic
Now, it’s time for my favorite part, the head-to-head comparison, the passionate, no-holds-barred battle between the DJI Mavic 3 Classic and the Autel EVO II Pro.
Beginning with overall camera systems, you know I had a hard time with this one. I mean, neck-and-neck doesn’t even begin to describe it.
These drones have the same image quality, but that’s not to say their cameras are the same. Oh, no.
The Hasselblad camera of the Mavic 3 Classic is high-quality and ready to support your professional pursuits.
Its rich depth of color enriches your portfolio, breathing life into your footage to ensure it’s anything but stale and same-y compared to your competitors.
The EVO II Pro may have a more diverse color palette, but I prefer the Mavic 3 Classic color profile’s lifelikeness.
The video quality of the EVO II Pro is not so much higher than the max resolution the Mavic 3 Classic is capable of, and with sturdy gimbals on both drones, you can see how this wasn’t an easy decision.
These drones both also have nighttime photography and videography modes and shoot in detail-rich formats to make editing a quicker task.
It’s tough to beat DJI in many areas, and this is one of them.
Winner: DJI Mavic 3 Classic
You’ll recall from the area comparing the differences between these drones that they don’t have a lot of wiggle room between their performances.
They’re both moderately fast drones that weigh a decent amount and can fly for about the same time.
They both have excellent obstacle avoidance systems, possibly the best you can find in consumer drones between them.
They offer the same degree of wind resistance, too.
So, then, why did I give the prize to the Mavic 3 Classic?
That’s simple! It has Intelligent Flight Modes.
Not only are there more smart features in the Mavic 3 Classic compared to the EVO II Pro, but the modes are better overall. They’re more intuitive, easier to use, and somewhat more beginner-oriented, yet not boring for more experienced pilots.
In short, they’re DJI’s bread and butter, and they make all the difference.
» MORE: Best Long Lasting Drones
Winner: DJI Mavic 3 Classic
Okay, so neither drone is really all that portable. But let’s assess them fairly for drones of their size and scope.
The Mavic 3 Classic weighs a few hundred grams less than the EVO II Pro. It’s a decent amount, but nothing to write home about.
Both drones are foldable, with the Mavic 3 Classic smaller when folded and unfolded. However, that, too, isn’t by a huge margin.
Considering those factors, I feel comfortable giving this category to the Mavic 3 Classic. It’s a great drone for traveling and seeing the world, especially if you visit a place where you’re legally permitted to fly at night.
Then again, the EVO II Pro is good for the same purposes, so don’t feel like you can’t travel with that drone if it’s the one you’re more interested in. It’s just as portable, even if it’s a tad heavier.
I would recommend a secure drone bag or backpack. The EVO II Pro comes with a carrying case made of plastic. If you bring that on a plane as a carry-on or checked luggage, it should be okay, but don’t try to put it through baggage claim.
If you choose the DJI drone, they have their own cases, and plenty of third-party options are also available in many sizes and materials.
RC compatibility and range
Winner: Autel EVO II Pro
All Mavic 3 Series drones with cameras are compatible with several DJI FPV controllers and goggles, such as the DJI Goggles 2, the DJI Goggles Integra, and the DJI RC Motion 2.
Not only that, but the DJI RC-N1 controller produces a live video feed in 1080p quality at 60 fps thanks to its large touchscreen.
That screen is responsive, as are the small yet easy-to-hold control knobs. I love the design of this controller, as it’s less boxy than other DJI remotes.
The EVO II Pro uses the Autel Smart Controller SE, which you can use with the EVO II Enterprise V3, the EVO II Dual 640T V3, and the EVO II RTK Series V3.
It’s also large and in charge, with a screen that’s over six inches and anti-interference technology. Its HD-quality image transmission beats the DJI RC-N1, and it’s also cool that this remote supports third-party apps.
As for long-range flights, both drone remotes offer the same: 9.3 miles.
Winner: DJI Mavic 3 Classic
Battery life is a biggie. The last thing you want when flying a drone is for it to run out of juice, just when you’re pushing through and completing a big project.
However, there’s not a ton of difference between the EVO II Pro and Mavic 3 Classic’s battery lives.
Both are well over 35 minutes, which is already sufficient for professionals of all kinds, whether social media content creators or professional pilots completing tasks.
The advertised battery life for the EVO II Pro is a respectable 40 minutes, versus the 45 minutes the Mavic 3 Classic boasts.
However, advertised and real-life battery lives are different, mostly because the drones are tested in ambient conditions you can’t replicate in real life. You should always expect several minutes less in moderate weather and even less time in stronger winds.
If you have a task on your plate, the EVO II Pro can help you finish it, perhaps even with time to spare.
The Mavic 3 Classic will get you just around 40 minutes realistically, so you get a couple more minutes of air time from this DJI drone.
Considering that most DJI drones have around 30 to 35 minutes of battery life, this one impresses me!
Whether you prefer the DJI Mavic 3 Classic like I do, or you’re more of an Autel person and like the EVO II Pro, you’re choosing a dependable, sturdy, long-flying drone with obstacle avoidance, an amazing camera, and smart features.
The Mavic 3 Classic just so happens to have those features in greater amounts or in higher quality than the EVO II Pro, especially when it comes to Intelligent Flight Modes and battery life.