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Autel EVO Lite vs. DJI Mini 3 Pro (Which One Is Better?)

In the great battle of the brands, it almost always comes down to Autel and DJI when comparing the best drones. It can’t be helped!

DJI continues to lead the drone industry, with the Mini 3 Pro as one of its finest innovations to date. It’s still a huge-time seller, and even though the Mini 4 Pro has come out since, it hasn’t dropped out of the running.

But oh, the Autel EVO Lite and its four-axis gimbal. That’s a thing of beauty, right there.

So, which is better? It’s time to decide.

This review will compare and contrast the Autel EVO Lite and DJI Mini 3 Pro, examining their differences in areas like performance, camera and video quality, transmission distance, safety features, battery life, and smart features. As you read, you may realize why the Mini 3 Pro – my personal pick – is a tough one to beat.

I’m here to guide your decision so you don’t waste a cent of your hard-earned moolah.  

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Brief overview

Autel EVO Lite

The Autel EVO Lite has some of the very best features you can find in a consumer drone, especially for under $1,000.

Granted, the EVO Lite just squeaks by for that price if you select the Premium Bundle, but it’s lower cost if you purchase the standard edition.

This drone came out in January 2022, which already feels like a coon’s age in the drone world, as it was well over a year ago. I kept waiting, thinking some product from DJI would have a four-axis gimbal besides the Ronin 4D, but it hasn’t.

That makes the EVO Lite the king of its castle. So, what kinds of features does this drone have? Let’s take a look.

  • An industry-leading four-axis gimbal. Autel calls it the “first in the world,” but what’s clear is that you certainly can’t find this in any DJI consumer drone. The gimbal goes the extra mile for the drone’s stability, ensuring your photos and videos are laser-sharp and lightning-focused.
  • A world-class 1/1.28-inch CMOS sensor that shoots in 4K HDR and 50 MP image resolution with RYYB color filtering. The percentage of light absorption that happens with this light array is greater than most, leading to crystal-clear shots and high levels of detail for building a strong portfolio.
  • Excellent obstacle avoidance cameras that can see up to 150 degrees in front of the drone, improving your safety whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned vet.
  • A battery life of 40 minutes, a standard for Autel that remains impressive, nevertheless. Working more efficiently is easier with Autel.
  • Configurable options, like a standard or upgraded bundle, and two colors, including my personal favorite – orange. It’s a great choice for better visibility!

» MORE: Autel vs. DJI – Which Drones Are Better?

DJI Mini 3 Pro

The Mini 3 Pro came out later than the EVO Lite, in May versus January 2022. It’s an upgraded version of the original Mini 3 and was later followed up by the Mini 4 Pro.

So, sure, the Mini 3 Pro isn’t the cutting edge anymore, but this drone still has so much to love.

There’s a reason so many drone pilots can’t stop talking about it a year and a half after its initial release.

Actually, there are many reasons, and they include the following.

  • An ultra-lightweight profile of under 250 grams, making the Mini 3 Pro light enough that you don’t have to register it when flying as a hobbyist. It’s also portable, foldable, and ready to go on every adventure on your bucket list, as you can always find space for it in your carry-on or checked luggage.
  • A 1/1.3-inch CMOS sensor that shoots images in 48 MP RAW and 4K HDR. The RAW files are full of rich, original detail, just as you captured them.
  • Top Intelligent Flight Modes, including slow-mo video, True Vertical Shooting, Hyperlapses, MasterShots, Digital Zoom, FocusTrack, and Panorama. These modes automate drone flight for cinematic masterpieces you can send on the go using QuickTransfer.
  • Three-direction dual-vision obstacle sensing and APAS 4.0 for obstacle avoidance, a feature the Mini series has not always had. This makes the Mini 3 Pro one of the safest in the series to fly.
  • Support for daytime and nighttime flights (if you’re legally allowed to) so you can continue enjoying the fun with your Mini 3 even after dark.  

» MORE: How to Connect DJI Mini 3 / Mini 3 Pro to Wi-Fi (Step-by-Step Guide)

Quick verdict

Here are two drones that came out within the last year and – even more pertinently – within six months of one another. Yet they’re so unique in many ways that picking the best one was difficult.

The DJI Mini 3 Pro is the better choice over the Autel EVO Lite, although granted, it isn’t by much. The Mini 3 Pro has equal video quality and comparable image quality, while its safety features are in the same league as Autel. However, its Intelligent Flight Modes can’t be beat.

The EVO Lite will always remain one of my favorites.

It has plenty the Mini 3 Pro doesn’t, such as a longer battery and a better gimbal. It’s an excellent choice in so many respects and a drone I’m personally quite obsessed with.

It’s a great drone for many pilots, but I think the Mini 3 Pro is still better.

» MORE: Autel Evo Lite+ Review

What are the main differences?

Now that you’ve seen my recommendation for the best drone of the two, let’s take a deep dive into how they’re different.

There are enough features between these two drones that no matter what you prefer, you can get what you’re looking for.

  • Gimbal: The Mini 3 Pro has a three-axis gimbal, the standard for DJI drones. Oppositely, it’s a four-axis gimbal for the EVO Lite, a distinction worth noting. The additional axis adds a pan mechanic, giving the EVO Lite’s camera a greater degree of control and precision during operation, but a three-axis gimbal is just fine for most pilots.
  • Image quality: Here is another category where the EVO Lite excels. It shoots in 50 MP image quality, whereas it’s only 48 MP for the Mini 3 Pro. However, the DJI drone also takes RAW footage, so I would argue the quality and detail are comparable.
  • Weight: Here’s an area where the difference between these two drones is more apparent. The EVO Lite weighs a moderate 835 grams, but it seems like a heavyweight compared to the Mini 3 Pro. You’ll recall that it only weighs 249 grams, so the Autel drone is about four times heavier.
  • Color options: The EVO Lite is available in bright orange for great visibility or gray for an understated style. You can’t choose the color of the Mini 3 Pro, or any DJI drone, for that matter.

» MORE: DJI Mini 3 Pro – How to Factory Reset (Step-by-Step Guide)

Autel EVO Lite

Autel proved that it’s willing to push the envelope and innovate just as much, if not more so, than DJI when it released the EVO Lite, a starring edition in its EVO Lite Series.

Autel Evo Lite+ Review - Legs / Arms

Let’s get right to it and discuss the gimbal because it’s one of the most distinct features of the EVO Lite.

It’s a four-axis gimbal capable of panning, yawing, pitching, and rolling with more precision and accuracy than three-axis gimbals.

The EVO Lite can shoot vertically, a feature DJI has already offered in several of its drones, so this is Autel’s answer to that.

Speaking of shooting, you’ll find yourself getting carried away with this drone’s video and photo capabilities, as they’re incredible. Its tiny 1/1.28-inch CMOS sensor has a 50 MP image resolution and 4K HDR video resolution.

That’s not the highest video res in an Autel drone, but it is among the best image quality you can find in its drones.

Autel calls the camera “supersensitive,” and I would agree with that sentiment, in the best way.

The RYYB color filter array has more light than average and a brighter palette of color.

Your sunrises will be bright pink and orange, your daytime shots a perfect blue, and your night photography of a glimmering cityscape a rainbow of urban chaos.

Turn on HDR mode, and the EVO Lite will cobble together the ultimate shot based on the best dynamic range, contrast, and exposure settings.

This is a feature Autel has replicated across some of its drones, and I’m so glad to find it in the EVO Lite. It’s great for saving time in post production.

Send the EVO Lite into the sky and watch it do its thing using cinematic modes like Orbit, Rocket, Flick, and Fade Away.

» MORE: Are Autel Drones Any Good? (You Might Be Surprised)

The automated path the drone takes is great for social media mavens eager to look like drone pros when lacking experience.

That’s not the only automated mode, by the way. The EVO Lite includes Dynamic Track 2.1 for more precision tracking of anything that moves, including animals and vehicles.

SkyPortrait is your best friend if you live for selfies, as it will take them for you, including all your friends in the shot.

Then there’s this drone’s obstacle avoidance. Autel has proven time and again that it excels in obstacle avoidance in ways that sometimes DJI doesn’t, at least not consistently.

The EVO Lite has an ultra-wide obstacle avoidance camera, an innovation Autel created around the time of this drone’s release. The sensors built into the model provide a frontal view that’s 150 expansive degrees.

This feature will make you feel safer when flying, especially if you’re still learning.

If you’re a more experienced pilot, you’ll appreciate how you can focus more on the EVO Lite’s dazzling cinematics and let it take care of the rest.

Autel EVO Lite Standard Orange, 4-Axis Gimbal Drone
$11.39 $9.79 ($1.63 / Count)
  • 50MP Camera
  • 4K 60FPS (for the Lite version, not Lite+)
  • CMOS 1/1.28 INCH (Lite version)
  • Max Distance 12km
  • 40 minutes flight time
Buy from Amazon
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03/07/2024 09:21 am GMT

DJI Mini 3 Pro

The Mini 3 Pro has the best traits of the Mini line to date, and that’s saying something, considering how critically acclaimed these DJI drones have been.

Living up to its name, it weighs under 249 grams, so it’s about the same weight as your smartphone. You won’t mind carrying this drone in your pocket or on your back for hours, even days, such as when backpacking.

DJI sharpened up the design compared to other Mini drones, increasing the length of the props so the Mini 3 Pro is more beginner-friendly.

Compared to the Mini 3, the Pro has a better gimbal, facilitating True Vertical Shooting. It might not be a four-axis gimbal, but I think it’s excellent.

Now, what about its camera? The Mini 3 Pro features a 1/1.3-inch CMOS sensor with an f/1.7 aperture.

You can’t adjust it, but the rate of light is designed to brighten low-light videography and photography, explaining why the Mini 3 Pro is suitable for nighttime shots.

You can rely on its aperture in all sorts of conditions, broadening your drone flight horizons and your portfolio in kind.

The 48 MP image quality is some of DJI’s best, and the same goes for its 4K HDR video, which is comparable to what the EVO Lite offers.

Remember, the photos are all in RAW format, which means more data and detail are retained in every shot.

You can edit out what you don’t want in post, which won’t be much, considering this drone has D-Cinelike Color in its videos and images for a brighter, richer world your clients will marvel over.

» MORE: DJI Mini 3 Pro: One-Year Review (Video)

The Mini line has not always had obstacle avoidance, but the Mini 3 Pro does.

Its tri-directional obstacle sensing system might only gauge downward, backward, and frontal threats with a dual-vision sensor system, but the Advanced Pilot Assistance System or APAS 4.0 is for obstacle avoidance.

APAS 4.0 might not be the newest edition (that’s APAS 5.0, as of this writing), but it more than suffices, especially if the alternative is no obstacle avoidance at all.

Besides True Vertical Shooting, the Mini 3 Pro is capable of so many Intelligent Flight Modes.

You can reduce speed and take slow-mo videos, an ideal feature for cinematics, or speed up everything around you with a dramatic Hyperlapse.

Digital Zoom facilitates safer shooting conditions of wildlife and dangerous nature, as you can get in on the action without being in the middle of it.

» MORE: DJI Mini 3 / Mini 3 Pro – How to Live Stream on YouTube (Video)

FocusTrack is like Autel’s Dynamic Track, allowing for subject tracking, while MasterShots uses automated flight modes to capture reliably awesome videos.

These features are the kind that make me keep coming back to DJI.

This suite of fun, smart modes has something for every type of pilot, from commercial experts looking to make their jobs easier to influencers eager for unique footage to get those likes and clicks.

DJI Mini 3 Pro (DJI RC)
$909.00 $799.95

Lightweight and Foldable Camera Drone

  • 4K/60fps Video
  • 48MP Photo
  • 34-min Flight Time
  • Tri-Directional Obstacle Sensing, Integrated RC and screen
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03/06/2024 03:36 pm GMT

Head-to-head comparison

Camera system

Winner: Autel EVO Lite

Congratulations go to the EVO Lite for its four-axis gimbal.

Do I personally think a four-axis gimbal is a gamechanger?

No. It’s definitely cool, don’t get me wrong, but you can go from flying a four-axis gimbal drone like the EVO Lite and back to a three-axis gimbal drone like the Mini 3 Pro and not feel like you’re missing out on too terribly much.

DJI’s gimbals offer a high degree of flexibility and adjustability despite having three axes instead of four.

However, a four-axis gimbal is technically better, so the EVO Lite wins this category.

There are more reasons to reward it, of course. It has exceptional image quality, top-notch video quality, a dual CDAF and PDAF autofocus system, a 0.8-inch CMOS sensor, and an RYYB color filter array.

They are altogether some sterling features.

That’s not to say the Mini 3 Pro is a slouch. It has a stunning color display comparable to the RYYB color filter array in the form of its D-Cinelike Color.

Its 48 MP image quality in RAW files preserves all the detail you could want, whether you’re having fun shooting beautiful cliffsides or on the job photographing a property for sale.

Its 4K HDR at 60 frames per second gives you the same level of video detail as seen in the EVO Lite. Many agree that the Mini 3 Pro’s video feels more high-fidelity.

Of course, if you’re operating at 120 fps, the video quality drops to 1080p, which isn’t so great.

» MORE: Camera Technology in Drones (Explained)

Performance

DJI Mini 3 Pro Return to Home (Explained for Beginners)

Winner: DJI Mini 3 Pro

The lightweight, agile flyer DJI designed in the Mini 3 Pro is so fun to pick up and fly. It’s more aerodynamic than ever, and it’s beginner-friendly yet never boring for intermediates and experts.

As a pro-level drone, it has the camera capabilities and Intelligent Flight Modes to accompany you on the job, augmenting your projects.

Those automated modes take the Mini 3 Pro further, whether it’s twisting and looping through the air on an automated route or shooting slow-mo videos or hyperlapse photos.

The versatility is nothing short of excellent, which I’ve come to expect from DJI.

And sure, maybe this drone doesn’t have Advanced RTH or Waypoints, but it’s a Mini drone. It’s uncomplicated yet dependable and has just the right Intelligent Flight Modes.

The EVO Lite has its own smart modes, but not to the same degree as the Mini 3 Pro.

Plus, I’ve always found that no other drone brand quite matches DJI in terms of smart features, although Autel is getting darn close.

I appreciate how the Mini 3 Pro has obstacle avoidance.

It’s not DJI’s most sophisticated system, but APAS 4.0 is still better than nothing, and combined with the obstacle-sensing system, you should feel safer in the skies than you perhaps ever have when flying a Mini drone.

The EVO Lite has a different type of obstacle avoidance than some of its other drones, such as the EVO II Pro.

The Lite’s front-facing camera sensors can detect obstacles in front of it.

It’s excellent, and probably a little better than DJI’s obstacle avoidance for the Mini drones, but the Mini 3 Pro wins this category as a whole.

» MORE: DJI Mini 3 vs. Mini 3 Pro (Which Drone Is Better?)

Portability

Winner: DJI Mini 3 Pro

Here’s another category where the Mini 3 Pro wins, and it wasn’t even difficult to pick a winner here.

The Mini 3 Pro, as you’ll recall, weighs four times less than the EVO Lite.

You will have more options for packing it in luggage, such as a checked bag or carry-on, or in a drone backpack for your everyday adventures.

You can bring the EVO Lite on just as many of those adventures; the bundle packs even include a hard carrying case.

The trouble is, the EVO Lite is heavier, although at least it’s foldable. 

» MORE: Best Beginner Drones Under $500

RC compatibility and flight range

Winner: DJI Mini 3 Pro

The Autel Lite and Nano series share a controller that’s appropriately named the EVO Nano & Lite Remote Controller. It kind of reminds me of an Xbox 360 controller but with less bulk and more ergonomics.

It’s a sleek black, with few buttons, transmission through the SkyApp, and a detachable holster for your smartphone.

The Mini 3 Pro works with two DJI remotes, the DJI RC or the DJI RC-N1. The RC-N1 is compatible with the Mini 2, Air 2, Air 2S, and Mavic 3.

It has no screen, like the EVO Lite’s controller, but features a boxier remote with a smartphone holster.

The RC-N1 is adequate, but if possible, I recommend the DJI RC more.

This newer, smarter, more modern controller with DJI O3+ video transmission power has a screen, a glorious screen to spare your smartphone.

The EVO Lite has a 7.4-mile transmission range, which is nothing to sneeze at. The Mini 3 Pro’s transmission range is 7.45 miles, so it’s just a smidge over.

Battery life

Autel Evo Lite+ Review - Battery

Winner: Autel EVO Lite

The battle of battery life commences. It’s the EVO Lite here, which promises 40 minutes of flight time according to Autel. In my experience, it’s over 35 minutes but not quite 40 minutes.

Every drone brand overpromises on flight times, so that didn’t surprise me.

As for the Mini 3 Pro, it’s supposed to fly for 34 minutes with the Intelligent Flight Battery. DJI calls that “extended.” You can expect to get just under 30 minutes of flight time.

More flight time is always better, and Autel is leading the way for how long a drone should be able to fly. The Mini 3 Pro could afford to catch up.

» MORE: Drone Batteries (In-Depth Information)

Conclusion

It was a neck-and-neck race between the Autel EVO Lite and DJI Mini 3 Pro.

Ultimately, the Mini 3 Pro came out on top for qualities like a lightweight, forward-thinking design, functional camera system, better obstacle avoidance than Minis past, and Intelligent Flight Modes, one of its strongest features.

The EVO Lite is one of the best Autel drones to date in a collection of models that I find it hard to choose between.

However, it’s advertised as a light drone and is anything but. It also barely excels over DJI in areas like image quality and obstacle avoidance.