The Mavic Air came out in early 2018, and it just so happened to be released soon after the Evo was announced. The timing on DJI’s part was perfect, and the fact that it also matched the Evo in many spec areas, while also being on the market while people would still have to wait on the Evo would give DJI a bunch of new sales and more control over the drone market while they awaited for the Mavic Pro 2 to be released later in the year.
While most people will compare the Autel Evo to the Mavic Pro, simply because of the size and spec similarity, I felt it would be cool to compare it to the Mavic Air.
While I will outright admit that as an overall drone, the Evo is way superior in just about every single regard, the gap between both models isn’t as big as it seems, especially when you compare the specs, the reality and especially the price. So let me list where exactly Autel’s drone wins and where DJI’s wins…
Just for the record, I scored both models pretty close, in spite of the big gap in many factors between both models, and the main reason why was because the gap isn’t as big as you may think and the fact that the Mavic Air is so much less expensive still makes it a worthwhile model to consider if you can’t spend a few extra $100. But anyway, let’s get to the comparison:
Where the Evo wins:
Camera. Yep, it’s better, sharper, and it can zoom, incredibly well, something the MA does not have. If better, sharper and cleaner footage is your goal, the Evo is your drone of choice here.
But on a 1-10 rating, the camera isn’t THAT much better. On the MA, I’d give it a 7 out of 10 while the Evo scores a 10 out of 10 (full review). Believe me, even if you elect to go with the MA, your footage will NOT be bad at all, it’s still a 4K camera, and add to it the 30 FPS shot in 100 mpbs is not too shabby at all.
Overall flight time. Consider the flight time to be twice as good as on the MA. Though as of now it falls short of the “30 minute” estimate it was given prior to release, it’s still going to fly way longer than the MA, 100%.
Range. Yet another prior to release spec claimed this drone could fly up to 7 KM, but it’s more like 4-5 KM considering the connection is clear. But it’s still a lot better than the MA, which while having a 4 KM will likely reach about half of that in most places.
One thing I will say is that the MA connection can be a bit flaky, but I usually get about 1 KM out of it in places with a lot of connection issues. The Evo should in similar places get twice as far, but still not near the amount it promised.
More wind resistant. Well, this should be an obvious advantage, since it is bigger after all.
Better controller with more “control”. The control on this drone is far superior to the MA which honestly seems like a bootleg version of the Mavic Pro controller. While it is decent and will give you good control, the visual aspect of the Evo remote and the information/perks it packs makes it far easier and more dependable to use. It’s like comparing a Playstation 4 to a Super Nintendo and I’m a MA owner saying this by the way…
Less flight restrictions. I mentioned this as an advantage this drone had over the MP but a lack of geo fencing makes flying this model way less of a headache. Never the less, you should absolutely know that this DOESN’T mean you can fly it anywhere, be an intelligent drone pilot and know the flight rules.
Note: If there’s something I missed on the advantages this model has, let me know below.
Where the Mavic Air wins…
How could I not boast about my little drone at least a little bit? The good news here is that I didn’t really have to scramble to find where it beats the Evo, because there are indeed some truly notable advantages it has. Let me go over them:
The price is several $100 cheaper. If you’re a on a budget and can’t go as far as $999, then you can settle on the MA for $799, and I suspect it’ll fall another $100 on the MP 2 is released. Sure I’d recommend you squeeze out a few more $100 for the other one, but believe me, you’re not getting a bad drone here at all. This thing flies very well, shoots footage very well and you would be pretty shocked to see how well it can film (here’s pictures).
3 sensors vs 2 and a half sensors. Wait a second, didn’t the Evo boast 3 sensors?
It did, but when it came out, it was discovered that the back sensor, aka the third wasn’t really working, it was more of a detection device, not a sensor that actually stops the drone. However, on the MA, you indeed do get 3 sensors, so it wins here.
Fun flight modes and hand control. You just don’t get some of this stuff with the Evo and if you’re into doing Jedi type stuff and using your hand to regulate this drone, you’ll have a lot of fun with the MA.
More compact/portable. Let’s face it, at this point, we can agree that both models are quite portable, but this particular one is still twice as small as Autel’s and when you go backpacking somewhere, the size difference, makes a difference.
I honestly wish it was more quieter. It’s so strange to think such a little drone can be so loud. It’s more loud than the Spark surprisingly. But that noise makes it tough to film in certain places (like animals).
Note: I know I probably missed some things that makes the MA better, so just like I said about the Evo above, let me know about the MA below.
How to pick which drone suites you better:
While I’m certainly not the definitive voice in the drone world, if my advice means anything (thank you by the way), I’d recommend examining each drone’s advantage over the other, your budget and to make a little check mark on each model. Whichever one gets more check marks is the winner.
Overall, there’s 2 big points worth noting, 1 for each model:
- You’re def getting a better drone in the Evo, hands down.
- But you’re not exactly getting a bad drone in the MA, it still shoots amazing stuff and is itself an amazing little drone.
My opinion is that if you can afford it, get the Evo, if not, get the MA.
Overall, when I compared both these models, I gave out the following scores:
- MA: 80 out of 100 points.
- Autel’s model: 85 out of 100 points.
The reason there isn’t a bigger gap in points is because of the price and the fact that the MA doesn’t shoot or fly that much worse than Autel’s model.