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Autel EVO 2 Pro vs. DJI Mini 2 SE (Here’s My Favorite)

15 mins
Drone Blog
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Hey there, and welcome to my review of the Autel EVO II Pro and DJI Mini 2 SE. This is a head-to-head I’m excited to cover, considering these are two of my favorite drones.

The EVO II Pro remains at the top of its game, even if it’s not the newest drone.

Conversely, the Mini 2 SE is a testament to DJI’s incredible lineage of accomplishments in drone technology.

Although these two drones couldn’t look or operate more differently, they are both appropriate choices for commercial applications and recreational flights, the latter of which I primarily use them for.

If you were shopping for an entire drone fleet, it would be an easy choice, as you could buy both. However, you’re here because you want to choose the best between these two. 

I’ve been in similar predicaments myself, and I’m happy to offer my expertise based on hundreds of flight hours between the two. 

**This review will unpack the many virtues of the Autel EVO II Pro and DJI Mini 2 SE, holding them under a microscope (figuratively, of course!) to compare them in the areas you need info on, such as flight performance and battery life. I’ll also elaborate on their differences based on my personal flight experiences. You’ll soon see why I selected the EVO II Pro as the stronger of the two. **

Lingering on a drone decision is agonizing. I’ve been there, and it feels like the longer you drag out your decision, the less clarity you have. 

That’s what I hope to help you with.

You’ll have all the facts you need to boldly go forth and pick up the right drone for your professional pursuits so you can live regret-free with your decision. 

Brief overview #

Autel EVO II Pro #

When Autel released the initial EVO II Pro, they didn’t leave well enough alone, and thank goodness! Then we wouldn’t have gotten the V2 edition or the even better V3, which is one of my personal all-time favorite drones. 

Let’s address the elephant in the room. The EVO II Pro is five times the cost of the Mini 2 SE. That alone might be enough to disqualify it from contention, but that would be a massive mistake!

After all, to skip over the EVO II Pro would mean missing out on these features:

  • An industry-defining Sony CMOS camera with a one-inch sensor (don’t worry, you can configure the aperture) that takes 6K Ultra HD videos and 20 MP images. 
  • One of the best obstacle avoidance systems you’ll see in a drone. That alone makes the EVO II Pro worth the money, as you can fly with confidence as a newbie. 
  • An intuitive, easy-to-use Smart Controller SE that lets you fly without needing your phone as a screen. I love the size of the touchscreen and how rugged it is. It’s even waterproof!
  • A jam-packed packing list sure to make you realize the value of your purchase, as you have every accessory you need as a first-timer and later on, when you get more into the nitty-gritty of what the EVO II Pro can do. 
  • The amazing Dynamic Track 2.0 can track stationary or moving subjects like you wouldn’t believe. You can track many subjects simultaneously, so you can take on more involved drone jobs. 

**» MORE: **Autel EVO II Pro vs. DJI Mavic 3 (Here’s My Choice)

DJI Mini 2 SE #

The Mini 2 SE is one of the newest Mini drones, but despite its release date of 2023, it follows in the spirit of other Mini 2 drones. That means simplicity is key. 

This is one of the lowest-cost DJI drones you can buy. Even the Fly More Combo is available for under $500, making it an awesome entry-level drone. If I had started flying in 2023, I could easily see the Mini 2 SE being my first drone. 

Besides its easy-to-swallow price, the Mini 2 SE has these epic features:

  • A decent battery life of over 30 minutes, which is not bad for its size. If you don’t have a huge to-do list, you can reliably get work done with the Mini 2 SE.
  • Many beginner features, from its registration-free weight (only if you fly it recreationally) to the included tutorials for learning how the drone works, automatic launching and landing, reliable hovering, and other auto flight modes, including RTH.
  • Some of DJI’s most enjoyable Intelligent Flight Modes, such as QuickShots, with access to the beginner-friendly LightCut app to create pro-level footage using single-tap edits, even if you’ve never taken photos and videos with a drone before. 
  • Beginner-appropriate video (2.7K) and image (12 MP) quality, bolstered by features like 4x zoom and a 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor. 

**» MORE: **Does DJI Mini 2 SE Have Follow Me? (Answered)

Quick verdict #

Your time is precious, and I don’t want to leave you on pins and needles.

Here at Droneblog, all recommendations we make for the best drones between two models are presented after extensive flight practice and testing.

With our expertise and drone knowledge, you can take our suggestions to the bank.

So, which drone wins?

The Autel EVO II Pro is the standout drone between it and the DJI Mini 2 SE. It has obstacle avoidance sensors (which the Mini 2 SE doesn’t), better image and video quality, a much longer battery life of 40 minutes, and more image settings, from a high max ISO to an adjustable aperture.

Of course, I’m not undercutting the Mini 2 SE completely. Its Intelligent Flight Modes are some of the best you can find, and this drone has so many beginner-friendly features.

Really, then, which drone between these two is right for you comes down to what you’re looking for in a drone.

If you’re shopping for your first or a beginner just starting to fly commercially, such as a social media star or influencer, the Mini 2 SE will help you develop your sea legs fast. 

If you need a heavy-duty drone that can stand up to the elements and sustain flight for your more in-depth drone projects, the EVO II Pro is best.

It’s the better all-around drone between the two, but it’s not nearly as beginner-friendly. 

» MORE: Can You Fly the DJI Mini 2 SE at Night? (Explained for Beginners)

What are the main differences? #

The Mini 2 SE and EVO II Pro are about as different as apples and potatoes. Since these differences can inspire your purchasing decision, it’s pertinent to review them all. Here’s the exhaustive list. 

  • **Price: **The Mini 2 SE retails for under $400 if you choose the base drone, whereas the EVO II Pro costs close to $2,000. That’s a huge price differential. 
  • **Weight: **The official weight of the Mini 2 SE is 246 grams. The EVO II Pro weighs 1,191 grams. While you have to register any drone used for any commercial applications, most pilots find lighter drones are better.
  • **Size: **The EVO II Pro is also much larger than the Mini 2 SE. Unfolded, it measures 457 by 558 by 108 millimeters. The Mini 2 SE is 245 by 289 by 56 millimeters unfolded with propellers.
  • **Safety features: **The obstacle avoidance system included with the EVO II Pro is one of the best around. That makes the lack of obstacle avoidance in the Mini 2 SE conspicuous in its absence. However, it has basic obstacle sensing. 
  • **Image and video quality: **Here are two areas where the EVO II Pro shines. Its 20 MP image resolution may not be great compared to most drones on the market today, but it sure beats the 12 MP image quality the Mini 2 SE is capable of. The video quality, a difference of 6K versus 2K, is also stark.
  • **Flight time: **The EVO II Pro has a projected flight time that’s 10 minutes longer than the Mini 2 SE’s. That’s enough to save your skin when you have a tight deadline on the horizon. 
  • **Colors: **It may be a small thing to some of you reading this, but Autel’s color variety has always impressed me. The EVO II Pro is available in vivid orange to increase your visibility when flying it (but still within VLOS rules, of course). The Mini 2 SE is a light gray drone. 
  • **Beginner-friendliness: **Sure, the Autel drone has some features designed to make it a nice flight experience for beginners, but it has nothing on the Mini 2 SE in this area. Almost all features of the latter drone are there to help beginners feel like pros in short order. 

» MORE: Autel EVO 2 Pro vs. DJI Mini 2 (Here’s My Choice)

Autel EVO II Pro #

The Autel EVO II Pro deserves its accolades. Although it’s perhaps not the newest drone, even in the Autel family, it’s still one of the best on the market due to the forward-thinking features implemented. 

The V3 edition is newer than the OG EVO II Pro, which is part of how this drone manages to keep up with the big dogs as the 2020s roll on. 

It has one of my favorite cameras in any drone. The CMOS from Sony is one inch, which might not seem that special initially, but then you learn you can set the aperture up to f/11, and now you have more possibilities. 

Of course, your photographic prowess with the EVO II Pro goes so much deeper. For example, its ISO range is up to 44,000. I also love that image files are 12-bit DNGs with an expansive color profile of well over 60 million hues, a rich dynamic range, and natural lowlights and highlights.

All this translates to less editing time per image and video. If you’re deadline-driven like me, you want to spend as little time wrapping up projects as possible so you can be on to the next one. The EVO II Pro is ready for that.

**» MORE: **Autel EVO II Pro vs. DJI FPV (Here’s What I Like)

Its 40-minute advertised flight time is excellent, and its expansive obstacle detection and avoidance system is high-tech.

The EVO II Pro has almost 20 groups of sensors that work in conjunction with the camera to alert the drone of an obstacle so it can get away in real-time. 

I haven’t even mentioned the Hyperlapse photo mode, which shoots in lifelike 6K. You can save your Hyperlapse files as RAW images.

Even though Hyperlapse accelerates the landscape, you will have such high-quality footage you’ll be beaming when you show it off to your client. 

The Moonlight Algorithm 2.0 also deserves heaps of praise. While it’s tough to find places to fly at night due to FAA drone laws, if you can, please don’t miss this feature.

You almost won’t believe you’re shooting at night, as the EVO II Pro retains its color depth and detail after dark. 

By the way, the Moonlight Algorithm also works in low-light situations, so if you live somewhere where you can’t legally fly after sunset, try it there! 

DJI Mini 2 SE #

There may not be a better first-time drone on the market than the Mini 2 SE. 

This DJI drone is made for beginners in all arenas. It’s lightweight enough that you can skip the registration if flying it for fun.

Its price is accessible, it has Level 5 wind resistance for durability, and the DJI Fly app tells you everything you need to know to get started.

You don’t have to be an experienced pilot to use the Mini 2 SE for the first time since this drone includes one-tap launching and landing.

The stable hovering keeps your drone upright in between, while RTH ensures you face fewer hairy situations, such as the Mini 2 SE flying out of range or having too little battery. 

**» MORE: **DJI Mini 2 SE vs. Holy Stone HS720E (Which One is Best)

When you think of the Mini 2 SE in the lens of a first-timer’s drone, its 12 MP image quality and 2K video quality don’t seem so bad.

This drone has all the best DJI camera equipment, such as a three-axis motorized gimbal and a 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor, so it doesn’t skimp there.

It also doesn’t skimp on Intelligent Flight Modes. Get closer to all the fun using 4x zoom, or take a 180-degree, wide, or sphere Panorama. 

The QuickShots modes are entirely automated and include Rocket, Helix, Boomerang, Circle, and Dronie.

You can then load your footage into LightCut, slapping on filters, adding in cool camera cuts, and implementing soundtracks with single-tap edits driven by AI. 

Head-to-head comparison #

Camera system #

Winner: Autel EVO II Pro 

As mentioned, contextually, the image and video quality of the DJI Mini 2 SE aren’t bad.

First-timers rarely nitpick pixel quality and clarity the same way experienced pilots do because they don’t have a backlog of experience to draw on. 

They primarily care about getting something online. Considering the Mini 2 SE is a DJI drone, it’s not like your footage is going to suffer from shoddy quality. 

That said, as you begin getting more professional drone jobs, you’ll quickly realize that the image and video quality of the Mini 2 SE will not allow you to rise above your peers.

Their higher-quality drone cameras will outrank yours every time.

It’s then that you’re ready to explore a drone like the EVO II Pro. Its 6K Ultra HD video quality will blow you away, especially after graduating from the Mini 2 SE.

The 20 MP image quality, while nothing to write home about compared to other DJI drones, is much better than the Mini 2 SE’s 12 MP image quality.

Considering you can save some image files in RAW and others in 12-big DNG, the EVO II Pro proves it’s the king of camera quality versus the Mini 2 SE. 

» MORE: Camera Technology in Drones (Explained)

Performance #

Winner: Autel EVO II Pro** **

I love how lightweight, zippy, and portable the Mini 2 SE is. It’s got surprisingly great wind resistance, and it’s durable in many ways you wouldn’t expect.

However, I can’t give it the performance category in good conscience. 

The primary reason is its lack of obstacle avoidance.

You’ll recall the Mini 2 SE has a downward-facing vision system that can collect obstacle data. However, the drone will make no moves to avoid obstacles.

Considering how beginner-perfect the Mini 2 SE is in every other way, this missing feature is a huge detriment. Beginners need obstacle avoidance to avoid sinking their $400 in the ocean. 

I know DJI has only implemented obstacle avoidance in Mini drones here and there, but the Mini 2 SE should have had it, even if it meant driving up the price a few hundred dollars.

Now, by comparison, any obstacle avoidance system would have sufficed, but the EVO II Pro has one of the best systems in the game.

Its many sensor groups work hard to detect obstacles all around your drone, then dodge them before the going gets too tough.

Of course, drone performance is about more than obstacle avoidance. The EVO II Pro can fly long and makes those flights more enjoyable with its smart features.

I love DJI’s Intelligent Flight Modes, and while I think they’re better than any other drone manufacturer’s, the Mini 2 SE doesn’t have that many. 

» MORE: How Fast Can Drones Fly? (An In-Depth Guide)

Portability #

Winner: DJI Mini 2 SE** **

This one was a no-contest.

The EVO II Pro is plenty portable, don’t get me wrong. It folds down, and it’s not so large that you can’t bring it with you in its included carrying case or a third-party bag.

You shouldn’t struggle to check in with it at the airport as a carry-on. 

However, it’s heavy, and compared to the Mini 2 SE, it’s also bulky. The DJI drone is much more streamlined, and it weighs so little that you won’t feel it when carrying it on your travels.

Essentially, if the weight of your smartphone doesn’t bother you, then the Mini 2 SE won’t either. 

» MORE: The Ultimate Guide to Traveling with a Drone

RC compatibility and range #

Winner: Autel EVO II Pro

Let’s talk controllers, shall we?

The Mini 2 SE uses the DJI RC-N1, and it’s the only controller that works with it.

The RC-N1 has a monster list of compatible DJI drones, such as the Mini 2 before it, the Mini 3, the Mini 3 Pro, the Mavic 3, Mavic 3 Classic, Mavic Air 2, and Air 2S.

The controller is boxy but lightweight, and the beveling in the design gives you a place to rest your hands when holding it. I like how this controller isn’t too heavy and handles well. 

However, the RC-N1 doesn’t have a screen. You must attach your phone to the holster. 

The EVO II Pro uses the Autel Smart Controller SE, which works with other EVO drones and the EVO Lite. It has a built-in touchscreen measuring a generous 6.4 inches.

Besides the OLED screen, the bolstered processor and SkyLink transmission system let you send HD-quality images without stressing about interference. The remote can handle temperatures of up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. 

The transmission distance the EVO II Pro remote is capable of is 9.3 miles. The Mini 2 SE has a transmission distance of 6.21 miles, which ain’t bad considering this drone’s audience, but is less than the Autel drone. 

**» MORE: **Can You Fly DJI Mini 2 SE Without a Phone (Answered)

Battery life #

Winner: Autel EVO II Pro** **

Another area where the Mini 2 SE is less than the Autel drone is in battery life.

Most of DJI’s Mini drones don’t fly for longer than 35 minutes. In the case of the Mini 2 SE, it’s only 31 minutes. However, those are the advertised minutes. 

In each flight experience I’ve had with this DJI drone – and it’s so enjoyable, I’ve had many – I logged under 30 minutes. It was closer to 27 minutes or a little under.

That’s not surprising, considering drones never fly as long as advertised. That’s why the 40-minute flight time of the EVO II Pro yields an IRL time of around 36 minutes.

No matter how you slice it, the EVO II Pro flies longer, giving you more leeway to get work done. 

» MORE: Drone Batteries (In-Depth Information)

Conclusion  #

Both drones have many merits, but the EVO II Pro stands head and shoulders over the Mini 2 SE for its longer flight time, more robust camera system, and obstacle avoidance, a feature the DJI drone regrettably lacks.

However, besides that omission, the Mini 2 SE is an excellent beginner drone that is sure to lead to many fun moments.

The EVO II Pro, while less beginner-friendly, is the next best step in your career. 

» MORE: Are the DJI Mini 2 and DJI Mini 3 Batteries the Same? (Explained)


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