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Best Intelligent Drones (Here’s My Choice)

21 mins
Drone Blog
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Welcome to our shortlist of the top 4 best intelligent drones you can find.

Here at Droneblog, we have nearly all the big brand drones and use them regularly for many activities, so we can authoritatively recommend which ones are the best.

The last thing you want is to spend your hard-earned money on the wrong drone. You came to the right place if you’re looking for an intelligent or autonomous drone.

Are you ready to find out which drones are the current cream of the crop?

Brief Overview #

If you’re looking for the best intelligent drones that won’t break the bank, here’s what we recommend based on experience, knowledge, and a lot of research.

  1. DJI Mavic 3 Pro – The best professional, intelligent drone around
  2. DJI Air 3 – The newest and best next-gen intelligent drone
  3. DJI Mini 3 Pro – The best intelligent drone under 250 grams
  4. Autel EVO 2 Pro – Best non-DJI intelligent drone

DJI Mavic 3 Pro #

Key Features #

  • Weight: 958 grams
  • Camera: Three camera systems, including Hasselblad 4/3 inch
  • Max Flight Time: 43 minutes
  • Transmission Distance: Up to 9.3 miles in USA and 5 miles in Europe, China, and Japan
  • Obstacle Avoidance: Omnidirectional obstacle avoidance system
  • Intelligent Functions: Advanced Active Track 5.0 with APAS 5.0

✅ Pros: #

  • One of the best consumer camera drones on the market
  • Intelligent, featuring many autonomous characteristics
  • Long battery life and long-range capability
  • Capable of avoiding objects from any angle and direction of flying
  • Perfect for low-light or night photography
  • Compatible with three controllers

❌ Cons: #

  • It’s an expensive drone for most pilots
  • The transmission system is of an older generation
  • It can be intimidating to fly as a beginner
  • Needs to be registered

Product Overview #

The DJI Mavic 3 Pro is one of the most advanced intelligent drones as of the time of this comparison. 

You simply cannot find anything similarly priced that will outperform this in terms of camera capabilities and intelligent flight modes. 

This drone is also excellent for beginners because it hosts the full-coverage version of the anti-collision system, but flying it as a first drone will be intimidating.

The Mavic 3 Pro is simply the preferred primary drone for professional and commercial drone pilots. It can be used for a wide range of objectives, from inspections to real estate photography, photogrammetry, and even professional photography and filmmaking.

Therefore, if you have the budget, look no further, as the DJI Mavic 3 Pro is our number-one drone on this list.

» MORE: DJI Mavic 3 Pro Review (I have NEVER flown a drone that I enjoyed so much)

Review #

When we ordered this drone for the first time, we didn’t know what to expect. It was a swallow-hard moment spending so much money on the DJI Mavic 3 Pro.

We already knew that the Mavic 3 line was fantastic, especially after the massive success of the simple but elegant Mavic 3 Classic release.

So, after we got our hands on this drone, the world changed, but in a good way. 

We didn’t know how to react.

So, our team, who are doing a lot of commercial work, replaced our previous core drone with the Mavic 3 Pro because it’s the one and only we needed. It’s as simple as that.

However, somehow, we felt a hiccup a few months later, as we had to buy yet another drone, the DJI Air 3, which is part of the next-gen. Still, the Air 3 became a secondary drone in our commercial fleet while the Mavic 3 Pro remained the number one.

While we’re doing commercial work and sometimes professional video taking, we often use intelligent functions, as they’re there to help us.

But we knew from previous generations that we shouldn’t solely rely on this – until we had the Mavic 3 Pro, of course.

From using waypoints to follow-me mode in many scenarios, the Mavic 3 Pro proved to be a beast without comparison, and its intelligent system worked flawlessly.

So, we do rely on the Advanced Active Track version 5.0 quite often to push our needs without catching our ears in complex flight tricks.

» MORE: DJI Mavic 3 Classic vs. Mavic 3 Pro (Here’s My Choice)

Benefits and Drawback #

The DJI Mavic 3 Pro is an absolute beast drone with so much ingenuity behind such a complex system.

  • Made for professional photographers, the three-camera system is the best found in any consumer drone. It includes one Hasselblad 4/3 inch, one medium tele camera with 1/1.3 inch CMOS capable of zooming up to 8x, and one tele camera with 1/2 inch CMOS that can zoom up to 28x.
  • The Hasselblad camera can film in 5.1k at 50 FPS and photograph at 20MP resolution, whereas both medium tele and tele cameras can film in 4k at 60fps.
  • The binocular obstacle avoidance system found in DJI Mavic 3 Pro can detect obstacles and avoid them from any angle from the drone being covered.
  • The intelligent system (Active Track & APAS) is of next-generation 5.0, and the drone can perform unique autonomous functions with high accuracy and great performance.
  • The DJI Mavic 3 Pro can fly for a long time compared to many other drones and is capable of flying long-range without issues, even in high-interference areas.

» MORE: DJI Mavic 3 Pro – Battery (All You Need to Know)

But we should remember that this drone’s starting price is higher than most can afford for a hobbyist drone, and it gets even higher if you’re aiming for the DJI RC Pro or Cine version.

Also, the transmission system found in the DJI Mavic 3 Pro is surpassed by the new generation from Air 3 and Mini 4 Pro; we should expect a new Mavic line at any time (probably within a year) that will outperform this drone.

Our Pick

DJI Air 3 #

Key Features #

  • Weight: 720 grams
  • Camera: Two cameras, both 1/1.3 inch
  • Max Flight Time: 46 minutes
  • Transmission Distance: 12.4 miles in the USA and 6.2 miles restrictions in Europe, China and Japan
  • Obstacle Avoidance: Omnidirectional obstacle avoidance system
  • Intelligent Functions: Features the Active Track 5.0 

✅ Pros: #

  • Capable of flying long-range without issues because of the latest OcuSync 4.0 transmission system.
  • This drone is also capable of flying for a long time compared to many drones.
  • It has a decent starting price.
  • Compatible with the newer generation radio controllers.
  • Same as with Mavic 3 Pro, it features the Active Track 5th generation with great capabilities of intelligent and autonomous functions.
  • The Air 3 is more than sufficient for photography and filming with both cameras.
  • It can also film and photograph in true vertical mode.
  • It’s one of the latest drones.

❌ Cons: #

  • The camera sensor is smaller than the previous generation, but let’s not forget that it has two cameras now.
  • Because of its weight, this drone has to be registered.

Product Overview #

The DJI Air 3 was a surprise to us all.

This year started great with DJI releasing a record number of drones. 

But they have also done something unimaginable: they have improved the technological parts of these new drones.

So, we have an unparalleled transmission range and penetration, featuring the latest OcuSync transmission with the O4 from Air 3, after many years of having the O3.

But that’s not all. 

We knew that the previous version, the DJI Air 2S, had four-way obstacle avoidance, which was fantastic at the time, but getting full-coverage anti-collision sensors like those in the Mavic 3 line? 

That was a bold move but very beneficial, especially since the Air 3 is not far from the 2S in terms of price.

On top of all these features…well… we also have the same advanced Active Track 5.0 system as Mavic 3, capable of delivering a unique intelligent system, from follow-me mode and waypoints to many QuickShots functions and even an advanced return-to-home where the drone will carve a path back to you.

The Air 3 is advanced enough to be used for professional and commercial work; maybe not as good as the Mavic 3 Pro, but still, it’s a strong secondary choice, especially with all these new smart features.

» MORE: DJI Air 3 Review – Is This the Drone for You?

Review #

This was the breakpoint, and we decided to add a new drone to our fleet. We had to try it; we had to fly it! There was no doubt about that.

We wanted to see how this drone, at half the price of the Mavic 3 Pro, could challenge it in so many ways. And it did.

Except for the camera system, I think it’s safe to say that the DJI Air 3 comes out stronger on performance than the Mavic 3 Pro.

Yes, it does have the same omnidirectional anti-collision sensors, Active Track 5.0, and can fly the same as the Mavic 3 Pro, but the new transmission system is a big win for us.

I mean, when we do real estate photography or roof inspections, there are probably over 100 Wi-Fi devices in a half-mile radius.

If you know how much interference and trouble this can create for our drones, then you know that the new transmission system is an excellent addition to combat high-interference areas.

That’s why the DJI Air 3 has quickly become our second favorite drone.

And let’s not forget the reason you’re here – you’re interested in intelligent functions, right? 

We never expect the same advanced Active Track 5.0 as with the Mavic 3 line. But here we have it. And we use it. And it’s fantastic…

On top of the Active Track 5.0, we do have the Spotlight 2.0 and Point of Interest 3rd version. So basically, all the automated functions you put this drone up to, it will perform effortlessly. 

And don’t expect less from this drone – it also has the Waypoints feature, so you can plan your shots in a most professional way like we do.

» MORE: DJI Air 3 Beginners Guide (Step-by-Step Guide)

Benefits and Drawback #

  • Balanced for both professional and recreational use, the DJI Air 3 is one of the most advanced drones currently available.
  • The omnidirectional sensing system will also help you avoid obstacles wherever they are, safely and intuitively, without the need to stress too much about crashing this drone, even as a beginner.
  • One of the best additions was the new OcuSync 4.0 transmission system, which became a hot topic of discussion regarding how DJI managed to overtake most drones on the market in terms of how far and well the Air 3 can fly.
  • With the new OcuSync, we also have two new remote controllers compatible with this drone that have major improvements over the previous versions.
  • Did you know that the Air 3 is one of the top consumer drones in terms of how long it can stay in the air? If you get the fly-more pack with three batteries, expect to stay aloft for no less than two hours with these three batteries.
  • This drone is intelligent and can perform autonomous functions, the same as the top-of-the-line Mavic 3 Pro, including the advanced return-to-home feature. 
  • Even with a smaller camera sensor of 1/1.3 inch, the DJI Air 3 can record in 4k at 100 frames per second and photograph at 48 megapixels resolution. It is also excellent for night filming and photography and can do slow-motion like a king drone.
  • And let’s not forget that the Air 3 is one of the very few drones capable of filming and photographing in vertical mode – an excellent feature for content creators and those who post on social media platforms.

» MORE: DJI Mavic 3 Pro vs. Air 3 (Here’s My Choice)

There have to be some drawbacks with the Air 3, right? Like with any other drone!

Well, I’m struggling to find some, and I’m gonna be honest – the Air 3 is an unprecedented type of release, and the only thing that falls behind the top-line consumer drones (but is still way above other drones) is the sensor size.

Editor’s Choice

DJI Mini 4 Pro #

Key Features #

  • Weight: <249 grams
  • Camera: 1/1.3 inch CMOS, one camera
  • Max Flight Time: 34 or 45 minutes, depending on the battery
  • Transmission Distance: 12.4 miles in the USA and 6.2 miles with the restrictions in Europe, China, and Japan
  • Obstacle Avoidance: Omnidirectional anti-collision sensors
  • Intelligent Functions: Revolutionary Active Track 360 and APAS 5.0

✅ Pros:  #

  • The best sub-250-gram drone in the world
  • Unique and revolutionary new Active Track System
  • Decent camera and video quality for such a small drone
  • Photograph and film in true vertical mode, same as the Air 3 and Mini 3 Pro
  • The only drone under 250 grams with full coverage anti-collision sensors
  • Doesn’t have to be registered in the United States to fly it
  • It’s capable of excellent long-range flight without issue and can fly for a decent amount of time
  • Excellent price and availability; it’s affordable for most drone pilots

❌ Cons: #

  • The flight time is lower than its competitors with the standard battery; the “plus” battery will bring the drone above the 250 gram mark.

Product Overview #

To be honest, I wonder if maybe I should have placed the DJI Mini 4 Pro in the first place. Surely, its cutting-edge technology and intelligent flight modes are superior by a margin to those found in the Mavic 3 Pro and Air 3.

That’s because it has a new Active Track 360.

Well, we promised you to offer only the best, so we do. This is one of the best drones, and considering it’s a “mini” drone, it’s the most preferred choice for many pilots.

But when aiming to create these rankings, we have to consider many more factors so that some features don’t lag behind.

The Mini 4 Pro does not offer great flight time compared to the above two drones. Well, it does, with the intelligent battery, but that’s an addition.

You’ll have to purchase it separately, and the drone will go beyond 250 grams, so you won’t benefit from the same relaxed drone laws.

Note: Did you know that the Mini 4 Pro battery is basically the same as the Mini 3 and Mini 3 Pro batteries?

Also, the wind resistance may be a minor inconvenience because the drone is so small; although it does fantastic, it does not compare to the Mavic 3 line and Air 3.

Are these two drawbacks not bothering you at all? Then, by all means, I can say that the DJI Mini 4 Pro is indeed the number 1 drone in terms of intelligent features. 

With the Active Track 360, you can basically “draw” a path on the trace wheel interface, and the drone will fly and track you accordingly. This is how the Mini 4 Pro stands above the other two drones already mentioned.

And did I mention that now we have the omnidirectional anti-collision sensors on a “mini” drone? It’s the first sub-250 drone in the world to feature this crazy safety feature.

» MORE: DJI Mini 4 Pro Review (Is It Worth to Upgrade?)

Review #

The same year, yet another drone. DJI wants to empty our bank accounts, and they make it so easy!

But how can we say no to yet another drone? Especially when we’re dealing with a new revolutionary “mini” drone.

Ever since the Mini 4 Pro’s release, we have tested it and put it into practice. This drone has it all, and we never expected it to be this good.

And the new intelligent functions put into a routine? That’s something all of us enjoy and take advantage of.

Now, the DJI Mini 4 Pro may not be our favorite choice for commercial work, but surely, we can do this within some margin. However, it did become our favorite travel drone!

Featuring the Active Track 360 with omnidirectional anti-collision sensors, the Mini 4 Pro can be used in many scenarios, from forest walking to backpacking. Such a small, intelligent, and safe drone can cover so many scenarios.

We just wish we had the time to go and travel as much as we would like to and take this drone with us.

So, although our tests are limited because it wasn’t released very long ago, we can surely share this with you:

The DJI Mini 4 Pro is the breakpoint to intelligent and safe drones that weigh under 250 grams, and you won’t find anything better currently on the market, all while available at a decent price!

» MORE: DJI Mini 4 Pro – Initial Setup (Unboxing to First Flight with Video)

Benefits and Drawback #

So, what else can we share with you about the lovely Mini 4 Pro?

  • The camera is decent. In fact, it is more than decent. Although it shares the same CMOS size as Air 3, Mini 3 Pro, and Mini 3, the technology behind the sensor is superior (same as Air 3), so you’ll benefit from great dynamic range and low-light and night photography.
    • In contrast, the Mini 4 Pro can photograph at 48 megapixels resolution and can film in 4k at 100 frames per second (for super slow motion) if it’s not in HDR. It also features the 10-bit D-Log M and HLG for a wide range of colors and great post-processing capabilities.
    • As you have probably heard a hundred times, the omnidirectional anti-collision sensors have full coverage for this “mini” drone, the first of its kind that will help your drone fly safely even in challenging environments.
    • With the new Active Track 360, the intelligent features found on Mini 4 Pro are among the best, featuring the Advanced Pilot Assistance System and advanced return-to-home, to waypoints, cruise control, spotlight, points of interest, and many QuickShots functions.
    • In the United States (and in most parts of the world), drones under 250 grams do not have to be registered. They will also benefit from relaxed drone laws (always check your country’s drone regulations), such as flying close to or above people, in some parks, or even inside a town. The Mini 4 Pro is indeed under 250 grams with the standard battery.
    • Like the Air 3, the Mini 4 Pro is the second drone featuring the newest transmission system that makes this drone capable of flying extremely long-range and facing insane interference without losing signal. 

» MORE: DJI Mini 4 Pro vs. Air 3 (Here’s My Choice)

As we already mentioned before, the only drawback we can think of with this drone is the flight time – it does not fly as long as some other drones, and because it is also a tiny drone that can fit in your pocket, you should not expect to resist in heavy winds – it’s just too risky.

Autel EVO 2 Pro (V3) #

Key Features #

  • Weight: 1191 grams
  • Camera: 1-inch CMOS, one-camera system.
  • Max Flight Time: 40 minutes
  • Transmission Distance: 9.3 miles max transmission distance
  • Obstacle Avoidance: Omnidirectional binocular avoidance system
  • Intelligent Functions: Moonlight Algorithm 2.0, Dynamic Track 2.0, and anti-interference system

✅ Pros: #

  • Compatible with many service software like Pix4D, Drone Deploy, and Skyebrowse
  • It has an anti-interference system with triple band frequency hopping on 2.4, 5.8ghz, and 900mhz
  • Excellent for night photography and filming with the intelligent Moonlight Algorithm, version 2.0 system
  • An incredible 1-inch CMOS camera
  • Can fly for a long time and is capable of flying long-range
  • Features Dynamic Track 2.0 with an excellent follow-me mode
  • Comes with a 6.4-inch OLED smart controller and is in a rich bundle pack
  • Can avoid obstacles rapidly and accurately from all directions
  • Compared to DJI drones, the EVO 2 Pro has no geo-fencing restriction system

❌ Cons: #

  • The price is spicy and similar to the Mavic 3 Pro
  • It does not have the latest Dynamic Track 2.1 version

Product Overview #

If we have to take a step back from DJI drones, Autel Robotics offers excellent alternatives. The EVO 2 Pro is one of the most advanced consumer drones from Autel, so comparing it to the Mavic 3 Pro is a real challenge.

However, in terms of performance and capabilities, it does fall slightly behind the Mavic 3 Pro. This doesn’t mean we should immediately aim for the more expensive drone and forget about the cheaper one.

Did you know that in the bundle, you’ll get a smart controller with a screen, three batteries, and a ton of accessories and good stuff? That’s all included in the price.

And the transmission system, although it doesn’t have the same capabilities as the OcuSync 4.0, it does have a solid anti-interference system and a high-resolution live view mode where DJI falls behind.

Suppose you’re into night photography and filming. In that case, intelligent features such as Moonlight Algorithm 2.0 can create noiseless, sharp, and crystal-clear images and videos like no other drone, even if it has only a 1-inch CMOS sensor compared to the Mavic 3 Pro’s Hasselblad 4/3 inch.

What I love about the EVO 2 Pro is the Dynamic Track system. Sometimes, I feel it is superior to the Active Track from DJI. 

The computing system behind EVO 2 Pro calculates the variables so fast it’s scary. The follow-me mode is beyond excellent, and we’ll cover many more features behind this drone in a bit.

But for now, let’s look at this video, which features the first version of the EVO 2. In this article we’re highlighting the 3rd and Pro version, so expect even more than what the video shows!

» MORE: Autel EVO 2 Pro vs. DJI Mini 3 Pro (Here’s My Choice)

Review #

Although I haven’t managed to fly the Autel EVO 2 Pro lately, I have always been impressed by this drone’s intelligent feature capabilities. 

Some of us at Droneblog fly this drone on a regular basis, and the feedback is overwhelmingly positive for many of its features.

Used for photography, you should also expect to take advantage of the 12-bit DNG file system for fantastic post-processing on top of everything else this drone has to offer.

I mean, let me be honest here. It may not have the best camera sensor, and yes, I’m utterly impressed by DJI drones, but if you look beyond what DJI has to offer, as a consumer drone, I can’t recommend anything better than the Autel EVO 2 Pro.

And by the way, this is the 3rd version. If you have searched for this drone on YouTube, expect many results to be from the second or first version of the EVO 2, or the non-pro version. 

» MORE: Autel EVO 2 Pro vs. DJI Mini 3 (Here’s My Choice)

Benefits and Drawbacks #

  • The moonlight algorithm behind the Autel EVO 2 Pro V3 is one of the most advanced intelligent features regarding night photography and filming, taking this to the next level. 
    • The 1-inch CMOS found in it also makes this possible. This drone can film in 6k at 30 frames per second and photograph at 20 megapixels.
    • The compatibility with the above-mentioned software makes the EVO 2 Pro a drone that can be used even in emergency services and many other industries.
    • Another feature that makes this drone stand out is the bright orange color (if you pick orange), which will make this drone more visible in the sky, increasing the visual line of sight when respecting the drone laws. 
    • The Dynamic Track feature has progressed a long way, becoming a brilliant and competitive element that can be compared with DJI’s Active Track. From tracking and follow-me mode to many quick-shot functions, the EVO 2 Pro has them all.
    • The Autel SkyLink 2.0 competes with the OcuSync 4.0 in terms of transmission range, interference penetration, and transmission quality. As we mentioned, this drone is excellent at flying long-range and for an extended time due to its superb battery.
    • So, you want to fly your drone but can’t because of restricted airspace? Even for a roof inspection, in your own backyard, or indoors? Expect these DJI issues to be absent from the EVO 2 Pro, as this drone, as we mentioned, doesn’t have a geofencing system to restrict flights.

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

There are quite a few benefits that make the EVO 2 Pro stand out and find a place in the best intelligent functions.

Although it may not seem like much on paper, flying and observing how well this drone flies and its many features makes you wonder if it would be a satisfactory addition to you.

But the few drawbacks make this drone find its spot in 4th place.

The price is similar to the DJI Mavic 3 Pro, and that drone can offer more in terms of intelligent features, camera capability, and dynamic range and is not as far behind in the latest innovative technologies.

Also, what I personally don’t like about the EVO 2 Pro is that it underperforms commercially except in certain specific circumstances. The Mavic 3 Pro’s zoom and tri-camera put it above the EVO 2 Pro.

But I guess you’re not looking for a commercial drone but an intelligent one, right?

Conclusion #

As we approach Christmas, should we expect another DJI drone release? Or perhaps an even more intelligent one that will overtake everything else on our list?

I doubt that, but it’s a good practice to remember that every year, technology evolves, and drones become more intelligent and perform better.

So, if I had to wait for the next drone, I would never buy one because even after the next one is released, there’s gonna be the next one, and so on. 

That’s why I love to try and fly what I have today, and if there’s something new that I can afford, I would like to acquire it.

That’s just me. I’m obsessed with drones.

» MORE: Best Drones for Night Time Use (Photography & Video)


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