Last Updated on January 13, 2019
Introducing YI Action Camera
Yi Action Camera Overview
It may look like a toy camera but Xiaomi’s Yi Action Camera hides some interesting features beneath the surface. This goes to show that you shouldn’t just something just by the way it looks. But is Xiaomi’s product really going to give GoPro a run for its money?
An initial look into its specification indicate Yes. For one, it is equipped with video recording capabilities of 1080p at 60 fps through a 16MP Sony Exmor R BSI CMOS sensor.
But probably the biggest draw for Yi is its price tag. Coming in at around $65, its definitely a much cheaper option compared to the GoPro whose cheapest offering comes in at $130. And given that Xiaomi’s Yi offers comparable (or even better) specifications, those who want to try an action camera might just go for the lime-and-aquamarine colored camera.
Xiaomi is slowly being recognized in China and it’s action camera is definitely a much cheaper solution, but is it really a worthy rival to the GoPro?
Xiaomi Yi vs GoPro Hero
Although it was reported that the Yi Action Camera would be waterproof for up to 40 meters (just like the GoPro Hero), that is just not the case. You need to buy a separate dive housing if you want to take your Yi underwater. Incidentally, this is one area where the GoPro wins against Xiaomi’s camera because it has a built-in waterproof feature.
Another thing that needs to be clarified is the 64GB storage capacity of the Yi. While it can definitely read SD cards with that much capacity (and even upto 128GB), you have to provide one yourself.
Additionally, a separate company called Xiaoyi is the one making the Yi for Xiaomi.
Xiaomi has a penchant for taking inspiration from already existing products. So it’s no wonder their Yi camera looks rather similar to the GoPro Silver or Black. Both have matchbox-like bodies and both have the same button placements. What’s different though is the LCD display: Yi doesn’t have one and you have to rely on LEDs or the mobile app just to get feedback from the camera (e.g. camera mode, battery level, SD card capacity and so on).
But while the Yi closely resembles GoPro, it’s also quite surprising that the accessories for the latter don’t fit the former. For instance, the dive housing of the GoPro doesn’t fit the Yi. Basically, any accessory you have with the GoPro will be rendered useless with the Yi because it just doesn’t seem compatible.
Another cause of concern is the Yi’s naked lens. Why is that? Well, you have to take extra care of it unlike the GoPro which you can just dump into your backpack without ever worrying about it. The camera of the Yi has exposed glass which makes any user wary of putting it anywhere. In short, you’ll be that person who is nervous about everything when you’re bringing the Yi along with you.
One advantage the Yi has over the GoPro is batteries: you can replace the Yi’s. Then again, you need to stock up in case you’re the trigger happy kind. Also, that’s if you can find the exact kind of battery needed by the Yi.
The GoPro excels when it comes to navigating the menus. Yes, it may take a while getting used to but the Yi just relies on LEDs which requires patience. Essentially, you can be left in burst mode and not know it until you’ve taken a picture and hear multiple shots from the camera. Also, changing back to normal mode requires the app.
The Yi produces video that has brighter and more saturated colors. In fact, the difference is quite pronounced when compared to the GoPro.
Again, the Yi captures images that have brighter colors and are much sharper. Then again, it’s not quite consistent and you have to manually fix issues with the lens curve whereas this can be done easily on the GoPro.
Put simply: you need the app in order to really enjoy the Yi. You can easily change settings with the GoPro even without the app, but using the Yi does require patience and a lot of faith.
Some gripes aside, is the Yi really any good? The short answer is: kind of. There are instances when it outperforms the GoPro as it produces much more pronounced colors and sharper details, both in photo and video. Basically, if you don’t mind the little issues (and don’t mind spending for batteries) then a Yi is a good choice for your first action camera.
|Sensor||16 Megapixel CMOS|
|Angle of View||Ultra Wide155°|
|Tripod Mount||1/4″ – 20|
|Outputs||1x HDMI D (Micro)
1x USB Micro-B
|Battery||Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery Pack, 3.7 VDC, 1010 mAh|
|Dimensions (WxHxD)||2.4 x 1.7 x 0.8″ / 60.4 x 42.0 x 21.2 mm|
|Weight||2.54 oz / 72 g|
|Package Weight||0.4 lb|
|Box Dimensions (LxWxH)||4.1 x 4.1 x 2.0″|
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