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Xiaomi Yi Action Camera :: A GoPro at 1/2 the Cost
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Xiaomi Yi Action Camera :: A GoPro at 1/2 the Cost - December 8, 2015, 12:46 PM

Saw this on CNBC.

Xiaomi's Yi camera raised a few eyebrows when it was announced recently. Here was yet another action camera that looked suspiciously like a GoPro -- but, at the equivalent of about $65, it was almost half the price of the market-leader's cheapest offering (the $130 Hero edition), with a spec-sheet that bested it on many key features. Importantly (perhaps more so for GoPro), the Yi camera has the backing of Xiaomi, a brand that's gaining traction in China. A market everyone wants a slice of. But does it really best a GoPro?

Video 1080p/60 fps 1080p/30 fps
Photo 16 megapixels Five megapixels
Time lapse (second intervals) 0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, 30, 60 0.5
Burst 3/5/7 per second/7 in 2 seconds 10 photos in 2 seconds
WiFi Yes No
App Android / iOS (coming) N/A
Waterproof No (case required) 40 meters
Battery 1,010mAh replaceable 1,180mAh non-replaceable

One fairly big annoyance with the Yi camera is that until you shell out on some accessories, you have to take special care of the naked lens. The GoPro Hero can be thrown in any bag/backpack without concern. The Yi camera's exposed glass made me nervous about putting it pretty much anywhere, including a few times when I set it down the wrong way with the lens directly on the table. I ended up carrying it in my hand for the most part, which soon gets frustrating. Another minor gripe is that the battery/port covers are very losable. The GoPro Hero's all-built-in design also makes it a bit chunkier (and limits you to one battery charge per outing), but you'll come back with as much camera as you went out with. A plus for the Yi is that you can swap the batteries, but you'll need to buy more. If you can find 'em.

This is pretty much the theme throughout. The Yi camera is a mixture of surprise and disappointment. It pleases you one minute, then frustrates you the next. It's inconsistent. The GoPro is the same every time you pick it up. Then there's the higher-end GoPro Hero 4 cameras (Black and Silver), which are more expensive, but with many, many more features (and improved camera internals, even over the Hero). If you enjoy the GoPro Hero, and decide to upgrade, you can move your skill set and accessories with you. Once you've added a waterproof case and a tripod-to-GoPro adapter to even things out a little, and savings on price are less dramatic. Of course, the Yi makes sense if you're happy to offset its limitations against the dollars you do save, or mostly want selfie stick video. On the bright side, the Yi probably looks at least one level less contemptible hanging off the end of one than a phone?

What you really want to know is, though, is this thing any good? The answer is, "It's not bad." In fact, in some of my tests, it definitely gave the GoPro Hero a run for its money. I took both cameras out and shot several things side by side. This includes time-lapse videos, standard photos and, of course, regular video. In photo mode, the Yi has more pronounced colors and sometimes details are sharper.

This, unsurprisingly, translates up into time-lapse videos, too -- which are, of course, just a series of photos. The examples below are shot with the Yi cam set to five-megapixel mode to be more comparable to the GoPro (which only shoots five-megapixel photos).


GP Hero

If you've ever used a GoPro, you'll know that navigating the menus can take a little getting used to. But, once you've got the rhythm down, you can zip around, and change settings pretty quickly. Not so with the Yi camera. The lack of a display means you're guided by LEDs. The power button has one around it that changes color as battery levels decline. There's also one on top of the camera that remains on, or off, depending on which mode you are in (video and photo, respectively). But in terms of feedback, for the Yi camera, that's largely it. If you left it in burst mode, for example, you'd have no idea until you took a picture, and heard the camera rattle off multiple shots. You also can't change that back to normal camera mode without the app.

The app is actually a big dividing factor between these two cameras. The GoPro Hero doesn't have WiFi, so it won't work with the GoPro app (like the Black and Silver editions do). But, at the same time, the little LCD on the Hero means you don't actually need the app. You can easily change settings and know where you are at any time. Try using the Yi camera without the app, and you have to have a bit more faith. For example, there's an LED that flashes to confirm you took a photo. However, in bright daylight, this is easy to miss. You kinda have to hope for the best.


The Yi camera leans on its app a lot more. The downside to that is, without it, you're stuck to switching between photo and video modes, nothing else. You're also stuck when it comes to things like knowing how much memory card space you have left for photos and videos, or battery life (other than a very basic indication). The upside is that the app is quite easy to use. It also expands the capabilities of the camera quite a lot. You can not only change modes, but also fine-tune the settings within those modes. There are more general settings for things like exposure and auto power off, too. It's not a bad app at all. That said, on a few occasions, it would just refuse to connect to the camera, for no obvious reason, leaving you high and dry if you wanted to change the settings.

“Any man who tries to be good all the time is bound to come to ruin among the great number who are not good. Hence a Prince who wants to keep his authority must learn how not to be good, and use that knowledge, or refrain from using it, as necessity requires”.

- Nicolo Machiavelli 1469-1527

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Mojito Anyone?
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Posts: 10,210
Join Date: April 28, 2008
Location: La Habana
December 8, 2015, 01:51 PM

been out for a while.. firmware updates now has it recording 4k...

theres also the firefly 6s. FIREFLY 6S 4K WiFi Sport HD DV Camera-106.64 and Free Shipping| GearBest.com

ay ya yay

Last edited by onel0wcubn; December 8, 2015 at 01:58 PM..
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