Xiaoyi is technically Xiaomi’s subsidiary that manufactures various connected home electronic products, the Yi Action Camera has recently caused heat in the action camera market and we’ve gotten ourselves a unit from Lazada Malaysia, it costs more expensive than the official price however we got it at a promotional price of RM314 when the company was having a huge birthday sale last week, the camera arrived shortly two days after placing our order and we are really impressed with the speed.
The Yi Action Camera comes in a tiny cardboard box just like the Mi Band, despite being a different entity Xiaoyi has also kept its packaging really simple just like Xiaomi’s by including a USB cable, a 1010mAh battery and a user guide in the box, you’d have to purchase the camera’s accessories in some aftermarket stores at this point of time since Xiaomi hasn’t officially introduce Yi products into Malaysia.
What makes the Yi Action Camera really attractive isn’t really about its looks, though I personally like its elegant white color plastic chassis that tries to resemble a fun and young product, the camera packs some capable hardware onboard that you’ll need to shell out at least RM800 for them – a 16-megapixel Sony CMOS sensor with 155 degree viewing angle, 1080p 60 fps video recording and a 96KHz audio recording quality
Despite of all the great hardware, the Yi Action Camera doesn’t have a perfect hardware design, the flap that covers the MicroUSB port, MicroHDMI port and MicroSD slot is a plastic one which means you won’t be able to flex and you need to remove it totally to access them, that means if you are a careless user you are going to lose that flap some time. The battery cover door isn’t really easy to remove for the first time and there is no gap in the battery compartment to remove the battery, you’ll need to force it out by shaking the camera and clapping it on your hand.
Doing a side by side comparison with a two year old GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition, the Yi Action Camera has a slightly thicker form factor and lacks many features that the GoPro still has. For instance, you won’t get a LCD display on the front of the camera to check and configure video settings, there’s also no external mic input for the Yi Action Camera however it has a standard tripod shoe which the GoPro lacks. Otherwise, both the Yi Action Camera and GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition supports WiFi connectivity and lacked of a live view display.
Setting up the Yi Action Camera
Since the Yi Action Camera isn’t available globally the official app is obviously not available directly from the Google Play Store, the camera companion app is only available for Android 4.1 devices and above while the iOS version of the app is in the works, if you happen to own one already you can download the app here from the Mi App Store.
The companion app has been partially translated into English and one shouldn’t have too much difficulties in pairing up with the device, first you’ll got to activate the camera’s WiFi connectivity by pressing on the side button just like the GoPro and wait until it blinks, then you’ll be able to enter the default password into the app and get connected.
Without referring to a manual, it is already very easy to navigate around the app and even easier if you are already familiar to MIUI’s design language, you can switch to photo and video mode by swiping across the UI and change the video capture mode and resolution within the app itself, I personally find it more refined than the Mi Band’s app considering this isn’t an official international product yet.
The Initial Test
In our first impression, the Yi Action Camera takes pretty good pictures in both day time and low light, if we were to compare to smartphones I would say its very much on par with the Redmi 2’s camera albeit with a higher resolution, video stabilization is decent and there’s really nothing much you can complain about its hardware capability, do check out some camera samples and a video recording sample down below