- An Ambarella H2 chip,
- Ability to shot raw images,
- USB Type C connector,
- Live streaming functionality, and
- Voice command technology.
- Unstable Android app
- Not waterproof
- No waterproof case in the package
Action cameras offer something new for videographers. They are compact yet very capable. However, they can be costly. The last factor is really a deal breaker given the many ways you can use this device.
Enter the YI action camera line. Affordable and capable – characteristics that make the action camera a great option for those who are starting in their photography hobby or a veteran wanting to expand their territory.
Must Have Features in an Action Camera
Action cameras started with modest specifications. Its original aim was to really give outdoor enthusiasts the freedom to move while capturing their conquests. With the advancement of technology, action cameras were beefed up to the point that can already compete with traditional point and shoot.
Gone are the days of low-quality videos or shaky shoots and even the hunt for compatible accessories. The flow of various brands into the category made it more enticing. Not only are there more action camera options, but there was also a flush of third-party accessories in the market.
The saturated market did level up the specs of action cameras. But which features are the most important to have when shopping for one? An ideal action camera in the late 2010s has the following features:
- Wide angle lens – Lens allows you to take good shots of your environment. It allows you to focus on an object, zoom in and out, and dictate whether you will have a nice video output.
- Size and weight – as its name implies, action cameras are designed and made for active people. It can also be for those who wanted to capture what they are seeing without the hassle of bringing big and heavy professional grade video recording equipment. An action camera that comes in a size that can easily fit your hand or attached in any part of your body, without obstructing any view, is the ideal size for this product.
- Durability – durability in action cameras is not confined in having materials capable of standing long-term and frequent use. Given that this camera type will be mostly used outdoors and even in harsh conditions, there is a need for you to select an action camera that offers additional features like water-resistance, shockproof and if possible, military certified design and production.
- Long-lasting battery – batteries – they make or break your experience with any device. If you plan to use your action camera for a whole day trek or will not be near a wall socket until the sky goes dark, it is recommended to settle for a product with a capable lithium-ion battery capable of providing at least a day before needing a recharge.
- Can be easily attached to other things – action cameras will be nothing without accessories. It is best to buy an action camera with big support from third-party accessory providers. This way you can have several ways of using your new toy.
YI 4K+ Action Camera Review
You might be thinking now – what is a YI action camera? Is YI from Xiaomi?
YI is a Chinese brand known for releasing top quality yet affordable action cameras. Chinese electronics brand Xiaomi introduced the brand in 2016. The YI 4K+ Action Camera was among its first action cameras. This one is aimed at people who want to shot a high-quality video in a small and affordable package.
YI Technology claims that the YI 4K+ is the first 4K/60fps action camera in the world. Aside from its capability to shoot high-quality video content, it also comes with some great features.
Features & Benefits
If you are still unsure whether the YI 4K+ is for you, this section of this YI action camera review will break down every feature in this product. It will focus on whether this offering from YI Technology contains all the essential features needed in a capable action camera.
Affordable does not mean skimping on design. While you may argue, what is the need for having a nicely designed action camera if all its future is full of mud and being dropped in the middle of nowhere. The answer – it is nice to have products whose design was thought of thoroughly.
The YI 4K+ is a testament to that. Minimalism is the game of the game for this YI action camera. All you can see on its front is the lens, an LED light, and the 4K+ branding. That’s all of it.
This action camera’s patterned front is an eyecatcher. It comes with a weave pattern like the design on the front side of its carbon fiber-like case. The front also comes with a small LED light that is ideal for night shoots.
The minimalistic approach continues all the way to the YI 4K+’s back. It comes with a 2.2 inches Gorilla Glass-protected touchscreen display. Aside from the touchscreen, the YI logo is the only thing that appears on it.
It is a must that action cameras be waterproof – at least for me. Well, it is a no-brainer feature, right? This kind of camera is usually exposed to harsh outdoor conditions. Making them at least water resistant is the best manufacturers can do to action camera users.
The first thing users will about this action camera – is YI Lite waterproof?
Unfortunately, no. The YI 4K+ might be capable of shooting high-quality video, but if you are limited to areas where it would not be exposed to water. However, there is an option for you to use a waterproof case for this YI action camera. The other downside – you need to purchase it separately. A deal breaker especially for those who want to use this action camera to document their underwater dives or while exploring different bodies of water.
Aside from having great lenses, durable body and being waterproof, a user-friendly interface is among the most essential factors when choosing the perfect action camera.
User interface pertains to the touchscreen navigation panel found in your YI action camera’s back. It is where you are able to tune out settings to fit your liking.
This YI action camera has one of the easiest to use and simple interfaces among action cameras out in the market. The user-friendly factor comes from the fact that it runs with a clear and concise operating system. It is also colorful with great contrast, which makes it easy to navigate even in low light conditions.
Video and Image Quality
You might be thinking – this YI action camera review has been all bells and whistles about this offering from YI Technology. But can it really perform where it is needed the most – video and image quality?
Yes, that’s the resounding answer for me and all the users of the YI 4K+. Don’t be fooled by its price tag into thinking this is one of those subpar action cameras that can’t even match the quality of 3GP videos from the early 2000s.
Supported by a Sony IMX377 ½.3 inches 12-megapixel image sensor that’s coupled with an f/1.8, seven-element lens capable of providing a 155 degrees field of view, the YI 4K+ can deliver superb, top quality images. It was able to produce images and videos with colors that are slightly near those of what you see in real life.
The YI action camera also aced tests on video quality. It was able to deliver rich and crisp video content due to its ability to record at 4K/60fps with a bit rate of 135 megabits per second. However, a downside of the 4k/60fps capability is the large video size. It can easily fill up your memory card especially when you are planning to record a day’s worth of activity.
Downgrading your video quality is the solution to that issue. If that’s something you are concerned about or you’re not just a fan of high-definition video, the YI 4K+ has an option to set to another quality – 1080p and 120 fps. This setting also results in better video quality compared to the 4K/60fps setting.
YI did not also save on battery it packed on the 4k+. This action camera comes with a 1,400 mAh battery that is capable of giving you 2 hours and 35 mins of video recording at a 1080p/30fps setting. However, battery life is reduced if you opt to record high-definition content. Recording at the max 4k/60fps will give you around an hour and half of video.
OEM and third-party accessories expand the capabilities of any action camera. However, you must do in-depth research on whether the action camera you are eyeing is supported by a wide variety of third-party brands.
The YI 4Ki, fortunately, is compatible with several accessories in the market. There are waterproof cases from third-party brands, non-waterproof protective housing, head straps, and hand mounts.
The YI 4K+ has amassed a large following given its price tag and capabilities. It is not also surprising that many reviews are positive given that this is the company’s second version of their 4K action camera model.
A user commented that the YI 4K+ is ahead of its competitors in terms of video and stabilization quality. The user added that its audio capability also surpassed his expectations. It must due to the fact that he didn’t expect much because all the action cameras he used before did not really deliver in terms of audio quality.
One Amazon user commented positively on the YI 4K+. He said that this action camera remains the one to beat in its category despite being a year and a few months old already. He highlighted how it was very capable in the areas of shooting 4K videos, good color, and clear images and image stabilization.
Another user review gave a mixed feeling on the performance of this YI action camera. He claimed that the YI 4K+ does have potential but is not the right device for those who want to use it for high end or professional work.
As previously mentioned, the market is saturated with various action camera offerings from established and up-and-coming players in the camera industry.
The GoPro Hero 7 is perhaps the biggest competitor of the YI 4K+. Various reviews have been pitting them head-to-head to see whether you are better off spending more with a GoPro or settle with a much affordable product from YI Technology. This action camera features the same 4k/60fps video recording capability, voice control and stabilization feature as found in the 4K+. However, it beats the YI product in one important aspect – being waterproof.
The AKASO V50X Native is another action camera capable of shooting at 4k. However, its ability falls short of that of the YI 4K+ as this one is only limited at a maximum of 30 frames per second. However, it still comes with a very useful set of features including having a built-in Wi-Fi, HDMI output and electronic image stabilization.
Many are afraid to invest in an action camera thinking that it is uber expensive. That might be true in some aspect, but YI made it more accessible to every market. While others are reluctant and have been asking the question – “What is YI action camera?”
The YI 4K+ is the perfect example that you can experience all the finer things in life without spending too much. This offering from YI features all the latest and greatest features commonly found only in high-end action cameras. It has 4K/60fps video recording capability, image stabilization technology, a user-friendly interface and is compatible with a wide range of accessories available in the market.
The YI 4K+ is really a steal. You can experience everything it offers now.