Last year Yi Technology released their first iteration of affordable yet great action camera. This year, the company released a vastly upgraded model and it is one of the best action cameras I’ve tested. We have used this camera for 2 months already. The Yi Technology 4k action camera costs $250, which is half the price of the GoPro Hero 4 and here is our full review.
Thanks to Yi Technology official for sending YI 4k action camera for a review.
YI 4k Action Camera VIDEO REVIEW:
YI 4k Action Camera Review: UNBOXING
As usual, let’s start by unboxing and see what you get with the camera. The contents of the box include a camera itself, some instruction manuals and USB charging cable.
Yi Technology sent me a waterproof case too, which allows you to use the camera under water up 132 feet or around 40m. The case is very sturdy and well-made. It is also dust-proof, weather-proof, drop and press resistant. Also, it uses a glass with a very good light transmittance.
I’ve used the case for quite a while and so far it has been excellent, there is no water condensation inside of it and the opening latch has been working fine.
YI 4k Action Camera Review: DESIGN AND FEATURES
Firstly, the second generation YI camera changed a lot and it improved in each and every way.
One of the key additions is the 4k video recording, which is thanks to a 12MP Sony IMX377 sensor and the newest Ambarella A9SE75 image processor. The camera has f/2.8 aperture and wide 160° lens.
Next to the camera we have the LED, which lights up in different colours to indicate the juice left in the battery. The camera is made of plastic and the device does not feel very expensive but it does not feel cheap either.
We have a power on/off button, which also acts as a record button, two microphones and the speaker grill on the top.
The camera can be charged via the micro USB charging port, which is covered by a flap.
On the bottom, we have a tripod mount screw. Also, we have a removable 1400mAh battery and the microSD card slot. Keep in mind that you would need to purchase a high-speed microSD card separately for a smooth 4k video recording.
Overall, the camera is tiny, compact, well-built and lightweight.
YI 4k Action Camera Review: DISPLAY AND USER INTERFACE
Another key addition is a 2.19” touchscreen display, which is covered with Gorilla Glass and it is the sharpest display on any action camera we’ve ever reviewed. Also, it is visible even under direct sunlight (if you set display brightness to maximum).
Naturally, the display acts as a viewfinder and this is a major improvement over the last generation camera. You can do quite a few things with the display. You can watch the videos you shot or the pictures you took right on the camera. If you swipe from the top, you will access quick settings toggles.
Also, you can select from quite a few shooting modes that include photo, video, time lapse, slow-motion and other modes.A really cool feature is that you can quickly switch from the photo and the last shooting mode by simply swiping from left to right.
As far as the video resolution goes, you can go all the way to the 4k at 30 fps or choose the lowest resolution of 480p at 240fps. There are quite a few resolution/fps combos but I have mostly used 4k at 30fps, 1080p at 60fps and the 720p slow-motion video, where you can set the fps setting to 240.
In addition, there are some manual controls. You can adjust some image settings, turn on/off electronic image stabilization and so on.
One of the notable features is the dual-band Wifi, meaning that you can easily connect the camera to your phone using the YI Action app.
Within the app, you can use your phone as a viewfinder, which only has a little bit of lag, and some other things like switch from one shooting mode to another. Also, you can view photos and videos you shot and download them to your phone. Keep in mind that the camera creates a separate low-resolution video file, so you can easily share it. In addition, you can adjust some camera settings, upgrade the firmware of the device and so on.
YI 4k Action Camera Review: VIDEO QUALITY
See the video review for video/image quality. The camera samples will be uploaded soon (on April 24th)
I shot videos and took pictures that took over 100GB of storage on multiple microSD cards to tell you what I think about the image quality.
First of all, you have to keep in mind that action cameras are not as the good as the flagship smartphones but the Yi 4k camera can produce a very high-quality footage.
The 4k video is fantastic and it is one of the best we’ve seen on any action camera, to be honest. The footage is sharp is crisp, the color reproduction is very accurate and the infinite focus lens make the footage look in-focus and sharp all the time. The only shortcoming is that the 4k video lacks video stabilization.
The 4k time-lapse video is very detailed and sharp-looking too.
1080p video at 30 fps has less detail but does a better job with video stabilization. In addition, you can turn on the EIS in the settings menu to reduce the shakiness even more and it works pretty good.
1080p video at 60fps s great too. It may not look as sharp as the 4k but 60fps mode is the best suited for sports action.
Slow-motion video can be shot at 720p resolution either at 120fps or at 240fps.
When it comes to the low-light video, the quality decreases significantly. There is less detail and much more noise but still, the image quality is pretty good.
The still images look nice too. Again, the images do not look as sharp as the ones taken with the flagship smartphone but when it comes to the action cameras, they are one of the best in class.
YI 4k Action Camera Review: BATTERY LIFE
1400mAh battery performs great. I could get almost 2 hours of usage if I shot mainly 4K videos. If I shot 1080p videos and took pictures with the camera, I could easily get slightly over 2h of the battery life.
YI 4k Action Camera Review: CONCLUSIONS
So, there you have it, the YI action 4k camera. This is a device that challenges the GoPro camera for half the price.In short, we love this camera and we don’t see any major shortcomings.
The device is lightweight, the display is sharp, the UI is fast and easy to use, the Wifi is fast and the camera works fine with the YI Action app. Also, the battery life is great.
The video and image quality are great too. Sure, the camera could be slightly better in low-light situations but this is probably the only shortcoming we can mention.
All in all, YI action 4k camera is a great product. The price point of $250 may sound steep for some but hey, this is the action cam that has a great image quality, good battery life and much more, and it can easily rival the GoPro camera…. for half the price.