Xiaomi Yi Review: A Higher

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The Yi"s video unique and shooting options are well above other cameras in its class, but you"ll need to bring your own accessories.




Josh Goldman helps people find the best máy tính at the best price -- from simple Chromebooks khổng lồ high-end gaming laptops. He"s been writing about & reviewing consumer technology & software for more than two decades.

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Editors" note: The Yi is now available in a US version exclusively through Amazon for $99.95. This đánh giá is for the Chinese version of the mi Yi. The cameras are identical, but with the US version, the packaging inserts are in English as is a new version of the mobile ứng dụng to use with the camera.



The instructions và parts of the mobile ứng dụng are in Chinese, so it"ll require some minor guesswork when starting out if you can"t read Chinese. No memory card, mounts or housings are included và the Yi isn"t waterproof on its own. Battery life could be better.
​The mi Yi kích hoạt Cam"s video unique and shooting options are well above those of other cameras in its class, but you"ll need to bring your own accessories.
Among all of the điện thoại cảm ứng and wearable tech news that came out of 2015"s sản phẩm điện thoại World Congress was a surprise from Chinese electronics brand xiaomi -- the tiny Yi action cam.

Outside of đài loan trung quốc the company is best known for its smartphones, but it has a growing lineup of related devices such as the mày Band fitness tracker và headphones that it"s been putting the mi name on.

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The Yi is one of those, continuing its expansion into other categories beyond smartphones (not unlike what htc did last year with the Re camera ) and further building its reputation for offering products with high-end features at budget-friendly prices.


Though it"s primarily available in đài loan trung quốc for 399 yuan, you can buy one for just under $100 (about £65 & AU$120) from online retailers lượt thích GearBest.com, which is where we got ours. That price isn"t quite as good as the converted price of about $65, but is still excellent for what you"re getting.



Sarah Tew/binhphap3d.vnOut in front of the little lime-green & teal box (it"s available in all white, too) is a nice f2.8 wide-angle lens with a 155-degree angle of view, while inside is a Sony-made 16-megapixel backside-illuminated CMOS sensor, a Broadcom wireless module và an Ambarella A7LS system on a cpu (SoC) running the show.

To give you some perspective, Ambarella"s chips can be found in many POV cameras & DJI"s quadcopters and, more specifically, the GoPro Hero3+ Silver, Ion Air Pro 3 and Drift Innovation Ghost-S use the A7LS chip family. Aside from the SoC, those cameras all have one other thing in common: prices of $300 or more.


Now, those cameras bởi vì offer things that the Yi doesn"t, but the Yi can vị more than others at its price such as the Polaroid Cube và Monoprice MHD 2.0. Also, although the slightly more expensive entry-level GoPro hero has very good video clip quality, the Yi still beats it there and on features and, depending on your needs, design.



Sarah Tew/binhphap3d.vn

Features và design

For starters, the higher-end specs mean it can capture 1080p clip at 60, 48, 30 or 24 frames per second (fps); 960p (also called tall HD) at 60 or 48fps; 720p at 120, 60 or 48fps; & 480p at 240fps. It can also snap pictures at resolutions up khổng lồ 16 megapixels one at a time; in bursts at 3, 5 or 7fps or 7 frames over 2 seconds; or at time intervals of 0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, 30 or 60 seconds. You can also set up a self-timer for 3, 5, 10 or 15 seconds. There"s also a Snapshot mode that captures 10 seconds of VGA-quality clip for quick social sharing.

Other cameras at the Yi"s price offer a fraction of those options and typically record video at a maximum of just 1080p at 30fps và 720p at 60fps. However, unless you read Chinese, using the camera to vị all that it can bởi is a little tricky at first.


Again, this camera is made for the Chinese market, so the instructions that come with it are in Chinese (a US version of the camera is now available on Amazon). If you"ve used a similar action cam or aren"t afraid lớn press buttons, the Yi is simple to lớn figure out. If you haven"t or are afraid, well, it"s still easy.


Sarah Tew/binhphap3d.vnThe camera has three buttons. The one on front is for power và switching between capturing stills & video. (The defaults, by the way, are single, 16-megapixel photos và 1080p at 30fps.) A button on vị trí cao nhất is the shutter release & for starting and stopping recordings. On the left is a small button for turning on & off the camera"s wireless. There are record lights on the top, back & bottom and a light around the nguồn button gives you a battery status by changing color.

On back you"ll find a door for the battery compartment và another covering the microSDXC card slot, Micro-USB port & Micro-HDMI output. A battery và short Micro-USB cable are included for charging và transfers, but you"re on your own for storage; it supports cards up khổng lồ 128GB.


If you"re looking for the cut corners that got the price so low, the lack of included accessories is one of them. There is no polycarbonate waterproof housing & the camera isn"t waterproof without one.


There is also no screen of any kind, so lớn change camera settings you"ll need to use the camera"s Wi-Fi khổng lồ connect lớn an app android or tiện ích ios device running the Yi app. Fortunately, much of the phầm mềm is in English, so getting around in it even if you can"t read Chinese shouldn"t be much of an issue. (A US version of the camera is now available on Amazon.)


Press the camera"s Wi-Fi button for a second lớn start up the wireless and after a few more seconds it will begin to blink, which is your signal lớn connect. Launch the app, tap a camera icon at the bottom of the screen & it should start the direct connection to the Yi. If it doesn"t you may have to select the camera from your available networks listed under Wi-Fi settings on your sản phẩm điện thoại device. After the first time, though, it will automatically connect when you launch the app and tap the icon.


Screenshot by Josh Goldman/binhphap3d.vnWith the app you get a live preview of what the camera sees as well as a live stream while recording. I tested with a Samsung Galaxy S5 and it worked near flawlessly and held onto the connection very well. The tiện ích can be used khổng lồ start and stop recordings, snap photos, change all of the camera"s settings and view your photos and videos and tải về them to lớn your device, too.

Along with changing what resolution and frame rate you record at & selecting other photo modes, you can mix the camera for loop recording -- perfect for using it as a dashcam -- as well as correcting the wide-angle distortion from the lens (assuming you don"t want it), turning on an auto low-light option to improve exposure indoors or at night and other miscellaneous settings.

Battery life and video quality

Small battery packs typically don"t equal long continuous recording times on kích hoạt cams, & that"s certainly the case with the Yi. Set lớn record at the mặc định 1080p at 30fps with the Wi-Fi off, the camera continuously captured video clip for an average of 1 hour và 45 minutes. Bumped up khổng lồ 60fps, the average time dropped lớn just less than an hour.


Sarah Tew/binhphap3d.vnBy comparison, the similarly featured GoPro Hero3+ Silver gets about 2 hours of continuous 1080p recording at 60fps and 3 hours at 1080p at 30fps with Wi-Fi off. Granted it uses a 1,180mAh battery compared with the Yi"s 1,010mAh pack, but the Yi"s battery life is certainly something to lớn consider. The positive here is that it is easily swapped out if you"re OK with buying & carrying extras.

Picking high-end parts doesn"t guarantee good results, but that is what you get with the Yi. Excellent results actually, especially given the low price. Màu sắc and exposure are very good, và the camera recovers quickly and smoothly under abrupt lighting condition changes.


As with most kích hoạt cams, the larger you view the đoạn clip and the closer you are to lớn the screen, the more artifacts you"ll see. Still, when recording at 1080p at 60fps video looks sharp and smooth và with a bit rate of about 25Mbps, details don"t turn to lớn complete mush, even when moving at high speeds.

Low-light video is noticeably softer with more visible artifacts & some color noise, but far better than from any other sub-$100 kích hoạt cam I"ve reviewed. Lưu ý that you may notice some glitches in the clips following the initial driving scenes in the clip above. Those were caused by a faulty microSD card, not the camera.

The Micro-HDMI port does support live video clip output while recording to lớn a microSD thẻ in the camera. There is an overlay of recording time, battery và Wi-Fi status shown on the display you"re attached to, but it"s not visible in the final recording.

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Photo unique is good, too, however you can only shoot in 4:3 formats, so you might want khổng lồ crop photos lớn 16:9 if you want lớn drop them into your videos. Otherwise, they"re not unlike what you get with video: sharp, well-exposed images with good fine detail in daylight, but softer, noisier images in dimly lit conditions.

Conclusion

The mi Yi action Cam"s video quality and shooting options are well above those of other cameras in its class, but you"ll need khổng lồ bring your own accessories.