Xiaomi Yi Camera, cheap and easy to take pictures, not suitable for adventurers

In the category of action cameras, it has set a very clear winner: GoPro. It is not alone in this niche, but with the reference and comparative always performed. Here we have seen how they have comes companies like Sony or Panasonic, with much experience in the world of photography and atypical profiles as TomTom or HTC. One of the most a typical enterprise is also one of the most popular of the moment if we talk about technology. We’re talking, of course, Xiaomi.

Shenzhen manufacturer is best known for its mobile phones but in recent months has diversified the business to explore other categories and come to the device that will analyze today: Yi Camera. Debuts as an affordable version of the GoPro is a good approximation to understand which device is but one must take comparisons to check exactly what this camera action.

Xiaomi Yi Camera

Xiaomi Yi Camera, technical specifications

Sensor Exmor R CMOS sensor 16 megapixel (1 / 2.3 inches). 16:9 format
Lens Wide angle Carl Zeiss Tessar 155 degrees. Maximum aperture f / 2.8
Weight 72 grams
Memory Memory Stick Micro Mark 2 Micro SD (SDXC Class 10 for XAVC S)
Connectivity WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0
Battery 1010 mAh (removable)

Action camera seems, is not GoPro

Xiaomi safe bet with the design of your camera and does not look strange square formats but a compact camera with a plastic body and easy to attach to any surface, as long as we have the corresponding accessory. Of all the models on the market, it is the simplest. In fact, green and blue model give the feeling of being a toy.

Outside we find three physical buttons, one in the front that besides controlling the switching on and off is used to switch between video recording and camera. Above, a trigger button does. Finally, on the side, a control for WiFi connection protocol that uses the camera to communicate with a mobile phone.

The configuration is successful and Yi Camera makes it easy to use. Despite having no menu or visual interface, the beeps emitted every time we do something are intuitive and warn us of what we are doing at all times. Switch between photos and videos are quick and see if we have taken a photo and recording, for all that is missing is to have a screen to the viewfinder and see what we’re framing when we use it.

“The quality is indisputable internal components is no longer so much in design, finish and durability”

While the design is simple and effective, is not free from defects: the two covers that have the camera are removable and do not have any rubber that holds the body so there are many ballots that if no we are careful of losing. In fact, after having used it for more than a month ends up picking up the slack and the piece just a little dancing in the gaps where closed.

The battery is hidden under a cover and in the other card slot microSD finds a miniHDMI port (which is much appreciated for viewing directly on TV) and a microUSB for charging. The thread for tripod shoe is universal. This is where Xiaomi demonstrates some of its shortcomings: knows how to make a good design but some details need to improve.

It seems that it is a simple camera and never tries to give the impression of being more sophisticated than it really is. In addition to the accessories that have Xiaomi, there are a few that are compatible GoPro. For example, submersible housings are compatible and can use them for the same purpose.

Using Camera Yi

If anything good action camera should have, it is certainly an accompanying application. Not having an electronic viewfinder, the mobile serves to this task and ensure that the file transfer is fast and efficient. Here Xiaomi gives the note and it seems incredible how well you consider their limited experience in this type of accessories.

The application must download it manually in the case of Android, it is not uploaded to Google Play and although some menus are in Chinese, the application is easy to use if we get along with English. As we open we have the main menu with tutorials, pictures, and videos made by users to culminate in a big red button from which you started the connection with the camera.

The process is simple and is done through a WiFi network encrypted with WPA. The connection is stable and in no time we struggled to match both devices. Once connected, panels have a menu where we can go selecting the different content: access to the camera, video, and files. From here we can also set some parameters of the camera.

“The application is very complete, intuitive but is in English, some in Chinese menus follow.”

Namely image quality which will save content, frames per second (for video), if we want to keep the proportions in the horizontal lines (default the camera takes effect fisheye) and if we want to set times or throw shooting burst, a comprehensive menu that makes the application very useful tool.

The electronic viewfinder from the mobile is quite fast. There is some delay but with a minimum amount that makes watching what we are recording and photographing not frustrating. When exporting files, the application is essential: the transfer is very fast and connects it to your computer or use a microSD card reader is not a good choice. The camera tends to hide the contents in a folder tree that costs a little to find, worth making the jump on a phone.

Xiaomi designed with a sensor Sony

If anything has shown Xiaomi with their mobile phones it is that when looking for suppliers know who your best partners. You can do a combination of stars and Yi Camera has sought the best possible supplier: Sony. The camera mounted sensor Exmor CMOS 16 – megapixel photos with support for up to 155 degree angle. The results speak for themselves.

Despite the autofocus system of the camera, the performance offered image quality is superb (if not forget that this is a camera that is worth little more than 100 dollars), wide dynamic range, good color management and without adding too much noise scenes. With scenes with high contrast between highlights and shadows, the sensor behaves very well and shows that the choice of components is excellent.

Image processing software also does its job and gets very competently. The images we get are very similar in quality to that we could get a top phone range if the lighting conditions are favorable. At night, artificial light is choking the Camera Yi and see how street lamps and other lamps become ugly flashes. The only complaint one can take in the photographic section, besides the already mentioned, is the slowness of the camera. When turning and shooting is not very fast so if you want to use for this purpose, will interest more other models like the HTC Re although as a result Yi Camera offers much more good.

“Photo very well thanks to sony sensor and a good processing mode, but in video mode is no longer so interesting in part by poor stability and cannot be compared with more expensive cameras”

If the video we see that here the results down a little quality. While it is true that many virtues of the photo are maintained, Xiaomi has things to improve: the image stabilization is rather poor and if the movement is going to have taken aggressive images. In quieter scenes, the results are somewhat better. Most disconcerting of all, though, is the operation of time lapse mode.

If we have tried to record video in this way, you probably know how it works and what we get in this way: a combination of many photos, video mounted, resulting in an animated sequence. Here Yi Camera does something strange: instead of generating a video file does is creating us a strip of pictures so that then we do the rest on your computer. It is not very practical for the most basic user looking for direct results and not has to then do the job on their own.

The opinion, an action camera that meets

At this point, you have to take the tagline of “Go-Pro cheap”. Obviously, that is affordable camera action (the only ones that are close in price with Re HTC and Sony Action Cam) but compare it with the market benchmark gives a distorted view of the product. It is not a GoPro 100 dollar, is an action camera 100 dollars. We will not get the results offered by the current top model of Americans but we will get a very high performance for what we are paying.

Yi Camera is a great choice for those who are curious to try this type of cameras and do not want to venture into an investment of 400 dollars. We find an ideal option for browsing, especially if we want to take pictures or record video in a controlled manner, but have not convinced us as pure adventure camera. In that case, the rival, more expensive also improve enough the results if you are really looking for videos of adventure.