The Yi 4K Action camera from Yi Technology was launched in China back in May. If buyers in other countries wanted it, they’d have to order from there and deal with often fairly long shipping times. Now, the Yi 4K has been officially launched in the USA and is available on Amazon.
Normally, Chinese action cams don’t tend to be a big deal, but the original Yi HD 1080p action camera proved itself to be a pretty worthy contender which, for the most part, held up well against the GoPro Hero3+ Silver, especially once you started hacking it.
The immediate difference between those two was the cost. Even today, the Hero3+ Silver still fetches around $260, while the Yi HD is less than a third of that price. The other big difference was that the Yi HD lacked one pretty major feature, an LCD screen.
The lack of an LCD no doubt contributed greatly to the drastic price difference and while slightly annoying, the WiFi control from a phone is pretty reliable, at least on Android. It’s good on iOS, too, but it’s not quite as responsive, even on the latest iPhone SE.
The new Yi 4K gives us a 2.19″ LCD, and it’s a touchscreen. While the price at $249 is significantly more than the Yi HD’s $82, it does shoot 4K video, and still comes in at only a little over half the price of the GoPro Hero4 Black, which is currently $449 through Amazon.
The Yi 4K also comes with a newer higher capacity battery, boasting 2 hours of recording time, which is double what I’ve experienced with my Yi HD camera (I usually get a few minutes over an hour on a full battery shooting 1080p24).
The Yi 4K shoots 4K video at 30fps at 60mbps, 1440p at 60fps, 1080p at 120fps and 720p at 240fps, bringing it about in line with the GoPro Hero4 Black.
It also features a built in 3-axis acceleromoter and a 3-axis gyroscope which provides image stabilisation, a very welcome addition. To top things off, they’ve also given full manual control over the shutter speed, ISO, white balance (the lack of which being my only personal complaint about the Yi HD).
There is a side-by-side comparison between the two over on the Yi website (it’s way down at the bottom), but it will be interesting to see how they compare in the real world, and if this camera can be hacked as much as the original Yi HD (or if it even needs to be).
The Yi 4K is available in black, white or “rose gold” (aka pink), but only the black & white versions seem to be available on Amazon at the moment.
I have one on the way to me at the moment, so as soon as it arrives, I’ll be putting it through its paces and see how it handles, both in terms of durability and the quality of the footage it shoots. So, keep an eye out for a full review and some sample footage coming soon.
The Yi HD 1080p camera has impressed me very much, so I have high hopes for the new 4K version.
What action camera do you use, if you have one? Do you have one of the Yi HD or 4K cameras? What do you like or hate about them? Let us know in the comments.
Update: A previous version of this article attributed the camera to Xiaomi. It is actually made by Yi Technology and the post has been updated to reflect this.