Xiaomi Goes Pro With Yi Action Camera
GoPro dominates the action camera market but prior to newer products like the GoPro HERO4 Session, these cameras have been priced out of range of most people other than serious sports enthusiasts. In typical Xiaomi fashion, Xiaomi has introduced the ultra-low priced Yi Action Camera to further bring the action camera market to families wanting to bring something small and durable during family vacations or sporting events.
I purchased the Yi Action Camera in Taiwan directly from the Xiaomi Taiwan Store which shipped next day from their Taiwan warehouse. Unlike GoPro products which have larger premium style packaging, Xiaomi's packaging tends to be very light and plain, also reflecting the relative price differences between the two brands.
The Yi Camera box comes with a USB cable for charging and that's about it. While GoPro cameras come with important mounting accessories, you'll need to buy these separately from Xiaomi. The Yi Camera is not waterproof so you need buy a separate waterproof case from Xiaomi unlike the HERO4 Session which is waterproof without a case.
If you open the back of the Yi Action Camera, you can see the removable battery and ports for HDMI, USB, and SD Cards.
On the side of the Yi Action Camera, there is a button used to connect WI-FI.
Like traditional cameras, there is also a mounting hole on the bottom of the Yi Camera for use on tripods.
There are two main buttons on the Yi Action Camera. The big one in the front is used for power and switching between photo and video modes. The top one is used to actually take the pictures or videos like you would a normal camera.
The styling and button placement of the Xiaomi Yi Action Camera mimics that of traditional GoPro cameras like the HERO3. While Xiaomi is looking to commoditizing the Action Camera market with a sub $100 camera, the GoPro HERO4 Session addresses the same mainstream market with a very different style camera, built-in waterproofing, and a incredibly wide range of mounting options to attach your camera anywhere.
Unfortunately, the Yi Camera battery soon died after only a couple weeks of use. I had to call up Xiaomi and return the entire Yi Camera to them for a replacement.