YI 4K In-Depth Review: Bigger Touchscreen and A Lower Price

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Everyone understands that GoPro gets the best action cams (or POV cams) for extreme sports fans, which the GoPro Hero5 Black is what everyone’s using to shoot 4K in 30fps. Everybody, that is, except Yi, which is tackling GoPro head-on by matching lots of the specs of its rival.

Ultra-detailed 4K at 30fps and eloquent 1080p in 120fps? Yup. 12-megapixel stills? Check. And, at around $169 / #159, it’s nearly half the price of a GoPro Hero5 Black. Has the Xiaomi-backed Yi done the impossible with the only named Yi 4K Action Camera?


With a touchscreen user interface, one-button control, Wi-Fi Direct for connecting to some Yi Action phone program , and plenty of video resolution options all of the way around 4K in 30fps (for 120 minutes continuously), the Yi 4K Action Camera is an appealing all-rounder.

The fixed lens offers a wide field of view along with a fast f/2.8 aperture, and also you might also take photos while recording video (though only via the program ), cue up 4K timelapses and slow-motion sequences, and also loop record for a specified time. Manual adjustment options are methodical, but it is generally simpler to dismiss most of these and go with the default option settings.

Unsurprisingly that the Yi 4K Action Camera is about taking on GoPro, but it marginally pre-dates the GoPro Hero5 Black; this attempt is all about matching the GoPro Hero4 Dark spec for spec. In some regions, it’s somewhat behind the times when you have a look at the very latest features found on the Hero5 Black, though we’re talking about features which you may not even need (step ahead, voice control).

And based upon your preferences, the YI 4K nevertheless has some notable advantages over the GoPro Hero5 — it has got a bigger touchscreen at 2.19 -inches (that’s 330 pixels per inch), it’s 22g lighter in 95g, its battery lasts considerably longer, and it is cheaper.

Design and accessories

  • Black, white, and rose gold color options
  • Large battery
  • Not waterproof

The matchbox-sized Yi 4K Action Camera is sleek in either of the three color choices: matte black, white, white, and rose gold.

A tough plastic look is the order of the afternoon here. On the underside is the lid for accessing the battery compartment this homes a 4.4V lithium-ion 1400mAh power pack, which compares well to the 1220mAh within the GoPro Hero5.

Alongside it’s a microSD card slot; YI urges a number of U3-class micro SD cards, even though Class 10 and U1 cards work just as well in practice; a 64GB card may give you about 80 minutes of 4K recording.

The additional real estate offered by this 2.19-inch display does make onscreen menus easy to navigate. It’s also reasonably sharp. It gives readouts on the shooting mode it is in — video or photos, using an indicator of this resolution, also — also as an icon for the rest of the battery charge. On the top, switch between two microphones, is one button that both switches-on that the YI 4K Action Cam, and activates and deactivates recording.

Accessories seem to be widely accessible online. You can also safeguard your YI 4K Action Camera using a leather cover and lens cap cover bundle for $19.99/#16.99, though only the lens cover is practically required; the native casing itself is sturdy enough.

Semi-pro users might want to consider that the YI Handheld Gimbal ($280/#225), which provides three-axis pan/tilt/roll via 320 degrees.

Build quality and managing

  • Sturdy design
  • Standard tripod thread
  • Easy to switch off and on by injury

Smooth, strong and well constructed, the YI 4K starts up within a second; there is another delay of approximately two seconds before it’s truly ready to go, but that is still striking, and very helpful on an action camera.

The one-press shutter makes the YI 4K easy to operate — in fact it’s arguably too simple, as the button is just on the spot where you’d naturally pinch the camera to pick it up, which makes it almost inevitable that you’ll depress the on/off button by accident. So at some stage you’ll probably create a five-minute 4K movie of the interior of the pocketas we did, that could potentially leave the battery drained.

Unlike the GoPro Hero5, the YI 4K Action Camera isn’t watertight, and there’s no watertight case included — this accessory will cost you $39.99/#30.99, and it’s good to a depth of 132ft/40m, although it effectively renders the touchscreen unworthy.

  • YI 4K Action Camera at Bukalapak Indonesia for IDR 2,150,000

The standard tripod thread on your camera’s bottom is a nice addition, although once it is mounted the fixed 155-degree field of opinion does feel slightly prohibitive.

There are enough creative ways to maintain most filmmakers joyful — loops, timelapses, slow motion (1/8, 1/4 and 1/2-speed), a countdown timer, and a 30 fps burst mode are all here.


  • 16 resolution and frame rate combinations
  • Simple on-screen menus and phone program
  • 155° wide-angle lens can create distortion
  • We analyzed the YI 4K Action Camera in a variety of scenarios, from inside to about Westminster Palace in London, as well as hiking among the mountain-top telescopes of La Palma in the Canary Islands.

The YI 4K creates its Wi-Fi Direct system, which means you just have to find it on a phone before launch the excellent YI Action program. Although the app flows a live view from the camera to the telephone, that’s largely not necessary given the YI 4K’s touchscreen, which can also be used to make alterations to all of the core settings.

A settings dial provides you access to onscreen menus for your own video or camera functionality, depending on what’s now triggered. There is a jumble of resolutions and attributes to play with, perhaps too many; the very highest resolution movie is 4K in 30fps, with movie quality set to high, while you can go right down to 480p, though that does come with the advantage of a whopping 240fps. For photography, 12 megapixels is the very best choice, although sadly there is no raw format choice.

For stills photography, JPEGs need a boost of amounts, and there is no raw support

The likes of white balance, ISO, exposure compensation and metering modes can also be tweaked for both photos and video, as well as the on-screen menus are bright, simple to understand and operate very fast. But, there’s no voice command on offer, unlike on the GoPro Hero5.

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