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Package and design
Inside the box, we find the action camera, a (very short) USB to micro USB cable and the user manual. A microSD card is not included.
The shape and the proportions of the Yi 4K (Check on Amazon.com) are different from the traditional GoPro-like action cams, making it noncompatible with the various accessories of the latter, which is a pity.
Functions and video quality
The Xiaomi Yi 4K is based on the Ambarella A9 S E processor and is equipped with a SONY IMX377 camera sensor, with an f/2.8 and a 155° viewing angle.
First of all, the Yi 4K action cam is completely self-reliant, thanks to the touch screen display on the back, which has good readability even under direct sunlight, rendering you completely free from your other devices. With the screen, you can easily switch between different settings and shooting modes: photos, videos, burst, time-lapse, slow motion, etc.
The action cam shoots photos up to 12 megapixels, and videos in 4K@30fps. In Full HD resolution, it can shoot up to 120fps (and there is also a 720p@240fps mode). 4K video is actually very smooth, but all in all, we were more happy with the Full HD (@60fps) mode. The video is even smoother and this mode eliminates the occasional ghosting or artifacts present at 4K resolution.
During the day video quality is extremely good and the electronic stabilization (only available up to 1080p@60fps) does quite well. However, there seems to be some excessive flickering at the edges of the frame. When the light becomes scarce raising the ISO produces a high level of noise that becomes bothersome really fast.
Is almost as if the Yi 4K was thought more as a tourist cam and not as an action one, producing the best videos and photos when you take time to set everything up and not in the heat of the moment. Don’t get us wrong: the end result is not bad, especially in relation to the price, just don’t expect it to be superior to the more praised action cams.
Daytime photos are discreet, but if you move inside or shoot at night the noise again takes over, just like with the videos (but here it’s almost more annoying). In short, it is better to use your smartphone in these situations. And there is also a small bug: if you try to view the photo on the action cam, the picture will be black; it will only become visible after you shoot another one.
Audio quality is god, as long as you don’t cover the mic holes, and it’s also quite directional. A little bit metallic, but still better than the old Yi model, although not by far.
Finally, the battery life is quite good (about 2h in Full HD), but depends obviously on the type of shots and the use of the touch screen.
Yi Action is the same great app that has been with us for years now, with an intuitive interface and many options, and it does all the things that you’d expect from it.
The Xiaomi Yi 4K has a price of (Check on Amazon.com) which represents a good deal in relation to the specific features and beats the price of the (Check on Amazon.com) of the GoPro HERO4 and the price of the HERO4 Black (Check on Amazon.com). These two, however, produce a superior film quality.
The Xiaomi Yi 4K is a complete action cam, with a number of shooting modes combined with ease of use. In our tests, the touch screen is its best feature, always reactive and above all one that sets you free of added devices. However, the photos are not excellent, while the videos are generally good, but not the best you can have. Of course, it would have been difficult to ask for more considering the price.