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Yi Lite is the latest member of Yi’s action cam lineup. A model that aims to combine price and features, thanks the 2” touch screen and video resolution up to 4K. However, it’s not gold all that glitters, as is often the case in the lower end of the price range. So let’s see the pros and cons of this Yi Lite action cam.
Package and build
Yi Lite gets off with the right foot, with a package that also includes a waterproof case for up to 40 meters (131 feet). We then find a USB-to-micro USB cable for charging and the user manual.
The action cam still features the classic design of the previous Yi 4K and 4K+ models, and this makes it compatible with all those accessories. On the base of the action cam, there is also a hook for a tripod or other similar attachment.
Features and quality
Yi Lite includes all the functions that you might want from an action cam. You can take photos, videos, time-lapses (for both photos and videos), burst mode with up to 10 shots per second, loop, timers, and slow-motion are at your disposal. Hardware-wise this is a Sony IMX206 sensor with a 150° field of view and an f/2.8. Everything is managed by the HiSilicon Hi3556 SoC. All this allows the action cam to manage the following video resolutions:
There is also a fifth mode, available in slow motion mode, i.e. 360p@240fps, but given the very small resolution, it is not of any use.
Of these modes, the best option is Full HD at 60 frames per second. 4K video at 20 fps is far too slow, and the EIS (Electronic Image Stabilization) doesn’t work at this resolution.
Why don’t use the 1440p@30fps mode? Truthfully, this is a good mode but only for nonaction videos. Moreover, the quality difference between 1440p and 1080p is not that huge, and the latter mode uses far less battery.
No matter which resolution you choose, the following are two of the most important flaws we have encountered. First of all, a reduced Dynamic Range, with no HDR software to smooth it out, which is a pity. The second problem is that video definition is not that good. Colors are mixed together and that leads to less definition. Even the color balance, helps in terms of color fidelity but doesn’t exalt the video that appears low in contrast.
Mind you, the final result is more than adequate, considering the price of the device, in fact, you will hardly find a better one at this range. We just point out its limits so that you are aware that this is not a top-of-the-range with a low-end price.
On the other hand, the digital stabilization system is doing a good job. It’s not miraculous, but when turned-on it will let you walk with the camera in hand and produce replayable videos. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t use it.
Speaking about photos, their maximum resolution is 16 megapixels, and they are actually a pleasant surprise. The dynamic range is what it is, but in many cases, the definition is higher than that of the videos. Even at night Yi Lite can take some good shots, with little noise.
The sound quality is not great. The volume is quite high, maybe too high, and a bit distorted, moreover, the voices are a bit metallic. Things have improved since the latest update, which makes it possible to set the level of recorded audio between high and low. The latter is almost always more appropriate, in order to correct the issues we have just talked about. When you use the Yi Lite with the waterproof case you should also turn off the mic, as the resulting audio wouldn’t be any good regardless.
There’s nothing to talk about the Yi Action app. There are no special features. You can use the app to set the action camera and view the recorded data.
Honorable mention goes to the very fast transferring rates from the Yi Lite to your smartphone. Transferring even large files on the fly will not be a problem, and all this without having to move the microSD from one device to the other.
Using the app you can edit both photos and videos and add special effects. There are also many post-production modifications such as color correction, HDR and bokeh effects. You can also combine multiple photos together to create a panorama. The result is not always flawless but it’s stunning nonetheless.
Finally, you can broadcast live on Facebook, YouTube, and other services. This part of the app is a little difficult to set up but ultimately effective.
Yi Lite can last for a long time, particularly in Full HD@60 fps, where (under ideal conditions) we reached two and a half hours of video recording. “Ideal conditions” means keeping the action camera still and shooting a mostly still stage. In a real-life setting, you’ll still be able to achieve 2 hours of video, which is great. Moreover Yi Lite does not get hot even after extensive use. Yi said that the credit goes to the HiSilicon SoC. It is possible that a good battery life and low operating temperature go hand in hand.
It has a very good price unless you find the Yi 4K (Check on Amazon.com) in offer. Then you should choose the bigger brother.
Read more: Xiaomi Yi 4K review
In the segment of cheap action cams now devoid of big brands, Yi Lite is like a beacon in the night. A complete and reliable solution, with a great quality/price ratio, suitable for both leisure and action shots. Just don’t expect any miracles out of it.