The YI 2 4K made by YI Technology is a small-sized action camera with true 4K video recording capability, 12 megapixels Sony sensor, built in WiFi and Bluetooth and a touch screen. Not many Chinese brands are brave enough to challenge the GoPro Hero 4 Black and Sony FDR-X1000V. That’s why the YI 2 comes as a
refreshing addition to the market.
I’ve been using the YI 2 camera for couple of weeks and in this review I would like to show you it’s features and provide you with detailed information that should be more than enough for you to decide whether to buy it.
YI2 4K specification
- Chipset (Processor)
- Image sensor
- F-Number (maximum aperture)
- Max image resolution
- Video resolution
- Video compression format
- Image format
- Memory Card
- Photo time-lapse
- Video time-lapse
- Car camera
- Live-View Remote
- External Mic
- Video Stabilization
- YI2 4K
- Ambarella A9SE
Sony IMX377, Exmor R®
12 Mexapixels 1/2.3" CMOS
- 155° wide-angle lens, 7G, f=2.68mm
- 3.4 oz / 96 g including battery
- (L*W*H) 65 x 42 x 30 mm
touch screen, 330PPI
30FPS, 160° FOV, 16:9
- 12 MP megapixels (4000x3000)
4K: 3840 x 2160 - 30/25 FPS
2.5K: 2560 x 1920 - 30//25 FPS
1440p: 1920 x 1440 - 60/50/30/25 FPS
1080p: 1920 x 1080 - 120/100/60/50/30/25 FPS
960p: 1280 x 960 - 120/100/60/50
720p: 1280 x 720 - 240/200 FPS
480p: 848 x 480 -240/200 FPS
- Image format : JPEG
- 1240 mAh
Broadcom BCM43340 Dual-band 5GHz /2.4GHz
Built-in (802.11 abgn)
Offers 30Mbps download speed
- 2s / 5s / 10s
As you can see in the table above, YI2 is powered by a A9SE75 Ambrella processor and Sony IMX377CQT CMOS image sensor. Its battery is 1400 milliampere-hour (mAh) and has 7-glass layered, fixed focus, 155° wide angle lens with a 2.8 aperture. Besides these components, it has a 2.19-inch touch screen made out of Gorilla Glass.
Yi 2 4K versions, models and colors
The tiny YI2 camera arrives in three different colors :
- Night Black
- Pearl White
- Rose Gold
Obviously this time the manufacturer decided to go with a little more conventional color and design. Some of you perhaps remember that YI (first model or YI1) arrived in a quite garish green-yellow color.
Besides colors there are also different models, and this is something you should pay attention to. There are two versions of the camera :
- Chinese (CN Mainland Version)
Differences between International & Chinese Version of YI2 4K camera?
What’s the the difference between the International and a Chinese version? To begin with the main difference is in language. At this time if you purchase a CN version there is no way to switch the camera interface to any other language but Mandarin.
Additionally, a CN camera is only compatible with a Chinese app. Your guess is correct, the app is also in Chinese and unless you plan to learn it, you should go with international version which is in English.
One other essential is that if you bought a CN version of YI2, you can only get support from the Chinese headquarters and not YI Technology International.
To sum up, unless you live in China or know Mandarin, you should buy an international version.
To make sure you do not get a Chinese version by mistake, here are some links to get the right model.
Camera comes in different packages and bundles :
- Camera only (Includes : camera, battery, USB cable and a manual)
- Selfie stick bundle (Includes selfie stick, Bluetooth remote controller and everything from the camera only bundle)
- Waterproof case bundle (includes everything from camera only + waterproof case)
- Bundle with extra battery (includes everything from camera only + extra 1400 mAh battery)
The unit I got is the camera only package, so
there aren’t many accessories in it – in fact there are pretty much none.
Inside the box of the “camera only package” or basic pack which is priced at $249, you get :
- YI2 camera
- USB cable
Box itself is quite simplistic but firm enough to protect the camera. The camera is packed quite neatly inside. Once the box is opened, you need to remove the front layer which contains the YI2 4K. Underneath you will see the battery which is packed separately together with a USB cable and a manual.
Being used to tons of accessories while reviewing Chinese cameras, I feel that the manufacturer should have included at least two or three pieces of equipment with the basic pack. A waterproof case for instance, which is considered an essential gadget, is not included. You have to buy it separately if you intend to use the camera underwater.
Be prepared to spend few more bucks on optional equipment, especially if you bought the basic pack like I did.
Design and build quality
The size of Xiaomi YI 4K camera is 65 x 42 x 30 mm and its weight is 96 grams (3.4 oz) including the battery. The camera is slightly bigger and heavier compared to its predecessor. It has slightly curved edges and feels quite neat in hand. It looks quite rugged and it’s obviously well made.
The design is quite appealing and simple. The entire camera has only one button. In the past I complained a lot about action cameras having too many things on them, but the YI 2 engineers really nailed it. The camera has a minimalistic and modern look.
For those color-picky people, there are three colors available (black,white and pink).
I noticed that the color coating gets scratched a bit too easily. At least that’s the case with the black color, where such scratches and scuffs are more visible. My impression is that the previous model had a patterned look which was more scratch-resistant.
On the front of the camera we only have the LED (recording/battery status indicator) and a 7-glass 155° wide-angle lens.
The top of the camera has a power (shutter/rec) button, speakers and two stereo 360° omni-directional microphones. An interesting addition is the LED recording indicator located on top of the power/rec button.
On the side of YI 2 there is a USB compartment. This is where you can plug in the supplied USB cable to charge the camera or connect it to a PC for easier file transferring.
Quite surprisingly there is no HDMI output, which means you won’t be able to plug the YI2 into your TV to preview the footage via HDMI.
In one way this is OK since it’s compensated for by the marvelous touch screen which works perfectly for that purpose. On the other hand there are people who like to view their images and videos directly from a camera onto a TV. Those people won’t be pleased with the lack of HDMI output and will have to find another way to watch videos directly from the YI 2 to a TV.
The bottom of the camera has a battery compartment and a memory card slot. Next to it is a tripod socket, which is a great addition since you can mount the camera directly onto a 1/4″ screw without any additional frames or mounts.
Finally, I saved the best for the last. At the back of the camera there is a 2.19″ LCD touch screen. The screen not only enables better composition of the videos and photos by live-viewing what you’re recording, but also allows you to preview already recorded footage.
On top of that, since it’s a touch screen it’s so easy to change settings, options and modes. I’ll talk about touch screen functions in the user interface and navigation section. For now you should know that the screen has 640*360 resolution and 160° view angle. Furthermore it allows you to view videos in 30fps.
According to the manufacturer the screen is made out of Gorilla Glass, which is resistant to scratches. In my research I was unable to find the confirmation of this. Obviously I did not want to destroy my screen just for the sake of the test (I admit it: I love my YI2 way too much to scratch it). Corning, the company behind this special type of glass, does not have the YI2 on their list.
I asked YI Technology for a document that verifies this. One of the support fellows told me they need permission from the upper management for this and that they’ll get back to me. Unfortunately, they haven’t got back to me so far.
Without any doubt the screen is one of my favorite features of YI2.
One of the most important factors of any action camera, video quality is certainly one of the strongest advantages of the YI 2. Not only does the camera allow you to record videos in various resolutions and modes, it’s also capable of capturing true 4K videos.
In daylight thecamera works very well. It creates quite natural looking footage.
Because of its capability to create 4K videos, this is the resolution I tested out the most. Honestly, there was no significant difference between full HD 1080p and 4K when previewing videos on my 1080p monitor or TV. I’m sure the difference would be more visible on a 4K resolution monitor.
Unlike its predecessor which had some issues with the focus adjustment, YI 2 focus was well set for both close ups and long-distance footage.
Even though most action cameras do not work that well in a low light environment, I was quite satisfied with how YI2 records at night. It’s nothing spectacular, but certainly satisfying enough for a sports camera which is primarily made for outdoor daylight use.
Two features that were quite neat were out–of–the
–box slow motion and time-lapse modes. You can see how that looks in two videos below.
The only con of the camera is that electronic stabilization does not support 4K mode, so if you want less shaky footage, you’ll have to record in 1080p. Additionally, when the auto low light option is turned on (this means that camera adjusts ISO and shutter speed automatically), videos at night might look little less sharp. So my recommendation is to try to adjust settings manually according to the scene. This requires a bit of practice though.
Even though the previous YI camera had a 16 megapixels sensor as opposed to the 12mp in this one, the YI2 creates better photographs. Honestly, I haven’t compared them much side by side, but the YI2 has more natural-looking colors.
The YI 2 has a Sony IMX377 image senor inside and in combination with 7 glass lens the camera captures nice photographs even when facing direct sunlight.
Due to its 155 degree wide angle lens, it’s perfect for selfies as it captures not only the person but also a large portion of the scene’s background.
If you’re a fan of night photography you can experiment with different shutter speeds. Lower shutter speed leaves a camera’s sensor open to the light. More light collected and directed into an image sensor gives better, brighter output in low light.
Usually the top things to consider when buying an action camera are: video, photo and sound quality. Video and photo really made me feel comfortable about YI 2, but when I started testing out the sound in different environments, I noticed there’s still lots of room for improvement.
First of all, the YI 2 has decent sound quality in normal situations. For instance it will easily pick up a conversation with a person in front of the camera (good for vlogging) and capture audio with a lower level of noise.
However, when I began taking YI 2 with me on my electronic music events its sound wasn’t good at all. As a matter of fact, my phone made better audio recording compared to YI 2 in such situations.
Below are a few audio samples captured in difficult and loud environments.
As you can hear, when there is a lot of bass, the audio gets pretty messed up.
In the other two samples you can hear that when there is no bass, the YI2 captures loud sounds decently – still not perfect but for an action camera quite decent.
One major disadvantage is that YI 4k does not support an external microphone so you won’t be able to use third-party mics and plug them into the camera directly. You can always attach an external voice recorder and merge audio and video from the camera in post production.
User interface and navigation
Let’s get right into this. How would I describe the overall user experience that Xiaomi’s YI 2 offers? Absolutely amazing.
I’ve tested plenty of action cameras and I can freely say that YI2 is without any doubt the most user friendly sports camera I tested. As a matter of fact its interface is extremely easy to understand and works quite well. This is all thanks to it’s touch screen and the camera’s single button. Whoever was in charge of user experience and menu design deserves to be praised.
How to use YI 2?
- To turn the camera on, hold the power button for a few seconds. The YI 2 will boot up quite quickly (3 seconds approximately). If you want to record a video (assuming you’re in video mode) just click the very same power button.
- To change mode (photo, video) swipe from left to right. To return to previews mode swipe with your fingers from right to left.
- Swipe UP to enter mode settings. Here you can choose from nine different modes that YI 2 has.
- Swipe DOWN and you’ll see a few shortcuts (WiFi, Bluetooth, Lock, Power off)
- To turn the camera off, hold the power button for 3 seconds.
- To change settings click onto a tool (settings) icon. Depending on the mode you’re in different settings will appear.
- To playback your footage, click onto a play icon in the bottom left side of the screen.
Those are the basics. Pretty easy, right?
The YI 2 action camera has nine different modes. Depending the mode you’re using, there will be additional settings for each. I will briefly go through what each mode does, even though it’s pretty self-explanatory.
- Photo – Captures images in the selected resolution.
- Video – Records video in the selected format, resolution and frames per second (FPS).
- Timer – Captures an image with automatically triggered shutter in the selected interval.
- Burst – Continuously captures multiple images.
- Time Lapse Video – Creates time lapse video out-of-the-box, no additional post production work required. (Example)
- Slow Motion – Records a video in slow motion out-of-the-box.
- Time Lapse Photo – Creates multiple images captured in selected interval. Requires video editing in post production.
- Loop – Dash camera feature. Overlaps and deletes already recorded videos when memory card is full, records video in sequences.
- Video + Photo – While recording video the camera will capture a still frame (photo) at the selected interval. This feature is also known as photo in video mode (GIT 2 camera has it also)
While each mode brings new settings to tweak, there are some which are standard and appear in all modes. Below is an overview of all settings and brief explanation of each.
This part might be a bit boring for some. However, I’m sure that it’ll be helpful to both potential buyers and existing owners of the camera to better understand the capabilities and features of Xiaomi YI 2 4K sports camera.
When in video mode, click on the gear/tool icon to open video settings.
Video resolution determines how many pixels (details, dots) will your video have both horizontally and vertically. For instance 3840 x 2160 means that there will be 3840 pixels vertically and 2160 horizontally. This is quite basic clarification though.
Here is a list of resolutions that the camera offers :
- 4K (3840 x 2160) – 30, 25 fps
- 2.5k ( 2560×1920 ) – 30, 25 fps
- 1440p ( 1920 x 1440 ) – 60, 50, 30, 25 fps
- 1080p (1920 x 1080) – 120, 100, 60, 50, 30, 25 fps
- 960p (1280 x 960) – 120, 100, 60, 50 fps
- 720p (1280 x 720) – 240, 200 fps
- 480p (848 x 480) – 240, 200 fps
For instance if you select PAL under Settings>Video Standard you can record in 4k at 25 FPS. Whereas if you choose NTSC you can record at 30 FPS.
Table below provides information on bit-rates in different resolutions and file size.
Filed of view (FOV)
FOV is an interesting option that allows you to reduce the wide angle from it’s original 155°. Reducing the angle is achieved by using software to crop the image. Images in medium and narrow won’t look as sharp. Medium and narrow view will reduce the fish-eye distortion caused by the wide angle lens.
Field of view and EIS (Electronic Image stabilization) work in very similar ways.
This mode helps your camera to measure exposure more precisely.
Auto Low Light
When auto low light is enabled the camera will try to automatically determine shutter speed and ISO.
White Balance (WB)
To change the warmth or coolness of the footage, make sure to adjust the white balance properly. There is no best WB per se. It varies according to scene, light and the effect you’re trying to achieve. If you’re unsure, just leave it on auto.
Similar to it’s competitor GoPro, YI Technology added an option which allows users to choose between two coloring setups :
- Yi Color
The first one, Yi Color, gives color-rich images, where as the second one, Flat, provides less saturated color. The flat option should be used by consumers who want to color-correct their videos/images, and boost colors in post-production. As mentioned, it’s quite similar to GoPro’s Protune feature.
The comparison below shows the difference in color saturation between YI and flat colors.
[image-comparator title=”Yi Colors vs Flat (Color Comparison)” left=”https://pevly.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/YI-2-4K-Flat.jpg” right=”https://pevly.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/YI-2-4K-Yi-Color.jpg” width=”100%” left_alt=”Flat Color” right_alt=”Yi Color” classes=”hover”][/image-comparator]
ISO determines sensor’s sensitivity to light. Higher ISO should be used in lower light situations. Lower ISO should be used when there is enough light. Increasing ISO can improve your images and video at night, but it can also cause image noise.
Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS)
The YI 2 has electronic image stabilization. As opposed to optical stabilization that expensive DSLR and mirorless cameras have, all action cameras have some sort of software implemented stabilization which works in a similar way in all of them.
In the next few paragraphs, I’ll provide you with a brief overview of Image Settings that do not appear in the Video Section already.
You should keep your image resolution at the highest native resolution which is 12 megapixels for sharpest looking images. If in any case you need to save space on your SD card, you can choose lower image resolution.
- 12MP (4000 x 3000)
- 8 MP (3840 x 2160)
- 7 MP (3008 x 2556)
- 5MO (2560 x 1920)
Shutter speed controls the amount of time the shutter is opened. More time equals more light, meaning the image will be brighter. Shutter speed also controls motion blur of the photos. If you use it properly in combination with ISO and other options, you can shoot creative low-light photographs.
Changes in general settings reflect to all nine modes.
Adjust Lens Distortion
Action cameras are wide-angle, fixed focus camera manufactured to capture entire scenes. However not all people like the fish-eye distortion which wide-angle creates, even though this is a sort of a trademark for all action cameras.
If you wish to narrow down the angle and eliminate distortion, turn the lens distortion feature ON.
In layman’s words, when enabled it will crop the frame of your image, giving the impression that distortion is eliminated. Basically it works as a simple crop. Turning this ON is handy but will decrease the sharpness of the image/video.
[image-comparator title=”Lens Distortion ON vs OFF” left=”https://pevly.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Lens-Distortion-OFF-WIDE-ANGLE-1-YI-2.jpg” right=”https://pevly.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Lens-Distortion-ON-NARROW-ANGLE-1-YI-2.jpg” width=”100%” left_alt=”Lens Distrotion OFF (Wide Angle)” right_alt=”Lens Distrotion ON (Narrow Angle)” classes=”hover”][/image-comparator]
If you wish to connect to your phone via the WiFi, you can turn it on here. Additionally you can select the frequency of the WiFi (2.4G or 5G). Default setup is 5G, so if your device can’t find the camera, switch to 2.4G since your phone probably does not support 5G.
If you wish to erase all media from the card you can format the card. Formatting the card is especially recommended when you insert the new SD card for the first time, or when you are upgrading the firmware.
Default camera mode
Some people use different modes more regularly. For instance, I almost always use video over photo. Up here you can select which of the nine modes will show up first when you turn the camera on. Default is video, but you can select time-lapse for instance. Quite a handy feature which saves time.
As mentioned, YI 2 supports 4.0 Bluetooth and you can connect the camera to a Bluetooth remote here.
LCD touch screen brightness cam be increased or reduced. Lower brightness means more battery life.
Change the volume of the beeping or turn it off entirely if you find it inconvenient.
Video sound can be disabled here.
If you wish to turn off the LED recording indicators, or just use the one on the top, you can do it in Setup>LEDs
In housing mode
Since YI camera has a touch screen at the back and only one button, lots of people were curious how YI Technology will handle camera operation and navigation underwater. Besides touch screen waterproof cases which I’ll talk about in a moment, there are waterproof cases that do not allow you to swipe or tap the touch screen. In housing mode basically transforms the “power button” into a multi functional button.
When this mode is enabled, when you press REC button, camera will start recording. When you hold it for 3 seconds, you will switch from photo to video. You can’t turn the YI 2 off, nor change it’s settings in “in housing mode”. It’s a smart feature which partially handles the problem of having a non-touch screen housing underwater.
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I already explained that depending on the video standard selected : PAL or NTSC there will be different FPS available when selecting video resolution.
Advanced setups have quite a few handy things hidden.
Screen Auto lock
To make sure you do not accidentally press anything when the camera is powered on you can enable screen auto lock. The screen will lock after few moments of inactivity and you’ll have to swipe to the right to unlock it, pretty much like with any smartphone.
Auto power off
This is an option that I highly recommend you use. By choosing a specific interval after which the camera will turn off automatically unless you’re recording or using it, you’ll save on battery life. You can select from 3, 5 or 10 minutes.
Action cameras are tiny devices that can be mounted to nearly anything. But what if you want to mount a camera upside down? The output footage will be upside down as well, right? Well yes, unless the camera has video rotation, which the YI2 has. The previous model lacked this feature and was unable to implement it because its image sensor did not support it.
What surprised me however is that there is auto video rotation as well. This is an amazing ability that YI2 has. It auto-detects whether camera is upside down or not. It works similarly like when switching smartphone from landscape to portrait mode and vice-versa.
For people who want to use Xiaomi YI2 4K camera on a drone (quad-copter), you’ll be glad to know it has AV Out option.
Set Date and Time
Edit your date and time here.
Quite logically, device information gives you info on your camera, for instance it’s version, current firmware, etc. It’s important to check this when you’re upgrading to a newer software version.
This returns all settings back to their factory state by resetting everything to default.
You can restart any of the three things offered and return them to factory setup.
When you enter the location menu, you’ll see a list of different countries. I had no idea what this feature does, so I contacted the support team.
It is for changing the camera’s WIFI channel.
It means that this might help you choose 2.4G or 5G channel if you do not know to set it up manually. It’s not very useful, especially when your country is not on the list, which was my case.
The YI 2 camera can be operated remotely in two ways: via the Bluetooth remote controller or a WiFi app. The YI 4K has built-in WiFi which allows camera to connect to your smartphone. There are apps for both Android and iOS.
Before connecting to an app you’ll have to turn on the WiFi on the camera. If in any case you have trouble connecting you probably need to select a different WiFi channel inside General Settings>WiFi. For instance my phone does not support 5G, so I had to switch to channel 2.4G in order to make my camera visible to the phone.
The YI App works for both YI and YI 2. If you already own a YI, you already know the drill. It’s design is flat and minimal, but not as simple as YI 2 touch-screen navigation. Personally I found operating the camera way easier directly than via the app.
With the YI App you can preview what you’re recording in real-time on your phone, download recorded media and save it to the phone storage and change camera settings.
The previous YI had no screen (later a third party company released an external screen) so in order to change settings, you had to use an app. This time the screen solves all those issues and you probably won’t use the app as much.
Here is a quick tip: if your phone has an SD card slot you can insert the SD card from your camera directly into the phone and copy media. However if it does not have a memory card slot you can use an app to download media.
I should mention that WiFi works very well and there’s not much latency between the camera and a phone. Also thanks to the 5G channel, the download speed is 30mb/s.
YI 2 Accessories
At the time of writing this review, there aren’t many official accessories available. This situation is already well-known because the previous model arrived on the market without accessories. Only few weeks after it’s arrival did Xiaomi start to release officially manufactured equipment. the same scenario goes for YI2.
There are only a few pieces of accessories produced and sold currently :
- Underwater case
- YI Selfie Stick + Bluetooth 4.0 remote controller
- Protective lens + leather case
Like with any other camera, besides officially made mounts and accessories, there are plenty of third-party ones. I will cover some of the interesting ones as well. Third party additions are made by more and less known companies from China. That’s why the prices may vary. For instance the retail price of the YI2 official underwater housing is $40 whereas the unofficial one can be bought for $8 to $20.
This part of the review will get updates as new accessories get released and tested. In the meanwhile you can read about the best Xiaomi YI accessories, a list that I wrote.
Underwater case for YI2
The first thing you should know about the YI2 is that it’s not waterproof or splash proof by itself. That means that in order to go under water and record, you’ll need to put it into a waterproof housing.
Official YI2 case
The officially made housing costs $39.99. It allows you to go up to 40m (132’) underwater. According to YI, lens window is made out of German Schott glass which allows light to go through it by 98.5%. This means nothing to me, but it might to you.
When in the case the camera is sealed and safe to be used under water. Just a quick tip: before using it make sure to test it for cracks and leaks.
Third party cases
Here is a list of some cases that are made to fit the YI 2 by third party companies. None of them has been tested. In the past I used a KingMA case for my YI and it worked well, though I didn’t go much in depth, just few meters underwater.
- KingMA 45m case 9.29$ (link)
- Ceari 45m case 13.76$ (link)
- Deyard 40m case 14.99$ (link)
- Touch Screen case from 19.99$ (link)
If the camera has a touch screen how can you operate it when it’s in a waterproof case, you might ask? Well, there is a one button mode which enables you to do that. I’ll show you how it works in a moment. But a third party company made a case which allows you to use a touch screen
At the moment of writing it can be found on eBay (link here) and AliExpress. There are rumors that Xiaomi is working on launching one as well.
Selfie Stick and Bluetooth Remote Control
An officially produced selfie stick costs $45 and comes with a Bluetooth controller. It enables you to remotely trigger your camera shutter button and switch through different modes. The camera can be controlled from 10 meters (33 ft.). The stick is made out of aluminum and its head can be rotated in 360° and 180°.
In case you do not wish to spend that much on a selfie stick, you can always buy a cheap $5 stick and attach the camera directly to it. Any selfie stick that has 1/4″ threads will be compatible. Be aware that with a normal selfie stick you can’t trigger the camera. Even if the stick has a Bluetooth jack for phones, it won’t work for the camera. You can on the other hand use your phone and connect it with the camera’s WiFI.
The best way is to simply set the camera timer to 5 seconds. That will give you more than enough time to capture a selfie. If you think this is a hassle, just get an official stick.
The good news is that selfie stick is the same for YI and YI2.
Keeping your camera undamaged and avoiding scratches is important. That’s why a protective leather case that comes with a UV filter is a great additional accessory.
Similar to waterproof cases, there are cases made by other manufacturers. They are made in various materials such as silicone and aluminum.
- Official YI leather case (link)
- Smaco aluminum case 18$ (link) / Amazon (link)
- Silicone Case 3$ (link)
- Charging Method
- Charging Time
- Power Consumption
- Approx. dimensions
- Approx. weight
- 4K (3840 X 2160)- 30 FPS
- 2.5 (2560x1920) - 30 FPS
- 1440p (1920 x 1440) - 30 fps
- 1080p (1920 x 1080) - 120 fps
- 1440p (1920 x 1440) - 60 fps
- 1080p (1920 x 1080) - 30 fps
- Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery3.85 VDC, 1400 mAh
- AC AdapterUSB
- 4 hours
- Operating:2 W
- 3.80 x 3.80 x 1.00 cm1.5 x 1.5 x 0.39 inches
- 0.027 kg
- Recording Time
- 113 minutes
- 141 minutes
- 165 minutes
- 115 minutes
- 141 minutes
Manufacturer: Yi Technology or Xiaomi?
Ever since tech sites announced the launch of YI2 camera, there have been lots of question regarding the company behind it. The previous model, Xiaomi YI was initially advertised as Xiaomi’s product. As tech-savvy people know, Xiaomi is the most reputable Chinese brand, often referred to as the Middle Eastern Apple.
From what I managed to find out, the first camera was developed by Xiaomi and Yi Technology. My assumption is that initially Yi was founded by Xiaomi and used their marketing, distribution and support channels. So basically, these two companies were certainly related. I also remember that Xiaomi handled some of my customer support queries regarding the camera.
On the other hand, YI2 does not appear to be related to Xiaomi, at least in production. It is still possible that these guys share resources, knowledge and manpower. The website is no longer Xiaoyi.com as it used to be named. It’s now YiTechnology.com. That in my opinion shows intention to separate two brands.
One of the Yi Technology representatives explained in one of the forums I follow (source), that Yi Technology is Xiaomi’s eco-company. That certainly means that there is a relation between the two. But neither of the two websites mentions such relation.
Also GizChina website mentions that :
The Yi brand belongs for some time already under the Xiaomi consortium and their products found the way to over 3.5 million customers worldwide (source)
I wrote an email to confirm the story and here’s the official reply from YiTechnology.
We are one of the companies on MI’s ecological industry chain. The 4K action camera is developed by YI.
YI Technology – Customer support
Lots of Chinese brand produce cheap cameras because they save money providing you with a crappy or no support. I must say that I am very satisfied with the support I received from YI Technology. All of my questions were answered in a timely manner, briefly and precisely, except for the one about Gorilla Glass. I assume support team did not get a permission to show me documentation confirming if the LCD is really scratch-proof the from upper level management.
Besides standard email and social media support, they created a great FAQ page which clarifies 90% of questions that a first-time users would have. Thumbs up for the support team, really.
YI 2 – Frequently asked questions
Even though YI Technology made an excellent FAQ page which answers pretty much all the questions, I decided to add some that might not be featured there yet.
- Can you fit YI 2 into Xiaomi YI waterproof case? – No, you can’t.
- Does the image stabilization work in the 4K mode? – EIS does not work in 4K and in frame rates over 60 FPS.
- Can the YI 2 4K be operated while the battery within is being recharged (via the USB port) using a portable battery? – Yes it can.
- Can you attach an external microphone to YI2? – Yi 2 does not have external microphone jack.
- Is YI2 compatible with quad copters and drones? – Yes, it has AV Out function. More info here.
- Why do I see .thm files? – These are low bit-rate files which enable faster previewing of media vi the app.
- What is ULTRA resolution? – Ultra gives slightly wider field of view to your videos.
- What’s the working temperature of YI 2? – According to the manufacturer it’s, 0°C ~ 45°C.
How to update YI 4K firmware?
It is possible that some of the steps below might change over time, hence always make sure to check the official website prior to following these steps, though they are based on official instructions at the time of writing.
- Make sure your camera is fully charged (or at least 50%).
- Go to Settings>Device info and check current firmware version under |Version|
- Go to Yi firmware page ,select proper model, SN (can be found on bottom of your camera or in Device info), language (US for international version, CN for Chinese version) and latest firmware version.
- Click download and download the file.
- Once that is done, format the memory card inside the camera.
- Copy the .bin file to your memory card and rename it “firmware.bin”
- Insert the memory card into a camera.
- Turn on the camera and wait for an upgrade to finish.
- Format the memory card to prevent initiating the upgrade again.
The next step depends whether or not you have a memory card reader.
If you have a memory card reader :
- Plug in previously formatted memory card into your PC.
- Change previously downloaded file to firmware.bin
- Copy firmware.bin from PC to memory card.
- Remove memory card and insert it into your YI 2 camera.
- Turn on the camera and wait for upgrade to finish.
- Format the memory card to prevent initiating the upgrade again.
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Usually when I write as lengthy a review as this one it means that I ther hated or loved the camera. In this case I really loved what Xiaomi and YI Technology did with their second edition action camera – the YI 2 4K.
The camera creates natural looking videos and photographs. For its price it is probably the best bang for the buck if you’re looking for a more advanced mid-range sports camera. For cheaper cameras you can take a look at Xiaomi YI or Eken H9.
I think the battery life is quite good and I liked the support and documentation available. What blew my mind was how easy it is to use the YI 2. Its navigation and overall user experience are an absolute breeze thanks to a touch screen and well-designed menu. The guys who worked on UX and UI deserve to be praised publicly for sure. Additionally the camera has a huge community behind it, so if you’re a fan of custom scripts and modifications, you’ll love the YI community.
Audio is decent but it really gets bad in loud environments such as electronic music festivals. The microphone is just too sensitive for that kind of recording. Furthermore, there is no external microphone support, so if you’re a an audio freak, you’ll have to record sound externally in such situations. While build quality is good, I wish that coating was more resistant to scratches.
Finally, for those guys who love previewing photos and videos directly onto a TV from camera, well… that’s not possible since there’s no HDMI output.
To sum up, I really had fun testing out the YI 2. I believe it is a very good value for the money. Personally I am very satisfied with my overall experience and I am looking forward to new cameras that this Chinese company will launch; can’t wait to see what’s next in store.
- Smooth user navigation
- Touch screen
- Battery life
- Good support documentation available on site
- Responsive technical support
- Great community
- Bluetooth remote controller
- Audio overblown (example, bass)
- No HDMI output
- Does not support external microphone
- Coating prone to scratches and scuffs (especially black colored model)