Action cameras may no longer generate the same interest as years ago. Even so, there remains a significant potential audience. The problem is that, nowadays, competing in price is crazy. That is why we have to offer something more. A test of them is Yi Technology and its new camera of action.
The new Yi 4K + is no longer the economic action chamber that was its predecessor. Now it is capable of recording video at 4K resolution and 60 frames per second and it is one of the few that in 4K to 25p mode allows to use the integrated electronic stabilizer. For a few days we have been testing it, so we tell you everything you can expect from this Xiaomi action camera.
The Yi 4K + is a camera that surprises when you see the different resolutions and settings you can set when recording video. And is that small camera is able to capture video up to 4K at 60fps.
|CHARACTERISTICS||YI 4K +|
|Processor||14mm Ambarella H2|
|Sensor||Sony IMX377 12MP|
|Lens||155º FOV, opening F2.8|
|Stabilizer||EIS (Electronic Stabilizer) up to 4K resolution at 30p|
|Control||Physical buttons, 2.2 “touch screen (640×360 pixels) and voice control|
|Video and Photo||Option to record video in flat profile and Yi Color. Raw photos in .dng format|
|Video Resolution||Up to 4K video, H.264 compression and .mp4 format. Maximum Bitrate 135 Mbps|
|Photo resolution||Up to 12MP (4000×3000)|
|Capture Modes||Video, Photo, Timelapse, Slow Motion, Video + Photo, Loop|
|Connection||USB C, Bluetooth 4.0 and WiFi ac|
|Additional features||Option to connect external micro via USB-C adapter, video output via USB C, option of Live Streaming|
|More info||All specifications|
An unchanged design, for good and for bad
In terms of design, the Yi 4K + does not change practically anything compared to its previous generation. There are differences in its finish but the structure, dimensions, location of controls, etc. is identical. And that is good and, at the same time, bad.
The positive part of maintaining the design is that if you have casings from the previous generation, you can continue to use them. The bad thing is that it retains the same weak point of the Yi 4K: the screen.
We have to warn that we have not suffered the problem, but there are users who have reported that a small drop a few inches in height caused the screen to explode by striking one of the corners.
The body of the Yi 4K + is plastic, has a good construction but does not seem to offer great resistance. Therefore, bumps in the corners can greatly affect the integrity of the screen. So it is important to be careful or use the casing to help absorb potential impacts.
Otherwise, the camera still has the screw to place on a tripod without the need to use any casing. It is also maintained by the location of the charging and data transfer connector, physical button and battery compartment cover and microSD slot.
In short, good finishes, but perhaps compared to other cameras of action conveys less sensation of robustness.
Yi 4K +, recording video at 4k and 60p
The action cameras are devices capable of obtaining interesting photographs by angle of vision and quality but it is their video function what really attractive. Even so, before we go into evaluating the results, we summarize their capabilities in both video and photo.
|VIDEO RESOLUTION||FRAMES PER SECOND (FPS)||FIELD OF VIEW (FOV)||RESOLUTION|
|4K||60, 50, 48, 30, 25, 24||Large||3840×2160|
|4K Ultra||30, 25||Ultra Wide||3840×2160|
|2.7K (16: 9)||60, 50, 48, 30, 25, 24||Large and medium||2704×1520|
|2.7K Ultra||30, 25||Ultra Wide||2704×1520|
|2.7K (4: 3)||30, 25||Large and medium||2704×2032|
|1440P||60, 50, 48, 30, 25, 24||Large||1920×1440|
|1080P||120, 100, 60, 50, 48, 30, 25, 24||Wide, medium and linear||1920×1080|
|1080P Ultra||90, 60, 50, 30, 25||Ultra Wide||1920×1080|
|960P||120, 100, 60, 50||Large and medium||1280×960|
|720P Ultra||120, 100, 60, 50||Ultra Wide||1280×720|
|PICTURE RESOLUTION||FIELD OF VIEW||RESOLUTION IN PIXELS|
|7MP||Wide and medium option||3008×2256|
Along with these settings there are other parameters that we can define as white balance, ISO sensitivity, lens correction, use of electronic stabilizer or not, exposure compensation, measurement as well as video quality level can choose the level of sharpness. All this to try to offer the greatest possible control within the limitations of a camera of this type. And of course, also two color profiles: flat and Yi Color.
Known for all this, our impressions with the video quality level camera have been good. When recording at 4K resolution and 60 frames per second we get a video clip that can give a lot of play. Good because we want a more fluid video editing at 60 fps (50 if we set the PAL mode instead of NTSC) or slow-motion to make 30 or 25 frames.
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Of course, if we do not need that number of frames per second, when recording at 25p we can activate the electronic stabilizer that includes the camera. And, eye, it is not a perfect solution or something that can replace a gimbal but the results are striking. Allowing freehand recordings. Something that will greatly value those who use this type of cameras for vlogs or simply improve their recordings when performing sports activities.
Regarding color, level of detail, etc. there are not many complaints because, starting, we are aware of the type of camera that is and the price it has. It can be a good complement to many types of recordings but you have to know the clip well and its possibilities of color correction to be able to match the material if mixed with other cameras. And if you are not going to make this kind of corrections in post production, do not activate the flat color profile.
Moreover, the “biggest” problem, although not exclusive to this Yi 4K +, is that when using configurations with a high frame rate per second, the resolution does not equal the level of detail low. Even so, up to 60 frames the performance is good.
Considering the type of camera that is we believe that Yi Technology has done a great job offering options that budget cameras do not achieve. Neither its more direct rivals like GoPro Hero 5, which not only does not reach the 60 frames in 4K, but also does not allow stabilization in that resolution.
Finally, some extra data for those who like or interest …
- It is necessary to have a fast microSD card and capacity of 16GB or higher to be able to record long enough. If not, recording at full resolution is not possible
- The compression codec is H.264 and the file is generated in .mp4 format
- These video clips can be set to have a maximum size of 4GB or the maximum of 30GB. The problem with the second option is that in case of corrupting the file, the whole video is corrupted. Otherwise you could save the others if you only affect one for reasons such as exhausted battery
- The USB-C connector offers an approximate speed of 40 MB / s, faster than other cameras. This is appreciated when transferring large amounts of data
Microphones for stereo sound capture
From the section of sound recording we will go directly to what interests. The audio quality is not bad but it goes down a lot once we put the protective case to the water. This is something that happens with all cameras that make use of one, so zero surprises. But it is important to know.
When we do not put it and use the camera to “air” the sound is better but if you think to use it for vlog it is ideal to use the available adapter and connect an external microphone. There are efficient solutions at a good price like the Rode VideoMicro with which to obtain a better sound. So keep that in mind. Or connect a micro flap and take it to the point that interests us. Ideal for, for example, performing vlogs on motorbikes.
Voice control and other extras of the Yi 4K +
View the quality of video, photo and audio of the Yi 4K + the other reasons that can make us decide whether or not for it are its functions and extra capabilities.
To begin with we have, along with the classic video, photo and photo + video modes, we also add the timer function that will allow us to take time lapses , something valid for both photo and video; also the burst mode or loop mode. This mode loop or loop it is interesting as video recording continuously for a defined interval (5, 20, 60, 120 minutes or maximum allowed card).
Then we have the possibility to control the camera through voice commands. This option came with the latest firmware update. Therefore, if you buy the camera make sure you have the latest version. Once active we can tell the camera to take a picture or start to record a video with a simple command.
It is true that it is a feature that can be useful in several scenarios but it does not convince us much either. Sometimes the listening is not effective and you have to repeat the command until you interpret it successfully.
Finally is the application for smartphone, compatible with both iOS and Android. Here, since that first app the original Yi Cam have changed a lot and both performance and menus go very well. It is easy to use and gives us the option to configure everything conveniently from the mobile, without having to interact with the camera. Ideal for when we have it in places of difficult access.