XiaoMi Yi Action Camera Unboxing

If you believe the hype and pre-launch reviews from some dude in his basement, the XiaoMi Yi action camera is a GoPro killer. I only trust real world end users of things for reviews, so I didn’t know what to expect from the XiaoMi Yi. However for less than $100 shipped, it’s hard to deny its lure.

The XiaoMi Yi spec sheet says it shoots 1080p video at 60 frames per second (fps). For just slightly more money than a Mobius, the Yi should deliver twice the framerate. I’m hoping the quality will be at least as good. For me, I don’t expect the Yi to replace my GoPro Hero 4 Black for video on my hexacopter with it’s H3-3D gimbal, but I’d love something better quality (and relatively cheap) on my miniquad. We shall see.

I ordered one as soon as they were available (March 20th) and got it today (April 11). I ordered it from Banggood, but several other people I’ve talked to ordered from other vendors and got quicker shipping. Still, it made it here from China in one piece. After a coupon code, I paid $92 for it shipped. Just about every place I’ve seen it (in China) has a coupon code for it. If you’re going to wait for shipping from the other side of the world, make sure you find a coupon code to save a few bucks. There are a few dealers offering it for sale in the US and Canada, but their prices are $20-50 higher. Your call.

For that price, I didn’t expect anything fancy. However, the packaging was well put together. It wasn’t Apple-quality packaging, but definitely a way nicer presentation than the Mobius I bought. Of course, as soon as you open it, none of that matters.
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Of the two color choices, the white camera looked less toy like to me. The green looks pretty hideous in the marketing photos. The white looks really good I think. The fit and finish of the camera isn’t quite as nice as the GoPro, but it still looks well put together.

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Only the basic package was available when I ordered mine. It came with the camera, a battery, a short USB to micro USB cable and a manual. The camera and battery had plastic shipping protection (stickers and a bag, respectively). I can’t find a scratch on it (that’ll change soon!).

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The front of the camera is arranged much like a GoPro. The main difference is the lack of an LCD screen for configuration.

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The bottom of the camera includes a standard 1/4″ camera mount.

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The wifi button is on the left side of the camera.

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The back of the camera has two covers. The small cover hides a micro HDMI port, micro USB port and the micro SD card slot. There’s also an LED.

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The right side of the camera is, umm, just the right side of the camera.

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The top of the XiaMi Yi has a microphone hole, button and a small LED indicator.

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As I should have expected from a product shipped straight from China, the manual’s English is a little lacking.

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The camera does not include a wall charging adapter. The manual says you can plug the USB cable into anything you want though. When charging, the camera’s power button has a red ring around it. Once the camera is charged, the red light turns off.

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Here’s a shot comparing several GoPro models with the XiaoMi Yi.

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The photo below shows a GoPro Hero 4 Black and the XiaoMi Yi. The Yi is roughly 1mm wider and taller than the GoPro. Sadly, this is just enough so that the XiaoMi Yi will not fit in the DJI Zenmuse H3-3d gimbal.

The GoPro Hero 4 Black is 2.32″ wide and 1.61″ tall (58.9mm x 40.9mm). The Yi is 2.39″ wide and 1.66″ tall (60.7mm x 42.2mm).

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The GoPro and XiaoMi Yi are probably just different enough that GoPro’s lawyers won’t challenge them on it. Sooo close.

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The Yi’s lens and buttons are in different places, so none of the GoPro cases I tried will work. If you need a waterproof case for your XiaoMi Yi, you’re going to have to wait until they make one.

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To configure the XiaoMi Yi, you currently need an Android device. Finding that app was frustrating. The QR code in the manual took me to a webpage with a 500 error. Hopefully they fix that soon. According to another web page, an iOS app is coming soon. I couldn’t find the Android app in the Google Play store, but I did find this link on the Banggood product page to download the app directly.

I plan on taking the XiaoMi Yi flying as soon as I can mount it to one of my multirotors. Look for some flight video soon!

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