When Chinese smartphone vendor Xiaomi launched its Yi Action Camera in March, GoPro investors feared that it could pose a serious threat to GoPro’s Asia ambitions. Yi costs less than a sixth of the flagship GoPro Hero 4 and half as much as the cheapest offering from the San Mateo-based company. The Yi Action Camera is packed with impressive features that help it trump GoPro, at least on paper.
Is it as good as GoPro?
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Is Xiaomi’s device a real substitute to GoPro? Menglin Huang of The Wall Street Journal takes a detailed look at the Chinese company’s action camera, which retails for just $64. It comes with 64GB built-in storage, weighs just 72g versus 111g of Hero. The Yi Action Camera and GoPro Hero have the same waterproof depth of 40 meters.
Xiaomi’s camera allows you to shoot full HD videos at 60fps and HD videos at 120fps. It takes the single shot, burst shot, timer shot, and time lapse. Huang says its image quality is not bad. Yi comes with a 16-megapixel camera sensor made by Sony. So, its image quality looks similar to that of GoPro. But its weakness is exposed in low-light conditions.
Xiaomi’s camera has plenty of limitations
However, the Yi Action Camera has some weaknesses. Its housing material is plastic, and it feels like cheap plastic. It does not come with many accessories. You’ll have to pay an extra $16 for a selfie stick, and another $16 for a waterproof case. In terms of size and layout, it looks pretty similar to GoPro Hero, but doesn’t fit into a GoPro case.
Despite being available for about three months, Yi camera lacks the variety of accessories to meet a user’s different needs for different occasions. It does not come with a screen display. So, users have to rely on a smartphone app to set up shots and configuration. The app connects to the camera over WiFi. It is currently available only in Chinese.
With all these limitations, the Yi Action Camera is unlikely to pose a serious threat to GoPro.