The YI 4K Action Camera is latest camera released by the Chinese electronics manufacturer YI Technology. This is the successor to the very popular Yi Action Camera, an excellent bang for your buck action camera. The YI 4K takes a different approach and is focused on the premium segment of the action camera market. This is one of the few true 4K UHDTV cameras capable of recording 3840 x 2160p. (Unfortunately most action cameras on the market today that claim to be 4K do not deliver on this claim. Our member Mtz has created a detailed thread in our forum on cameras that don’t deliver on this promise.)
The specifications of this camera are impressive. It uses an Ambarella A9SE75 Processor (GoPro Hero 4 uses an Ambarella A9 processor as well) and Sony IMX377 CMOS sensor. When recording at 4K (2160p), the video quality is excellent during the day and good at night. Bit rate is over 60Mpbs when recording at 4K. The level of detail at this resolution is excellent during the daytime. The biggest drawback is the hardware required to view and edit 4K videos. To edit and play 4K videos, you will need:
- A integrated or discrete graphics solution that supports 4K external displays
- Monitor that is capable of playing back 4K video
- Fast CPU and lots of ram (the more the better, especially for editing)
Like the original YI Action Camera, the YI 4K comes with WiFi and uses the same Android and iOS app. While the app was necessary for the original YI camera because it did not have a screen, the YI 4K comes with a 2.19″ touchscreen with a very easy to use menu. The camera also comes with a G-sensor. Size is slightly bigger at 65 x 42 x 21mm then the original YI. Some other features are a large capacity 1400 mAh battery and electronic image stabilization (does not work at 4K resolution).
Unfortunately, like GoPro cameras, the YI 4K makes an excellent action camera but it is not ideal as a dash cam. While the camera has loop recording, auto start / stop has not been implemented as of yet. Also while the camera comes in black (white and rose as well), it is not the most discreet form factor as a dash cam.
Note there is a Chinese and International version of this camera. As of this time there is no known way to convert a Chinese version to an International version. Be sure to purchase the International version, otherwise all the menus will be in Chinese.
Case is not water resistant
Some owners have indicated that water can get into the waterproof case as described in this thread. This does not appear to be widespread but could be due to a damaged O-ring on the waterproof case. To be on the safe side you may want to place a piece of paper in the waterproof case and put it underwater to check for leaks prior to using it underwater with the camera.
Yi 4K Action Camera Teardown
Should I Purchase?
If you are looking for a true 4K (2160p) camera and have adequate hardware to watch and edit videos, the YI 4K is an excellent camera. While it is pricey at approximately $250, it is a reasonable price for a 2160p camera. Video quality is on par with more expensive cameras and the YI 4K makes an excellent action camera. It has excellent battery life as well, a screen and a simple to use WiFi app making this an all around excellent camera. Unfortunately without auto start / stop capability the YI 4K is not suitable as a dash camera.
Overall a great alternative to a GoPro camera and is a reasonable choice if you are looking for a 4K action camera, assuming you have already invested in hardware to view and edit 4K videos . See what other owners of this camera have to say on our YI 4K Action Camera Forum.
Where to purchase for lowest price
WARNING! MAKING CHANGES TO YOUR FIRMWARE ARE PERFORMED AT YOUR OWN RISK. WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGE TO YOUR DASH CAM AS A RESULT OF THESE INSTRUCTIONS.
Firmware Update Instructions
- Download the firmware to the SD card root directory
- Change the file name to be “firmware.bin”
- Put the SD card into the device
- Follow the update pop-up in the LCD. (Make sure the camera is connected to a power source or has more than 50% battery life.)
- Firmware upgrade complete
The best place to find the latest firmware is the YI Technology website. Be sure to choose the YI 4K action camera and the correct serial number, language and version. Note there is no know way of converting the Chinese version of the camera to the
The English user manual can be downloaded here.
Published: August 18, 2016