Xiaomi Yi Sport Camera unboxed, first impressions

Xiaomi Yi Sport Camera unboxed, first impressions

Last March, Chinese device manufacturer Xiaomi, announced their very first ation camera called the Yi (Xiao Yi) with a design and form factor pretty close to the widely popular GoPro Hero cameras. Only this time, Xiaomi’s version of the XiaoYi action cam comes with a very affordable price point — 399 Yuan or around Php2,800.

That sparked a lot of interest, even with regular consumers who’d previously could not afford a GoPro. Even the new entry-level GoPro Hero model is more than twice that price tag. While we have serious doubt that Xiaomi Philippines will ever bring the XiaoYi action camera to the Philippines (perhaps thru another sale via Lazada), we were able to secure a couple of review units from GearBest which shipped it to us from Hong Kong.

The one we got is also the Yi Sports Edition which is a larger box that comes with a really nice selfie stick.

At first glance, the Yi sports camera has that very similar look and form factor as the GoPro and many of its contemporaries. Xiaomi didn’t bother drawing up a new design although they’ve added a number of cosmetic changes to the chassis, like a two-tone finish which makes the Yi look less serious yet fun to use.

For a really in-expensive camera, the Yi has a solid build and a nice colorful design. While it’s all made of type of polycarbonate material, the level of attention and detail is at par with the metal-clad GoPro. In some aspects, the Yi looks much nicer than an equivalent Hero unit.

Just like the GoPro, the power button is right at the front, the shutter button is on top and t dedicated WiFi button is on the left side.

At the back is the compartment for the removable Li-Ion battery alongside the sealed ports for the micro-USB, micro-HDMI and micro-SD card slot. The power button at the front has a concentric LED light that turns red when charging the unit, and green when it’s fully charged. Another smaller light indicator at the back blinks when the camera is recording a video.


The unit has a glossy finish at the front, a matter finish at the back and a tile pattern around the sides.

At the bottom is a standard tripod mount (6mm screw) so you can basically attach this to any standard camera accessory you have around.

What is not included is the protective housing that will allow the device to be subjected to shock and able to be submerged under water for a prolonged period of time. You will have to buy that one separately. There’s also an optional silicone gel case which you can have the Yi wear for regular daily use. The battery is a removable Li-Po with a 1,100mAh rating.

The Xiaomi Yi works with a lot of 3rd-party accessories so even the ones sold for the SJ4000 will basically work with the Yi using the standard mount.

The 16-megapixel sensor is a Sony Exmor R BSI CMOS with 155° wide-angle lens. The built-in Bluetooth allows for the Yi to be operated via remote control while the WiFi is used to connect to a smartphone with the dedicated app for wireless viewing and transfer of media.

We’re bringing the Yi out of town this week-end to test the camera and how it stacks up against the GoPro so stay tuned for that.

Xiaomi Yi Sport Camera features:
72 Grams and made from PC + ABS and metal composite materials
Ambarella A7LS Processor
Sony Exmor R BSI CMOS 16MP Sensor
155° (Mobile Phone 89°) Wide Angle Lens
3D Noise Reduction
WiFi Connectivity (up to 100 meters)
BLE Ultra-low power consumption
Bluetooth and Remote App control
4 Operating modes include; Photo, Time-lapse photo, Timed photo and Video
Share to social media within 10 seconds using the smartphone APP.
Video support: 1080p 60 FPS, 1080p 30 FPS, 720p 120 FPS, 720p 240 FPS
H.264 Video encoding with Sport level image processor providing ultra high-fluency
Urban White and Jungle Green colors

The Xiaomi Yi Sport Camera comes in two editions: the Basic Edition (camera-only) for 399 Yuan or around Php2,800, and the Travel Edition (camera + monopod) for 499 Yuan or around Php3,500.

You can get them over at GearBest straight from HK for $109 with free shipping.

P.S. We’re also giving away one of these after our full review (so bookmark this page).

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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36 Responses

  1. Bugz says:

    Water resistant?

  2. ron says:

    do we need to pay additional when it shipped like corrupt customs fee at the post office ? or shipping is done by DHLor something

  3. ron says:

    do we need to pay additional corrupt customs fee at the post office to claim or its straight to your home by DHL or something

  4. Kami says:

    Did u bought it here?

    Makabili din.

  5. bryan_mmx says:

    If you’re talking about the 6mm screw mount, it should work with ALL 3rd party accessories using that screw. But if you’re talking about the housing, clearly you haven’t done your research thoroughly. I have both sj4000 and YiCam and even have compared both’s performance already.

  6. Leslie says:

    How long did it take for the item to arrive from GearBest?

  7. John says:

    Just curious about the shipping here to the philippines. Do they use Other courier service like LBC or the package go through philpost/EMS?

  8. Boy says:

    pwede ba to underwater?

  9. SunCell Subscriber says:

    Hi Abe, did you have to pay customs tax/duties, or was it delivered to your doorstep? How much all in all did you pay on top of the sale price (shipping, tax, etc.)? Thanks!

  10. Trish says:

    Hi. Where to order this? Thanks.

  11. jarryd says:

    will gopro accessories fit this camera?

    • Philipp says:

      The camera has a 1/4″ screw at the bottom, so it mounts to standard photo equipment. A 1/4″ to GoPro adapter can be found for 2 USD. The case has a GoPro mount at the bottom: http://bit.ly/1MFSO77

  12. KYO says:

    Is there a difference between the white one and the green?

  13. Genesis says:

    Why is the white one cheaper at GearBest? Is it waterproof?

  14. poche says:

    How bout sa geekbuying since 86$ lang with free shipping anyone tried that site? http://www.gearbest.com/action-cameras/pp_153556.html

  15. john says:

    thanks abe. i think DHL is better than phil post or ems.

  16. John says:

    Got this from GearBest’s support. Cheers!

    We will need approximately 2-7 business days to arrange shipment of your order. The exact delivery time depends on the shipping method you choose. 1) Flat Rate Shipping: Between 7-25 business days to ship to the destination, by post office. 2) Standard Shipping: Between 6-8 business days to be delivered, by EMS. 3) Expedited Shipping: Around 3-7 business days to arrive, by DHL.

    Please note that the above shipping times are for guidance only. The precise shipping time can also be affected by factors such as remote locations, peak shipping periods, Holidays and Festivals, inclement weather and operational issues impacting the shipping company.

  17. Freeje says:

    Got the knock off version of the SJCam can costs only $80 for everything including all accessories and a a spare battery. Tried it and I’d say it’s better than the Yi Cam.

    • philipp says:

      only the SJ5000 PLUS can do 1080p with 60fps, and this model sells for about 160 USD.
      For 80 USD you’ll get the SJ4000 which can only film at a lower framerate and he’s a smaller sensor. The included accessories are about 30-40 USD when ordered for Xiaomi (case: http://bit.ly/1MFSO77 & mount set: http://bit.ly/1F73jcB)

  18. noli says:

    Hopefully this will get to your shores before vacation end

  19. Mica says:

    Waaaah! Sent this to all my friends going to China. I hope they find it for me!

    • Philipp says:

      You can order it online. You won’t get the mentioned street price though. Their website also says sold out since I first looked at it over a month ago. You can get it at online retailers for about 85 USD, e.g. here: http://bit.ly/1M0F7iG

  20. Philipp says:

    The official iOS App is not out yet, but there is an unofficial one which works. It’s a little tricky but easy to use. Here’s a video:

  21. Juan says:

    Bought the cam on Gearbest since they had cheapest price and purchase expedited shipping too. And DHL charged me PHP 926 for the customs tax. Should have gone with local resellers. Cheaper pa.

  22. Anyone knows where to get a waterproof case for the Yi?

  23. Name: Nick says:

    What did you do to lower the charge of the bureau of customs? Im planning on getting one :)

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