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Xiaomi Yi 4K

Yi 4K review - 4K action camera

Updated by Timo Altmeyer on the 24. October 2023

The Yi 4K is the successor of the extremely popular Xiaomi Yi Action Cam and allows native video recordings in high-resolution 4K. As a competitor to the much more expensive GoPro HERO series, the Yi 4K promises a smart touch screen control, detailed nighttime shots and many more features. In the test, we took a closer look at the Action Cam.

Our rating

First impression of the Yi 4K

Testing the Yi 4K was a small highlight of 2016 (year of release). The camera promises a lot and directly attacks the market leader “GoPro”. At a price of around € 150, this action cam is definitely a bargain and, despite its low price, clearly sets itself apart from conventional "China Action Cams".


 You are also interested in the new model YI 4K Plus? We were allowed to test the camera extensively! 

To the YI 4K + review

Yi 4K Action Cam (2016) | Unboxing & test recording

What's in the box

The Action Cam is delivered in a minimalist cardboard box. This offers just enough space for the actual camera, the battery, a user manual and a charging cable. As you can see, the scope of delivery is very minimalist and is far removed from the scope of delivery, which is usually lavish for China Action Cams.

 A waterproof housing or even brackets must be purchased separately. Yi Technology offers, among other things, original accessories, but now there are also cheaper accessories from third-party suppliers. In our test, however, an inexpensive, waterproof case could not convince. Unfortunately, the accuracy of fit with this housing was somewhat imprecise, which is why the pushbutton did not come into contact with the control button. Especially with a recently released camera, you should get the original accessories, or wait for a wider and higher quality range.

Design and workmanship

The design is very appealing. The camera is available in white, black and pink. The shape of the housing (65 x 42 x 30 mm) differs from both a GoPro Action Cam and conventional China Cams. The 7-layer lens with a 155 ° wide angle and an aperture of F / 2.8 is located on the front. The lens can be changed and is also compatible with various filters. Next to the lens there is a multi-colored LED indicating that a recording is in progress or the battery level.

Above is the control button, which is also equipped with an indicator LED. The speaker output and microphone inputs are also located there. Unfortunately, the camera has only a few connection options. An HMDI connection is completely missing, which is why you can only use a micro USB socket. This is located behind a tightly closing cap on the left side of the housing.

The micro SD card slot is located inside the battery compartment. This is compatible with various SDHC and SDXC cards. The manufacturer specifies the maximum memory size as 16 - 128GB. The battery compartment closes well and tightly, as well as being easy to open. The tripod thread, which is also located on the underside of the housing, is interesting. The 2.19 inch display is on the back. Overall, the workmanship is successful and the design is also convincing.

Display and touch screen

The Yi 4K has a 2.19 inch LCD display with a resolution of 640 x 360 pixels. The point density is 330 PPI and the maximum luminance is specified as 250 cd / m². What makes this display so special, however, is the integrated touchscreen. This enables operation similar to a smartphone or tablet. The display was able to prove itself in the practical test. The color representation is good, but the display is difficult to read in direct sunlight. The viewing angle stability is convincing. For example, if you look at the side of the display, the display remains legible. The color falsification is kept within limits.

The touchscreen works accurately. Inputs are recognized and executed cleanly. In addition to normal touch input, the touch screen also recognizes various gestures, such as wiping motions. Inserted in a waterproof housing, control via the touchscreen is of course no longer possible!


With the combination of an Ambarella A9SE image processor and a Sony IMX377 image sensor, the Yi 4K has cutting-edge and powerful hardware. The A9SE image processor has a total of two cores and clocks with a maximum of 800 MHz. Video recordings are compressed on the hardware level with the h.264 standard. The output format is mp4. The Sony IMX377 image sensor has a resolution of 12 megapixels and uses Exmor R technology.

Yi 4K Action Cam Review | 4K Action Camera by Yi Technology [German]

user interface

"International Version" VS "China Version"

If you want to buy the new Yi Action Cam, you should definitely purchase the "International" version. Especially with the first sales, the relevant China online shops, which are intended for the Chinese market, sold the variant in which the Chinese language cannot be changed. Even afterwards, for example with a firmware update, the language cannot be changed, which has already been confirmed by Yi Technology. In order to avoid errors, Yi Technologie has issued a sales ban on many dealers, which is why the Action Cam is currently only available sporadically.

 Update: With the update to version 1.6.1, the language for the Chinese model can now also be officially changed to English. The language between Chinese and English can be selected directly within the settings.

user interface

The user interface is clearly arranged and despite our Chinese test copy, we were able to operate the camera without any errors after only a few hours.

Home screen

The live image output is also available on the start screen. Above below below the output we can see the remaining recording time, the recording mode, the battery level and whether there is an active WLAN connection. Below we can switch to the quick selection with touch inputs, we can call up the gallery and also switch to the extensive settings. If the display is not used for a longer period of time, a key lock is activated automatically. This can be deactivated again with a swiping movement across the display.


Overall, the YI Action Cam offers 10 recording modes. Here is an overview:

  • Photo mode
  • Photo Timer (Delayed Recording)
  • Burst mode (multiple recording)
  • video mode
  • Time-Lapse Video (Time Lapse Recording)
  • Slow Motion (slow motion recording)
  • Time-lapse photo (time-lapse shot with photos)
  • Loop Record (If the SD card is full, recordings will be deleted)
  • Video and Photo (In addition to a video are stored in photos)

A live function is to appear soon, with which you can stream videos directly via the Yi 4K.


The settings menu is divided into two categories. There is a sub-item for each recording mode and the "General Settings". Here is an overview of the conventional settings:

video settings

  • Resolution (4K @ 25 | 4K Ultra @ 25 | 5K @ 25 | 1440 @ 25 / 50 | 1080 @ 25 / 50 / 100 | 1080 Ultra @ 25 / 50 / 100 | 960 @ 50 / 100 | 720 @ 200 | 720 Ultra @50 / 100 | 480 @ 200)
  • Metering Mode (measurement for exposure) Average | Center | commercial
  • Auto Low Light (Improved shots in low light conditions)
  • White Balance (Automatic | Native | Tungsten | Daylight | Cloudy)
  • ISO (Automatic | 400 | 1600 | 6400)
  • Exposure (+ 2 to -2 in 0.5 steps)
  • Image Stabilization (On / Off)
  • Timestamp (Off | Date | Time | Date & Time)

Photo mode

  • Resolution (12MP | 8MP | 7 MP W | 7 MP M | 5MP)
  • Shutter (2s | 5s | 10s | 20s | 30s)
  • Metering Mode (Average | Center | Spot)
  • White Balance (Automatic | Native | Tungsten | Daylight | Cloudy)
  • ISO (Automatic | 100 | 200 | 400 | 800)
  • Exposure (+ 2 to -2 in 0.5 steps)
  • Timestamp (Off | Date | Time | Date & Time)

General Settings

  • Lens correction ("anti-fisheye effect")
  • WiFi (On / Off | SSID and PW | 2.4G / 5G)
  • SD Card (Available Memory | Format)
  • Shooting mode
  • Bluetooth (to pair a remote control)
  • Display Brightness (High | Medium | Low)
  • Sounds (Loud | Quiet | Off)
  • LED
  • Enclosure mode (better operability in the case)
  • Video mode (PAL | NTSC)
  • Advanced settings (screen lock | automatic switch-off | rotate display | A / V out USB | date & time)
  • Device information (firmware | serial number)
  • Factory settings (Settings | WiFi | Bluetooth)
  • About

Yi 4K "Yi Action" App

The "Yi Action" app can be downloaded from the Google PlayStore and the Apple AppStore. The app is partly translated into English, but partly also into German. All action cams from Yi Technology can be connected via the Yi Action App. On the one hand, the app is used to remotely control the camera, and on the other hand, the app is a community platform. Users can exchange ideas and they can even share the recordings they have made.

To establish a connection between the Yi 4K and the app, the camera's WiFi must be active. Illustrated and German instructions guide you through the individual steps that are necessary for coupling. Once you have successfully connected the camera to your smartphone or tablet, saved recordings can be transferred, you can make all camera settings via the app and you get a live image output.

 Firmware updates are also imported via the Yi Action App. If an update exists, you will be notified via the app and can install it fully automatically and with just one click. Alternatively, updates can also be downloaded from the manufacturer's website.

Recording quality and sound

The Sony IMX377 image sensor used has a resolution of 12 megapixels and, in combination with the Ambarella A9SE image processor, enables native 4K video recordings at a maximum of 30 images per second.

The 4K video recordings recorded in the course of the test impress with their richness of detail, natural colors and pleasant sharpness when viewed from close up as well as from a distance. The recorded sound hardly differs from conventional action cams. Although the camera produces a clean sound recording without a waterproof housing, with an additional waterproof housing the recorded sound is barely audible.

Xiaomi Yi 4K (Yi II) | 4K footage / sample (3840x2160)

With a resolution of 1080p, you can choose between 30, 60 and even 120 frames per second. In addition, an image stabilizer can be activated, which balances the image using a gyroscope. Of course, such a stabilizer cannot replace a gimbal, but if you want to make stable recordings temporarily, the image stabilizer is a nice additional feature.

At resolutions below 4K, the video quality difference to conventional "China Action Cams" is significantly lower, which shows a direct comparison with the much cheaper SJCAM M20.

Xiaomi Yi 4K (Yi II 2016) VS SJCAM M20 | 1080p @ 50


Another highlight of the Yi 4K is the lush battery with a capacity of 1400 mAh. With a resolution of 4K, the maximum recording time is around 105 minutes, which puts the new Yi Action Cam in the shade. In the test, we were able to confirm the capacity through re-measurements. With a resolution of 1080p, we even achieved recording times of around 130 minutes! It takes about 2 1/2 hours to fully charge the battery.

Xiaomi Yi 4K

(Xiao) Yi 4K


Native 4K video resolution
Extensive setting options
App support
Powerful battery


Hardly any accessories
Maximum display brightness
Tinny audio quality
Image stabilizer slightly distorted and quickly overwhelmed


The Yi 4K Action Cam is to be understood as direct competition to the GoPro Hero 4 and costs thereby only half! The camera convinces with fantastic 4K video recordings and a large failing range of functions. Due to the touch display and the powerful battery, the Yi 4K looks almost innovative.

Timo Altmeyer avatar

Timo is the founder of and a real technology expert. From smartphones to e-bikes, from home cinema to smart homes, he always has his finger on the pulse of the latest trends.



  1. Faxes

    3. October 2016 22 to: 16

    I also got the new Yi 4K. Do you know why the videos are a maximum of 4GB and whether you can change that? Otherwise, I'm super satisfied with the camera and have already recorded great videos with it.

    • Timo admin

      4. October 2016 13 to: 38

      This is due to the file system of the SD memory card. FAT32 allows a maximum file size of 4GB. But you don't only have the problem with the Yi 4K. As far as I know, there is no Action Cam that supports NTFS or exFAT.

  2. Richard

    1. March 2017 21 to: 55

    Hello, great review. I read that Yi's new camera also has voice recognition. Can old Yi do that too?

    • Timo admin

      2. March 2017 08 to: 27

      Hi, so far the function should only be found on the Yi 4K +. But I could well imagine that, at the insistence of the community, the old Yi 4K will also receive an update that includes speech recognition. So the function does not yet exist!

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More from YI Technology

Yi technology


(Xiao) Yi 4K


Image processor: Ambarella A9SE
Image sensor: SONY IMX377
Lens: 7 layer, 155 ° wide angle, F / 2.8, f = 2.68mm

LCD: 2.19 ", 640 * 360 Touchscreen
Microphone: 360 ° Omnidirectional
Speaker: Integrated

WiFi: Broadcom BCM43340
Bluetooth: 4.0BLE & 2.0 Dual
Gyroscope: 6 axes (Bosch BMI160)

Memory: Micro SD (16-128GB FAT32)
Waterproof: With housing
Battery: 1430mAh

Size: 65 42 x x 30 mm
Weight: 96g

What's in the box

1x Xiaomi Yi 4K
1x charging cable
1x battery
1x user manual