Yi 4K review - 4K action camera

by 26. July 2018
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.

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

First impression of the Yi 4K

The Yi 4K to test was a little Highlight of the year 2016 (year of publication), The camera promises a lot and directly attacks the Market leader "GoPro" at. At a Price from about 150 € This action cam is quite a bargain and sits down despite the low price of conventional "China Action Cams" clearly off.

Update May 2017

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 minimalistic cardboard box. This offers just space for the actual camera, The Accumulator, One Manual and an Charging cables, As you can see, the package is very minimalist and far from the usual action-packed China Action Came.

A waterproof case or brackets must be purchased separately. Among other things, Yi Technology offers original accessories, but now there are also cheaper third-party accessories. In our test could not convince a low-priced, waterproof housing. The accuracy of fit was unfortunately a bit inaccurate with this case, which is why the pushbutton got no contact with the control button. Especially with a recently released camera you should buy 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 housing shape (65 x 42 x 30 mm) differs from both a GoPro Action Cam, but also from the conventional China Cams. The front is the 7 layer lens with 155 ° wide-angle and a F-number of F / 2.8, The lens can be changed and is also compatible with different filters. Next to the lens is a multicolored Note LEDthat indicates a recording in progress or the battery level.

Above is the control button, which is also equipped with a notice LED. In addition, there are the speaker output and the microphone inputs. Unfortunately, the camera has only a few connection options. An HMDI connection is missing completelyWhy you can only fall back on a micro USB socket. This is located behind a well-closing cap on the left side of the housing.

Inside the battery compartment is the Micro SD card slot. This one is different SDHC and SDXC cards compatible. The maximum memory size is indicated by the manufacturer 16 - 128GB on. The battery compartment closes well and firmly, as well as this can be easily opened. That's interesting tripod thread, which is also located at the bottom of the housing. The back is the 2.19 inches big screen, Overall, the workmanship is successful and the design is convincing.

Display and touch screen

The Yi 4K has a 2.19 inch large LCD display with one Resolution of 640 x 360 pixels, The point density is PPI 330 and the maximum luminance is with 250 cd / m² specified. But what makes this display so special is the integrated touchscreen, As a result, an operation, similar to a smartphone or tablet is possible. In practice test could prove the display. 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 presentation remains legible. The color distortion keeps within the framework.

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

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

User Interface

"International Version" VS "China Version"

Who wants to get the new Yi Action Cam, should be sure to purchase the "International" version, Especially with the first sales, the relevant China online shops have sold the version intended for the Chinese market in which the Chinese language can not be changed. Also in retrospect, eg by a firmware update, the language can not be changed, which has already been confirmed by Yi Technology. To prevent errors, Yi Technology has banned many traders from selling, which is why the Action Cam is currently only available sporadically.

Update: With the update to the 1.6.1 version, the language can now officially be changed to English for the Chinese model. Within the settings you can directly select the language between Chinese and English.

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

At the same time you get the live image output via the start screen. Above 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 input, we can call up the gallery and also switch to the extensive settings. If the display is not used for a long time, a key lock automatically activates. With a swipe on the display, this can be deactivated again.


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)

Coming soon also a live feature, with which you can stream videos directly from 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 | Auto Power 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 as well as the Apple AppStore. The app is partly in English, but partly translated into German. Through the Yi Action App, all Action Cams from Yi Technology can be connected. On the one hand, the app serves the Remote control of the cameraOn the other hand, the app is one Community platform. Users can exchange views and even share their shot recordings.

To establish a connection between the Yi 4K and the app, the WiFi the camera be active. An illustrated and German manual leads through the individual steps that are necessary for coupling. If the camera has been successfully connected to a smartphone or tablet, stored images can be transferred, all camera settings can be made via the app, and a live image output can be obtained.

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

Recording quality and sound

The used Sony IMX377 image sensor resolves with 12 megapixels and in combination with the Ambarella A9SE image processor native 4K video recording at maximum 30 pictures-per-second.

The recorded during the test 4K video recordings convince detail, natural colors and pleasant sharpness in close and remote viewing. The recorded sound is hardly different from conventional action cams. Although the camera produces a clean sound recording without a waterproof housing, the recorded sound is barely audible with an additional watertight housing.

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

At a Resolution of 1080p can between 30, 60 and even 120 pictures-per-second to get voted. In addition, one can image stabilizer activate, which compensates by means of a gyroscope image. Of course, such a stabilizer can not replace a gimbal, but who would like to make temporarily stable recordings, for 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 failing battery with a Capacity of 1400 mAh. At a resolution of 4K is the maximum Recording time about 105 minutes, which puts the new Yi Action Cam in the shade of competitors. In the test we were able to confirm the capacity by re-measurements. At a resolution of 1080p we even reached recording times of about 130 minutes! A full charge of the battery will take about 2 1 / 2 hours.

Price Comparison

Price history

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Prices last updated on: 9. July 2020 12: 01

Final Words


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

First impression
User Interface
video quality
picture quality
Battery life

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.

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I also got the new Yi 4K. Do you know why the videos are maximum 4GB big and if you can change that? Otherwise, I am super happy with the camera and have already taken great videos with it.


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


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


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