The way Xiaomi has changed the smartphone industry especially in emerging markets like China and India is nothing short of a fairytale. Their phones and tablets are blatantly ‘inspired’ by devices from Apple. Heck, their custom Android ROM MIUI looks like the result of a unholy union between Android and iOS. Yet, their devices cost a fraction of their Apple counterparts. And cost is a major deciding factor for many of us, especially when you’re getting so much more in terms of performance for so much less.
And that’s the same reason we are talking about the ‘Yi’, a Go-Pro inspired action camera which costs 399 CNY or 4000 Indian Rupees or USD 64 or WTF!
Just to put things into perspective, the cheapest GoPro (and the Yi’s main competition), the GoPro Hero retails for USD 129.99 or 8100 INR. That’s two times the price of the Yi.
We must mention at this point of time, the Yi is not officially available outside China. It can be bought on a few sites for less that USD 100, still making it cheaper than the GoPro.
So is the camera any good?
The Yi is meant to compete with the basic GoPro Hero and if you by the specs- it’s definitely a better camera on paper. Cameralah has put out a nice infographic comparing the two:
Real world tests however are divided on this. GizChina reported that
“But it seems I might be one of the luckier users of the Yi Action camera. There are reports from other users around the web of dreadful video quality, and terrible audio. Some users have complained of odd content beeping behaviour too and issues with the 1920 x 1080 60fps video option.”
Then comes the other deciding factor – the accessories. The GoPro ecosystem has matured over time and there are tons of accessories available for it – mounts, 3D rigs, motorized stabilisers and a whole lot more. This is something that Xiaomi has probably thought about. While the basic camera retails without an exoskeleton like the HERO 4(for underwater use) or the permanent enclosure that the HERO has – Xiaomi does have a few accessories which includes an exoskeleton that seems to fit in with GoPro mounts.
The Yi isn’t the first GoPro competitor from China, there is the SJCAM. What makes the Yi interesting is the fact that it’s from Xiaomi – a company that is known for its disruptive product positioning and the fact that Xiaomi has some amount credibility because of their phones.
Here’s a review of the Yi comparing it to its competition and here’s another one. And let’s not forget this is the first edition of the camera. If Xiaomi keeps up with it’s disruptive attitude- we’ll see something brilliant in the future.
P.S. We have been thinking of Yi arrays – that lets us replicate the Matrix styled bullet time effect for a lot cheaper than what they costed with the GoPro.