Review: Xiaomi Yi

I have thought about getting an action camera for a while now. When the chinese GoPro killer was finally published I plunged in. Xiaomi Yi has a nice simple design. It has just three buttons and four indicator lights. However the instructions were only in Chinese so I had to surf the net a little bit to get going. So far I’m pretty impressed, but there are still some downsides to the gadget. I will be updating the post as I learn more. Once you get the hang of it controlling the camera is fairly simple, Shutter button is on top and wi-fi is turned on from the side. On-off button on the front of the camera toggles between movie and still image modes. Color of the ring around the same button illustrates with colors (red for low, blue for full) how much battery there is left. In cycling use it would be preferable to have that kind of information in the back. The movie mode is on when the light on top is on. The video recording is shown by blinking light which is really difficult to see when the sun is shining.

I don’t own an Android phone so settings are quite difficult to manage. I was able to login to the camera’s wireless hotspot, but there is no way to adjust the settings on the inbuilt Ambarella web page. I managed to change some settings (eg. time-lapse interval and beeps) on an Android tablet using Xiaomi’s own app. As is I will not have a need to use the app often. Hopefully somebody will create an app for windows phone platform soon.

Initially I was little bit disappointed that my Windows workstation did not recognize Yi as a mass-storage device, but you just have to turn the device on first and the USB drive shows up. Now I don’t have to remove the small media card in order to download and delete the clips. It would also possible to download the videos from the camera’s webpage (http//192.168.42.1) once connected to the hotspot, but it is little cumbersome so I doubt I will be using that feature a lot.

Editing video with Windows Movie Maker worked great. I had the camera mounted upside down for a while and it was easy to turn around the clips.  I even managed to import time-lapse images into a sequence. This time I used Windows’ has an inbuilt feature to turn all images in a folder. Only thing missing is better audio mixing as audio can be quite choppy.

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