The Yi 4K Action Camera Aims to Assume the GoPro Throne

With near identical specs as the GoPro HERO4, the Yi 4K is basically a half-priced version of the action cam king.

There have been plenty of cameras that have come in and tried to take over the action camera market, but for years GoPro has held on strong to their place at the top. But where others have failed, the Yi 4K action cam might just win, because instead of going for reinvention or specialization, it's going for straight up imitation. Essentially, it's giving the customer what it wants—a GoPro.

The Yi 4K has almost identical specs as the GoPro HERO4, including its processor, sensor, and lens. It also records 4K at up to 30fps (like the HERO4), has an auto low-light feature (like the HERO4), has Wi-Fi (like the HERO4). At first glance, this thing looks like a HERO4—and apparently sounds like a HERO4, according to Brent Rose of Wired, who reviewed the camera. (The whole thing is kind of—Dostoyevskian, right? Like, one day the GoPro Hero4 is going to turn around and see its exact double taking over its life.)

To be fair, though, Yi 4K has a few beefed up features not found in the HERO4, like a built-in 2.19-inch retina touchscreen display, 120 minutes of battery life (though Rose's test reports 2hrs, 48mins), a 3-axis accelerometer and 3-axis gyroscope, EIS, dual microphones, slow motion mode, lens distortion correction, and a tripod mount on the bottom.

Here are a bunch of videos to give you an idea of how the Yi 4K performs:

So yes, this thing is more or less a complete knockoff of the GoPro HERO4, but a knockoff that 1.) costs half as much as the original—which most knockoffs do, and 2.) actually has a bunch of impressive features that the original doesn't have (though, it has fewer shooting modes, no Superview, and no 24fps capture). Of course, the worry with things like this is that the construction or image quality is subpar, but according to Rose, they appear comparable to those of the GoPro HERO4.

You can purchase the Yi 4K Action Cam off of Amazon for $250 (the bundle also includes a sweet selfie stick and a Bluetooth remote). And like GoPro, they offer a ton of accessories, like waterproof housings, handlebar grips, and a ton of different mounts for your chest, head, wrist, etc.     

Your Comment

8 Comments

WHY NO 24P?!?!?!

July 31, 2016 at 8:55PM, Edited July 31, 8:55PM

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Jaime Valles
Filmmaker
415

Lack of 24p is disappointing, but it seems to shoot 120fps at 1080p, which at least divides evenly with 24fps... That *could* actually work for my specific needs, but it's a hack at best. Time to start petitioning for a 24fps firmware update.

There's no HDMI out either, it looks like according to Yi's specs page, so using an Atomos to record from it is out, too.

August 1, 2016 at 2:00AM

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JK Laiho
Jack of most trades
101

Jumped the gun there; there's a TV out using "an optional cable" (the word HDMI just didn't appear on the page), but whether or not the output is clean remains to be seen. Anyhow, I already sent an e-mail to their support address requesting 24p. Their previous action camera had it for 1080p at least, so there's hope they might add it later if there's enough demand.

EDIT: I received a very quick reply to my e-mail. Here's their answer:

"Hi there,
Yes, we will add that in future. Please keep an eye out for the update.
Best regards
Yi support"

August 1, 2016 at 3:24AM, Edited August 1, 3:28AM

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JK Laiho
Jack of most trades
101

I can't see the quality of downscaled 4K in any of above movies. It looks more like 720p or even 480p.

August 1, 2016 at 3:07AM, Edited August 1, 3:07AM

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Waiting for something like this but with zoom lens.

August 1, 2016 at 7:23PM, Edited August 1, 7:23PM

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Dostoyevskian?

Pull your thumb out mate.

August 3, 2016 at 1:32AM, Edited August 3, 1:32AM

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Nick
81

Is there any camera sync? Meaning can you do 3D/VR like you can with GoPro?

August 4, 2016 at 2:17PM, Edited August 4, 2:17PM

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Scott Ressler
Director of Photography
269