Release date: March 2017
Price: $299, £TBC, €TBC
I was surprisingly fond of the Yi 4K Action Camera. It wasn’t hard to spot where it got much of its inspiration from – it was essentially a GoPro Hero 4 Black imitation for considerably less money. While it didn’t quite usurp the action camera leader, it came pretty darn close.
But with the release of the GoPro Hero 5 Black, the Yi 4K Action Camera fell further behind in the specs and performance department. Yi’s solution is the updated 4K+; the first ever action camera first able to record 4K resolution video at 60fps. Even the GoPro Hero 5 Black and Sony FDR-X3000R can only handle 30fps.
This means you can expect much smoother footage even when shooting at the highest resolution. There’s also 120fps at 1080p shooting for slow-motion footage. Electronic image stabilisation once again makes a return. Yi is also promising livestreaming options coming as a software update down the line.
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The updated action camera uses a Amba H2 SOC processor for the first time, too, which allows for up to 120Mbps video. This should hopefully equate to not only buttery smooth, but richly detailed footage. Yi is promising it delivers more processing power but requires less power than its predecessor. Other specs include a Sony IMX377 12-megapixel image sensor and a 1,400mAh battery.
Otherwise, from my hands-on time at MWC, it’s business as usual for a Yi branded action camera. It’s sized and shaped like the previous version but now has simpler branding on the front and a carbon fibre-like patterning.
As before, there’s a 2.2-inch touch screen on the back for framing your shots and easily changing settings. The menu system is identical to the standard 4K Action Camera, so don’t expect any bold interface leaps like between the Hero 4 and Hero 5.
Like the Hero 5 Black, you can also use voice commands to remotely capture photos, shoot burst, start and stop recording, and turn off the camera. There’s also a USB-C connection, too, and this can be used for charging, data transfer or an external microphone.
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One area where the 4K+ Action Camera can’t compete with the Hero 5 Black is that it still needs a waterproof case to go anywhere near aquatics-based fun, which will add to the size and weight of the camera.
On paper, the Yi 4K+ Action Camera is an impressive upgrade and once again offers a budget-friendly alternative to GoPro’s options. The ability to shoot 4K at 60fps is genuinely impressive and isn’t something anyone else is currently offering.
Other useful additions like voice controls and a USB-C port are clearly inspired by what GoPro has done, but as they say ‘imitation is the best form of flattery’. The Yi 4K+ Action Camera is an action camera worth keeping an eye on, so check back for a full review in the coming weeks.