Xiaomi Ecosystem: Top 10 YI Gadgets for All Types of Video Shooting

After its first successes in the smartphone market, Xiaomi began creating an ecosystem of smart devices, choosing to

This is an unusual strategy. The company invested in startups that became part of the Mi Ecosystem. Among the first such partners was the video camera manufacturer YI Technology.

How it all began

YI Technology was incorporated in 2014,but the history of the company begins a little earlier. In 2013, the Ants startup entered the market (in Chinese, the name is written as “« 蚁 ”and means“ cloud ant ”). His first product was an IP camera, which responded to the movement and was able to upload video to a remote server for easy viewing through the mobile application anywhere and anytime:

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At the end of 2014, a startup receives investments fromXiaomi. Ants changes its name to YI (“小 蚁” or “little ant”) and joins the ecosystem Mi. At first, the company's products were sold in Xiaomi retail stores. Outside China, there were a variety of branding options (Xiaomi Yi, Xiaoyi, and others) depending on which online translator the seller used. Since 2016, the manufacturer is in free swimming. There is no direct mention of Xiaomi on the official website or on the Facebook page. Now it's just YI, and with access to the international market, the brand has another decryption option - Young Innovator.

YI Technology sales have already exceeded 10millions of devices. These are mainly action cameras, video recorders and IP cameras, but the company does not stand still and is confidently exploring new directions. Even the drone market fell into her area of ​​interest, although the matter has not yet progressed beyond prototypes. In collaboration with Google, the team developed a rig of 17 Yi Halo cameras to create professional VR content. At the same time, Xiaomi’s business model for attracting partners to its ecosystem is being tested. For example, YI IoT Camera is produced by a different manufacturer, but uses the YI Cloud platform. We’ll tell you what else interesting YI has.

1. YI 4K Action Camera

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The popular YI 4K action camera is equipped with12-megapixel 1/2.3-inch Sony IMX377 sensor and 155° wide-angle lens with f/2.8 aperture. The Ambarella A9SE dual-core processor is responsible for image processing. The model supports video recording in maximum quality 4K (3840×215;2160 pixels) at 30 frames per second, and electronic stabilization works up to 2.7K resolution. There is a 2.19-inch touch display. The menu is simple and clear, all settings are also available in the YI Action application on your smartphone. A removable battery with a capacity of 1400 mAh is designed for almost 2 hours of 4K recording; in Full HD mode the operating time is 2.5-3 hours depending on the selected options (stabilization increases energy consumption, for example). The camera is demanding on the speed of microSD cards; the class must be no lower than U3/V30. As we already wrote in the review, one of the main disadvantages of the YI 4K is its flimsy body. During extreme shooting, it is recommended to use a case. There is no moisture protection either; to dive under water you need an aquabox.

Cost: from $ 116. Want to buy!

2. YI 4K + Action Camera

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Updated action camera YI got the same12-megapixel sensor and identical optics, the main changes occurred inside. Thanks to the more powerful Ambarella H2 quad-core platform, the frame rate when shooting at 4K increased to 60 fps for a smoother picture. If you lower it to 30 fps, electronic stabilization will become available. The quality of shooting in all modes has become even better, and the bitrate reaches 120 Mbit / s against 60 Mbit / s in its predecessor. Most accessories for YI 4K are compatible with YI 4K + - the size of the case has not changed, and it is still not waterproof. Micro USB port was replaced with a universal USB Type-C, to which you can connect including external microphones.

Judging by the user comments, in the new deliveries of the official store on AliExpress there is a branded adapter on the 3.5-mm audio connector, although this may be a temporary action.

Cost: $ 220 (up to $ 200 during stocks). Want to buy!

3. YI Handheld Gimbal

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Electronic stabilization of the YI cameras does not work whenmaximum recording quality, poorly copes at dusk and is not able to compensate for strong shaking. Where software algorithms "do not pull out", a smooth picture can be obtained using a manual stabilizer. Such as YI Handheld Gimbal. This model is equipped with a universal screw mount - it is convenient to install it on the helmet or on the handlebars, and for wearing it you have to buy a monopod. Two batteries with a total capacity of 1700 mAh will have to be taken out each time for charging (enough for 2.5-4 hours of work). Micro USB connector on the case is needed only for calibration and firmware updates. The solution is not the most convenient, but the disadvantages of the suspension overlap with a low price.

Cost: $ 70. Want to buy!

4. YI Smart Dash Camera

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YI Smart Dash Camera equipped with DVRa sensitive CMOS matrix and a 6-element lens with an f/1.8 aperture and a horizontal viewing angle of 130° (the stated 165° is diagonal). The camera records video in Full HD format at up to 60 frames per second. There is a high-resolution mode of 2304×1296 pixels at 30 frames per second, and although this is software interpolation, it can improve the readability of license plates. Below the 2.7-inch display are physical control buttons. The “smartness” of the device lies in the ADAS driver assistance system, which will monitor the safe distance to the vehicle ahead, and also give a signal when crossing a solid marking line. Sometimes false positives occur, plus when activating ADAS, the user will have to limit himself to Full HD recording at 30 fps. The standard equipment includes a mount with an adhesive pad and a power adapter for a cigarette lighter connector with one USB output. If this is not enough, the manufacturer has a proprietary charger for two connectors. And suitable suction cups can be found in other stores.

Cost: $ 47. Want to buy!

5. YI Mirror Dash Camera

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Unusual DVR in the form of a rear mirrorview is equipped with two cameras. The main removes the situation in front of the car, recording is in Full HD at 30 frames per second. The lens with f / 2.0 aperture is movable, the position is easily adjustable. The second camera is used as a parking (protection against water and dust according to IP67 standard allows for installation on the body). This little girl writes HD-video, when power is connected to the reversing light, the recorder will automatically switch to it during parking. The mirror itself is fixed on top of the staff. Consider only that with a width of 31.5 cm, it may prevent the visor from opening. Under the reflective surface is a touch screen with a diagonal of 4.3 inches. You do not need to be afraid of fingerprints - after the initial setup you will not often have to poke the screen. Do not forget about the mobile application YI Dash Cam.

Cost: $ 69. Want to buy!

6. YI 1080P Home Camera

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For video surveillance in the house, the company has a wholeline of IP cameras. The simpler model YI 1080P Home Camera supports recording Full HD video at a frequency of 15 fps, there are also eight infrared night mode LEDs. The viewing angle of the camera is 112 °. It sends a notification to the user's smartphone if it detects loud sounds or movement in the frame. The speaker and microphone provide bidirectional communication, and in families with a small child, the function of recognizing baby crying within a radius of 5 meters is useful. Rollers are saved on a microSD card with a capacity of up to 32 GB. It also supports work with the "cloud" of YI Cloud, but without a paid subscription to the server, only 6-second records are loaded during the moments of activity detection (with an interval of 30 seconds between the responses).

Cost: $ 36. Want to buy!

7. YI 1080p Dome Camera

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Dome home camera has the same anglereview of 112 ° and comparable quality of shooting, but allows you to view the entire room at the expense of the turning mechanism. YI 1080p Dome Camera can take panoramic photos and track a moving object. In the settings, you can select up to 8 “bookmarks” - positions in which the user can see different parts of the room. The developers added the “auto-cruise” feature when the camera automatically switches between these points throughout the day. Detection of a crying child, two-way communication and night mode is also in place. Various mounting options are supported: on a table, wall or ceiling.

Cost: $ 50. Want to buy!

8. YI Outdoor Camera

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Outdoor IP Camera YI Outdoor is suitable formonitoring the territory adjacent to the house. It is not afraid of rain (the case is protected according to IP65 standard) and is designed to work in the temperature range from -15 ° C to 50 ° C. Supports shooting video in resolution up to Full HD, the viewing angle is 110 °. The camera responds to movement and gives an alarm when strangers are detected. In addition to the speaker, there is a microphone, but some users report background noise when recording sound. Images from outdoor and indoor cameras YI can be broadcast not only on the smartphone, but also on a PC. The desktop client for Windows and Mac is called YI Home Portal.

Cost: $ 80. Want to buy!

9. YI M1 Mirrorless Digital Camera

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The launch of a Micro 4/3 mirrorless camera israther an experiment by the company. The main pride of the YI M1 is the high-quality 20-megapixel Sony IMX269 sensor (17.3×13 mm) with sensitivity from 100 to 25600 ISO. With software, things are a little more complicated. Contrast autofocus with 81 points is not the fastest and sometimes misses. Professionals may miss some manual settings, especially in the video mode. The camera can shoot 4K videos at a frequency of 30 frames per second, but it is better to mount it on a tripod - the image will shake when viewed hand-held without optical stabilization in the body and two proprietary lenses. Despite the standard mount, the camera cannot always be paired with optics from other manufacturers. There are problems with focusing, and stabilization will only work if there is an OIS switch on the lens itself.

The case of the YI M1 is almost completely plastic, but fromthe cheapest system camera is different and you do not expect. There are two options available for sale: only with a 12‑40mm f / 2.5-5.6 zoom lens or with an additional fix at 42.5mm f / 1.8.

Cost: from $ 250. Want to buy!

10. YI 360 VR Camera

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The market for panoramic cameras is actively developing, and YII decided to grab my piece of cake on it. YI 360 VR is equipped with two modules with 220-degree lenses (f / 2.0) and 12-megapixel sensors Sony IMX377. The powerful Ambarella H2V95 processor allows you to automatically stitch 360-degree 4K video at 30 frames per second. When choosing the maximum 5.7K resolution, the videos will have to be processed in the video editor. In proprietary software, template-based gluing takes less time, and the optical flow method works more precisely. Live 4K broadcasts on YouTube and Facebook are also supported.

For flexible settings YI 360 VR is usedYI 360 app for Android and iOS. A miniature OLED-display and buttons on the upper end allow you to switch modes without synchronization with your smartphone. Here, you also need a fast microSD card of the standard not lower than U3 / V30. A removable battery with a capacity of 1400 mAh is enough for an hour of recording 4K video or 40 minutes of work when choosing 5.7K resolution.

Cost: $ 260. Want to buy!