GoPro Action Camera or Yi Camera from Xiaomi ?

Mexico City Zocalo

Living in China give oneself access to a geek paradise, and when I start hearing about Xiaomi launching a brand new action camera (expending once again its empire to another direction after air purifier, TV, smartphones, connected wristbands, battery, headphones, etc…) I started to become curious.

Being a big fan of the GoPro videos you can find on Youtube, I wanted to have a look at it and get my hands on it, but that one could have been an expensive “glimpse” for ~$400 US… Thanks to Xiaomi, the Yi Camera was coming out at 399 RMB (~$60 US).

I had the chance to play around with the Yi Camera posting a lot on Instagram and also on my Youtube channel, mounting it on my scooter and going around Shanghai French Concession.

Lots of my friends were owning a GoPro and my birthday was coming. On my wife’s impulsion, lots of them gathered some cash and decided to get me a GoPro Hero4 Silver, just to play in the big league. Probably one of the best gift I had in a very very very longtime ! (Thanks to all of you guys !)

Since I knew that I might be making the jump from Yi to the GoPro at some point, all the mounts I bought where working with both GoPro and Yi Camera.

Now that I played with both… I can give you a better advice, without getting too technical nor geeky about it. Others did it very well.

As a simple user (I am not the kind that will be going jumping from a cliff anytime soon, nor going around the world on a paddle board), I would say that those are the main differences :

1/ Accessories :

GoPro accessories are much better quality overall and easily accessible (in any airport, gadget shop, or camera shop around the world). Products are well distributed around the world with a few main brands of course (like GoPole for example). With the Yi, you can only rely on whatever Xiaomi will be open to distribute (not much so far except the waterproof case and a stick) and the rest will have questionable origin and quality and only available through Taobao.com (if you are living in China).

2/ Quality :

I would say that the quality is close (for a simple user like me) and GoPro must be feeling it coming since Yi is not very far at all.

The video has been shot by the Yi Camera mounted on my scooter.

I plaid with both of them underwater, on video mode, on time-lapse, etc… The quality parameters of the Yi Camera are higher and it will be harder to reduce the video for easy sharing.

This video has been shot underwater with the GoPro Hero 4 Silver :

 

3/ Apps :

When I got the Yi, the app was at that time only in Chinese but there was firmware and app updates almost every weeks. The app is now in English and I have to say that the app offer a better user interface than the GoPro. Updates are very frequent and the improvements are significants each times.

Of course GoPro offers a desktop software for video editing but I believe that anyway a lot of people are probably using iMovie.

4/ The Camera itself :

The Yi Camera has pretty much the same sizes of the GoPro (not made the same way, which means that the case won’t fit) and you might feel the “plastic” feeling. The whole piece just feels “cheaper” than a GoPro but you will have no worries getting a scratch or 2 on it. For the GoPro Hero 4 Silver, the back screen, etc… make you want to be a lot more careful… a stupid scratch on a  $400 USD piece of equipment will not make anyone happy…

The back screen is for me a huge addition since I am using a lot the GoPro for actual pictures (more than for video at the moment).

Pictures taken with the GoPro :

 

Pictures taken with the Yi Camera :

#HongKong #skyline unforgettable view from #ThePeak #travel #Gregwasthere #traveling

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As I saw on another blog, I can only agree with the recommendation of “If you are not sponsored (meaning that no one is paying for your camera), never take it out of the case !”. The Yi Camera and GoPro are both water sensitive (not waterproof at all without the case) and still fragile.

5/ Use :

I believe that I will end up using the Yi Camera for a standing position, and long video shooting (When I don’t have to look at what I am doing, nor switching it on and off).

Like for this Time lapse shot with the Yi Camera :

To me, the GoPro Silver offers more flexibility due to the back screen and the battery seems to last longer than on the Yi Camera.

Conclusion :

As I have been saying to many people who asked me, if you are not an action sport type of person, and don’t really know if you will be fully using it, while the Yi Camera is a perfect gadget, the GoPro is fancier 🙂

Let me know if you had the chance to have a deeper look and if you have other thoughts. Don’t hesitate to drop me a comment here or on FB.com/GregWasThere if you have any question.

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