The world’s best value action camera
The Essential Review
This can be TechRadar’s review outline that gives you all of the crucial information you need if you’re looking for fast purchasing advice in 30 seconds – our customary full, comprehensive review follows.
The Yi 4K+ Action Camera is equally as good as the GoPro Hero6 Black, but it’s not identical. The Yi 4K+ Action Camera is just as mobile as its more well-known rival — and with as poor a battery lifetime (less than two hours), whereas the Yi 4K+ Action Camera can capture in 4K in 60fps, exactly like the top of the scope GoPro Hero6 Black. That’s more detail and smoothness than you probably ought to catch your adventures. For those who want to take stills, its 12MP photos are great, too — sharp and vibrant — and in addition, it shoots raw (though not natively in HDR).
Where the Yi 4K+ Action Camera gets one over on a GoPro Hero6 Black physically is with its weight (93g vs the GoPro Hero6 Black’s 117g) despite using a slightly larger touchscreen. It is also simpler to use, as a result of a super-fast chip and an impressively simple user interface your granny can master.
On the other hand, the Yi 4K+ Action Camera is more affordable than its rival, and that includes a couple of cut corners. Are any of those omissions deal-breakers? Probably not.
So if you’re aquatic-minded, or you need to know exactly where you were, and how fast you’re going when you chose a video, buy a GoPro Hero6 Black. But if you’re more interested in saving a couple of quid on features you did not even desire, the Yi 4K+ Action Camera is among the easiest and best designed gadgets around. Everyone considering buying an action cam ought to have a look at the Yi 4K+ Action Camera since it’s almost exactly the same and, in some ways, better than the usual GoPro.
Who’s it for and if I buy it?
In case you have your eye on a GoPro for some time, but have not yet investors in one, is a great chance to conserve a little bit of money. Almost as good as its more famous competition in almost every way, the Yi 4K+ Action Camera is nevertheless not waterproof. Would you care? Action cameras like these have a tendency to be used sporadically, and often any of them really get taken submerged is anybody’s guess. But, simplicity is the Yi 4K+ Action Camera’s biggest feature, and if you’ve no need for your GPS, accelerometer and gyroscope located about the GoPro Hero6 Black, why cover them?
Lightweight, easy to use and generating great quality 4K video and stills that’s so easy to transfer to a telephone for sharing, the Yi 4K+ Action Camera is an impressive way to save a substantial slab. However, this followup to the Yi 4K Action Camera is more tweak than overhaul, together with the main improvement being the the Yi Technology 4K+ Action Camera can film in 4K at 60fps, so in the event that you’ve already got Yi’s first action camera, skip this second version and also wait for the third.
- Current price: #299/ $339.98 (both prices include waterproof case)
An action camera that’s better value than the usual GoPro
- Constructed image stabilization
- Not natively waterproof
- Recharges via USB-C jack
The Yi 4K+ is not extremely different to the original Yi 4K, the most important addition being the ability to shoot video at 4K at 60fps, just enjoy a GoPro Hero6 Black. Requiring a U3 course microSD card to be used, shooting in 4K/60fps does imply a maximum bitrate of 120Mbps, which is double what the Yi 4K offered.
They work terrifically well together, enabling the Yi 4K+’s operating system to work fluently and without a hitch despite the bigger bitrate.
You are most likely not likely to use the Yi 4K+ much for photography, but you can. It shoots quite usable 12MP images, and it is possible to save in JPEG or store the raw files, which is outputs as generic .DNG files. It does not deal in HDR, since the GoPro Hero6 Black does, however since it shoots in raw that is no big thing.
Unlike the first Yi 4K, this brand new variant recharges via USB-C interface, and in the box is an adaptor to get hooking-up an external microphone.
So why would anybody buy GoPro? There are a number of tiny corners cut the Yi 4K+. Contrary to the GoPro Hero5 Black or the new GoPro Hero6 Black, the Yi 4K+ isn’t natively waterproof, though a separate Waterproof Case Kit — which is also seemingly’dustyproof’ — is accessible. However, the only noticeable gap between the Yi 4K+ and GoPros are that the Yi 4K+ lacks the GPS, gyroscope and accelerometer sensors, so your videos don’t include tags for geographical placement, speed and direction. You either care about that, or you don’t. Unless you’re a performance athlete obsessed with data, it is probably irrelevant.
But what’s bothersome — and it is exactly the same with all GoPro products — is a short battery life. The Yi 4K+ has a 1400mAh battery which lasts for just over an hour in 4K mode, a bit longer .
A small, portable and money-saving design
- Weighs only 93g
- Not watertight
- Corning Gorilla glass
Aside from its appealing, subtle checkerboard pattern onto its own ribbon, the Yi 4K+ looks precisely the same, physically, as its forbear, the Yi 4K.
It weighs only 93g, and it has rectangular little 65 x 42 x 30mm body hosts a 2.19-inch color touchscreen coasted in hard Corning Gorilla glass. Better yet, that touchscreen — and being a big — is of great quality; it is brilliant and contrasty, with a great viewing angle, and it is extremely sensitive to touch. This makes the obvious, concise operating system a cinch to utilize; I’d go as far as to say that the Yi 4K+ has among the easiest and speediest user interfaces I’ve come across in the last 15 decades.
Its new voice control applications does add to this, though outcomes are combined despite having to first have the Yi 4K+ album a voice sample. Shouting’Yi Action shoot photo’,’Yi Action album video’ and’Yi Action turn off’ (among other voice commands) in the Yi 4K+ does herald results, but it does not work too well if you are outside… that is kinda’s what this camera is for.
The Yi 4K+ has a standard tripod thread on the bottom, which is a blessing for anybody wanting to connect it to the myriad of mounts available (as well as a standard camera tripod). Despite the natively easy to use Yi 4K+ not needing a good program to create the device usable (which is indeed frequently the case), its free Yi Action program is impressive.
Linking reliably to a smartphone through Wi-Fi on 2.4GHz or 5GHz, the program can get all the settings on the camera, and now hosts an almost instantaneous feed. As soon as you’re done, you can transfer videos and images to your phone, apply some filters and picture effects (in HDR along with a the 360-degree camera-style’Tiny Planet’ and’Spial Galaxy’ to more run-of-the-mill’classic’,’nostalgia’ and’romance’), and discuss to Facebook, Instagram and — revealing its Asian tradition — Line.
To battery lifetime, which on the Yi 4K+ we measured at around one hour 4K/60fps, and nearly two hours on Full HD 1080p, that is relatively good in comparison with the GoPro Hero6 Black. But that does not imply such a super-short battery life is acceptable, and appears to me to signal the Yi 4K+ is too small for its own good.
- Clean but jumpy 4K/60fps
- Smooth but noisy Full HD
- Good wide-angle JPEG and raw photographs
The Yi 4K+ will 4K at 60fps. Great, but in training that headline-grabbing feature does come with a few caveats. For instance, its own 4K Ultra 4K mode — its most detailed — tops-out in 30fps. So does its 4K HD mode (which comprises 4000×3008 pixels rather than the normal 3840 x 2160 pixels). But, stick it into 4K mode and also the Yi 4K+ may record in 60fps (or 48fps, or 30fps).
Video can be somewhat choppy if you hand-hold, which can be due to the low frame-rate (particularly noticeable on camera pans) and the simple fact that Yi 4K+’s electronic image stabilisation only applies to 4K/30fps and beneath. Still, that’s some thing for your followup from Yi, and moreover, image stabilisation can be overdone (watch the Sony FDR-X3000R review for evidence of this ).
Those following the smoothest possible video from the Yi 4K+ ought to think about shooting Full HD 1080p, which can be done in all kinds of frame speeds, from the’cinematic’ 24fps through to 120fps, which is very good for slow-motion footage. That jumps to 240fps should you shoot in 720p. It’s also worth knowing that if you shoot 4K/24fps it’s possible to use an ultra wide field of view style, which stretches the sensor.
The Yi 4K+ also takes great still images, albeit all in a wide-angle. This usually means you’ve got to get really near your topic — uncomfortably close, occasionally — although it produces a pretty sharp pictures nevertheless. I didn’t notice a lot of fisheye effect and, moreover, it is easily removed later. On the other hand, the completed JPEGs often look very compressed, contrasty, as well as over-exposed places.
As well as generating JPEGs, the Yi 4K+ recordings raw images at DNG files. But, shooting raw does require a little patience, even with an approx. 10-seconds wait between each shot. It also does not produce the cleanest raw picture you’ll ever see, but they’re good enough to produce some much better-looking effects through Photoshop.
Not convinced? Try out these
When the Yi 4K+ action camera isn’t for you, here are 3 excellent alternatives for you to think about…
GoPro Hero6 Dark
The only other actions camera to reach 4K/60fps, the market leader is also natively waterproof with no casing needed. It also adds GPS, gyroscope and accelerometer sensors, and marginally better voice recognition that the Yi 4K+.