There seem to be different Xiaomi Yi Hardware Versions

In this blog I want to take a look at the different Xiaomi Yi hardware versions to show some differences.

There are two different version per name: the Chinese Version and the International Version of the Yi Action Camera.

 

Chinese Version

There are several “sub-version” of the Chinese and International Version available. The following numbers do not indicate if it is a Chinese or International Version.

On Xiaomi’s website, where you can download the firmware version, you have to select your serial number based on the first digits after the Z. These are available:

  • 22
  • 22L
  • 23
  • 23A
  • 23L
  • 23S
  • Z25L
  • Z26L

In the following article I’m using the first 4 digits including the Z to describe the model. I thought they reflect several different hardware versions of the camera, but I made a stunning discovery when I compared photos of some models:

Let’s take a look at some photos:

I started with this photo Thorben postet in the  Xiaomi Yi User Group on Facebook:

left: Z221 // right: Z23L (Xiaomi Yi Hardware Versions)

left: Z221 // right: Z23L

 

Thorben got 2 models: a Z221 and a Z23L version. You can clearly see differences in the hardware. So I compared them with the two models I have opened myself. And now it is getting confusing:

Xiaomi Yi Z221 from Matthias

Xiaomi Yi Z221 from Matthias

 

This is Matthias’ camera we used for the photos in the lens fix and sound fix tutorial. It is a Z221 model but looks alike Thorben’s Z23L model rather than his Z221.

But it is even more confusing. This is a photo of my Z221 model:

Xiaomi Yi Z221 I got

Xiaomi Yi Z221 I got

 

My model shares similarities with Thorben’s Z221, but there are some differences. Check the black plastic part below the power button!

I also got this photo from Tobi:

Xiaomi Yi Z22L from Tobi

Xiaomi Yi Z22L from Tobi

 

His model seems to be like the Z221 model from Thorben but looks different than the one from Matthias and my one.

I also got this photo from Ajay, a Z23S

Xiaomi Yi Z23S from Ajay

Xiaomi Yi Z23S from Ajay

 

So this Z23S model looks a lot like the Z23L from Thorben.

 

Updates

From what I have learned, the L-series have a lens without IR filter, so the L defines a different Xiaomi Yi Hardware versions.

The mic was changed and is now black instead of silver and the rubber around the mic was adapted and does’t shield the sound as much as in earlier versions.

 

International Version

As you probably read on my blog, there is an International Version available (also referred to as U.S. Edition and EU Edition). The International Version I got, shows a serial number starting with Z23L. I couldn’t find out if there are other versions of the International Model out there so far as supply is currently limited.

Between Chinese and International Version there are some visible differences: notch on the bottom, battery door and the battery itself, where the international’s battery is from Sony. In my article on the International Version you will find photos of the differences:

International Xiaomi Yi Action Camera

Yi Action Camera International Version vs Chinese Version

Yi Action Camera International Version vs Chinese Version

 

 

Conclusion

It wasn’t possible to assign the looks of a hardware version to a specific serial number for the Chinese Version. I got a reply from Xiaomi and they told me the different serial numbers refer to different production plants, which seems strange to me:
Why do cameras from the same production plant don’t look alike – was there an update?
Why do cameras from different production plants need different firmware versions?

As for the International Version I’m only aware of Z23L models so far. Xiaoyi posted a statement which advises customers outside mainland China to buy the International Version of the YI camera as support might be limited. There is also some info on Facebook where they specify Chinese Versions built after the 1st of January 2016. I expect that from now on Chinese Versions might not get full support in order that languages other than Chinese will be implemented for the Chinese version.

I’ll try my best to investigate more about the hardware versions – Stay tuned!

If you have any photos to share, please send them via e-Mail or post them in the comments below.
Please also include the serial number!

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