Xiaomi YI Dash Camera

It is not a new action camera or successor of the YI action camera, but a new product line: the Xiaomi YI Dash Camera!
As there were many comments on this new camera and their “bad specs” let me say: This camera serves a completely different purpose than the action camera. The sensor might seem small, but it benefits low light recording. The small built-in battery was also discussed, but the camera is mainly operated during driving a car, so it is powered by the car. For the use as dashboard camera it also got some pretty cool features. In this article I want to show you:

  • Specs of the YI Dash Camera
  • Special Features
  • Installation of the camera (to make all features work)
  • Body, Buttons & Ports
  • Menu Functions & Settings via Display
  • App Functions & Settings
  • Demo Footage
  • Conclusion

 

For more information on the Action Camera lineup, check out:

The YI Family: YI Action Camera - YI 4K+ - YI 4K

The YI Family: YI Action Camera – YI 4K+ – YI 4K

 

 

Xiaomi YI Dash camera Specs:

Sensor:
The Xiaomi YI dash camera features a 3MP sensor; seems small but is very light sensitive to record while driving at night, in tunnels or in underground parking lots, and that is the purpose of a dashcam!

Chip:
Yi dashboard camera offers a Yi A12 chip.

Lens:
The camera features f1.8 aperture (great for low light recording) lens and a 165° viewing angle.

Xiaomi YI dash camera Hardware

Xiaomi YI dash camera Hardware

 

Video Resolution & Frame Rate:
YI Dash Camera offers 2K recording at 30 fps (actually it’s 1296p (2304×1296) called Super HD or
1080p recording at 60fps or 30fps.

Display:
It features a 2,7″ live view LCD display at the back, 16:9 ratio and 960 x 240 pixels resolution.

Battery:
The – rather low capacity – 240 mAh battery is built-in! Although the main purpose as a dashcam is to power it via car charger. (included)

Storage:
YI Dash Camera supports microSD cards up to 64GB, class 10 is recommended.

Connectivity & Ports:
The camera offers wifi for wireless remote via iOS or Android App and
a microUSB port for charging and data transfer.

Editions:
Two versions of the cam are available: gray and gold color.

Dimension & Weight:
74 x 32 x 52.4 mm;
74g.

Xiaomi Yi Dashcam Dimensions

Xiaomi Yi Dashcam Dimensions

 

Accessories:

Xiaomi YI dash camera comes with a suction cup mount and a car charger. The USB to microUSB cable is very long and the intention is to put it behind the car panels. This cable is a power cable only, you can’t use it to transfer data. The suction cup mount is very strong, makes a pretty good impression.

Xiaomi YI Dash Camera including Accessories

Xiaomi YI Dash Camera including Accessories

 

Retailer / Price Comparison:




 

Special Features

Yi Dash Camera has two main highlights of the camera: A 6-axis G-Sensor which recognizes irregular movements and ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System):

6-axis G-sensor

You can’t turned off this sensor, only set it to high / medium / low via the camera’s menu or in the app. This sensor doesn’t start / stop recording of the camera when the car is moving, it detects irregular motion of the car e.g. an accident. That’s why this feature is called “Collision Sensitivity” in the app. This sensor activates the recording of an Emergency Clip. While the camera is recording, a photo will be taken and additionally a 20 sec. video clip – 10 sec. before and after activation! – is created. You can’t delete this Emergency Clip on the camera as precaution and it will not be overwritten when the microSD card is full.

ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System)

ADAS combines 3 features:

Lane Departure Warning
When you leave your lane the display will pop on and a voice is warning you that you are about to leave your lane. The system works pretty accurate, I discovered no wrong warnings during day- or nighttime. The picture below was taken as I was about to leave my lane to the left:

Xiaomi Yi Dash Camera ADAS

YI Dash Camera is warning me, that I leave the lane

 

Forward Sensing
Xiaomi Yi Dash Camera also warns you if you get too close to an object in front of you. This feature isn’t as accurate as the lane departure warning, but a firmware update was already released. I have to do a bit more testing, of course I’m not forcing an upcoming collision warning ;).

GPS
When connected to your smartphone it will supply the camera with GPS information your speed to improve forward sensing, more features are planned.

In order to make ADAS work properly you have to be careful when setting up the camera:

 

Installation

In order to make all functions work, you have to consider some steps:

Xiaomi YI Dash Camera - ADAS Setup

Xiaomi YI Dash Camera – ADAS Setup

 

Make sure that the horizon is in the middle of your frame. Don’t point the camera too much up or down and also make sure the picture is not tilt. ADAS will also calibrate automatically. A red cross is shown which is moving towards the horizon and then turns blue when it is calibrated. The calibration works pretty well if the camera is installed accordingly.
To make sure the GPS information including driving speed is synchronized, you have to connect your camera and your smartphone. More on that in the App Section below.

 

Body, Buttons & Ports

Xiaomi Yi Dashboard Camera

YI Dash Camera: right – top – left

 

On top of the Xiaomi Yi Dash Camera there is the mount for the suction cup mount. It is neither a GoPro or standard 1/4″ tripod mount. You have to push your camera against the mount and slide it in. On one side you’ll find the microSD card slot on the other side there’s a USB port and a reset button below.
That’s it, no doors or openings, but they are actually not needed. The battery is built in as the cam is usually powered by the car.

Of course the camera features wifi to connect with the App available for iOS and Android, more on that later.

 

Buttons / LEDs

Below the 2.7″ display you’ll find 4 buttons and right next to it 2 LEDs.

Photo of Xiaomi YI Dash Camera & early product picture

Photo of YI Dash Camera & early product picture

 

As you can see on the product picture (right), the first button was originally planned as “exclamation mark”. My camera shows a “record button”, but it’s not a standard record button! As the camera starts recording automatically, when it is USB powered, you don’t have to do it manually. This button starts the Emergency Clip recording, I mentioned earlier.

 The camera button starts/stops recording. When the camera is recording, the yellow LED light is flashing. The camera automatically does loop recording, so older files will be overwritten when the microSD card is full!

In the library you’ll find your recorded photos and videos. On the left corner of the thumbnail you’ll find the remark “.jpg” for photos or “.mp4” for videos. If the “.mp4” has a purple background it indicates an Emergency Clip.

This button will get you into the settings of the camera and open the menu displayed and explained below. You can also power the camera on & off with this button, which is not necessary to do manually, as the camera will power up and start recording as soon the camera is powered via USB.

 

LEDs:   The yellow LED is the status light and flashes during recording and when upgrading the firmware. The red LED is lit when charging and goes off when the camera is fully charged. The LEDs are not very bright and therefore not disturbing while driving. I think it is a bit confusing as I would identify a red light as recording light.

 

Functions / Settings – Display

This is the menu of the Xiaomi YI dash camera and its available options. The four buttons of the camera are used to navigate, the function is display: Back – Left – Right – Set. Currently the menu is only available in Chinese, maybe there will be a firmware update which features other languages, but with the given symbols it is pretty easy to figure out what to do:

Photos taken from Gearbest website

 

YI dash camera Menu

YI dash camera Menu – Page 1

 

Video Resolution:

  • 2K (actually 1296p (2304×1296) – 30 fps
  • 1080p – 60 fps
  • 1080p – 30 fps

Audio Recording:
You can select audio recording or mute the camera.

G-Sensor / Collision Recognition :
with the options high / medium / low. If the G-sensor detects irregular motion (besides normal driving) the camera will take a photo and create an Emergency Clip as described above.

 

YI dash camera Menu

YI dash camera Menu – Page 1

 

ADAS:
You can turn on and off ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System). It’s important to know that ADAS only works when you select 1080p and 30fps. If you select a higher resolution or frame rate it will be disabled.

WiFi:
You can turn on /off wifi and connect the camera with your phone – remember to connect if you want GPS information!

Screen Auto Turn-off:
You can select a time frame (1min / 5min / 10min / off) when the LCD screen on the back side will turn off.

 

YI dash camera Menu

YI dash camera Menu – Page 2

 

Format TF Card:
To format the inserted microSD card.

Factory Settings:
To reset your camera to factory settings.

About:
Which will inform you about firmware version.

 

Functions / Settings – App

The Xiaomi Yi Driving App is available for Android and iOS via Xiaoyi’s website. When clicking the link you will be redirected to their site which is in Chinese. Press the App button and you will be redirected to the App Store or Google Play Store.

Update: Now both versions are available in English! I’ll leave the Chinese translation for a bit if someone hasn’t updated the latest version:
The functions are the same.

 

YI Driving App: iOS App (currently only in Chinese) vs. Android App (available in English)

YI Driving App: available for iOS & Android (both available in English)

 

The YI driving app got some additional features compared to the menu you see on the display:

Video Quality:
You can select 1080p 30fps and 60 fps as well as “Super HD” 1296p (2304×1296) with 30 fps

Microphone:
You can enable / disable audio recording

Collision Sensitivity:
That’s the G-sensor sensitivity which can be set to high, medium and low. This feature can’t be turned off. As described above an Emergency clip as well as a photo is created when the G-sensor detects activity.

Time Stamp:
Date and time will be displayed in the lower right corner of the image. This feature can not be set in the camera’s menu on the screen.

Logo Watermark:
This setting is also not available via menu. The “YI” logo is displayed in the upper left corner of your recordings.

ADAS:
You can switch on / off the ADAS (= advanced driver assistance system) which includes lane departure warning and forward sensing. As described above ADAS will only work with a resolution of 1080p and 30fps.
ADAS will also get GPS data from your phone (location and driving speed). I have to do some more tests with this system and will let you know!

Wifi Settings:
You can change name & password of the Xiaomi Yi Dash Camera

Auto Screen off:
1 min., 5 min., 10 min. and always on can be selected for your display to show live footage. When there is an ADAS warning, the display will light up.

Model:
Which just shows “YICARCAM” – no other features.

Serial Number:
Your camera’s serial number is displayed.

Firmware Version:
Your camera’s current firmware version is shown, you can click for an update. Interestingly the iOS app shows “Updates” (red text) whereas Android doesn’t show it.

Format Micro SD Card:
To format your card.

Reset default settings:
To reset your camera to factory settings.

 

Demo Footage

Sami Luo did some test footage during day and nighttime:

 

How to change from Chinese to English Language:

 

Conclusion

Now with all these features explained it is clear that this camera is not an Action Camera as hardware and features are made for its purpose as dashboard camera. If you are looking for the YI Action Camera check out my Yi Action Camera Review & Manual or my post on the International Version of this camera.

The camera is super easy to use. If you set it up you can just start your car and it will start recording automatically without further actions. Of course it will stop as soon as you switch off the engine. The recordings during daytime are very good, have nice colors and details.

 Also the nighttime recordings show a very good quality . The small sensor and the f1.8 aperture lens benefit recordings during low light situations. There is a little bit of noise, but again the main purpose is surveillance.

 I really like the features included in the camera. ADAS works pretty good, the lane assistance is very accurate, although I personally felt it annoying after some time, but if needed a great feature. There were some false alarms of the forward sensing system, I have to do some more tests to find out how it improved with the latest Firmware Update.
Emergency Clip is another great feature. The most important scenes are automatically cut out of the long recordings and are saved. Also a photo is taken as additional information.

 The App (available for iOS and Android) works great. Lots of options, well structured and also including manuals how to set up the camera, how features work and many more information.

 Although there is GPS with location and speed information when YI Dash Camera is connected with a smartphone, but I would prefer a GPS module integrated in the camera, so I can just drive without connecting with my phone in advance. Would also be great to if there would be an option to show the speed in the recording similar to a time stamp.

 The included suction cup mount is pretty strong and great quality. The mounting system of the camera works fine, I would prefer a standard mount though. Would be easier to get a replacement if needed when a GoPro or standard 1/4″ mount would be used.
I also noticed (after some time) that the suction cow mount may come of is the car is parked in the sun for a long time. Luckily there is now a third party mount available where you can mount the YI dash camera on your rear mirror. Available at Banggood for 12.00 USD.

YI dash camera - rear mirror mount

YI dash camera – rear mirror mount

 

 Status LEDs light up very decent and not disturbing while driving. Although I got confused a lot that the red LED shows battery status and the yellow LED recording. To me red light means recording.

 

Retailer / Price Comparison:




 

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