YI just announced it’s first 360° camera: YI 360 VR!

2016 marked already the start of 360° action camera with the release of Samsung Gear360 and Nikon KeyMission 360. 2017 seems to be the year of 360 VR cameras. Xiaomi Mijia was released in early April followed shortly by the announcement of GoPro Fusion. At NAB in Las Vegas YI technology revealed their YI 360 VR camera.

Careful you don’t mix up the cameras: There is YI 360 VR by YI Technology (manufacturer of YI Action Camera, YI 4K, M1,…) and there is Xiaomi 360 Mijia. This article is about YI 360 VR by YI Technology, here you can find my review of Xiaomi 360 Mijia.

YI 360 VR Camera - Halo

YI 360 VR Camera

 

YI 360 VR Camera Specs

Sensor
YI 360 VR camera contains one sensors for each lens, hence 2x 12MP Sony CMOS IMX377 1/2.3″ sensors. That’s the same sensor used in YI 4K and YI 4K+ Action Camera.

Lens
The camera features a 220°, F2.0 lens on each side, a JCD 6347.

Video Resolutions & Frame Rate
The following resolutions are available:
  • 5.7K(5760×2880)/30FPS
  • 4K(4096×2048)/30FPS
  • 2.5K(2560×1280)/60FPS
  • 2.5K(2560×1280)/30FPS
  • 1.9K(1920×960)/60FPS

Compared to Xiaomi Mijia and GoPro Fusion YI 360° offers the largest. While Mijia offers about 3.5K, Fusion was announced to offer 5.2K resolution at 30fps.

Video Format
Videos are recorded in .mp4 format with H.264 codec.

Photo Resolution
Resolution is the same compared to video: 5760 x 2880 px. Photo format is .jpg.

Display

On top of the camera sits a small 96×64 dot Matrix OLED display to control the camera settings. Next to it are two buttons for navigation, a live pre-view is available via Smartphone.

YI 360 VR Camera - Display and Buttons

YI 360 VR Camera – Display and Buttons

Battery
A 1400 mAh battery powers the camera. That’s the same capacity as YI 4K and YI 4K+, currently I’m not sure if it is the same battery type. Battery life is stated with 60 min in the second highest resolution.

Microphone
Sound is recorded with an integrated 360 degree omnidirectional microphone, I’m currently not sure if you can use an external mic. YI 360 is equipped with a USB-C port which would make it possible similar to YI 4K+.

Connection & Ports

Besides the USB-C port a HDMI port is available as well. The footage is recorded on a microSD card and similar to the other action cameras a 1/4″ standard tripod mount is included in the body.

Wireless:
YI 360 VR is equipped with 2.4GHz & 5GHz dual wifi. 360° live streaming is possible – more on that later. It also features Bluetooth for the remote controller.

YI 360 VR Camera - Dimensions

 

Video Settings

Video Resolution

  • 5.7K(5760×2880)/30FPS
  • 4K(4096×2048)/30FPS
  • 2.5K(2560×1280)/60FPS
  • 2.5K(2560×1280)/30FPS
  • 1.9K(1920×960)/60FPS
ISO
Available settings are: Auto / 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200 / 6400.

EV
Manual exposure correction is available in following steps: +2.0\+1.5\+1.0\+0.5\0\-0.5\-1.0\-1.5\-2.0

White Balance
Several pre-defined white balance settings are available: Auto / Daylight(5300K) / Cloudy(6200K) / Tungsten(2800K) / Native(4000K) / Flat Color.

System Settings

Auto-Stitching
When switched on the recorded video from both lenses & sensors will be stitched to one file; no additional software required.

Video Standard
You can select NTSC or PAL for either 30 or 25 fps.

LEDs
You can switch on / off the LED lights of the camera when in operation.

Volume
To control the beep sounds of the camera: High / Low / Mute.

Auto Power Off
YI 360 VR will power off when in standby after 3 Min/5 Min/10 Min or Never.

Photo Auto Sync
Currently I’m not quite sure about this feature.

Live Streaming

A very interesting feature is Live Streaming of 360° content. It is not possible in 5.7K resolution, but 2.5K seems sufficient. Bitrate will be 6-13 Mbps. YouTube, Facebook and Weibo are available as pre-defined platforms, but a custom output can be set up as well.

Price

You can already pre-order YI 360 VR on YI Technology’s Website for 399 USD.

 

Interested in 360° cameras? Join the Facebook Group to discuss: 360° VR Action Camera Group

 

Comparison

Here’s a comparison chart including Xiaomi Mijia and Samsung Gear360:

 Insta360 OneXiaomi MijiaGoPro FusionYI 360 VRRicoh Theta VGear 360 (2016)Gear 360 (2017)
Insta360 OneXiaomi MijiaGoPro-Fusion-symbolYI 360 VR CameraRicoh Theta VSamsung Gear 360 (2016)Samsung Gear 360 (2017)
Sensor2x Sony Sensor2x 16 MP Sensor
Sony IMX 206
2x ?2x 12 MP Sensor
Sony IMX 377
2 x 12 MP Sensor2x 15 MP Sensor
2x 8.4 MP Sensor
ProcessorAmbarella
Ambarella A12?Ambarella H2V95?DRIMe5sDRIMe5s
max. 360° Video Resolution3840 x 1920 (30fps)3456 x 1728 (30 fps)5228 x 2624 (30fps)5760 x 2880 (30fps)3840 x 1920 (30fps)3840 x 1920 (30fps)4096 x 2048 (24fps)
Live Stream3840 x 1920 (30fps)n/a?3.840 x 1.920 (30fps)
max. Photo Resolution6912 x 3456
24 MP
6912 x 3456
23.8MP
approx. 6000 x 3000
18MP
5760 x 2880
16.5 MP
5376 x 2688
14 MP
7776 x 3888
30MP
5472 x 2736
15MP
Displayno displayno displaydata displaydata displayno displaydata displaydata display
Battery820 mAh
buit-in
1600 mAh
buit-in
2620 mAh
exchangeable
1400 mAh
exchangeable
?
buit-in
1350 mAh1160 mAh
Wifino
(can connect to Smartphone via plug)
yesyesyesyesyesyes
Bluetoothyesyesyesyesnoyesyes
Image Stabilizationyesyesyesyesno?nono
PortsmicroUSBmicroUSBUSB-CUSB-CmicroUSB
3,5mm audio
microUSBUSB-C
Waterproofunderwater case
available
IP67
splash-proof
5m without casenounderwater caseIP53
splash-proof
IP53
splash-proof
Dimension96 x 36,5 x 25 mm78 x 67.40 x 24 mm73 x 75 x 39mm102 x 53.2 x 29.6 mm130,6 x 45,2 x 22,9 mm56.3 x 66.7 x 60.1 mm100.6 x 46.3 x 45.1 mm
Weight83 g108,3 g200g170g121g152 g130 g
PriceAmazon: $299.00Gearbest: 265.99 USDAmazon: $599.00Amazon: $399.99Amazon: $396.99Amazon: $68.99Amazon: $93.50
ReviewReviewReviewReviewReviewReviewReview

 

Conclusion

Specs of the camera look very promising, let’s see how it performs when it hits the market in Summer 2017.  The competition will be tough with the recently introduced Xiaomi Mijia. Hopefully this time there won’t be such a confusion of brand names (the first YI Action Camera was distributed in China by Xiaomi and therefore often called Xiaomi Yi Camera). Mijia’s highest resolution is less compared to YI 360 VR (3.5K vs 5.7K), but it is more than 100 USD cheaper. (Banggood: 285 USD)

GoPro Fusion will be available end of 2017 (no price mentioned so far). Max resolution will be 5.2K with no further specs announced at the moment. It seems that Fusion follows the design of Hero5 black and will be waterproof without a case.

First YI 360 video:

Sami took a video with a prototype of YI 360 VR. Best viewed within YouTube App or Chrome Browser:

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