YI 4K+ Action Camera

At CES 2017 in Las Vegas YI Technologies revealed their latest action camera: YI 4K+ Action Camera. YI 4K holds the latest Ambarella H2 SoC processor which allows 60fps at 4K Resolution! It is the first camera to use this new processor, which is capable of a maximum bitrate of 120 Mbps. YI also said that audio was improved with the new camera. It shares the same body size, so all YI 4K Accessories will be compatible with YI 4K+. Here’s a comparison with YI 4K Action Camera & GoPro Hero5 to give you an overview of the newly introduced features.

 

 

YI 4K+ Action Camera vs YI 4K Action Camera vs GoPro Hero5 black

Let’s start with a comparison of YI 4K+ with the YI 4K and Hero5 black, to get the specs in perspective:

* I’m not sure which sensor is used in GoPro HERO5 black, I assumed it is the same as in YI 4K – Sony IMX377. This teardown from hypoxic states it is the same IMX117 used in Hero4 black. I also heard that different sensors being used.

** Voice control being upgraded via firmware on YI 4K Action Camera.

 

Retailer / Price Comparison:

YI 4K+

YI 4K

 




 

YI 4K+ Action Camera Specs

Lte’s continue with the actual review of YI 4K+ Action Camera including a detailed overview of features and settings:

YI 4K+ Action Camera - Waterproof Case Set

YI 4K+ Action Camera – Waterproof Case Set

 

Sensor:
The camera features a 12,35 MP Sony IMX377 sensor. That’s a 1/2.3″ CMOS image sensor with Exmor R ability, the same one used in YI 4K Action Camera as well as in GoPro Hero5 black.

Chip:
That’s the major change! The new Ambarella Ambarella H2 chipset with Quad-core ARM®Cortex®-A53 64-bit CPU debuts in YI 4K+ Action Camera. H2 includes 10-bit High Dynamic Range (HDR) video and offers “3D electronic image stabilization”, a better electronic image stabilization now available in 4K with 30fps. YI 4K Action Camera and GoPro Hero5 black hold the older Ambarella A9 processor that limited the frame rate to 30fps  in 4K resolution.

Video Resolution & Frame Rate:
4K – (3840 x 2160) – 60 / 50 / 30 / 25 fps
2.7K – (2704 x 1520) – 60 / 50 / 30 / 25 fps
1440p – (1920 x 1440) – 60 / 50 /  30 / 25 fps
1080p – (1920 x 1080) – 120 / 100 / 60 / 50 / 30 / 25 fps
960p – (1280 x 960) – 120 / 100 / 60 / 50 fps
720p – (1280 x 720) – 240 /200 fps
480p – (848 x 480) – 240 / 200 fps

Although the new chipset offers 4K in 60fps, it can’t do higher frame rates in lower resolutions.
24fps and 25 fps options are available as well.

Video Format:
.mp4 format, .h264 codec.
Now a bitrate up to 120Mbps is available!

Photo:
12 MP resolution, so that’s a bit smaller compared to the 16MP photos of YI 1, due to the smaller sensor.
YI 4K+ is also capable of taking raw photos. I hope a firmware update will also bring raw format to YI 4K.

Lens:
7 layer optical glass lens with f2.8 aperture; 155° FOV
Focal length: 2.68mm
(same as for YI 4K Action Camera)

Display:
YI 4K Action Camera also features a display: 2,19″ diameter, 640 x 360 pixel with 330PPI resolution. GoPro Hero5 touch display is a little smaller (2″) and I think the response of the YI display is way better. Hence GoPro’s display is waterproof.

YI 4K+ 2,19" LCD touch screen

YI 4K+ 2,19″ LCD touch screen

 

Battery:
Same battery is used as in YI 4K Action Camera which is a 1400 mAh Li-Ion battery. Battery life is a huge plus for YI! GoPro Hero5 black always ran out first when comparing them. I tested YI 4K vs Hero5 during a 3 weeks trip to Iceland. You can read about my experience in this article.

YI 4K+ vs YI 4K Action Camera - Battery

YI 4K+ vs YI 4K Action Camera – Battery

 

Storage:
microSD card support for cards up to 128GB; Class 10 recommended. (U3 recommended for 4K video!)

Connectivity & Ports:
Wifi
YI 4K Action Camera uses a dual band wifi network (2.4 & 5 GHz) to ensure faster download speeds up to 30Mbps download speed.
Bluetooth
The camera features Bluetooth 4.0 for the remote control.
Ports
Compared to YI 4K which offers microUSB, YI 4K comes with a USB 3.0 Type C port, which is also used in GoPro Hero5 black.
That allows the use of an external microphone, which was not possible with micro USB.
On the bottom of the camera there’s a door for the battery & microSD card, as well as
a 1/4″ standard photo tripod thread for mounting.

Image Stabilization:
Of course YI 4K+ Action Camera comes with image stabilization, but compared to YI 4K and GoPro Hero5 it is now available up to 4K resolution and 30fps!

Voice Control:
It’s a great feature especially for selfies. No need to connect to a remote or smartphone, just shout take a photo and you are good. Very convenient!

 

Operating Modes:

YI 4K+ has the same 11 operating modes as YI 4K.

  • Photo – to take pictures.
  • Timer, where you can set a countdown before a photo is taken.
  • Burst, where you can set a a number of photos taken within a timeframe. Max. is 30 pictures within a minute.
  • Video – for video recording.
  • Time-Lapse Video, where a time-lapse is combined into a video file.
  • Slow Motion, where you can do slow motion recording without editing the footage afterwards.
  • Time-Lapse Photo, where individual photos are taken, which you can combine to a time-lapse afterwards.
  • Loop Recording, where short video sequences are recorded and overwritten once the microSD card is full. e.g. to use the camera as dashboard camera.
  • Video + Photo, where there are photos taken in a set interval while a video is recorded. Note: video resolution and frame rate are limited to 1080p 60fps max.
  • Live video for streaming was introduced with firmware 1.1.26.

 

Dimensions & Weight:
Weight: 96g camera + battery
Dimensions: 65 x 42 x 30/21mm, same as YI 4K Action Camera.

YI 4K+ Action Camera - Dimensions

YI 4K+ Action Camera – Dimensions

 

Accessories:
In standard packaging only USB-C cable and battery are included. A set is available (as shown above) where YI 4K+ comes with underwater case. All YI 4K Accessories are compatible with YI 4K+!

 

YI 4K+ – Mic-in

To use YI 4K+ with an external microphone you need the USB-C to 3,5mm adapter from YI. Currently the adapter is only available on amazon US for $7.99.

YI 4K+ Microphone Adapter (USB-C to 3.5mm)

YI 4K+ Microphone Adapter (USB-C to 3.5mm)

 

Functions and Settings

I’ll add a detailed description on the settings soon. I was waiting for the first major firmware update that included Voice Control as well as RAW photo, which is available now.

 

Demo Video

My first video with YI 4K+ recorded in 4K with 60fps:

 

Demo Photo

Here’s an unedited photo taken with YI 4K+. Click for full resolution. RAW photo was edited, I’ll add a comparison soon!

unedited photo taken with YI 4K+

unedited photo taken with YI 4K+

 

Some more pic I took in RAW, edited in Lightroom:

YI 4K+ Firmware Updates

Here’s a list of Firmware updates of YI 4K. Main important updates were the addition of 24fps (48fps) option (1.0.18) and the introduction of voice control and RAW photos as well as ISO control (1.1.7). This version also saw an optimisation of the red tones. Later Live Streaming followed.

Change log

Firmware 1.0.1 & 1.0.4 Change Log:

  • Both update related to battery issues

Firmware 1.0.18 Change Log:

  • Adds 24FPS/48FPS for certain resolutions
  • Adds SD Card Optimization
  • Optimizes SD card compatibility
  • Fixes loading time when view album files
  • Fixes video playback problem
  • Fixes the resolution settings when in time-lapse mode

Firmware 1.1.7 Change Log:

  • Added Russian & Chinese language
  • Added fixed ISO value when in video mode
  • Added RAW Image capture
  • Added Voice Control function
  • Added smart battery-save function when in time-lapse mode
  • Fixed issues when viewing pictures and videos
  • Optimized red tone of the image quality and sharpness
  • Optimized SD card compatibility
  • Optimized QuickView function
  • Optimized stability of system upgrade

Firmware 1.1.23 Change Log:

  • Added 1080p and 960p resolution for time lapse video
  • Added language support for Chinese/Russian/Spain
  • Added Lapse photo DNG support
  • Fixed a bug which made Wi-Fi 5G inaccessible in some regions
  • Fixed issue of image being reddish in certain environments
  • Adjusted “Video+Photo” mode.
  • Removed notifications during photo capturing
  • Optimized voice command algorithm and improved recognition time
  • Optimized user menu interface
  • Optimized manual white balance performance
  • Optimized Flatcolor mode, and it’s supports multiple AWB modes now
  • Improved album stability

Firmware 1.1.26 Change Log:

  • Added Live Stream feature
  • Added Slow Motion definition choices, supports 1080P/720P
  • Fixed the system lag issue after viewing the album
  • Optimized image quality regarding the red tone issue when shooting outdoors
  • Optimized system stability

 

Latest BETA Firmware Version

Firmware 1.2.8 Change Log:

  • Added DNG (RAW photo) for Time Lapse Photo Mode when it is set to Continuous.
  • Added Mode Switch, Normal Mode, Current Mode for Bluetooth Controller.
  • Added shutter speed choice for Photo, Timer and Time Lapse Photo Mode: supports 1/500s, 1/125s, 1/30s, 1/8s, 1/2s and 1s.
  • Added the battery percentage display.
  • Optimized the album user experience.
  • Fixed the “Bluetooth pairing failure” issue.

Beta Version can be found here: YI Camera User Group (Facebook)
Firmware Versions are available on YI’s website

 

Conclusion

Yi 4K+ is the first action camera to offer 4K resolution at 60fps. YI Technology was trying to catch up with GoPro, now they set the new benchmark!

60fps in 4K resolution are great, but maybe not suitable for most users as you need a fast computer to process it. (Needless to say editing 4K 60fps on a smartphone will be an overkill). If you are already shooting in 4K the new camera will not only get you a slow motion option, but also image stabilization in 4K. And that EIS works very well! Check my comparison video with GoPro Hero5 black! RAW photo is enhancing the photo capabilities of YI 4K Action Camera.

There are more features I’m also excited about – USB-C for example. Many users were asking for external microphone support, which was not possible with a microUSB port, but is with USB-C. At first I thought Voice Control is a nice gimmick when I got Hero5. But it turns out it is great for selfies: No more problems with a remote controller, setting to timer or connecting with your smartphone. Just shout “take a photo” and the camera does.

Why wasn’t 4K 60fps implemented in the new GoPro Hero5 black, which was released only 2 month ago? So many users were disappointed about the lack of “improved technology”. Maybe the H2 processor wasn’t available back then and GoPro wanted to launch a new camera before Christmas. That would be another setback for GoPro after they had to recall Karma drone. They can either upgrade GoPro Hero5, but then would disappoint all their users who recently upgraded or watch their competition to offer better specs. The current YI 4K and GoPro Hero5 black share the same Ambarella A9 chip.

 

Comparison

Here’s my comparison chart with other Action Cameras:

 YI 4K+ Action CameraGoPro Hero5 blackYI 4K Action CameraXiaomi Mijia SJCAM SJ7 StarFirefly 8STHIeye T5
YI 4K PlusGoPro Hero5 blackYI 4K Action CameraXiaom-Mijia-Action-Camera-Symbolsj7-star-symbolFirefly 8Sthieye-t5e-symbol
Sensor12 MP Sony
IMX377
12 MP Sony
IMX ?
12 MP Sony
IMX377
8 MP Sony
IMX317
12 MP Sony
IMX117
12 MP Sony
IMX 117
12 MP Sony
IMX 117
ProcessorAmbarella H2Ambarella A9Ambarella A9Ambarella A12Ambarella A12Ambarella A12Ambarella A12
LensF/2.8, 155° FOVF/2.8, 170° FOVF/2.8, 155° FOVF/2.8, 145° FOVF/2.5, 166° FOVF/2.8, 170° or
F/2.8, 90° version
F/2.5, 170° FOV
4K Resolutionmax. 60fpsmax. 30fpsmax. 30fpsmax. 30fpsmax. 30fpsmax. 30fpsmax. 30fps
Bitrate in 4K120 Mbps60 Mbps100 Mbps?70Mbps70Mbps
2.7K Resolutionmax. 60fpsmax. 60fpsmax. 60fps?max. 30fps
(2.5K in 60fps)
max. 30fps
(2.5K in 60fps)
max. 30fps
(2.5K in 60fps)
1080p Resolutionmax. 120fpsmax. 120fpsmax. 120fpsmax. 100fpsmax. 120fpsmax. 120fpsmax. 120fps
720p Resolutionmax. 240fpsmax. 240fpsmax. 240fpsmax. 200fpsmax. 200fpsmax. 240fpsmax. 240fps
Photo Resolution12 MP12 MP12 MP8 MP12 MP12 MP12 MP
RAW photoyes
DNG Format
yes
GPR Format
yes
DNG Format
yes
? Format
nonono
Display2,19″ Touchscreen2″ Touchscreen2,19″ Touchscreen2,44″ Touchscreen2″ Touchscreen2" live view2" live view
Battery (Capacity)1400 mAh1120 mAh1400 mAh1450 mAh1000 mAh1200 mAh1100 mAh
Image Stabilizationyes
up to 4K 30fps
yes
up to 2.7K 30fps
yes
up to 2.7K 30fps
yes
up to ?
yes
up to 1080p 60fps
yes
up to 1080p 60fps
yes
up to 1080p 60fps
Wifiyesyesyesyesyesyesyes
Bluetoothyesyesyesyesyesyesyes
Remote Controlleryes, optional extrayes, optional extrayes, optional extrayes, optional extrayes, optional extrayes, optional extrayes, optional extra
AppYi Action App
iOS, Android
GoPro App
iOS, Android
Yi Action App
iOS, Android
Xiaomi AppSJCAM Zone
iOS, Android
Firefly Cam
iOS, Android
Thieye HD
iOS, Android
StoragemicroSD (up to 128GB)microSD (up to 128GB)microSD (up to 128GB)microSD (up to 64GB)microSD (up to 128GB)microSD (up to 128GB)microSD (up to 128GB)
USB PortUSB-C portUSB-C portmicro USB portmicro USB portmini USB portmini USB portmicro USB port
A/V Outputyesyesyes?yesyesyes
external Microphoneyes
via USB-C
yes
via USB-C
nonoyes
via mini USB
yes
via mini USB
yes
via 2.5mm plug
HDMI Portnomicro HDMIno?micro HDMImicro HDMImicro HDMI
Voice Controlyesyesmight be addednononono
Special FeatureFacebook Live BroadcastingGPS recordingFacebook Live BroadcastingAluminum Frame Body
Mounts1/4" thread on body
GoPro System on case
GoPro System on frame/case1/4" thread on body
GoPro System on case
1/4" thread on body
GoPro System on case
GoPro System on frame/case1/4" thread on body
GoPro System on case
1/4" thread on body
GoPro System on case
Waterproof40m with case10m without case
60m with case
40m with casewith case30m with case30m with case30m with case
Included AccessoriesMany offers include caseFrame--Case & MountsCase & MountsCase, 2nd battery
Best PriceGeekbuying: 329.99 USD
incl. underwater case
Amazon: $399.00Geekbuying: 189.99 USDGearbest: 122.24 USD
Coupon Code: GBCE
Gearbest:
165.99 USD
Coupon Code: ocuyhg
TomTop: 119.99 USDGearbest: 115.99 USD
Coupon Code: thieyet5e
ReviewReviewReviewReviewReviewReviewReviewReview

 

Retailer / Price Comparison

Geekbuying now shows a price of 299 USD, which seems really great. 100 USD more than YI 4K for 4K in 60fps, EIS in 4K at 30fps and USB-C with mic-in option. Seems to be worth the upgrade (if needed). And still 100 USD cheaper than Hero5 black!

YI 4K+

YI 4K

 




 

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