The growing action camera market is a big reason why GoPro sales are starting to peter out. With lower cost competitors coming to the U.S., and most of the distribution going with portals like YouTube vs. GoPro’s, action geeks have a solid 4K alternative to abandon GoPro altogether. Well that may have happened with the new Xiaomi 4K Yi Action Camera, which is half the price of the real deal.
According to No Film School, the Yi 4K Action camera has the same specs as the aging GoPro HERO4. It uses a similar sensor, similar processor, and even the lens looks like a very good copy.
The Xiaomi Yi 4K records ultra high definition at up to 30 frames per second, like the HERO4, and can even adjust the image quality in severe low light. It even has a wifi connection with control via your mobile device, just like the HERO4. But at half the price? Well, it gets even better.
The Yi 4K also comes with a built in retina touchscreen display, which you can only get on the GoPro HERO4 Silver, which can’t record in UHD. It is capable of continuous recording for up to two hours (twice that of the HERO4), with some reporting they can go just shy of three. Other features include:
- 12 megapixel stills
- 4K video at 30fps
- 3-axis accelerometer
- 3-axis gyroscope
- Electronic image stabilization
- Dual microphones
- Slow motion mode
- Lens distortion correction
- 1/4-20 tripod mount without the need of a mount adapter
At the end of the day though, the proof is in the pudding. We’ve reviewed other discount action cameras which cost less than GoPro, but the image quality shows why the low price tag. But let’s take a look at some of the footage coming from the Xiaomi Yi 4K at $250 (with the understanding that parts of the clips are likely shot professionally):
I gotta say, the footage is rather impressive for a camera at this price. Different brands of action cameras are at the point now that they represent a clear and present danger to GoPro, who hasn’t released an updated camera since the HERO4 in 2014. Granted, that’s only two years ago, but that’s a lifetime in this market.
Some would argue that they tried that with the HERO4 Session, but that proved to be overpriced and the image quality was somewhat lacking, which would have been OK if the price wasn’t the same as the HERO4 Black. GoPro learned that lesson pretty quickly and dropped the price to $199. That’s a good price for what is essentially a smaller 1080p HERO 3+. But GoPro has one benefit, though: ProTune.
The problem though, is that most users already have their GoPros, and those who want to get into the game are seeing lower cost alternatives like the Yi 4K, and wondering why they should spend more for similar quality? Add to that users get an LCD on their 4K camera and other additional features not on the HERO4, and GoPro has to do something new, or they’re in trouble.
That probably explains why GoPro is getting into virtual reality and building their own drone. But if they don’t drop the price of their cameras, they’re going to continue to run into issues selling the former, and if they keep delaying the drone, well, that comes with its own problems.
Meanwhile, Xiaomi’s Yi is invading the market, and based on what we see above, it’s an invasion whose time has come.