Yi Discovery 4K Action Camera Review

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Yi Discovery 4K Action Cam in Black

Battle of the Action Cams! Will the Yi Discovery 4K Action Cam come out on top?

As soon as I booked my first flight to Thailand, the next thing I bought was a GoPro Hero Session to film all my adventures along the way.

But after having used it for a few months, I started thinking… ‘Do we really need to pay the big bucks for decent action camera?’

Well it turns out you don’t. Brands like Yi are producing 4K action cameras for a fraction of the price. So naturally, I wanted to see whether the £45 Yi Discovery camera really can compete against the likes of GoPro’s budget range.

Xiaomi Mi 9
Xiaomi Mi 9
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3
Xiaomi Mi 9

So in this review, I’ll be looking closely at the Video Quality, Battery life, Features, Design & Build Quality and how easy the Yi Discovery camera is to use.

If you’ve never heard of Yi before, they are a subsidiary of Xiaomi. If you never heard of Xiaomi? (only the 4th biggest mobile manufacturer in the world). Then check out this article.

This week’s best Yi Discovery 4K Action Camera deals:

What we love…

  • The Low Price-Tag!
  • Great Companion app (Yi Action)
  • Lightweight @ 67 grams

What’s not so great…

  • Flimsy Build Quality
  • No image stabilisation
  • Micro USB Port & SD Card Slot Sealed
  • No Lens Correction feature

Video Quality

Let’s not mess around, the most important part of an action cam review is, of course, the video quality! Rather than me ramble on, you can watch my handy test footage video above.

If you’re planning on using the Yi Discovery Action Camera on holiday or in sunny conditions, you’ll be glad to hear that the footage is crisp and clear in when you film in 1080P. As you can see in the video, the colours are vibrant whilst not being over saturated.

Yi Discovery 4K Action Camera records in:

  • 4K @ 20fps
  • 1440 @ 30fps
  • 1080 @ 30, 60fps
  • 720 @ 30, 60, 90fps

While the camera advertises it’s 4K capabilities, the 4K resolution only shoots at 20 fps and has no image stabilization. In reality, you’ll want to film in 1080P as this mode works best making the footage less shaky.

Yi Discovery 4K Action Camera Photo Sample

Photography

In terms of camera quality, you can shoot in either 16MP or 8MP. The quality is crisp and the colours are a true rendition of the actual scene.

Unexpectedly, the Yi Discovery didn’t perform too badly in low lighting as you can see from the glamorous Aldi car park below.

Yi Discovery 4K Action Cam Sample 2

Features

One of the advantages of an action camera is their ability to point and shoot. The Yi Discovery 4K Action Cam is no different and is super simple to use. Just put in an SD card (16-64GB) and away you go!

Shooting Modes

There are 6 different modes you can use on the Yi Discovery 4K Action camera. They’re similar features to many other action cameras, including the Xiaomi MiJia Mini.

  • Burst mode– Takes 8 photos in one quick succession which would be great for filming moving objects like someone zooming past on a Ninebot segway for example…
  • Timer Mode- 3, 5, 10, or 15 seconds
  • Loop Mode- 5, 20, 60 or 120-minute loop recordings. If you’re using the Yi Discovery 4K Action Camera as a dash cam, this is the mode for you.
  • Lapse Video- Shoot in intervals of 0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, 30 or 60 seconds and also define how long you would like your video length to be (6, 8, 10, 20, 30, 60 or 120 seconds).
  • Shutter speed (Photo & Timer mode), Mic on or off, sharpness, white balance, exposure value, ISO and time stamp.
  • Record Beep & Record LED (options: on/off)

The camera also has a ‘housing mode’  for when the camera is inside a waterproof casing. This allows you to control the camera only using the single button on the top of the camera.

One mode I’d would have liked to have seen is lens correction to reduce the fisheye effect, but at this price, I’m not complaining!

Yi Discovery 4K Action Cam Design

Design, Display & Build Quality

It may be small, but it’s definitely stylish! This pocket-sized action cam comes in a neutral black colour with a small Yi Logo on the front.

The button has a nice click action to it and feels well-built. The 2-inch LCD touchscreen that covers the back is bright and easy to see, even in bright sunlight. The touch sensitivity of the screen is surprisingly good, responding quickly with no delay.

Although it’s made of plastic rather than metal, the build quality feels sturdy and is well made with no rough edges. This won’t be a camera you’ll want to drop but the good news is that there’s a Yi waterproof case that adds an extra layer of protection.

Overall, the design and build quality are impressive considering the low price tag.

Yi Action app for Yi Discovery 4K Action Cam

Companion App (Yi Action)

All Yi cameras come with the companion app, Yi Action. This app allows you to fully update the camera settings and also see a live stream from the camera.

The great thing is that you can download photos and videos straight to your phone from the app. In theory, you could download an editing app and edit your photos and videos on your phone, ditching the need for a laptop or PC.

Another good bit of news is that using the camera with the app doesn’t drain the battery… yay!

Yi Discovery 4K Action Camera Battery Life

Battery life

The Yi Discovery 4K Action Camera comes with a removable 900mAh battery which during testing lasted between 110-130 minutes. If you need longer than you can grab yourself a few spares.

Yi Discovery Action Cam Accessories

Yi Selfie Stick

Yi Selfie Stick + Bluetooth Remote

The Yi Selfie stick has 3 different extension lengths all the way up to a whopping 72cm, so now there’s no excuse for not getting everyone in the photo!

The soft black plastic handle is solid and feels premium to hold. The selfie stick is stylishly finished with a rose gold metal base and a Yi branded wrist handle.

To attach the Yi Discovery camera, you’ll need a 1/4″ camera mount which you can buy separately or alternatively use the one on the bottom of the Yi Waterproof case.

Yi Discovery 4K Action Cam in Waterproof case

Yi Waterproof Case

As the Yi Discovery is a super budget action cam, the accessories are limited. So if you want to take your Yi Discovery 4K Action Camera on an underwater adventure, you’ll need to purchase a waterproof case separately.

The stylish white Yi waterproof case comes with an IP68 rating so you’ll be able to take it diving up to a depth of 40 metres.

To keep your pictures and videos crystal clear, they’ve also added an anti-reflection and anti-fog glass lens cover made of German Schott glass.

Yi Discovery 4K Action Cam whats in the box

What’s in the box

As Yi is part of Xiaomi, their packaging is just as minimalist and immaculately packed. In your Yi box, you’ll find a user manual, the Yi Discovery 4k Action cam, a micro-USB cable and the 900 mAh camera battery packaged separately.

Yi Discovery Action Cam Black

Yi Discovery 4K Action Camera – The Verdict

The Yi Discovery 4K Action Cam is a great action camera for beginners and the budget conscious alike. It’s compact and modern design coupled with simple to use settings makes it great for beginners.

The video quality is crisp with vibrant colours and lots of modes and resolutions to choose from. The 4K is more of a sales tactic then practical mode, but at £45 1080P is plenty good enough for me.

There’s also plenty of accessories in the Yi eco-system to expand the functionality.

Do we recommend the Yi Discovery 4K Action Cam? Absolutely, at this price it’s one of the best 1080P cams available.

Tech Specs

 

 

 Yi Discovery 4K Action Cam
Camera Yi Discovery 4K Action Camera
Screen Size2 Inch LCD Display
Dimensions26 (L) x 3.9 (W) x 2.1 (D) cm
Weight67g
Video Resolution4K @20fps (3840 X 2160), 1440P @30fps (2560 X 1440), 1080P @60 + 30fps (1920 x 1080), 720P @90, 60, 30fps (1280 x 720)
Still Image Resolution8MP, 16MP
Lens Angle150 degrees (fish eye) f/2.4 aperture
WaterproofingVia Case
FeaturesBurst, Timer, Loop Record, Time Lapse, Video, Camera
Colours AvailableBlack
Battery Capacity900mAh (Removable)
Working Time2 hours
USB
Micro USB
Processor?Yi A9 Chip
MaterialsPlastic
Connectivity2.5GHz (802.11 b,g,n)
Languages AvailableEnglish
Storage16 to 64GB (SD card not included)