China’s largest smartphone vendor couldn’t have missed the mobile world’s greatest conference of the year. At MWC, Xiaomi exhibited its latest creation: the Yi Action Camera.
Now that smartphones manufacturers have learned about Xiaomi’s true potential, it’s time for another industry to fear for its products. Action camera makers such as GoPro represent Xiaomi’s most recent target, and the weapon used for destabilizing this industry seems to have better technical specs on paper, while also carrying a smaller price tag of only 399 CNY (the equivalent of $64). For an extra 100 CNY ($16), Xiaomi will offer a travel version of the camera, which comes with a selfie stick. Various other accessories, such as pet mounts (much in the vein of Sony’s Action Cam pet mount) will be launched at a later point in time.
Xiaomi made a habit from delivering companion Android apps with most of its gadgets, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the Yi Action Camera also comes with one. For the time being, the app is only available in Chinese, but an English version should be available, too, in the near future, if not from the company itself, then from the MIUI forum members.
The 16 MP Yi Action Camera is capable of recording video in 1080p at 60 fps, while the $130 GoPro Hero can only handle 1080p at 30fps and 720p at 60fps. That’s not the only part where Xiaomi outshines GoPro, as the Yi Action Camera also comes with 64GB of internal memory, double of what the Hero has to offer. It remains to be seen how the Sony (an Exmor R CMOS) sensor behaves in real life scenarios, and if the image quality is at least as good as of Xiaomi’s competitors, GoPro can really pack their bags and go home, as the game is over.
Word has it that the Yi Action Camera won’t be available outside of Xiaomi’s home country, but in the age of Internet, that’s hardly a problem. Unlike certain smartphone models, which work exclusively in China (that happens when they support only LTE TDD bands instead of FDD-LTE, even though this has hardly been the case with Xiaomi’s devices), the sports camera should work all over the world, as long as there are Chinese online stores willing to ship it there. Granted, it won’t come at its launch price, as these stores have a tendency of adding a premium while also offering free worldwide shipping.