Chinese maker Xiaomi challenges GoPro with new Yi Action Camera
Updated 12/3/15: Xiaomi's Yi Action Camera, initially available only in China, is now being offered in the US through Amazon. Thanks to promising specs and a low price point the Yi garnered a lot of interest at launch, and will no doubt interest shoppers who consider a GoPro too expensive. However, the $99.95 US list price isn't quite as cheap as we'd initially estimated.
Chinese company Xiaomi, perhaps best known for its smartphones, has introduced a new GoPro competitor called the Yi Action Camera. This new action camera will only be sold inside of China for the equivalent of approximately $64 USD (399 CNY); the company doesn't, as of now, have plans to sell it elsewhere. This still poses a problem for GoPro, however, which has recently been looking to expand into the Chinese market.
The Yi Action Camera in many ways resembles GoPro's own action cameras, something that isn't surprising given Xiaomi's history of finding 'inspiration' in existing products. What lies beneath the surface, however, seems to offer some advantages over GoPro's most basic models, including the ability to record 1080p at 60fps via a 16MP Sony Exmor R BSI CMOS sensor. Likewise, the camera features a 64GB storage capacity.
The camera itself is waterproof to a depth of 40 meters, but isn't offered with the accessories that one typically requires of an action camera. Likely in order to cater to its market, Xiaomi’s offering a 'Travel Edition' bundle that includes a selfie stick mount with the camera. Oddly enough, the company has also demonstrated one use-case for the Yi camera in the form of a harnessed cat with the device on its back.
The Yi Action Camera is compatible with mobile devices via a related app. As for GoPro, its plans to expand into China may have suffered a large blow, as consumers now have a cheaper option from an already well-known Chinese company.