GoPro holds most of power in the action camera market, but starting at $129.99 and going up to $499.99, they can be expensive. Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has introduced an inexpensive alternative to the GoPro. The Yi Action Camera is selling for 399 Chinese yuan, which is $63.66.
When compared to GoPro’s most basic camera, which is $129.99, the Yi is actually better. Xiaomi’s Yi has 1080P, 60 frames per second video and up to 64GB of memory storage. In comparison, GoPro’s Hero has up to 1080p30 video and up to only 32GB of memory. The Yi is also only 72g and has a longer battery life. The Yi and Hero cameras can both go 40 meters underwater.
While the Yi will not come with a protective case or rigging for accessories, the camera has a “selfie stick”-mounted version. Another accessory is some sort of pet harness, allowing for the action camera to ride on the back of a cat, for instance. This contrasts GoPro’s more action-packed uses, such as extreme sports.
The similarities between the GoPro Hero and the Yi are uncanny, but Xiaomi isn’t setting out to copy GoPro’s model. Xiaomi sees themselves as an Internet of Things company more than anything, and the purpose of the camera, as is the case with all of their products, is to contribute to their software ecosystem. Xiaomi’s VP of International Hugo Barra recently told TechCrunch that its low pricing is a strategy to get customers connected to their IoT.
Unfortunately for many Americans looking for a cheaper action camera, Xiaomi has not released official plans for US sales of the product. Those in China can grab a Yi camera now.