YI 4K+ Action Camera Review

September 5, 2017 | Amy Davies | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star


The YI 4K+ is a follow-up to the original YI 4K and includes a number of new features, as well as some specifications which have stayed the same.

It still boasts a 12 megapixel Sony sensor, which is coupled with an f/2.8 wide-angle lens.

The company still maintains that the camera is the “best action camera ever”, with the new capability to record 4K at 60fps being the main feature to back this claim up. The previous model’s maximum frame rate was 30fps. You can also record at a variety of other resolutions, including Full HD. You can also take stills photos, including the ability to shoot in raw format.

Other new features include a USB C connector, the ability to live stream, voice commands and a new processor which promises a 100% improvement on the previous version.

The YI 4K+ Action Camera costs around £300 / $300.

Ease of Use

YI has maintained the same compact design for the 4K+ as it used for the original 4K. That means that it is very neat and tidy, being small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. The boxy construction perhaps means it might not fit in a very tight jeans pocket, but otherwise it’s very transportable.

The design of the camera is very simple, being rectangular in shape and only featuring one physical button. This is on the top of the camera and is used to switch on/off the camera, as well as start recording or to take a photo.

On the side of the YI 4K+ is the USB-C port, which you can use to plug in the charging cable, as well as other accessories, such as external microphone. It is protected by a rubber door, which you release by sliding a fingernail underneath. You’ll find a tripod thread on the bottom of the camera, which is useful for attaching the camera to various gimbals and mounts you might want to use it with.

YI 4K+
Front of the YI 4K+

Voice control has been implemented into the YI 4K+, which means there are various commands which you can use (in theory). These are “take photo”, “shoot burst”, “begin recording,” “stop recording”, and “turn off” - which are all pretty much self-explanatory. In order to use them, you simply say “YI Action”, followed by whichever command you wish to use. You can’t use a command to turn the camera back on from off. Sadly, in reality, the camera seemed to ignore the commands in anything but a completely silent environment, while being very close to the camera. If you’re going to be that close to the camera, you could more than likely just use the button in the first place.

On the back of the YI 4K+ is a 2.2-inch touch-sensitive screen. It’s a retina display, designed for maximum detail, and is also where you will make all your settings changes.

To switch on the camera, hold down the button on the top and wait for it to spring into life. Again, the design on the screen hasn’t changed from the previous 4K model, and as such there’s a good array of information displayed to show you the settings you’ve got selected. You can see how many pictures or video are already stored on the memory card, and how many you have remaining. You can also see the status of the battery, and whether or not Wi-Fi and voice-control is switched on.

Along the bottom of the screen are icons which you can touch for different results. To the far left there’s a playback icon, which allows you to view any images or video that you’ve already recorded. On the far right, there’s a cog-shaped icon, which you can press to change the settings of the particular mode you’re working in. In the middle of the screen you can tap to change the photo or video mode you’re in.

YI 4K+
Rear of the YI 4K+

The different modes available include Photo, Timer, Burst, Video, Time Lapse Video, Slow Motion, Time Lapse Photo, Loop, Video & Photo, Live. You can also achieve the same end result by swiping left and right on the home screen to move between the different modes available. It’s useful, but it’s also possible to accidentally change recording mode if you’re not careful - make sure to check before you start recording / taking photos that you’re actually in the mode you want to be in.

A few options will also be revealed if you swipe down from the top of the screen while in the home configuration. You can switch Wi-Fi on/off, voice command on/off, search for a bluetooth remote, lock the screen and turn the camera off altogether. If you have locked the camera, you’ll need to unlock it again before you can use it.

Although primarily designed as an action camera, you do have a decent amount of options when it comes to the Photo mode. You can change resolution (up to a maximum of 12 megapixels), shutter speed, metering, white balance, ISO (up to 800 is available), exposure compensation, add a time-stamp, and choose whether or not to shoot in raw format. A second menu page at this point features other options including switching on or off lens distortion, formatting the memory card, screen brightness, volume, and so on.

YI 4K+
Top of the YI 4K+

Moving to the standard video mode, and there’s also a fair amount of changes you can make to the settings here. You can set the resolution, file of view, metering mode, white balance and more. Distortion correction isn’t available in video mode, but electronic image stabilisation is - this helps to keep your footage stable when you’re recording while moving.

On the bottom of the camera is a door which you need to open to access the battery and memory card. The YI 4K+ uses Micro SD cards. A complaint we had with the previous version of this camera is that the battery door was a little flimsy. That doesn’t seem to be an issue with the review sample we’ve been using for the 4K+, which is good news. Remember however that the YI 4K+ is not waterproof straight out of the box, but instead you’ll need to use a waterproof housing if you want to use it underwater.

The sample we were sent included the waterproof housing in the box, but you can also get third-party housings if you prefer. One important thing to note is that you won’t be able to change settings once the camera is in the housing. This can obviously be a problem if you find you need to change a setting when you’re already underwater. You can get around that issue a little bit by using “housing mode”, which allows you to use the main button to switch between different shooting modes - you still won’t be able to change more in-depth settings, though.

YI 4K+
Front of the YI 4K+

If you are interested in using the YI 4K+ with a helmet or handlebars, you might be disappointed to find that such mounts aren’t included in the box.

A pair of LED lights are useful for letting you know what the camera is doing. One is found on the front, and one is integrated into the main shutter button. These glow different colours depending on what the camera is doing, such as red when video is being recorded.

In terms of operation speeds, most of the time the YI 4K+ is quick and easy to use. However, when you’re shooting stills in raw format, there is a very long shot-to-shot time of around 15 seconds, which can be extremely frustrating if you want to take photos in relatively quick succession. It’s recommended therefore that you turn off raw shooting unless you think you’ll really need it.

Image Quality

As the YI 4K+ uses the same sensor as its predecessor, we weren’t expecting there to be too much difference in image quality. Although it’s true that most users of this camera will be predominantly using it to record video, it’s relatively capable as a stills camera - especially if you want to just grab the odd wide-angle shot. 

The overall impression of detail when looking at an image taken at a low ISO is pretty good. You can see some image smoothing if you zoom in at 100%, but fine detail is hardly the point of a camera like this. Colours are well saturated and vibrant, too. 

It’s definitely worth switching on the distortion correction setting when shooting stills, as it makes quite a big difference - leaving photos looking a lot more natural than when it’s not switched on. 

In low light, the YI 4K+ doesn’t perform amazingly well, so it’s unlikely you’ll want to use it for that kind of purpose all that often. 

When it comes to video recording, the quality is impressively smooth and fluid. Shooting at 60fps while utilising 4K makes the YI 4K+ stand out from others on the market, increasing its appeal to those who are towards the more professional end of the market. It should be noted that image stabilisation is only available when shooting at 30fps, so you might want to mount the camera to a tripod or use it on a sturdy surface if recording at 60fps. 

4K is the best quality, but 1080p is also very good if you’re trying to save space on your memory card.

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the YI 4K+ Action Camera camera, which were all taken using the 12 megapixel JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample RAW Images

The YI 4K+ enables users to capture RAW and JPEG format files. We've provided some YI RAW (DNG) samples for you to download (thumbnail images shown below are not 100% representative).

Sample Movies & Video

This is a sample movie at the quality setting of 4000x3008pixels at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 18 second movie is 268Mb in size.

This is a sample movie at the quality setting of 1920x1080 pixels at 60 frames per second. Please note that this 17 second movie is 129Mb in size.

This is a sample slow-motion movie at the quality setting of 1920x1080 pixels at 120 frames per second. Please note that this 15 second movie is 140Mb in size.

This is a sample timelapse movie at the quality setting of 3840x2160 pixels at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 9 second movie is 112Mb in size.

Product Images

YI 4K+

Front of the YI 4K+

YI 4K+

Front of the YI 4K+

YI 4K+

Side of the YI 4K+

YI 4K+

Side of the YI 4K+

YI 4K+

Rear of the YI 4K+

YI 4K+

Rear of the YI 4K+ / Turned On

YI 4K+

Rear of the YI 4K+ / Image Displayed

YI 4K+

Rear of the YI 4K+ / Main Menu

YI 4K+

Top of the YI 4K+

YI 4K+

Bottom of the YI 4K+

YI 4K+

Side of the YI 4K+

YI 4K+

Side of the YI 4K+

YI 4K+

Front of the YI 4K+

YI 4K+

Front of the YI 4K+

YI 4K+
Battery Compartment


The action camera market has been somewhat cornered by GoPro, but it’s important to remember that there are other strong alternatives currently on the market. 

If you’re more of a casual action camera type of user, who is looking for something which is easy to use at a more affordable price than something like the GoPro Hero 5, then the YI 4K+ is an attractive proposition. It’s also nice to have a very usable screen at this price point. 

Being able to shoot at 4K at 60fps sets it apart from several of its competitors and is a real bonus for anybody who wants that kind of functionality. Having a range of other resolutions and frame rates is also useful depending on what you need to do with the camera. 

Video quality is nice and smooth, with a good overall impression of detail. Image quality, when shooting still, is good enough - but it’s unlikely anybody would be looking at this as a stills-only option. 

As for the downsides, the fact that the voice commands option don’t seem to work all that well is a let down. Not being waterproof without the housing is also a disappointment for an action camera - especially considering that you can’t change settings once it’s in a waterproof housing. The lack of any mounts in the box is also a potential frustration to many types of users, too. 

At the moment, the YI 4K+ costs around £100 more than the original 4K. For your money you get questionable voice commands, 4K video at 60fps and a host of other reasonably minor upgrades, such as an USB-C port, rather than standard Mini-USB. In essence, if you’re not bothered by being able to record at 60fps, it’s probably not worth paying out the extra money. 

Overall, the YI 4K+ Action Camera proves itself to be a capable camera, but with some small issues continuing to take it out of the reach of excellence. Still, for the price, you get some excellent features - not least the 4K recording at 60fps. 

4 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4
Features 4
Ease-of-use 4
Image quality 4
Value for money 4

Main Rivals

Listed below are some of the rivals of the YI 4K+ Action Camera.

GoPro HERO5 Session

The GoPro HERO5 Session action camera features a 10-megapixel sensor, a single control button and voice control. It can shoot movies at 4K/30fps, is waterproof to 33ft/10m, and can upload photos and videos to the cloud while charging. Read our GoPro HERO5 Session review now...

Nikon KeyMission 170

The KeyMission 170 is Nikon's first attempt at an action camera, featuring 4K video recording and a 170-degree lens. Can it compete with the similarly priced GoPro Hero 5? Find out by reading our Nikon KeyMission 170 review.

YI 4K Action Camera

The YI 4K Action Camera is an affordable action camera, featuring 4K video recording at 30fps and a 12 megapixel Sony sensor. Can it compete with the likes of the more expensive GoPro Hero camera? Find out by reading our YI 4K Action Camera review...

Review Roundup

Reviews of the YI 4K+ Action Camera from around the web.

trustedreviews.com »

The original Yi 4K Action Camera was a GoPro Hero 4 Black rival that cost you considerably less money. The follow up 4K+ Action Camera model follows a very similar template but upgrades its capabilities with 4K video at 60fps, which is a first for an action camera. Even the GoPro Hero 5 Black and Sony FDR-X3000 both top out at 30fps.
Read the full review »

digitaltrends.com »

Earlier this year, Xiaomi-backed Yi Technology announced the impending release its newest action cam, the Yi 4K+. After a short delay due to production problems, the 4K+ is finally available to purchase, and we’ve spent the past month putting it to the test. We now know why this flagship action camera is aptly being called a “GoPro killer.” It offers a wealth of features that match or beat GoPro’s high-end Hero5 Black, yet comes in $50 cheaper.
Read the full review »


Self-defined IQ parameters for demanding customers
YI 4K+ Action Camera comes with multiple high-level settings, such as up to 30 seconds of exposure time, EV compensation settings, ISO, Metering Mode, White Balance and etc. With 9 shooting modes, you can shoot like a professional photographer.
WB (White Balance)
Users can adjust the white balance settings to change the overall color of the video or photo.
White Balance Setting
Recommended Lighting Conditions
Auto (Default)
Automatically adjusts the white balance via environment, without human intervention.
The original color
3000K, tungsten or sunrise / sunset lighting conditions
5500K, cool fluorescent, average daylight conditions
6500K, cloudy environmental conditions
ISO (Level of sensitivity)
Change the camera sensitivity to light in low light conditions, in order to enhace the brightness of the videos and photos. In low light conditions, high ISO value will grant a brighter picture, but will also increase the noise level, making it grainy.
ISO for video: Auto (Default), 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400
Lock ISO: The ISO will be locked when in manual mode of shutter speed and max ISO, generating a more stable video quality; better for post-editing.
ISO-Max and Iso-Min for Photo
Resulting Photo Quality
Auto (Default,only for ISO-Max)
Automatically adjusts the sensitivity according to the environmental conditions
Bright photo in outdoor daylight, minimal image noise
Bright photo in indoor lighting, marginal image noise
Darker photo in low light, moderate image noise
Darker photo in very low light, increased image noise
(Exposure Value compensation)
It influences the brightness of the video or photo. When shooting in a contrasting light environmental conditions, you can adjust this parameter to control the brightness of the video or photo. Value adjustment will increase the brightness of the video or photo based on the default basis.
-2.0, -1.5, -1.0, -0.5, 0(Default), +0.5, +1.0, +1.5, +2.0
Metering Mode
divided into three metering modes: spot, center and average
Video Quality
divided into high, medium and low grades.
WiFi & Bluetooth
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi
Bluetooth 4.0
USB Type-C
Type-C to RCA Cable(for TV/ Image transmission equipment)*
Connect via USB Type-C cable, preview and playback videos and photos, or copy files from the microSD card to your computer.
Type-C to Microphone adapter (for external microphone)*
* The RCA and microphone adapter will be sold separately.
Photo + Video Playback
It’s easy to preview and play back of videos and photos on the LCD.
Use YI Action App to preview and play back videos and photos.
Connect via USB Type-C cable, preview and play back of videos and photos or copy files from the microSD card to your computer.
Preview and play back of videos and photos on your TV via the optional cable.
For consistently reliable and high quality 4K recording, we highly recommend using the microSD cards (16GB~64GB) shown below. UHS Speed Class 3 (U3) at least.
Operate Temperature
Operate Humidity
Storage Temperature
Up to 40 meters under water with waterproof case. (sold separately)
USB Type-C
Live streaming
Remote Control
Bluetooth 4.0
Built-in Bosch BMI160, 6-axis gyroscopic, provides precise acceleration and angular rate measurement.
Indicator Light
Tricolor power indicator(red,blue,violet),a red status indicator.
Focal length
Built-in 1/4” Tripod Mount
12 Month
Average Power Consumption
Stereo mic Built-in speaker
Voice command
Highest bitrate

Your Comments

Loading comments…