Updated on July 29, 2023
Dashboard cameras are not just another device to adorn your vehicle. They are certainly not meaningless distractions by a stretch of the imagination. They are extremely important, a must-have accessory for every vehicle that is driven. Continuing this series on the best dashboard cameras we review the latest version of the Xiaomi YI Dashcam.
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On first looks, the Xiaomi YI appears burly compared to many of the other devices that we have already reviewed. The design is slightly boxy with pronounced edges rather than sleek rounded ones. Another thing about the YI is the prominent bold text around the lens, which means it is not perfectly discreet. Despite these minor shortcomings, it is a smart investment, one that would pay for itself over the years. Let us look at some of the more technical aspects below:
A field of view covering 165 degrees is a fair selling point of this lens considering the price range it has entered the market at. The relatively wide angle of view ensures that looking through the front window, left A-pillar to the right A-pillar is covered. An extended view through the windscreen ensures that you record pretty much everything looking through the viewfinder. But that’s not all. The lens has a fast f/2.0 aperture. When it comes to camera lenses the smaller the f-number, the wider the aperture and therefore the more the amount of light that it can capture. A wider aperture is particularly great for better low light imagery.
With full HD (1920 x 1080p) capability the Xiaomi YI Dashcam records crisp and clear videos with excellent detail. The frame rate of the videos is 30 fps, which ensures a smooth playback in case you need to do a slow-motion demonstration of an accident that has been saved to the removable storage (not included). You could, however, choose not to record in full HD. That would, however, be not recommended because of lower the resolution of the videos, less likely will it be admissible as evidence. In the event of an accident and or a false claim, this piece of video is the only defense you have to prove your innocence.
An important and somewhat unique feature of the YI Dashcam is its ADAS (Advance Driver Assistance Systems). This is a state-of-the-art visual recognition system can detect when you are departing from a lane, thereby alerting you of a potential collision well in advance. In a real-world situation, the difference between a life saved and the life lost can be measured in a few seconds. In many incidents, lives are lost because the driver had only a fraction of a second to react. However, if he had more than a few seconds, lives could have been saved. Consider ADAS as insurance for your life and those of your loved ones sitting in the passenger seats.
Memory Lock and Gravity Sensing
The memory lock and G-Sensor are extremely useful here. During normal loop recording, the videos previously saved are continuously overwritten when the memory card is exhausted. In the event there are essential files which are required to be preserved, normal loop recording cannot be allowed to overwrite those clips. To prevent this from happening memory lock feature is engaged which ensures that the video is not overwritten. Memory lock is engaged when the dashcam experiences a sudden change in gravity. Let’s explain how that happens. Let’s say that your vehicle is rammed from behind by another car. Your vehicle will undergo a jerk speed-up and then stop suddenly. This is one example when the YI Dashcam will consider this as a sudden change in gravity. Once it senses, the DVR will lock the video into the memory card thereby preventing it from getting overwritten later on.
Like the KDLINKS X1, the YI has a 2.7” TFT LCD widescreen monitor, which is about average and typical size for this price range. The display quality is bright, crisp and clear, not pixelated and more than sufficient for viewing live streams or menu options. The whole camera can be set up and operated with the intuitive icons that adorn the app interface.
Setting It Up
Setting up is easy. The camera comes preset with some default settings, which are good enough to get started. All you need is to install the camera, and connect the power source, and it is ready to record. If you want to change the settings you have to dig into the menu options on the screen, which is fairly intuitive enough. There are various options, for example, you can change the frame rate for recording. A lower frame rate produces jittery videos, but the file sizes are easier to manage. You can keep recording for a more extended period without needing to flush the memory card frequently. Installation is easy too; you get a 3M adhesive mount, charging cables and power adapter. The whole installation can be taken care of done by almost anyone without the need of an expert or professional.
Dimensions and Weight
The Xiaomi YI Dashcam measures 6.8 x 4.4 x 2.4 inches. Despite the burliness, the design is sleek and fits quite easily on to the dashboard or behind the rear view mirror. It weighs just about 10.2 ounces.
Overall this is a reasonably cheap dash cam with some really good features. It covers most of the basic requirements but misses only GPS, but makes up for the loss with others such as built-in wifi and the ADAS lane departure perk. All in all a good investment for your vehicle being an extra blanket of insurance cover, or, a great companion for an upcoming road trip.
With more than 20 years of experience in the automotive industry, Ash possesses a deep understanding of the diverse needs and challenges faced by drivers on the road. His relentless commitment to road safety and ongoing research is fueled by a genuine desire to create safer environments for all drivers.