YI Technology hits GoPro with a one-two punch at CES 2017

Not only did the company announce a first for the action cam category at the show, but it brought its folding high-speed tricopter drone along for the ride.

Joshua Goldman

Joshua Goldman

Managing Editor / Advice

Josh Goldman helps people find the best laptop at the best price -- from simple Chromebooks to high-end gaming laptops. He's been writing about and reviewing consumer technology and software for more than two decades.

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Just two cameras into its career as an action cam maker and YI Technology is a standout in the category.

The company first made waves with a full-HD camera under the Xiaomi brand. The YI 4K Action Camera followed in 2016 and delivered great features and image quality at a price the competition couldn't match (it's currently available for $200).

For CES 2017, YI has unveiled the 4K+ Action Camera, capable of capturing 4K video at 60 frames per second, which is double that of GoPro's Hero5 Black. It's not only a first for YI, it's a first for the category. It's also the also the first camera to use an Ambarella H2 SoC processor, offering a maximum bitrate of 120Mbps, which should make for some sharp, detailed video (and huge file sizes).

YI 4K+ Action Camera is not good news for GoPro Hero5 Black owners

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YI said the camera will have electronic image stabilization (EIS) available at 4K-resolution at 30fps (another bonus of the Ambarella chip), voice commands, live streaming and better outdoor audio, as well as VR support.

Pricing and availability wasn't announced, but my money's on it being $350 -- $50 less than the Hero5 Black (I was wrong, it's priced even lower. YI CEO Sean Da told me at CES that it will be $299, which converts to AU$400, £250.)


YI's Erida drone will take flight for the first time publicly at CES 2017.

Josh Goldman/CNET

YI also brought its Erida drone to CES 2017, showing it in flight for the first time. The tricopter was developed with Atlas Dynamics, a team of developers and engineers that tried to get the Erida crowdfunded in 2015. Made of light-yet-strong carbon fiber, YI says the tricopter can reach speeds of up to 75 mph (120 kph) and stay in the air for up to 40 minutes. If this holds true, this is longer than any other ready-to-fly drone. Plus, two of its three prop arms rotate and fold back for travel.

The drone collaboration was announced last August, but with no pricing or availability. Pricing still isn't available, but YI says expect to see the Erida in Q2 2017.

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