Yi 1080p Dome Camera Exceeds Expectations

Yi 1080p Dome CameraWe have been fans of the Yi line of cameras for at least a year.  We had a chance to test out the Yi 1080p Dome Camera.  Like the other models we have looked at, this one didn’t disappoint.

We previously looked at the YI Dome Pan and Tilt Camera and this one is similar except it has 1080p instead of 720p plus a few unique app features.  We were impressed with the 720p version and the 1080p enhanced version is even better.  If you’re looking for a pan and tilt with good video quality and a stable app, this is a good one to consider.

Let’s take a closer look at the Yi 1080p Dome Camera.

Software

The Yi 1080p Dome Camera is accessible via an Android or iOS app.  There is no web portal.

The smartphone apps are very simple to use.   You can manage all of your Yi cameras from here.

We wrote a comprehensive article on adding a Yi camera to the Yi app.  The Yi 1080p Dome Camera has a custom selection just like any other Yi camera.  Luckily the Yi app is fairly intuitive to use as the software is sparsely documented.  If you need some help with Yi features, our site has several articles that detail the more complex app tasks.

Everything with setup is done using the Yi Home app.  Download the app to your smartphone.  You will be prompted to select a wireless network, enter the network password, then scan the code that appears on your phone.  The Yi Dome Camera speaks to you during the setup and will tell you when pairing is successful.  More than likely, you will then be prompted to update the camera firmware for updates that have become available since the date of manufacture.

Pairing of the Yi 1080p Dome Camera was quick.  Happened on the first try and took ten minutes for it to be up and running.  That included the firmware update.

The pan and tilt function is accomplished using the circular software control beneath the video.  Press the arrow that want the camera to turn to until it reaches the desired position.  Easy.

Video quality can be set to Auto, SD or HD from the app view screen.  Auto lets the camera choose the video quality based upon available bandwidth.  Auto seems to be efficient on this version of the Yi camera so it seems prudent to use this setting.

The software allows establishment of motion sensitivity settings as well as frequency of alerts.  Putting it in the middle is typically the best advice but something you need to experiment with.  Notifications are received via smartphone alerts.  You can then get into the alerts screen and view 6 second clips of the activity that triggered the alert.  You can also view the entire clip beyond 6 seconds if there is an SD card installed.

Unfortunately, activity zones are unavailable on the pan and tilt cameras from Yi.  These are great aids in removing false motion areas from the video such as below 4 feet where a dog might walk by.  To make you feel better about this missing feature, they do have a fairly neat feature where the roving camera head will move to follow any motion.

The Yi 1080p Dome Camera cloud implementation comes with a free basic service that retains a six second video clip of motion events over the past seven days.  Yi offers paid cloud services which provides a greater amount of video retention for a fee.  We discuss the details in our article outlining Yi Cloud.

Hardware

The Yi Dome is a large camera measuring 4.3 x 3.6 x 3.6 inches and weighing in at a little over 8 ounces.

There is a blue status light just below the camera head which can be turned off.

A speaker and microphone is integrated into the camera.  Intercom mode is good and you can hear the person on the other end clearly.  Then there is the hands free mode which is the term Yi uses for duplex.  Hands free mode was not as reliable or clear as the traditional intercom mode.  These modes can be activated under camera settings.

The 1080p lens delivers outstanding video quality. The lens has a 112 degree field of view and combined with the 345 degree moving head, you will get a 360 view.  While you can zoom up to 4x, setting the camera to HD on tight zooms delivers excellent clarity.  This camera includes a feature called Lens Distortion Correction (LDC) which brings extra image clarity by straightening the edges to make wide-angle images more natural.

The night vision is good too with 8 integrated 940nm infrared lights that illuminate up to 3 meters (about 10 feet).  We were able to exceed the 3 meters.  Let’s call it 5 meters in our test.

A micro SD slot can be found on the back which accepts cards up to 32 GB.  Get a 32 GB card as the price isn’t going to be a lot more than a smaller size.  You can view history within the Yi app.  According to Yi, you need a card at least Class 4 or faster.  Our experience dictates that you should opt for an even faster card.  Consider the Transcend 32GB MicroSDHC Class10 UHS-1 Memory Card with Adapter which is rated higher than the standard 10 MB per second transfer rate for this class of card.

Connectivity

Connectivity refers to the connection of the camera to your home router.  The Yi Dome attaches via Wi-Fi to a wireless router.  The camera will connect to your home router at 2.4GHz using 802.11 b,g or n.  The 5.0GHz frequency is not supported.

Mounts

The Yi 1080p Dome Camera is primarily intended to be placed on a table or shelf.  There is a separate mounting disk and two screws that the camera slides over for attaching to a wall or ceiling.  Insert the tabs on the mounting disk into the tabs on the bottom of the camera.  You won’t find a traditional 1/4″ – 20 threaded tripod hole.  So much for alternative mounts.

Fun and Different

Unique to the 1080p version of the Yi Dome Camera is a little button found near the pan and tilt control.  It look like a mountain landscape.  Press it to take a side to side panorama view of the room.  The panorama will upload that photo to the panorama folder found under activity alerts.

Summary

Yi has done it again in terms of pairing a well made camera at a good value.  Thumbs up on the Yi 1080p Dome Camera.  It might be the best pan and tilt we have used.  Simple to setup and operate once you learn how it all works.  Extremely clear video with excellent motion detection and a stable app.

Quick Specs:

Video QualityField of ViewCloud SupportSD SupportNight VisionMobile/Web AppAlertsOutdoor
1080p112 Degrees (345 degree side to side pan)YesYesYesYes/NoYesNo

Manufacturer Link:  Yi Technology

All of these articles are written by someone (me) that figured out how to do this stuff the hard way.  I have owned and tested dozens of cameras.  Manufacturer support varies.  There are a few good companies that provide timely answers when you have questions.  There are several that sell you the camera and seem to have little interest in post sales support (which leads me to finding out stuff the hard way).