Yi has been making home security cameras for several years and has finally entered the outdoor security camera market. We had a chance to test out the Yi Outdoor Security Camera. Good software, nice hardware design and a decent app help this camera to compare very favorably to other outdoor cameras on the market.
We have looked at several other Yi models including the Yi 1080p Dome Camera and the Yi Home Camera. We found the Yi Outdoor Camera to be equally useful. It shares the same app as the others and integrates without any issue without any additional learning curve. So if you are already embedded into the Yi camera line and have a need for an outdoor entry, here’s what you need.
Let’s take a closer look at the Yi Outdoor Camera.
The Yi Outdoor 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.
For someone that already has Yi cameras already installed, this means you can access this camera alongside all your other Yi devices. We wrote a comprehensive article on adding a Yi camera to the Yi app. Just select the Yi Outdoor Camera from the list of available devices. Fortunately, the Yi app has an intuitive interface. If you need some help with Yi features, our site has several articles that detail the more complex tasks.
If this is your first Yi camera, setup is accomplished with the Yi Home app. Download the app to your Android or iOS device. You will be prompted to select a wireless network, enter the network password, then scan the code that appears on your phone. The Yi Outdoor Camera speaks to you during the setup and will tell you when pairing is successful. You might be prompted to update the camera firmware for updates that have become available since the date of manufacture. Be sure to run the latest firmware.
Pairing of the Yi Outdoor Camera was quick. Happened on the first try and took ten minutes for it to be up and running. That included the firmware update.
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. I typically keep it on Auto but force it to HD is greater detail is required.
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 that my preference. Experiment to see what works best for your situation. Notifications are received via smartphone alerts. 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.
Activity Zones can be accessed within camera settings. Use them. This is an outdoor camera, leaves and branches can set off false motion alerts. Exclude these areas using activity zones to eliminate alerts from things you don’t care about.
The Yi Outdoor 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.
For an outdoor camera, the Yi Outdoor Camera isn’t overly large measuring roughly 5 inches long and 2.5 inches wide. The camera itself is very light.
There is a status light just above the camera head which can be turned off within settings.
A speaker and microphone is integrated into the camera. The speaker is decent but not great, especially when outdoors. The sound can be muted within the app. Intercom mode is supported.
The 1080p lens delivers very good video quality. The lens has a 110 degree field of view so it will function best when mounted on a 45 degree angle. Digital zoom work fine, but use HD to get the clearest quality video.
The night vision is good with 12 integrated 850nm infrared lights. I was able to see 15 feet without a problem at night.
This is an outdoor camera with rating of IP65. That means the Yi Outdoor Camera is protected against low pressure water jets from all directions, limited ingress permitted. That’s the official meaning of IP65. To me, it says it’s ok to use when attached to a wall on my house.
A 3-meter cable is included. The cable is molded into the camera body which is typical for most outdoor cameras. The other end plugs into a USB adapter which isn’t as typical. Ideally, a weather proof housing would be preferred instead of the USB adapter.
A micro SD slot can be found under the cylindrical hatch beneath the camera. The manufacturer suggests a maximum card size of 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 even faster than a Class 4. Refer to our article on inserting a micro SD card into a Yi Outdoor Camera if more hep is needed on this topic.
Connectivity refers to the connection of the camera to your home router. The Yi Outdoor Camer attaches via Wi-Fi to a wireless router. The camera will connect to your home router at 2.4GHz. The 5.0GHz frequency is not supported.
The Yi Outdoor Camera comes with a low profile flat surface mount with a set of wall anchors. This mount screws onto the camera from the back where there is a 1/4″ – 20 threaded tripod screw hole. That’s the universal pattern for most camera mounts so many alternative mounts are available for this camera.
Fun and Different
These cameras have an audible alarm. Although I didn’t consider this fun, the alarm feature is turned on by default when motion is activated. Save yourself a scare and turn it off if you don’t want this feature.
Like other cameras we have reviewed from this manufacturer, the Yi Outdoor Security Camera is a good home security camera. It’s a fraction of the price of more popular mainstream brands and works as well. An easy app, simple setup, and functional hardware makes this camera a good choice for budget minded consumers.
|Video Quality||Field of View||Cloud Support||SD Support||Night Vision||Mobile/Web App||Alerts||Outdoor|
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).