More and more brands are releasing their own action cameras with each passing year due to the massive surge in action sports enthusiasts, vloggers, and social media influencers using action cameras to capture their content. The action camera market can potentially be extremely lucrative and although GoPro dominates the space in the west, there are a number of solid brands from the east starting to try and push into the western markets.
Over the last few weeks, we have noticed more and more people reaching out and asking for a dedicated Xiaomi Mi 4k action camera review due to the camera has such a great reputation amongst the community while at the same time having such a small customer base compared to the competition and failing to really take off.
On the flip side of this, there are other compeating cameras to the Xiaomi Mi 4K like the Akaso V50 Pro that just keeps on becoming more and more popular amongst the community while its reputation just keeps on getting better and better. This is largely due to the features that each of the cameras offers the user that we will explain in more detail throughout the article. That said though, for the vast majority of our readers, we can’t help but feel the Akaso v50 Pro or even the Apeman Trawo would be better options and make a much better addition to your collection.
That said though, we will still be going over our full Xiaomi Mi 4K action camera review to share our thoughts on the camera as well as why we feel our readers should be going with a compeating camera over the Xiaomi Mi 4K. We know that there will always b the die-hard fans of the camera but if we can help most of our readers pick up a better camera then we will be happy.
Performance And Functionality
The vast majority of cheap GoPro alternatives on the market offer 1080p at sixty frames per second and 720p at one hundred and twenty frames per second and it more than meets the needs for the target user. These resolution and frame rate combinations are cheap to produce and perform very well for the user to capture their content. Upping the frame rates so much as Xiaomi for their Mi action camera increases the costs of the camera forcing them to sacrifice performance or miss other common features out of the camera.
Additionally, the 4k offered on the Xiaomi Mi 4K is not native 4k and is digitally upscaled from the 2k resolution. Although this is still common in entry-level action cameras even to this day, it has been implemented poorly in the Xiaomi Mi 4K action camera and results in poor image quality. Native 4k tends to be better and smoother as it is natively captured via the camera’s sensor but the technology costs more and hikes the price tag up. This allows cameras such as the Akaso V50 Pro that offer native 4k to push out ahead of the Xiaomi Mi 4K and take more of the market share with their superior technology and lower price point.
Digitally upscaled 4k video is captured at a lower resolution before being put through a digital upscaling process that requires a large amount of battery and generates a large amount of heat too. Not only can this cut your usable battery life in half but it can also lead to overheating issues while also producing a 4k video resolution with low image quality. On top of this, we have seen multiple reports from people saying that the 4k video their Xiaomi Mi 4K captures is fuzzy and lags too.
If you are planning to use the Xiaomi Mi 4K for action sports, especially fast-paced or vibration intense action sports then the v50 Pro or Trawo are definatley better options. Their native 4k is much better than the digitally upscaled 4k from the Xiaomi Mi 4K and results in smoother high-resolution video clips that are free from hand and drag while capturing all of the action.
Additionally, although the Xiaomi Mi 4K does offer some electronic image stabilization technology, in our opinion it is dated and definatley showing its age. The latest Akaso and Apeman advanced, next-generation electronic image stabilization blows the Xiaomi tech on the Mi out the water without even being comparable. On top of this, due to the Xiaomi Mi 4K not using a similar factor to the GoPro range, it is a nightmare to find a cheap gimbal stabilizer for the camera that can provide you with image stabilization.
The Xiaomi Mi 4K comes with an excellent Sony IMX 317 camera sensor that can produce some excellent, high-quality video and photographs provided the tech on the back end is up to scratch but we feel that Xiaomi has focused on the high frame rates of the Mi too much and sacrificed too much to reach them to do the camera sensor justice. The camera also comes with a seven-element lens that offers some excellent low light performance for photographs that can be captured up to 8MP.
Although the Xiaomi Mi 4K is a few years old now, even back when it was released its photograph resolution was sub-par with the vast majority of the competition offering a 16MP still image resolution with the latest entry-level action cameras offering 20MP. In our opinion, this is just another area where the Xiaomi Mi 4K falls short and pushes cameras like the Akaso V50 Pro and Apeman Trawo further ahead.
The Xiaomi Mi 4K supports three camera modes (timelapse, slow motion, and burst photo) that do perform well but in our opinion, it is just too little too late to help claw any hope back for the camera. Especially in this day and age where the next generation cheap action cameras blow the Xiaomi Mi 4K out the water in every way for the same price point in the market.
Finishing off with the battery life of the camera, Xiaomi has used the higher 1450mAh battery rather than the smaller capacity batteries that most of the compeating cameras use. Unfortunately, due to using digitally upscaled 4k video footage, this advantage is nulled due to the additional power required to capture the 4k and upscale it making the camera offer a lower maximum battery life than the compeating cameras with a smaller battery.
When you take an objective look at the performance and features on the Xiaomi Mi 4K, it is pretty easy to see why it failed to take off amongst the community and how its competitors have outsold it with ease. Although there are a few decent independent reviews for the camera online from people who use it as their action camera of choice, they are a fraction of the reviews that cameras like the Akaso v50 Pro have even though the v50 Pro has only been available for a matter of months rather than the years the Xiaomi Mi 4K has had.
User Interface And Control System
The navigation menu that Xiaomi has put on the Mi is very easy to follow allowing you to quickly and easily work your way through the camera’s menu to quickly and easily get to the settings that you want to tweak. The touchscreen is also made from the highest quality Gorilla Glass to ensuring that it can take a ton of punishment without breaking. This helps it stand the test of time and take the bumps that are common in action sports.
The Xiaomi Mi 4K also supports 2.4G wireless technology and wireless remote control is included with your purchase as standard. The remote control offers some solid remote control of the camera allowing you to capture photographs or control the stop/start of your videos without having to actually touch your camera. If you are involved in a sport where your action camera may be mounted to a helmet mount and be a pain to reach this can help make your life easier as you can just control it from the remote control.
Build Quality And Design
The build quality of the Xiaomi Mi 4K is actually excellent in all fairness to Xiaomi but again, this is overshadowed by the poor performance of the camera. The Mi is very lightweight coming in at only 0.19 pounds while also being very tough and able to take the bumps and knocks while being used in action sports. The latest similar price point action cameras from Akaso, Apeman, and even Campark also offer this level of build quality too while offering much better video capturing and general performance improvements over the Xiaomi Mi 4K too though.
That concludes our Xiaomi Mi action camera 4k review and as you can probably guess, we would not recommend that our readers add this action camera to their collection. It is definatley starting to show it again and falls short in too many areas for its price tag to be worth purchasing in our opinion. We would recommend that our readers seriously consider something like the Akaso V50 Pro (click here to read our ultimate v50 Pro review), or the Apeman Trawo (click here to read our ultimate Apeman Trawo review) as they are just better cameras at the same price point.
Although we can see what Xiaomi has tried to do with their Mi 4k with the higher frame rates for the standard video resolutions, we can’t help but feel that it is simply not needed on a cheap action camera and has drastically limited the potential customer base of the camera. On the flip side of this, Xiaomi competition such as Akaso and Apeman have done the opposite and focused on the most popular video resolutions and adding native 4k video to their cameras to give the majority of people what they will actually use in a cheap action camera.