YI Cameras Review

Updated by Alexia on

We tested a few affordable models of cameras from YI to see how the brand fares compared to more expensive and popular cameras.

Different from traditional cameras, YI can be used alone, and it can be connected to the mobile terminal through the wireless network in real time to provide users with real-time images. If you need an inexpensive security camera that streams high-quality video to a mobile app and records to a microSD card, the YI is more than enough. But if you want affordable cloud storage and great customer support, you should look elsewhere, like Wyze or Eufy.

pro Pros con Cons
pro Low price positioning
pro Local video storage
pro Person and sound detection
pro Core features are good enough for most people
pro novel shape
con Pricey cloud storage
con Pricing doesn't always make sense
con Bare-bones support resources online
con App design is unreasonable

YI cameras review

  1. YI Dome Camera: Best overall
  2. YI Outdoor Security Camera: Best outdoor camera
  3. YI Home Camera: Best budget camera
  4. Kami Wire-Free Camera: Best wire-free camera
  5. Kami Doorbell Camera: Best video doorbell

YI security cameras comparison

Camera Best for Price Power source Weatherproof Learn more
YI Dome Camera
YI Dome Camera
Best overall $47.99 Wired Icon No Light No View
YI Outdoor Security Camera
YI Outdoor Security Camera
Best outdoor camera $39.99 Wired Icon Yes  Light Yes View
YI Home Camera
YI Home Camera
Best outdoor camera $24.99 Wired Icon No Light No View
Kami Wire-Free Outdoor Camera
Kami Wire-Free Outdoor Camera
Best wire-free camera $90.99 Battery Icon Yes  Light Yes View
Kami Doorbell Camera
Kami Doorbell Camera
Best video doorbell $99.99 Wired, battery Icon Yes  Light Yes View


*Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.


How about YI security cameras?


Similarities and differences

In our use evaluation, there are not many differences between YI cameras, so choose according to your own usage scenarios when purchasing:

  • Batteries vs. wired: The Kami Wireless Outdoor Camera and Kami Doorbell Camera use rechargeable batteries, while other cameras require a power cord.
  • Weatherproof: The Kami Wireless Outdoor Camera, Kami Doorbell Camera, and YI Outdoor Security Camera are all weatherproof so you can use them outdoors.
  • Smart Detection: With the exception of the Kami Wireless Outdoor Camera, most cameras have smart detection (people and sound). Some cameras also feature face detection and recognition (Kami Mini, Kami Doorbell Camera, and YI Dome Camera).
  • Privacy Mode: Some YI Dome Cameras have a privacy mode that physically hides the lens to prevent it from recording video in the room.


Core features

  • 1080p video resolution: The 1080p video resolution provides a good picture both day and night, and compares well with other cameras, but falls short of the Arlo Cam, Nest Cam, and Reolink Cam.
  • Two-way audio: Allows you to use the camera as a walkie-talkie through the app. A feature that most cameras have.
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and Mobile App: App is great for adjusting settings and watching camera video. Actually (Kami Home and YI Home) both apps can be setup.
  • MicroSD card: MicroSD card can support local storage, no need to subscribe to cloud storage technology. (ps: doorbell camera not included).
  • Smart home: Nice integration with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant so you can view the camera feed on a compatible smart display.


Kami Cloud plan

Plan Monthly cost Annual cost Number of cameras Video history Phone support Mobile alerts Emergency service Learn more
Free Free Free Unlimited 1 day* Icon No Light No Icon Yes  Light With cooldown Icon No Light No View
Entry $4.99/mo. $39.99/yr. 1 7 days Icon Yes  Light Yes Icon Yes  Light Yes Icon No Light No View
CVR-Entry $7.99/mo. $79.99/yr. 1 7 days Icon Yes  Light Yes Icon Yes  Light Yes Icon No Light No View
Standard $11.99/mo. $99.99/yr. 5 15 days Icon Yes  Light Yes Icon Yes  Light Yes Icon No Light No View
Plus $18.99/mo. $149.99/yr. 5 30 days Icon Yes  Light Yes Icon Yes  Light Yes Icon Yes  Light Yes View


Data as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*Limited to 6-second clips


Kami Cloud is great value and one of the most competitive cloud storage plans on the market. YI is able to sell it for less than any other brand because of its low-priced cloud storage plans. Even lower than the Wyze camera we reviewed earlier.

  • The Free plan limits clips to 6 seconds and only stores them for up to 24 hours. While these clips allow you to figure out what's going on onscreen, it doesn't capture much detail due to the enforced cooldown between recordings. This also limits how often you get notified.
  • The Entry plan costs about $5 per month for a single camera, compared to competitors like Wyze, Ring, Arlo, etc., which cost $3 or less per month for the same benefits and more than seven days of video history.
  • Get Kami CVR-Entry plan Shield for 1 camera with 7 days CVR (non-stop 24/7 video recording for 7 days) for a total of 2 years (24) months with this package.
  • The Standard plan costs $12 per month and limits you to five cameras in total. Compared to the brands we have reviewed in the past, Arlo is $10 per month for 5 cameras. Reolink is $5/month for 5 cameras, Nest and Ring have unlimited camera plans for $6 and $10 per month respectively, and Kami Cloud is more expensive even if you get the discounted annual plan in the YI app.
  • The Plus plan adds Emergency Services, which works like a home security system, using Noonlight monitoring to put you in touch with first responders. But it's two to three times the price of matching options from Arlo and Wyze.


Customer support

Most of the official website support will have a customer service robot to do Customer Support, and YI is no exception. But the customer service robot is not intelligent, it just enters some question and answer questions in advance, beyond its scope, it can't do anything.

If you want to contact live customer service, you have two options: visit the YI community forums or pay for a cloud plan to unlock phone support. If you have questions about your camera, the YI Community should be your first stop, as you can connect with YI Technology representatives and other customers on any topic.

You might want to familiarize yourself with the FAQ section of the mobile app and save the manual that came with your IP camera, as they're basically the only official resource worth using. Both explain how to set up the camera and offer some troubleshooting tips, but in a better format than what you'll find in the Kami Help Center.


Setup and nstallation

The setting process is very simple. The activation operation is performed by scanning the QR code through the mobile APP, and the whole process will not exceed 5 minutes. Easy to install corner wall mount for your YI home security camera. Simply remove the security tape from the back of the mount, place it in your desired area and location, let it sit there for at least 6 hours, and slide your camera.


YI  Camera reviews


1. YI Dome Camera: Best overall

Best overall
  • YI Dome Camera
    YI Dome Camera
  • SecureScore™: 8.6 / 10
  • $47.99
  • pro Wired power source
    pro Privacy mode
    con Indoor only
View Packages

*Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

The YI Dome Camera is a best-selling smart security camera thanks to its privacy mode, which allows you to hide the lens behind a physical privacy shutter. This is a great selling point for those who want more control over what the camera sees and don't intend to use the camera continuously.

One of the best special features is its motion-activated alerts, which send push notifications if it senses motion. These alerts worked perfectly in my tests. When I'm not home, I point the camera at my front door and whenever the door is opened or a pet walks by, I get a push notification on my phone. This feature is common in other gimbal cameras, such as Wyze Cam Pan.

The YI Dome camera delivers impressively crisp 1080p video footage, like many other high-end security cameras. I could see a lot of detail in the live video, but it was a bit pixelated when zoomed in. But it lacks the color night vision of the latest offerings from Reolink and Wyze.

Overall, the YI Dome Camera is a well-performing, feature-packed, affordable security camera that's a decent alternative to the Wyze Cam Pan—especially as a pet cam. But it's unlikely to outperform our favorite gimbal camera, the Reolink E1 Zoom. Learn more in our YI Dome Camera review.


2. YI Outdoor Security Camera: Best outdoor camera

Best outdoor camera
View Packages

*Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

 The YI Outdoor Security Camera is one of the most affordable outdoor cameras you can buy. Bullet design and waterproof and dustproof. FULL HD VIDEO QUALITY - 1080P resolution high-resolution image, combined with 110° lens and universal ball mount, provides clarity in all directions.

With 12 850nm infrared night vision support low light automatic color change filter. The night vision of YI Outdoor security camera records video at 20fps, which can generate smooth video without ghosting, and the viewing distance is up to 50 feet.

Not wanting to recharge frequently has to make trade-offs for the installation environment, and the 10-foot power cord means the power outlet doesn't need to be right next to the camera.

At $40, it's a bit more expensive than other wired budget cameras like the Wyze Cam v3 and the ZOSI C190. While we're leaning toward Wyze's cheap security cameras, the YI Outdoor Security Camera is certainly a compelling alternative to more expensive offerings from Arlo, Ring, and Google Nest.


3. YI Home Camera: Best budget camera

Best budget camera
View Packages

*Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

The YI Home Camera 1080p is one of the best security cameras you can buy for less than $30(Special Offer $17.99). Good video quality and smart detection make it a worthy match for the Wyze Cam v3.

Provides 1080P HD surveillance video, human detection, wide-angle view, 2-way audio, night vision, baby cry detection, and integration with Alexa and Google.

If you're looking for a security camera with good image quality day and night, or to use as a baby monitor in a nursery. Then we recommend you to buy recommend this home security camera. Find out more in our full YI home camera review.


4. Kami Wire-Free Outdoor Camera: Best wire-free camera

Best wire-free camera
View Packages

*Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

The Kami Wireless Outdoor Camera eliminates power outlets and cords and features advanced motion detection. This cutting-edge wireless outdoor Kami camera features a true wireless design that does not require any external base stations or hubs. Just use the included rechargeable battery and your camera is ready to go.

It's one of Kami's more expensive offerings (around $85), more than double the price of the YI outdoor camera. And, while it works pretty well, there are better wireless cameras for only a little more: the Ring Stick Up Cam and the Reolink Argus 3 Pro.

If you just need a camera once in a while and don't need anything fancy, the Kami Wireless Outdoor Camera is worth the money. If you want proper security, the wired Nest Cam Outdoor is great value, though you'll need an outdoor power outlet to use it. If you want wireless, the Ring Stick Up Cam battery costs about the same as this model.


5. Kami Doorbell Camera: Best video doorbell

Best video doorbell
  • Kami Doorbell Camera
    Kami Doorbell Camera
  • SecureScore™: 8.5 / 10
  • $99.99
  • pro Wired or battery power source
    pro 160º field of view
    con Outdoor only
View Packages

*Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

The Kami Doorbell Camera ($99.99) is a smart video doorbell that can be powered by a rechargeable battery, a USB cable, or your existing doorbell wiring. What's unique about this doorbell is that you can pre-record quick responses for visitors. Most other doorbell cameras with fast responses don't have custom recordings, but use preset options instead.

Kami uses a 1080p camera to capture video at 20fps. In contrast, the Ezviz DB1C and the Arlo Essential Video Doorbell Wire-Free use ultra-high-definition cameras with enhanced dynamic range technology. Kami has a wide 160º field of view and uses six infrared LEDs for black and white night vision. It supports two-way audio and offers person detection and facial recognition.

If you have an Amazon Echo smart speaker, you can use the Kami skill to connect to your doorbell, with optional notifications. While you can watch live streams, you can't take calls from an Echo Show device like you can with a Ring Doorbell.

For Google Assistant users, you can watch live streams on smart displays like the Nest Hub, but you can't expect it to do much.

Compared to Ring Video Doorbell, Kami's cloud storage is cheaper. The product is still fairly new and hopefully the next generation will deliver a qualitative leap in performance and functionality.


Final word

As an entry-level smart camera, YI allows ordinary families to experience the Internet application scenarios of smart homes. It is easy to install, easy to operate, and the experience is acceptable. However, there are still many defects, especially in the case of poor network, the picture freezes and delays are serious, and the situation of connection failure and disconnection also occurs frequently, and the effect of voice calls is not very good. Then there's limited customer support and expensive cloud storage plans. Considering they're not far behind Wyze's premium cameras in price, it's hard to recommend them as better options.

Check out our Wyze camera review for similar but easier-to-land budget security camera brands than the YI. You can compare features to make it easier for you to make the right choice.


How we reviewed

YI and Kami security cameras are a new brand, there is a general lack of information and few customer service resources, we have read a lot of literature and customer purchase feedback to learn some information. But we did buy a couple of moderately rated products to use (Kami Wireless Outdoor Camera and Kami Doorbell). Three cameras is enough to give us a glimpse into the brand's video quality, notifications, recording options and support resources -- and whether it's worth your while to pick the YI.



Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Bestwirelesscam.com utilizes paid Amazon links.

Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time.

†Google, Google Nest, Google Assistant, and other related marks are trademarks of Google LLC.

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