YI Cloud Home Camera review

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REVIEW – When the YI Cloud Home Camera review offer came along I thought it would be nice to review and contrast it with other cameras that I have reviewed. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose – keep reading to find out which this was.

What is it?

The YI Cloud Home Camera is an indoor surveillance camera that has quite a few useful features including motion tracking and cloud storage.

What’s in the box?

  • YI Cloud Home Camera
  • Power cord and wall plug
  • Quick connect sheet
  • Window stickers
  • Wall mount bracket

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Design and features

The YI Cloud Home Camera features a 1080p full HD camera with “Complete 360° Coverage”, enhanced night vision, smartphone control, baby crying detection, motion detection and real-time activity alerts as well as two-way intercom audio capability.

The YI camera was fairly simple to set up. The process begins with signing up for a YI account and verifying your e-mail with a link they e-mail to you:

After a pointless 4 page intro, you simply tap the “+” to add a camera and follow the simple on-screen directions to connect to the camera and your home wi-fi.

The camera has a much-too-small QR code on it that you must scan with the phone camera to pair it to the camera, it took it a little while to finally focus well enough on the camera to get it to connect. The camera has audible voice prompts as well, which I thought was a nice touch.

Once connected you’re presented with the default screen for the app, which is a list of the cameras you have connected, which also features an image from the last session as well as options for viewing Sharing, Alerts, Settings, and Watching cloud-stored video. Tapping the image starts the viewing of live video from the camera.

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The settings section for the camera is fairly extensive, providing quite a bit of control and options.

I liked how that during viewing of the camera, you can choose between SD and HD video or choose the Auto option to have the app decide, presumably on your available bandwidth. Other controls include the microphone, record video, take photo, take a panoramic photo, and view full screen. There are also three icons at the bottom of the screen that allows for manual camera positioning, motion tracking, and alert viewing.

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Full screen viewing

The manual camera positioning is a nice feature, however, it is slow to respond, which makes the positioning of the camera less than easy. The motion tracking feature works very well and is able to track a person as they walk through the room and was even sensitive enough to pick up my motion while just sitting at my desk.

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The panoramic photo feature is very poor. When you take a pano image, the camera rotates and takes a picture, repeating this throughout a full rotation and then stitches the images together to produce a 360° image. However, the image stitching is very poor, often leaving gaps in the image coverage up to 3 feet wide.

Another thing that the app needs to improve on is the turning on and off of the motion detection/alert feature. You have to go into the Camera Settings, then once in the Camera Settings you have to tap on the Smart Detection settings, then toggle the Motion Detection setting. This would be really annoying if you had multiple cameras. There is also no indication from the main screen of the app that the camera is set for Motion Detection, so you have to go through the above steps just to see if its on.

Perhaps one of the biggest drawbacks of the YI Cloud Home Camera is the cloud storage subscription price. The options range from $8.66 a month for 7-day storage to $19.99 a month for 30-day storage. You can choose to either upload motion detected videos only (up to 5 devices) or 24/7 around-the-clock upload for only 1 device. I thought these prices were a bit high. The camera also supports a micro-SD card, but that wouldn’t do you any good if the thieves also steal your camera.

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The app also notifies you of new logins to your account, which is a nice security feature.

What I like

  • Audible “Waiting to Connect” voice prompt when turned on
  • Activation link email
  • High quality still photos
  • Manual camera control
  • Login notifications

What needs to be improved

  • Very poor pano stitching
  • Alert frequency ranges from low, medium, and high with no indication of what that time period is
  • Notifications are inconsistent. I did not always get a notification while using the app, even if I was not viewing the camera at the time. There’s just an in-app Alerts icon that gets a red dot over it
  • Works only with the app, no website or IP camera capability
  • Motion Detection setting is too buried in the app

Final thoughts

Although the YI Cloud Home Camera features look inviting and seem to have everything you’ll want, the actual use and storage options may be a bit of a turn-off. However, if you’re looking for a budget camera for casual monitoring, this camera might be one to consider, it really depends on what you intend to use it for.

Price: $44.99
Where to buy: Amazon
Source: The sample of this product was provided by YI Technology

7 thoughts on “YI Cloud Home Camera review”

  1. Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
  2. WOW your 360 Pan picture don’t work. Must be a flaw in your camera because it works every time for me. I love this camera even if it cheap to look at there are some nice features that it has that even 2 or 4 times the cost may have but not half as good. I have the 7 day 24/7 cloud that works flawless…. easy to get footage back to review. This Camera right now is being used as an extra camera of my front yard. LowE double pane window and picture day and night is KILLER…. I did have to turn off the IR for night but have enough light in front that it still works great… Motion tracking. It can pick up from a car that is going by 25 and makes a dual transition nice and smooth. Then after a few seconds it returns to where it was… Flawless…. Event motion alerts I only wish there was the ability to mask an area not to track. Then this Camera would be worth 3 times what I paid. Love it…

  3. I agree the camera has a few nice features, but overall is incomplete, has a poorly designed cloud structure, poorly designed video access software package and is incompatible with standard ip access. After using it for a few weeks, I wish I had gotten something else. There is no other way to access your video besides the internet, which means you cannot scroll through your video AT ALL. This makes searching through the video almost impossible, which renders the camera video mostly unusable. You can only download 10 minute snippets, and hopefully motion capture caught the burglar, otherwise you probably won’t. Someone came into my house one night, and I still haven’t been able to pinpoint when that happened because he was in and out in about a minute, and I STILL haven’t been able to find that one minute. I know because it was my ex-roomate and he took a mattress.

  4. William Lockridge

    If were possible I (don’t think it could) could YI’s tech support suck any worse? I’ve been wrestling with the same problem, no cloud recordings, for at least 50 days now, and all they do is ask
    1. email address that you set it up under.
    2. contact phone number.
    3. Region that you set them up in.
    4. A copy of the receipt from PayPal.
    5. Screenshot after screenshot, after screenshot, after screenshot.
    I’ve sent the requested items 6 times now, on two of those occasions, I was actually ON THE PHONE with their tech report and was assured that they had received the requested items in their HANDS, then 2-3 days later I get an email from someone different requesting the same thing yet AGAIN. Do yourself and your heart a favor and stay away from these people. They have tech support in about 3 different countries and I don’t believe any of them talk to anyone else. They just keep giving you the runaround and looking for a way to blame it on you. If you decide to go with them, pray to whatever Deity that you worship, that you never have a problem, otherwise, you’re screwed.

  5. Jennifer Guerra

    Who is easily pretty impressed with this camera. I got mine during a flash sale on Amazon so I only paid about $20 for it. Compared to what I was using, this camera is 400% better. However, it started sticking not even a couple of weeks after my purchase. I had to try & loosen it s ok it would rotate & start working again. Yi cloud is way too expensive for me. So that being said, I would really like the next time that I am purchasing a camera, for it to be a good purchase. Maybe one that connects to OneDrive, Google 1, or something similar. If you have any suggestions?

      1. My YI connects with other cameras audio. At night the audio comes on and I can hear a child talking, saying “mommy”. This is very scary knowing someone else can hear and possibly see me!!

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