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YI Dash Review

An incredible value for those that want to document driving mishaps or road trips
Best Buy Award
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Price:   $90 List | $50 at Amazon
Pros:  Inexpensive, good video, built-in Wi-Fi
Cons:  Slightly larger visual footprint, no rear or interior camera
Manufacturer:   YI
By Max Mutter and Steven Tata  ⋅  Jan 6, 2019
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69
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 7
  • Video Quality - 40% 7
  • Video Capture - 25% 7
  • Interface - 25% 7
  • Visual Footprint - 10% 6

Our Verdict

The YI Dash is a small, effective, economically priced, and stylish dash cam that looks more like a point and shoot camera than one meant to document driving mishaps. It also sports built-in Wi-Fi, which allows you to send video clips from the camera straight to your phone for safekeeping or sharing on social media. Considering the YI Dash's incredibly low price, it is impressive how well this camera performs. For most people, however, we would suggest spending just a bit more on the AUKEY DR02, as it produces slightly better video quality. That being said, the AUKEY does lack the YI's stylish looks, opting for a more utilitarian secrurity camera style aesthetic instead, and it cannot wirelessly beam clips to your phone like the YI can. So if you don't like the AUKEY's looks, or really want to be able to instantly send clips instead of having to plug a microSD card into a computer, the YI Dash is a perfect and inexpensive camera for you. Otherwise, we think the slightly better video of the AUKEY DR02 make it a better choice.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The YI Dash is an inexpensive dash cam that still delivers good performance and a nice suite of features. The only downside is that models capable of creating better quality video are not that much more expensive.


Performance Comparison


The YI Dash was generally in or near the group of top performers in all of our tests, making some small sacrifices here and there to allow for its incredibly low price. This earned a spot near, but not at, the top of our overall scoreboard.

Video Quality


The YI Dash's video quality is good enough that most people won't notice any significant shortcomings at first viewing, and that quality is generally good enough for identifying license plates and even sharing clips on social media. However, when you compare its footage side-by-side with that of some of the top cameras, it's clear that the YI Dash's camera could be better. In our testing this yielded an above average but not top notch score.


Field of View


The YI Dash offers a very wide 165˚ field of view, and does so with generally good effect. Everything in the frame looks in focus, with just a bit of visible distortion around the edges. That distortion falls quite short of being annoying, but doesn't live up to the near absence of distortion in the 170˚ views of the AUKEY DR02 and the Vantrue N2 Pro Uber Dual.

Daytime Video Quality


The YI Dash's 2.3k resolution results in a very clear picture, one that generally matches the quality of video from the AUKEY DR02 However, the YI Dash has a bit more trouble with very bright lighting conditions. On some of our very sunny testing days the YI tended to wash out the picture a bit, making it somewhat difficult to read license plates on fast-moving cars. The AUKEY has similar problems, adding an odd blue tint to footage taken in bright conditions, but it is able to keep the license plates a bit clearer and less washed out than the YI. Even with this issue, situations where we couldn't find a readable shot of a license plate were rare.



Nighttime Video Quality


At night the YI Dash's video quality is again good enough for almost every situation, but does have some minor drawbacks when compared to the likes of the AUKEY DR02. In general the night footage we captured with the YI looks quite clear with good details and contrast. However, it does struggle with bright street and car lights a bit more than the AUKEY, washing out parts of the image a bit more readily. It also loses a bit more clarity in the periphery of the image than the AUKEY does. However, We still think the YI's video quality is good enough for documenting any driving incidents or scenic cruises.



One final thought. This may be a bit nitpicky, and we understand that we live in a world where self-promotion is key, but we kind of wish that all of the YI's footage didn't have a YI logo plastered in the corner. Most companies do this, but YI's logo is just more noticeable.

Video Capture


In our initial review of dash cameras the YI Dash passed our baseline test, as we couldn't find any instances of its G-sensor failing to detect a crash and protect the resulting footage from being overwritten. It also has the all-important automatically-start-recording-when-car-turns-on feature. On top of those basic amenities, it has a fairly nice suite of video capture feature, which earned it a relatively good score.


The biggest downside to the YI Dash's video capture is that only has a single 3-minute option for its loop recording, meaning that once the G-sensor detects an event it will protect the current 3-minute video clip from being overwritten. This is actually a nice middle ground, as the clips are short enough that you need to accumulate a lot before they start to clog up the memory card, but are long enough that there is a fairly low chance an event will trigger the G-sensor right at the end of the 3 minutes, with much of the action falling into the next, unprotected clip. However, the DR02 offers longer 5 and 10-minute options for those who want to be really sure the protected video clips don't' miss anything, and some like the Garmin 55 offer short 1-minute clips for those that want to save as much memory card space as possible.

Even in cloudy conditions the YI's footage looks quite good.
Even in cloudy conditions the YI's footage looks quite good.

Speaking of offloading important footage, the YI Dash makes that incredibly easy and convenient with is own built-in Wi-Fi network. This means you can wirelessly send video clips from the camera straight to your phone. Notably, this is a feature that the competing AUKEY DR02 lacks. While this feature adds a lot of convenience, and is almost essential if you want to be able to quickly share clips on social media, it certainly isn't a necessity. We found that transporting the occasional clips we wanted on our phones using a microSD card and computer as intermediaries wasn't too much of a hassle.

The YI also offers emergency recording at the push of a button. If you see something you want to save, just press the emergency recording button to start a recording, then press it again to end the recording, and everything in between will be protected from being overwritten.

Interface


The YI Dash earned some high accolades in our interface testing, thanks to well-designed controls and a very large screen.


The YI's four buttons are well-labeled and allow for easy navigation of its menus. We generally were able to find and adjust all of the settings we wanted to without consulting the user manual. The best part of the YI's interface is the 2.7-inch screen, one of the largest we've seen on a dash cam. Looking through menus and even reviewing video clips just feels much more pleasant than doing so on the relatively paltry 1.5-inch screen of theAUKEY DR02.

We love the YI's large screen.
We love the YI's large screen.

Visual Footprint


The YI Dash is quite small with its largest dimension bing 2.9-inches, and its adhesive mount is accordingly small. However, its mount design dictates that it should placed near the rearview mirror instead of being put in a corner of the dash. This makes it a bit more noticeable than most cameras, but it still generally hides from view. If you really hate seeing things in your periphery while driving, this camera may not be for you, but we think most people won't be bothered by its presence. If you do fall into the former category, the nearly invisible AUKEY DR02 is definitely a better choice.


The YI lacks the more contoured  streamlined designs of other models  but still isn't too much of an eyesore.
The YI lacks the more contoured, streamlined designs of other models, but still isn't too much of an eyesore.

Value


At a relatively low cost, the YI Dash gets you pretty much everything you could need from a dash cam. If you definitely want built-in Wi-Fi it is probably the best value on the market. However, if you could take or leave built-in Wi-Fi and can stand to spend just a bit more, the better video quality of the $70 AUKEY DR02 provides a slightly better value.

Conclusion


The YI Dash is a very inexpensive dash camera that delivers on pretty much all dash cam promises, but you can get better video quality for just a bit more.


Max Mutter and Steven Tata