YI Outdoor Security Camera Review

Table of Contents

It’s been a while since YI has come out with any new cameras after the YI 1080p HD indoor camera, so I’m obviously excited when I hear that they’ve come out with an outdoor version. It features a partnership with Noonlight, as we’ve reported on in the past. Of course, I’m going to have to see if it measures up to Security Baron’s Necessary Features Test, which will determine if it’s worth it’s relatively affordable $80 price tag (most outdoor cameras are in the range of $150 to $200). Alright, we have a ton to go over, so let’s get started!

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YI Outdoor Security Camera
YI Outdoor Security Camera
YI Outdoor Security Camera

This super-durable outdoor camera has great infrared night vision, two-way audio, plus cloud and local storage. 

Pros and Cons 

YI Outdoor Camera Review
YI Outdoor Camera and Box

Before I tell you about every last detail, let’s go over the best and worst things about the YI Outdoor Security Camera. We’ll start with pros:

  • Water-resistance: With an IP rating of 65, the YI Outdoor Security Camera can truly weather any storm— pun very intended
  • 1080p HD video: The YI Outdoor Security Camera has the industry standard for video display which produces a clear and beautiful picture
  • Infrared night vision: With 12 LED beads, the YI Outdoor Security Camera lets you see up to 50 feet away even in pitch black conditions

Of course, the YI Outdoor Security Camera is not without it’s faults, such as:

  • No person detection: The YI Outdoor Security Camera can only tell you when it has detected motion, but it can’t tell the difference between different moving objects
  • Narrow field of view: Although the YI Outdoor Security Camera can rotate all the way around on it’s ball mount, the actual field of view is only 110 degrees
  • No free cloud storage: You’ll have to invest in a Standard or Premium plan to get cloud storage, which starts at $19.99 for three months

First Impressions

YI Outdoor Camera Review
YI Outdoor Camera

Looks-wise, the YI Outdoor Security Camera is pretty standard and generic looking, similar to other outdoor cameras on the market. It’s white with a black camera and white, 10 foot long power cord. Like I said before, it has what’s called a “universal ball mount” which means that it can rotate 360 degrees for more visibility. That’s good, as it’s field of view is a bit more narrow than I’d like.

Now, this is an outdoor camera, which means that it needs to work through rain, snow or shine. Fortunately, the YI Outdoor Security Camera has an IP rating of 65. What does that mean, exactly?

IP Ratings
IP Ratings

Well, it means that it’s completely dust-tight and protected against all solids, from falling leaves to hail. When it comes to liquids like rain, as long as you don’t spray the YI Outdoor Security Camera with powerful water jets or immerse it in water, it’ll keep on keeping on in temperatures from five to 122 degrees Fahrenheit.

YI Outdoor Camera Review
YI Outdoor Camera Base and Cord

Another design element I’m noticing is it’s power. The YI Outdoor Security Camera plugs in via a standard extension cord. This could be a problem for you if you want to place your camera somewhere that’s far from an outlet, so that’s a very important factor to keep in mind.

Aside from durability and power, I’m initially taking note of the YI Outdoor Security Camera’s 12 LED beads, slot for a micro-SD card, and microphone and speaker enabling two-way audio. But I’m keeping ahead of myself— let’s move on to reviewing the camera itself.

Necessary Features

You know what time it is. It’s time for Security Baron’s Necessary Features Test, where I make sure that the camera’s specifications match up with my experience actually using the product. Let’s get started with the YI Outdoor Security Camera.

Video

YI Outdoor Camera Video Display Outside
YI Outdoor Camera Video Display Outside

It’s not surprising that the YI Outdoor Security Camera has 1080p HD video display, as this is the current standard in the security camera industry. Now, it’s field of view is a bit narrow at only 110 degrees, but this camera can turn all the way around on it’s ball mount, so that’s something to keep in mind. It also has digital zoom, but unfortunately, it’s only enough for half marks. 

Night Vision

YI Outdoor Camera Night Vision
YI Outdoor Camera Night Vision

The YI Outdoor Security Camera has infrared night vision stemming from a whopping 12 LED sensors, although I was a bit disappointed by the quality. The website tells you that it lets you see 50 feet away, but I didn’t necessarily agree. Still, the night vision is passable so I’ll give the camera full marks.

Audio Quality

YI Outdoor Camera Speaker
YI Outdoor Camera Speaker

Two-way audio is a Security Baron Necessary Features, and the YI Outdoor Security Camera passes with flying colors. Not only does it have two-way audio, but the microphone is noise-cancelling to get rid of background noises, so that you only hear the voice of the person you’re talking to! It’s not the best audio ever, but the camera still gets full marks for audio.

Storage

YI Camera Storage
YI Camera Storage

When it comes to storing your security camera footage, I recommend storing it in two different places, on cloud and local storage. That’s why I’m so happy that the YI Outdoor Security Camera not only has a slot for a micro-SD card from eight to 64 GB, but also offers cloud storage.

Now, you’ll get a free, one month trial of cloud storage with the purchase of the YI Outdoor Security Camera, but after that, you’re going to have to pay for seven, 15 or 30 days. If you choose a week of cloud storage, you can pay either every three months or every year, while the 15 and 30 day plans give you options for a month and a year. These prices aren’t the most reasonable that I’ve seen, but they’re certainly not the most expensive, either. Despite the fact that there is no free cloud storage, I’m going to give the YI Outdoor Security Camera full marks for storage as it offers cloud and local.

Artificial Intelligence

One drawback of the YI Outdoor Security Camera is it’s lack of person detection. Person detection allows a camera to differentiate between people and other moving objects like cars, animals, and even trees swaying in the breeze. It makes your notifications more specific and necessary, as you won’t be notified by motion of any kind, only human. Unfortunately, the YI Outdoor Security Camera lacks any artificial intelligence features, which is why I’m giving it no marks for this category. On the plus side, the camera does allow for activity zones, which make your notifications more specific.

Smart Platform Integrations

Unfortunately, this camera doesn’t work with Alexa or Google Assistant, so I had to give it no marks for this category.

Convenience

Installing the YI Outdoor Camera
Installing the YI Outdoor Camera

The YI Outdoor camera was pretty to setup. I already had the YI Home app downloaded, so all I did was connect my camera to Wi-Fi, scan it’s QR code, and I was done in five minutes. The camera comes with all the necessary mounting hardware, and it’s easy to set up cloud service, download and share clips. The one inconvenient feature was that every time I wanted to remove my micro-SD card, I had to unscrew a little plastic piece to get to it. Despite this, the YI Outdoor deserves full marks for convenience.

Value

Although I wasn’t thrilled with every aspect of the YI Outdoor camera, it definitely isn’t breaking the bank at $80, plus it have two-way audio, infrared night vision, plus 1080p HD video. All in all, I’d give it full marks for value.

Noonlight and YI  

noonlight-yi-partnership
Noonlight x YI. Photo provided by Noonlight.

For an additional $4.99 a month, you can get an emergency response service 24/7 through Noonlight. Noonlight provides affordable professional monitoring so that you can get help if you need during an emergency. Let’s say that your camera senses motion when it’s armed and you don’t respond to the mobile notification. Anytime day or night, the professional monitoring team can check into the situation for you, and if they discover an emergency happening, be it an intrusion or even a medical emergency or fire, they can contact the proper services, the police, hospital, or fire department. This gives you the assurance that even if you’re busy, you can get the help you need to protect your home.

Aside from professional monitoring, Noonlight also sends your contact information to the police, like your name, phone number and address, so that they can help you quicker than if you had to give them this information over the phone. When it comes to emergencies, every second counts, which is why this feature is so essential.

Finally, Noonlight offers a safety button that connects you to 911 immediately, which could be useful if you’re in a time crunch. Noonlight has a partnership with Lyft, so if you’re in a Lyft and feeling unsafe, you can simply press the emergency button and the police will come to your exact location. This is actually a free feature that you can get with or without professional monitoring. I recommend doing this plan, as it’s super affordable and could make a major difference in the event of an emergency.

Related: Notion Offers Professional Monitoring Through Noonlight

The YI Home App 

The YI Home App
The YI Home App

The YI Home app is your mobile command center for your YI Outdoor Security Camera, where you’ll livestream footage, speak through two-way audio, view old footage, receive motion notifications, and more. The app is highly-rated, with a 4.5 from Android users and a 4.7 from iPhone users. Android-user Brenda Johnston wrote in a recent three star review,

“I bought the kit of four cameras (1080p) to keep watch on our home. Installation, set up, camera picture, all settings are great! The only problem I have is that my Wi-Fi signal isn’t strong enough for the places I needed to put them. So make sure you have a good Wi-Fi signal or else the video will stall constantly.”

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YI Outdoor Security Camera
YI Outdoor Security Camera
YI Outdoor Security Camera

This super-durable outdoor camera has great infrared night vision, two-way audio, plus cloud and local storage. 

Comparisons

Now I want to compare the YI Outdoor Security Camera to two of my favorite outdoor cameras, the Ring Spotlight Cam Battery and the Nest Cam Outdoor. Both of these cameras are from companies owned by giants Amazon and Google, respectively, so I’m curious to see if the underdog YI camera can compete. Let’s find out together!

YI Outdoor Security Camera vs. Ring Spotlight Cam Battery

Ring Spotlight Cam Battery on Table
Ring Spotlight Cam Battery on Table

Although both the YI Outdoor Security Camera and the Ring Spotlight Cam Battery are both outdoor cameras, the YI camera is much more durable, as the Ring camera can’t handle water jets of any kind, although it does have a larger temperature range of negative five to 120 degrees Fahrenheit compared to five to 122. But taking a step back, the YI Outdoor Security Camera and the Ring Spotlight have a lot in common, like 1080p HD video, infrared night vision, two-way audio, local storage and paid cloud storage options, although Ring’s are much cheaper. Plus, Ring offers 24/7 professional monitoring, again, for lower prices than the YI Outdoor Security Camera.

ring-protect-plans
Ring Protect Plans

Unfortunately, neither camera has person detection, which is a bummer.

Aside from those similarities, the Ring Spotlight Cam Battery beats the YI Outdoor Security Camera when it comes to video, with a field of view 30 degrees wider at 140 degrees. However, at $199, it’s more than twice the cost of the YI Outdoor Security Camera. Why the huge price difference? Well, the Ring Spotlight Cam Battery has, naturally, a built-in spotlight and 110-decibel siren. Plus, it’s wireless so you won’t have to worry about plugging it into an outlet that can reach the outdoors. It also works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, allowing for voice commands.

For more information, read my full review of the Ring Spotlight Cam Battery.

YI Outdoor Security Camera vs. Nest Cam Outdoor

nest-cam-outdoor-review
Nest Cam Outdoor

The Nest Cam Outdoor is as expensive as the Ring Spotlight Cam Battery at $199, so it’s going to have to have amazing features to beat the $80 YI Outdoor Security Camera. Well, in terms of commonalities, both cameras have 1080p HD video, infrared night vision, two-way audio, IP ratings of 65, and paid cloud storage options, although Nest’s are even more pricey than YI’s.

nest-aware-storage
Nest Aware Storage

Now, the Nest Cam Outdoor lacks any local storage, which is a clear disadvantage, but it makes up for it with person detection, which the YI Outdoor Security Camera lacks. Not to mention it has activity zones, which let you tell your camera which areas to look out for and which areas to ignore, useful for an outdoor camera that may capture public property or a neighbor’s yard.

what-are-activity-zones
Activity Zones

The Nest Cam Outdoor’s camera is also more impressive, with the ability to zoom in eight times plus a field of view 20 degrees wider than that of the YI Outdoor Security Camera, although it can’t rotate all the way around. Plus, the Nest Cam Outdoor works with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, plus Philips Hue lightbulbs so you can create some smart home automations.

To learn more, read my full review of the Nest Cam Outdoor.

Recap 

So, is the YI Outdoor Security Camera a good choice for an outdoor security camera? Ultimately, I’m going to say yes. For just $80, you can get excellent video, infrared night vision, and two-way audio, all in a durable package. However, the YI Outdoor Security Camera definitely has some drawbacks, so it’s not for everybody; let me break it down in detail.

Go with the YI Outdoor Security Camera if you’d like…

  • 1080p HD video: The YI Outdoor Security Camera definitely hits on the basic functions of a camera, with clear video display
  • Infrared night vision: Even at night, you’ll be able to monitor the outside of your home clearly with the YI Outdoor Security Camera
  • Two-way audio: Speak to whoever your YI Outdoor Security Camera is on through it’s speaker and microphone

But avoid it if you don’t want…

  • Paid cloud storage: Unfortunately, you’ll have to pay for cloud storage once your initial one month trial is over
  • No person detection: You may receive some unnecessary notifications when using the YI Outdoor Security Camera
  • No smart platform integrations: The YI Outdoor camera doesn’t work with Alexa or Google Assistant.

To explore other great options, check out my list of the best outdoor cameras of 2019.

FAQs

Does Yi make an outdoor camera?

Yi does make an outdoor camera available for only $79.99.

Is the Yi camera waterproof?

With an IP rating of 65, the YI outdoor camera is completely dust-tight and protected against all solids, from falling leaves to hail. When it comes to liquids like rain, as long as you don’t spray the YI Outdoor Security Camera with powerful water jets or immerse it in water, it’ll keep on keeping on in temperatures from five to 122 degrees Fahrenheit.

How do I connect my Yi outdoor camera?

To connect my YI outdoor camera, I already had the YI Home app downloaded, so all I did was connect my camera to Wi-Fi, scan it’s QR code, and I was done in five minutes.

Gabe Turner

Gabe Turner

Gabe Turner is an attorney and journalist with a passion for home tech and secure, efficient living. Since graduating from NYU Law, he has maintained a paradoxical existence of trying to live life adventurously while remaining staunchly risk-averse. He is torn by the dual desires of wanting to only be in Brooklyn writing about housing policy and smart home tech and aspiring to visit his friends scattered across the globe. Gabe believes that stable, safe communities are the cornerstone to a vibrant and healthy society, and it is this passion that brought him to contribute to Security Baron.

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