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The Next Big Thing

Xiaomi goes after GoPro with new action camera half the price of US rival's

PUBLISHED : Monday, 02 March, 2015, 4:29pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 April, 2015, 11:30am

Xiaomi, China’s largest smartphone maker, today unveiled its line of action cameras which will retail for around half the price of market-leader GoPro's products.

The first batch of the Yi Action Camera, starting at 399 yuan (US$64), sold out in hours on multiple channels, powered by strong demand from surfers, skydivers and other action junkies.

A travel edition of the camera which comes with a selfie stick mount and costs 499 yuan also sold out in hours.

The GoPro Hero, the California-based company’s entry-level camera, sells for about US$130.

A Xiaomi representative declined to reveal how many units of the cameras were sold since the products went on sale in China at 10am this morning, but said the numbers were in the thousands. A second-round sale would likely take place in about a week, he said.

Watch: Cyclist Rémy Métailler uses a GoPro to film his incredible downhill speed run in Taxco, Mexico

Videos taken by "action" cameras, which can be mounted on helmets, boards, bikes and dog harnesses, have become very popular on the internet. GoPro dominates the market with a massive 94 per cent share, and rival Sony a far second at 3 per cent, according to an industry estimate.

The Yi Action Camera records video at 1080p (60 frames per second) and includes a 16-megapixel camera that uses Sony’s highly rated Exmor R CMOS image sensor. This compares favorably with the Hero, which records at 1080p30 or 720p60 and has a five-megapixel camera.

The f/2,8 aperture lens captures ultra-wide 155-degree panoramic views, slightly narrower than the Hero’s 170 degrees. It has a built in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and an app for editing and sharing video on your smartphone.

It also beats the Hero on memory, with 64GB of storage that is double the size of the Hero, weight, and battery. On par with the Hero, it can go 40 meters underwater.

Unlike the Hero however, it does not come with a plastic protective case.