Yi seems to make almost anything with a camera in it. From prosumer level mirrorless cameras down to wifi home cameras they do it all, and Dash cameras are no exception. Today we have their Mirror Dash Cam in for review which is actually a 2 camera kit. Composed of an all in one mirror camera unit and an external rear camera yi seeks to do it all.
Kit and contents
The first thing you’re greeted by when opening the package is the massive mirror itself. Yi did an excellent job hiding the display underneath the mirror as it’s almost invisible when powered off. looking at the mirror unit we find all of it’s connectors(usb rear camera and microSD) along it’s top edge. On the bottom you’ll also find it’s power button although the auto power on/off works well enough I’ve never had to use it. The rear camera appears to be a fairly standard device with a 1280×720 resolution although a custom cable end is included for it. The only thing really missing from this kit is a quick splice for the rear camera. The exclusion of a microSD card is fairly standard, I would however have liked to see the usb adapter been a 2 port one at the very least although it works just fine with any 2amp or higher port.
Installing the entire setup was fairly painless(although I did have to flip the rear camera after the fact). There’s enough give in the trim and door seals of a modern american car to hide the wires without too much effort although an auto trim kit does make this easier. The rubber band kit keeps the mirror in place with little effort they’re tight and secure. The only “scary” parts of installing the kit from a damage to the car point of view are the rear camera(2 small holes) and it’s associated power cable. Neither of these are particularly problematic and if you choose to skip the ear camera(you don’t NEED it although it is nice) they go away entirely. There is a wifi connected app that will allow you to configure the mirror as well as transfer videos to your phone however as everything can be configured on the mirror directly it is optional.
Usage and sample footage
Once it’s setup you basically forget the dash cam is there since it’s strapped over your Mirror. I’ve found it comfortable (I always thought the mirror in my car was too small) and outside of a few accidental “emergency recordings”(due to shifting the mirror between myself and the wife) it always seems to work as intended. I do wish that the accelerometer in the mirror would perform some additional functions such as a speed overlay, or gps data if your phone was connected however those are both features that could be added via firmware update down the road. I’d like to see the video frame rate increase(Some of yi’s newer cameras offer 60fps at 1080p) as it would make reading plates a bit easier. That said an increase like that would also require a bigger card as the 64Gb card is good for 6-8 hours of footage in my experience.
Backup camera and screen
Although difficult to get a picture of the rear camera inside the mirror is just amazing. I’ve always found in dash backup cameras more harm than good but placing it directly in the mirror I want to look at anyway is perfect. I did find that the red wire in my car seems always powered which disallows the “auto switch” function the rear camera should offer but this is an issue specific to my cars wiring.
The concept of placing the dashcam on the mirror itself seems like an ideal design. Keeping the camera central and raised out of the dash where direct sunlight could be an issue in the summer will help lengthen the life of this camera. Other than things which I know yi is capable of from their action cameras like higher frame rates and resolutions, or an overlay using the geforce sensor there isn’t much left on the table. At 79.99 I find it very hard to fault it for any missing features and above what I would expect. Yi has built the camera to beat and I look forward to an updated model if one comes to market.