Based on our research, the video quality on YI Dome Camera U is similar to that of other YI security cameras in daytime and nighttime conditions. The 1080p resolution offers enough detail to read half-inch handwritten text as far as six feet but starts to lose clarity as you move further away from the camera. Facial features are generally distinctive until you hit 15 feet—it helps that many rooms in a home aren’t bigger than this.
The camera shows a bright infrared image at night, but the IR LEDs aren’t powerful enough to illuminate more than 10 feet from the camera. In general, we found that YI cameras lack strong night vision compared to other brands. The YI Dome Camera U’s good enough for watching over your house, but we think Reolink and Wyze offer better quality for the price.
The YI Dome Camera U is compatible with two mobile apps: YI Home and Kami Home, but the difference is entirely cosmetic. It doesn’t matter which app you use. Regardless, this app is your portal to setting up the camera, viewing video recordings, adjusting the camera’s pan and tilt, and talking with people using two-way audio.
The app interface is simple but heavily gears toward getting you to buy one of the expensive cloud storage plans. Counterintuitively, tapping on the Cloud tab won’t show you the clips available on free cloud storage. Instead, you need to choose the Alerts tab to see recent recordings.
For a YI camera to record and send activity alerts to the app, we found that you need to put the system in Away mode on the home screen. This is a nice way of knowing that your cameras aren’t active, but we’d prefer a way to capture free cloud video in the background without notifications.
We used a microSD card for local storage during our tests of other YI cameras, but it took a Google search to find out how to view these recordings in the YI app. The videos don’t have a dedicated tab like the cloud storage and alerts—instead requiring a tap on the camera’s live view to show the recording timeline.
While the timeline is an easy way to view recent recordings, it takes a lot of swiping to check out older clips. This is way more tedious than the simple album of clips most other camera brands use (or even the Alerts tab in the YI Home app).
Connecting the microSD card to a computer isn’t any better since it organizes clips into folders for every hour of the day—potentially creating 24 folders a day for you to sort through. When a camera can record days or weeks of footage, you’re suddenly looking through hundreds of folders.