Sleek new design
High-quality video and night vision
Motion, human, and sound detection
PIN protection and “privacy mode”
Optional local storage
Decreased pan/tilt range
Can’t find “pet detection”
We purchased the YI Dome Camera X so our writer could put it to the test. Keep reading for our full product review.
Security cameras like the YI Dome Camera X have become a staple in many people’s homes, not only because they provide peace of mind when you’re away but because they’re increasingly affordable. This particular best-selling security camera boasts a low price tag as well as a long list of high-tech features, so you may find yourself asking, “What’s the catch?”
We wanted to see if this camera truly lives up to the hype, so I tested it in my apartment for a few weeks. I used the camera to keep tabs on my pets, monitor maintenance staff, and more. Here are my thoughts on everything the security camera has to offer.
Setup: Quick and painless
I’ve tested YI Cameras before, and I could immediately tell that this manufacturer is trying to step it up with the YI Dome X. While past models arrived in flimsy, dented boxes, the YI Dome X came in a high-quality box that is carefully packaged. It comes with a power cable and mounting hardware.
It took me less than a minute to set up this security camera. I plugged it in (it is a wired model, so it has to be near an outlet), scanned a QR code in the app, and it was good to go. The process was genuinely painless, which can’t be said for similar "smart" devices.
Design: Sleek exterior but lessened range
The specs on this model have improved in one aspect but taken a step back in another area. I’ll start with the positives of this updated YI Dome X. The camera got a casing makeover; it's sleeker and more modern than past models. It also has a smaller base that makes it easier to place on thin shelving.
Another new design feature that I really liked was “privacy mode.” There’s an on/off toggle switch in the camera settings, and when I turned it off, the camera’s “eyeball” rolled up into the cover. This basically prevents anyone from watching you in case your feed gets compromised. A feature carried over from the older model, you can add an extra step of requiring a PIN before logging onto the stream. These security features gave me peace of mind that the connected camera couldn't be hacked.
The disappointing aspect: This model has a lessened pan/tilt range than its predecessors. The old YI Dome Camera featured 345-degree horizontal and 115-degree vertical rotation, while the Dome X only offers 340-degree horizontal and 95-degree vertical rotation. It has a 110-degree wide-angle lens to let you see virtually the whole room, but I was still bummed at the decreased vertical range.
Video: Crisp, clear video for day and night
This camera films video in 1080p full high-definition, which is the same as the previous model. However, the difference is that the Dome X films at 20 frames per second (fps), up from 15fps. This refers to the number of individual video frames that the camera captures each second, and the increased rate yields a clearer image. Overall, I was really impressed with the video quality, which stayed relatively crisp even when I zoomed in to spy on my dog.
I was disappointed to learn that this model has a lessened pan/tilt range than its predecessors.
What’s even better is that the Dome X delivers high-quality nighttime video, too. It uses infrared light to capture impressive-looking footage in the dark without lighting up the room.
Audio: Usable, but it could be better
To test out the camera’s two-way audio abilities, I used my boyfriend as a test subject. I went outside our apartment, where I was no longer connected to Wi-Fi, and spoke to him through the camera. He rated the audio quality as a 4 out of 10; it was really quiet and pretty broken up, but he could still understand me. I could hear him just fine. So, the audio definitely works, but there’s room for more improvement.
The App: Lots of functionality
I’ve tested multiple YI Cameras, and it seems like they’ve done some work to improve the quality of the YI App. It’s sleek and works well—I’ve never had any issues with it crashing or not connecting, even when I was testing multiple cameras at the same time.
Plus, there are lots of options in the camera settings. I messed around with the camera’s various features (read the next section), enabled privacy settings, tested the camera’s connection, and even set it to auto-cruise, which makes it rotate continuously, stopping at preset locations throughout the room.
The only complaint I have about the YI app is that it could be a little better organized. It can be tricky to find where certain features have been categorized in the menu. For instance, the option to turn on photo/video notifications when you get an activity alert isn’t in the same section as the actual activity alert settings. I got a knack for navigating the app after a few weeks, but it’s not the most intuitively designed.
Special Features: All the old features, plus some new ones!
The YI Dome X has no shortage of features. It has standard functions like motion-detection alerts and zoom, but the company has also expanded on previous cameras' skillset to include some interesting new options.
One of the best features of this camera is its motion-detection and motion-tracking abilities. When this setting was turned on, I would get a push notification on my phone every time my boyfriend, cat, or dog walked by. If I logged into the app, I could see a 6-second video clip of whatever triggered the sensor. These clips are stored for a week unless you upgrade to a more comprehensive YI Cloud subscription.
The YI Dome X has no shortage of features.
Additionally, with “human detection” enabled, the notifications let me know if a person was in the shot—helpful since it was usually my cat walking by 80 times. The camera claims to have “pet detection,” but I couldn’t find this setting, which was disappointing. To minimize the number of notifications I was getting, I put notifications on a schedule (so it only sends alerts when we’re not home), and I turned down its sensitivity.
I also really liked that the camera includes an “abnormal sound detection” that will pick up on a baby crying, dog barking, and other out-of-the-ordinary noises. This let me use it as a pet camera, but you could also have it in a nursery to monitor your little one.
Other helpful features include the ability to put an SD card into the camera to record footage without a YI Cloud subscription and the ability to take 6-hour time-lapse videos.
Price: As low as they go
The YI Dome X is a steal at $59.99. This camera is packed with high-end features, and I was truly impressed with its overall performance. Other security cameras with similar functionality are often double the price, so you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better value.
Competition: The YI Dome X beats out older models
YI 1080p Dome Camera: The YI 1080p Dome Camera is the previous model in this line of cameras, and it can usually be found on sale for about $40. It doesn’t have quite as many features as the Dome X; it’s notably missing the local storage option and human detection (it only can sense a baby crying, not all noises). However, it still delivers high-quality video day and night, as well as motion-triggered push notifications.
YI 720p Dome Camera: The 720p Dome Camera is two models behind the Dome X, and honestly, you’re better off going with one of the newer models. The 720p option is standard HD and not full HD, so it delivers a more pixelated, laggy video stream, and it’s missing several key features, such as sound alerts.
A sleek, feature-packed security camera for a low price.
If you’re looking for a high-tech security camera for your home or business, the YI Dome Camera X should be a top contender. Don’t be fooled by its low price—this affordable camera delivers incredible video and a wide range of features, allowing it to be used as a nursery cam, pet cam, and more.
- Product Name Dome Camera X
- Product Brand YI
- Price $59.99
- Weight 14.8 oz.
- Color White
- Warranty 1 year