Tiny Yet Beefy: Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere Camera Is The Whole Package
How does it look?
Measurements: 78×67.40×24.00 mm
What this means: Compared to the spherical design of Gear360, and the Twix-bar-shaped Insta 360 Nano and Theta S, Mi looks more like a regular camera with its flat design. The light weight (108g) also makes it fit easily into your pocket.
How does it work?
Resolution & stabilization
Resolution: Mi supports up to 3.5k at 30fps, but considering the video will be in 360 degrees and an average human field of vision only covers 90 degrees, the actual resolution in VR is 1/4 of what’s listed, which we look forward to seeing improved in Mi’s next release.
Stabilization: Mi’s 6-axis stabilization system tackles shaky images head-on and corrects wobble smoothly. Bye-bye nausea and disorientation, and hello discomfort-free viewing experiences!
Check out this jitter-less skiing video and see for yourself!
Battery life: 1 hour
Why: As there isn’t a display on the camera, you will have to monitor what you’re recording by connecting the camera to your phone through Wi-Fi; the device heating up is also an important factor.
To connect the camera to your phone, all you need to do is press the Wi-Fi button on your camera and connect your phone to Mi’s network.
Dustproof (check) waterproof (check)
The IP67 standard for Mi shuts out dust perfectly; also the camera can record for 30 minutes 1m/3.28ft underwater. It can take some light snorkeling, but you might want to be careful before you use it for more heavy-duty underwater shootings.
Watch out: To waterproof your camera typically implies you need to fully enclose it in impermeable materials, which tends to lead to overheating.
Can overheating be a problem for Mi? The camera is not without its countermeasures against overheating, but the issue might surface after 20 minutes of consecutive recording, and if connected to your phone, it might also heat your phone up.
Compatibility: Does it work with my phone?
Mi Sphere Camera is one of the most compatible 360 cameras on the market, supporting most, if not all, mainstream Android (5.0 and above)/iOS (9.0 and above) devices.
Mi does not offer in-camera stitching yet, which can be done through their mobile app, also named “Mi Sphere Camera”. With the app, you can also readjust camera settings, monitor camera view and support editing & color correction, the whole shebang. The overall control system is very streamlined, but you might experience slight lagging when previewing your videos due to your Bluetooth/Wi-Fi connection speed, also the image quality will be reduced to marginally better than 720p.
Here’s a sample video made by Mi Sphere Camera:
For more Mi videos, search “MadV” in the VeeR app or on our website.
Pros and cons?
6-axis stabilization system;
Dust-proof and water-proof;
Easy to share to major social media and VR platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, VeeR, WeChat, and Sina Weibo.
Relatively poor resolution under insufficient lighting;
Overheating after 20 minutes of shooting;
If you upload your videos before disconnecting your phone, your videos will be uploaded at the expense of your data (so always remember to disconnect your phone first and upload through Wi-Fi).
To give you a better idea of where Mi stands in face of competition, we came up with this comparison chart between Mi and another major consumer 360 camera—Samsung Gear 360. Advantages of either brand are marked in teal.
|Brand||Mi Sphere Camera||Samsung Gear 360 (2017 Version)|
|Price (subject to change)||$259 (1699 RMB)||$199 on Amazon|
|Resolution||Dual Lens: 6912*3456||Dual Lens Mode: 5472*2736
Single Lens Mode: 2304*1296
|Photo Quality||23.88 Megapixels||30 Megapixels|
|Recording Time||75 Mins with Wi-Fi on;
90 Mins with Wi-Fi off
|Up to 130 Mins with Wi-Fi off|
|Dimensions||78 * 67.40 * 24.00mm||100.6×46.3×45.1mm|
|Compatibility||Android 5.0 and above
iOS 9.0 and above
|Galaxy S8, S8+, S7, S7 Edge, Note5, S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+, A5/A7 (2017) running Android 5.0 or later
iPhone 7，7+，6S，6S+，SE running iOS 10.0 or later
|Stabilization||EIS (Electronic Image Stabilization) System||None|
Worth my money?
And the VeeRdict is: Yes, the Mi Sphere Camera is a good buy. A consumer-grade 360 action camera in a traditional flat design, IP67 proof, and user-friendly, all for a good price. It might not get any better than that!
Where to buy?
Want a Mi for yourself? Buy One Now!
Don’t forget to share your work with us at VeeR!
Find more 360 camera reviews on VR Hardware Review:
VeeR VR is a leading VR content platform with the mission of empowering everyone to create and share virtual reality content. Within a year of its establishment, it’s become a phenomenon sweeping through the 360 community, and has been featured on Google Daydream, Samsung Gear VR and HTC Vive. While we believe that VR is the future of storytelling, we want to encourage all VR lovers to create beyond boundaries.