The Xiaomi XiaoFang is a compact wireless portable camera capable of recording video at maximum resolutions of 1080P. They are designed in the shape of a box, very portable in size (50x 50 x 56 mm). It can be used as a Smart IP security camera compatible, with most external power sources, for example, Power Bank or PC equipped with a standard USB interface, which makes this product very handy using outdoors or indoors in a living room, bedroom, and so forth.
Xiaomi added a few innovative functions, such as multiple camera linking and sharing. Remote operation and control via the Wi-Fi network using a mobile phone. It also offers special intruder alarms, motion and sound detection functions, and a smoke alarm in case of a fire. The camera also has a magnetic base that makes it easy to mount on most metallic surfaces.
|IP Camera Performance:||Night Vision, Two-way Audio|
|Feature:||WiFi, Remote Monitoring, Voice Intercom|
|Max. Memory Supported:||64GB|
|Wireless / WiFi:||802.11 b/g/n|
|Installation Type:||Rotating Base Magnetic Adsorption|
|Lens Specifications:||F2.0 Aperture|
|Infrared Lamp Board:||2PCS, 850nm, 0.5W|
|Night Vision Distance:||9M|
|Voice System:||Support two-way voice transmission|
|Working Temperature:||0℃ – 40℃|
|Application:||Android 4.0 or iOS 7.0 and above|
|Size:||56 x 50 x 50 mm / 2.20 x 1.97 x 1.97 inch|
|Weight:||100 g / 3.53 oz|
Xiaomi XiaoFang Camera Highlights
- Mobile Phone Controlled.
- Remote Voice Intercom.
- Wi-Fi Direct mode – Can be used with a mobile phone without Wireless Network.
- It can Be Used with a Power Bank as a power supply Source.
- Cloud Data Encryption – Integrates with the Xiaomi cloud service for privacy.
Special Alarm / Monitoring Functions
- Motion Detection – Record and notify when the camera recognizes movement.
- Smoke Alarm Sound Detection – When placed near a smoke alarm detector.
- CO Alarm Sound Detection – When placed near a CO detector.
- Support automatic synthesis of 180 degrees super wide-angle picture.
- Support Real-time Zoom function.
- Night Vision- The environment can be viewed in complete darkness.
Multi-picture in One Screen – Take your smartphone as a mobile monitoring room, 110° wide-angle lens, and distortion correction algorithm, which is broader and more accurate. You can use Xiaomi APP to bind multiple cameras to simultaneously show all their real-time shooting screens on the phone screen, grasping the overall situation.
Two cameras can be combined by magnetic force to composite 180° super wide-angle picture automatically, with no delay, like a Mechanical PTZ camera.
Put it anywhere you need. The camera can be rotated to any angle. You can attach the camera in any metal, like a refrigerator or heating, fix it on the wall with double-sided adhesive tape, and even hang it from the ceiling.
The XiaoFang camera came well packed in a lovely green and white-colored package with illustrations and icons on the back of the box showing various functions this camera offers.
The Xiaomi XiaoFang Camera Package
- 1 x XiaoFang Camera
- 1 x User Guide (in the Chinese Language)
- 1 x 1.8M USB to Micro-USB (Power Cable)
- 1 x Retrieve card pin
Appearance, Design, Build Quality
The camera body has a clean, squared-shaped box made from plastic with a base unit connected to a pin/axis. The surfaces of the camera’s body are glossy, giving it a very high quality, stylish type look to the product, as you are holding an expensive product and not a low-cost ~$26 camera. The camera can also be rotated 360 degrees, including up and down directions. Another excellent idea by Xiaomi was the fordable magnetic base unit that lets you attach it to metal surfaces. An excellent option for mounting the camera to metal doors and Door frames.
Xiaomi XiaoFang Camera | Full View
Xiaomi XiaoFang Mounted on Metal Door
Operate the camera. You will need to use a 5V – 1A power source. Optional power sources can be a standard power adapter PC / Mini PC with a standard USB Host interface. For outdoor usage, you can even use a power bank or solar panel or connect it to a small single-board computer, such as the Orange Pi Zero, with an external Wi-Fi antenna set to operate in access point mode and get the power from its USB host port.
You will not have any internal power source built inside the camera. In the power supply, Xiaomi included a 1.8M USB to Micro-USB flat cable that is more than enough in length if you place the camera at a distance from the power source. You can always use a standard mobile phone charging/data cable if a shorter one is needed.
Xiaomi XiaoFang Camera Power Cable
The user guide is written in Chinese because the XiaoFang camera is mainly designed for the Chinese domestic market. Despite that, with some basic logic and understanding, it’s straightforward to understand all steps needed to connect the camera with the “My Home” App that has English and guides the user during the setup process.
For the first time step, you will first need to download the “My Home” Application by scanning the QR code located on the side of the left side package or download it directly from the google play store. The next step is opening an account by registering via email and password. After you are logged inside the app, you can choose the camera connection mode you prefer.
Now, for the less positive thing in setting this camera. The setup process involves inserting a pin tool inside the camera setup hole to establish a link between the camera and the phone. It’s less comfortable and sometimes annoying if you need to repeat the same steps a few times. In my opinion, it was a much better idea in terms of design to use a small button without depending on or needing to use it.
Establishing a Camera Phone Link:
Cloud – After subscribing and logging inside the ‘Mi Home’ App, you will need us the pen tool and push it inside the setup hole of the camera until you hear the Chinese verbal instruction telling you to proceed to the next step that guides you to scan a QR Code until you hear a second voice prompt and for a final step you need to select a local wireless network, enter your password and that’s it you are ready.
- Installing Mi Home App
- Registering an account
- Selecting Camera Mode: Cloud / Wi-Fi Direct
Mi Home Android App
Wi-Fi Direct – in this mode, the camera serves as a type of access point, and a connection between the camera and the phone is made directly, without depending on a local network or server to pass the data. First, you need to define a pin code that is a predefined password for linking both devices. First, you need to define a pin code that is a predefined password for connecting both devices.
This P2P model has limits if you use the camera in a closed and not open environment, for example, indoors, inside rooms where the walls may block and interfere with the radio singles. It is also important to mention that you can’t access the internet via other wireless networks in this mode.
Camera Setup | Wi-Fi Direct Mode
Cloud – The connection with the camera is made through the Xiaomi cloud platform (server). This is the best option for operating the camera indoors or outdoors from every location. Control it a mobile phone from any location using data cellular mobile data connection. In this mode, the link between the phone and the camera is done through the Xiaomi server, compared to the direct WiFi option that establishes a direct P2P method using only the mobile phone and the camera.
Camera Setup | Cloud Mode
Storage – video files and still photos are saved and stored locally on USB Stick, and a Micro SD Card is inserted into the camera. The user can preview them by going to the ‘Gallery’ option and saving them on their mobile phone. I am sure it’s a ‘work in progress type of project, and Xiaomi will also offer cloud storage features soon.
Because this camera is a lot of functions, focusing on its main highlights in terms of practical functions you can find in this product are the night vision feature that lets you view objects in partial or completely dark environments.
Another option that’s also very handy if you are planning on it as a surveillance/security camera is the motion detection function which sends notifications when a moving object is recognized in front of the camera. With ‘Mi Home,’ users can define different environmental scenarios according to specific needs and usage. For example, you can set a timer to start recording tasks at a particular time, day, and seconds.
Xiaomi XiaoFang Camera | Full-Screen view
Camera Control Functions:
- Microphone – This lets you listen to the environment through the mobile phone.
- Screenshot– capturing still photos.
- Talk – Speak with a mobile phone and hear through from the camera speaker.
- Gallery – Display all saved videos/photos.
The camera has a zoom X8 factor. That means that you can also zoom on objects using a Pinch Gesture.
Note: Xiaomi is constantly upgrading its cloud platform and changing the ‘Mi Home’ Mobile App UI. Therefore there might be some differences in future software builds when out.
For a 1MP sensor, the overall quality of produced videos and still pictures in an optimal environment with a lot of light was relatively sharp. The image became blurred and unclear in low light conditions but maintained reasonable quality.
XiaoFang Still Photos | Samples
- Video file: Resolution of 1080P @10 fps, saved in MP4 format.
- Captured Still images: Resolution of 1080P, Saved in PNG format.
Calculating Video Recording Time (Approximation)
- Based on the following formula: GB*8*1000⁄Mbps*3600 = 2.222*GB⁄Mbps
- Source: https://dashboardcamerareviews.com/video-recording-time
- Low light conditions: 245-251 kb/s
- Optimal light conditions: 400 kb/s
- 32GB SD Card : 32×8 x 1000/0.248 x 3600 = ~146 hours
- 32GB SD Card : 32×8 x 1000/0.4 x 3600 = ~177 hours
Although the user guide is in Chinese, if you use some common sense and follow the illustration during the setup screens in the mobile app, you will get the hang of it and understand how to set the camera.
The ‘Mi Home’ App could have been better in UI design. I missed simple functions such as the visual recording progress bar displaying and indicating how much time has elapsed since the video task has initialized. Still, I expect Xiaomi is currently working on that. Overall, another excellent low-cost product, and for a low-cost wireless Camera, it’s a great buy.