Garmin are world renown for their outdoor gear and technology products so have decided to venture into the world of action cameras with their all new Garmin VIRB Elite. This is an increasingly hard market to conquer and this is made even more difficult with the likes of GoPro running the scene. But if anybody can create a camera to rival the GoPro, then it has to be Garmin with their years of experience.
First thing you’ll notice out of the box is the 1.4-inch display on the top. To stop the display from drawing all the power from your camera, Garmin have chosen not to include back-lighting. In terms of resolution you get just 205 x 148, which is fine for adjusting settings on, but not much else. Also if you’re not in a well lit area then you may find yourself struggling to see anything on the screen.
As well as a screen, the device also has ANT+ and WiFi capability. This means that you can connect up a range of devices from heart rate monitors to controlling the camera via a mobile app. With the free app available for both iOS and Android you have the ability to start/stop recording, change camera settings, take photos as well as view a live video preview.
Garmin also offer free edit software which allows you to publish your videos straight to YouTube, as well as some very basic editing tools. You can also overlay your video with any data collected from the ANT+ and GPS which means you can shows statistics such as speed and elevation plus much more.
In terms of the actual camera the VIRB Elite records full HD video up to 1080p and 30fps. You can lower the resolution which then allows for up to 60fps video capture. In terms of full HD recording a GoPro HERO3+ can record 1080p at 60fps, which means it puts itself just ahead of the VIRB Elite.
In the box you get two adhesive mounts, one of which is slightly curved to allow easier application onto a helmet or car body. You’ll also get two sets of fixings which can be easily installed and removed. If you require a mount which doesn’t come bundled in the box then Garmin will most likely have you covered as you can purchase a wide range from them directly. These include chest straps, dashboard mounts and even waterproof cases at very reasonable prices.
If you didn’t already know then the Garmin action camera actually comes in two different versions: VIRB and VIRB Elite. The difference between them both is quite significant as the Elite version includes the built-in accelerometer, GPS, WiFi and altimeter. These aren’t the only differences either, but the VIRB Elite also allows you to connect to your external Gamin sensors, something which you cannot do on the standard version.
The camera is powered by a single 2000mAh battery which sits in a compartment at the back of the camera. We managed to get around 2.5 hours of constant use from a fully charged battery. The battery actually lies on top of a MicroSD card compartment which is needed to store all of your video. The compartment is then locked using a spinning metal pin, and whilst being secure it’s easy to open when needed.
Whilst the GoPro hasn’t yet been knocked of the top spot by the Garmin VIRB Elite, this doesn’t mean it isn’t a quality product. The Garmin camera is definitely aimed at those who already own Garmin products and with the option to link your external sensors with it, it will be a great addition to most, especially cyclists. The ANT sensor included in the Elite version is a major feature and opens a whole range of doors.
You can read more about the camera by visiting the Garmin website below:Visit the Garmin website