Watch out, GoPro, Garmin wants in on the action camera market. Garmin just unveiled the VIRB, which is the company's first action camera device. How does the VIRM stack up to the GoPro? Here's a closer look.
Inside the VIRB Action Cam
The VIRB includes:
The ability to record 3 hours of 1080p video in one single charge.
A waterproof case (30 minutes) that's also durable and shock-resistant.
ANT+ (Garmin's exclusive WiFi system - more below).
A microsSD card slot for storage.
A microHDMI port TV output.
Garmin is also developing a remote that works with the VIRB, so that you can capture moments remotely without a lot of hassle. The VIRB remote won't be available until later in 2014, but it is coming all the same. So, what's the deal with the ANT+ technology?
Garmin's ANT+ Tech
Garmin's ANT+ tech allows one device to communicate with another Garmin device. If you have a Garmin watch, for example, the Garmin VIRB can communicate with that watch, so that you can time stuff while recording tricks and jumps and other stunts.
Garmin's VIRB is new on the market today, so the reviews are just coming in. So far, reviewers like the VIRB just as much (or more in some cases) as the GoPro. Garmin also promises that image stabilization with the VIRB will work through anything that you throw at it, so go ahead and record your latest moves without worrying about a shaky image.
I'm not too crazy about Garmin's design with this product. Even though the VIRB has everything that you could want in an action cam, the design of the VIRB is somewhat lacking.
It actually looks more like a video camera attached to a flimsy pedestal, but that's simply based on appearances. The actual product may be far better than the photos that Garmin is putting out (judge for yourself by looking at the photo on this page).
Availability and Pricing Details
The VIRB Basic will run $299.99, but you might not want to go the Basic route if you don't have another Garmin product to connect to. The VIRB Elite comes with connectivity via iOS and Android apps, so you can connect the VIRB Elite to your smartphone (if you dare bring your phone on an adventure that requires a sports cam, that is!).
If you go the Elite route, you will also get some other features such as time tracking, elevation measurements, and a handy feature called 'Ski Mode.' Ski Mode detects when you are on a chairlift, and the camera will automatically pause during those moments, so that you don't waste time recording your ride up a slope.
Where to Get the VIRB Camera
Garmin's new VIRB camera is available through the Garmin website, or through a retailer that sells Garmin products. Will the VIRB be able to take over the GoPro market? Garmin is definitely gunning for the GoPro crowd, but it's going to be a tough market to break into. Make sure to check out the VIRB if you are looking for an action cam with lots of features.