Finally, Garmin have joined the rest of the best when it comes to HD video recording! This may just be the thing to take the limelight off GoPro. The Garmin’s many exciting features give GoPro a good race for the top spot!
For those who are interested in its numbers and figures, here are a few quick facts about the Garmin Virb elite:
- 1.4″ Display
- Weight with battery: 6.26 oz
- 16 mp image sensor
- shoots 1080p HD at 30 fps
- Shoots 960p HD at 30, 60 & 48fps
- Shoots 720p HD at 30 and 60 fps
- Shoots stills and slow-mo.
- Internal microphone included.
- Includes GPS.
- Uses Micro SD card (upto 64gb)
- 3 hours battery life at 30 fps.
About the Garmin Virb – Functionality
Functionality: the ‘rugged’ look of the Garmin Virb is simple to use. When pressing the power button, one of the cool features it has it starts filming straight away. So there is no need to worry which button is the filming button whilst it’s mounted in those hard to see places. It is very self-explanatory and when in standby mode, the light on the top shows green. This tells you it’s ready to start shooting videos or photos. When it’s showing red this means you are already filming.
The 1.4” colour display also shows you what you are looking at, you can also flick through the main menu and playback options where you can review your work. There are all sorts of cool video settings on the VIRB Elite settings, including: Tall HD, Fast HD, Slow mo HD, Super Slow Mo HD and Time Lapse.
Settings and modes
The fast HD is a great feature for anyone wanting to capture high speed sports. You can even get super slow motion shots of these and then playback at normal speed afterwards.
The time-lapse feature is a real gem on the Garmin Virb, it lets you choose the intervals and then pieces it together for you once you have filmed your footage. This is pretty cool because you can also zoom on these too and it doesn’t matter which way up you want it, you can flip the video round so you can video from any angle. There are four zoom options to choose from which gives you that perfect shot you’re after.
There is of course a burst feature on the Virb which ideal for action sports as it can take five photos one after another in about 1-2 seconds, I found I used this a lot as it’s difficult to make sure you get that perfect shot without it. And if there’s no one around to take that special picture for you it also has a self-timer from 2-60 seconds.
Connectivity with other Garmin devices
The pairing feature is interesting, but difficult to get to grips with at first. The Virb elite can pair with other Garmin devices, such as fēnix, Oregon and Edge and on its display it will show heart rate, speed , elevation, Temperature, g-force etc, but still needs the Garmin device paired to record the activity. It seems to be cutting edge technology that does everything a camera, video camera; Garmin device does and lots, lots more but then forgot to have a function to record the activity. I am guessing they felt they needed to keep this kind of data separate, with the Garmin edge being at the forefront of physical data.
Having all of this information however, is still really good as it all appears on the Virb screen so you can see pretty much everything that is going on with you and the terrain around you. Being able to pair the device does in fact add another cool feature that enables you to control it using your Virb and Garmin edge or forerunner, so you can take pictures and change setting without having to touch the Virb.
Extras and conclusion
If this wasn’t enough, it also films underwater – up to a meter for around half an hour. The only down side is you need the waterproof case but at only £30.00 it’s well worth it as an extra. You cannot fault it for its durability and performance in this area, it gives off a really nice clear picture and is very sturdy.
I was pleasantly surprised as to how slick this camera was, there are not many reasons to dislike it and as I am from a cycling background I felt the Garmin mounted a lot better than a GoPro was more aerodynamic and has less vibrations coming through on the picture. I felt the picture was in fact clearer and more ‘Real life’ than its other competitors and the protective case was more user friendly. Overall a really well designed and thought out piece of kit and would strongly recommend it.