Garmin VIRB Packs a Punch to GoPro!


Garmin has decided to upgrade their action VIRB cameras to a more competitive GoPro Like form factor with an impressive set of features that is sure to make adrenaline enthusiasts think twice about what camera to get.

What sets it apart is that the new Garmin VIRB cameras record, altitude, GPS, velocity, rotation, temperature in the file information as vectors to be applied to the footage later for analysis. As the video below shows, it is quite a revolutionary way of recording your adventure.   While some might look at it like a gimmick, it is by no means a useless feature. Many scientific experiments could be performed by analyzing the data.

While the camera is not as powerful as the GoPro Hero 4 Black, as it lacks among other things 4k, 2.7k and 240fps slow motion video at 720p, it does however have a pretty good set of features that most users can easily live with.

Video Specs VIRB XE

  • Image sensor: 12.4 MP, 1/2.3″ CMOS
  • File Type: .mp4
  • 1080p HD video: 60, 50, 48, 30, 25, 24 fps
  • 960p HD video: 100, 60, 50 fps
  • 720p HD video: 120, 100, 60, 50, 30, 25 fps
  • 480p (slow motion): 240 fps
  • Still photo resolution: 12 MP and 7 MP
  • Photo burst: 12MP at 30 fps
  • Photo time lapse: custom up to 120 second intervals


  • GPS: Yes
  • Temperature range: From -20°  to 45°C (from -4° to 113°F) (operating); from 0° to 45°C (from 32° to 113°F) (charging); from -40° to 85°C (from -40° to 185°F) (storage)
  • Memory: microSD™ card (up to 128 GB); card not included
  • Accelerometer: Yes
  • Altimeter: No
  • Waterproof to 50 meters without a dive case
  • Image stabilization: Yes (gyro-enhanced)
  • Lens distortion correction: Yes

Price: MSRP $399.00  VIRB XE Model

XE Model Drops a few Powerful Features for a lower price:

MSRP $299.00  VIRB XE Model

VIRB X Video Lowered Specs:

  • Image sensor: 12.4 MP, 1/2.3″ CMOS
  • File Type: .mp4
  • 1080p HD video: 30, 25 fps
  • 960p HD video: 30, 25 fps
  • 720p HD video: 60, 50, 30, 25 fps
  • 480p (slow motion): 120 fps
  • Still photo resolution: 12 MP and 7 MP
  • Photo burst: 12MP at 10 fps
  • Photo time lapse: custom up to 120 second intervals

The cameras are waterproof up to 50 meters out of the box without the need of an additional case like that on the Sony Action Cam.

Professional Video Capture

With the ability to shoot stunning high definition video in 1440p30, 1080p60 and 720p120, VIRB XE is ready to capture your experiences in vivid detail. Featuring a custom, all-glass lens, high resolutions, zoom levels and high frame rates up to 240FPS (480p), VIRB XE ensures you get the shots you need. Manual camera controls like white balance and exposure biasing unlock even greater flexibility in your video.

High-quality Photography

With a dedicated photo button and the ability to shoot wide-angle 12 megapixel photos at speeds up to 30 frames per second, VIRB XE is designed to get the image. You can even capture photos while recording video. VIRB XE can also be set to automatically capture photos over long periods of time at customizable intervals up to 120 seconds. With Extended Timelapse, VIRB XE will sleep between shots, allowing you to maximize your battery life for exceptionally long captures.

Image Stabilization

VIRB XE contains motion sensors to detect camera movements and helps keep your shot steady. Electronic image stabilization reduces camera shake and blur whether you’re bouncing over harsh terrain or gliding through calm waters.

Rugged and Dive Ready

VIRB XE is ready to dive deep (up to 50 meters) without the need for additional equipment or cases. Its tough, compact design is ready to withstand the elements with an exposed microphone that records clean and clear audio that cameras in cases just can’t pick up. Thanks to a hydrophobic, flat, glass lens, underwater shots are crystal clear while transitions in and out of the water stay unobstructed by droplets.

Garmin VIRB XE launch Video:

As a Slow motion tool it will be interesting to see what the quality is like and if it will be a serious match for the GoPro Hero 3+ or even the 4.

  • 960p HD video: 100, 60, 50 fps
  • 720p HD video: 120, 100, 60, 50, 30, 25 fps

The slowmo specs are not astonishing but they are decent and if they do less artifacting while down-scaling and provide better resolution, they could be a good contender for a budget slow motion solution.  It is capped at 120fps for 720p so it won’t win any contests in the high speed arena for frame rates.

We like the vector data features and the rugged construction, only time will tell if it will be a camera with a following or just another GoPro Clone gathering dust.  At $399 it is by no means cheap and it could very well be $349 or less in a few months.   We like that competition is entering the market segment as it fuels innovation, the new data recorded is certainly a very well thought out feature that other cameras will now have to implement.  Garmin has made something special here, and they deserve to protect their patents. However we bet it won’t be long before others copy or make similar inroads into telemetry.

For more information about the new VIRB Cameras go here!

Stay tuned, we’ll keep an eye for slow motion footage on the Garmin VIRB XE as it becomes available!

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