Revealed: Garmin VIRB Action Camera


Mtbr recently did a POV camera round-up and found out that POV cameras have come a long way. There are now many options available from specialized action-oriented companies to big brand electronic companies. Our round-up is available here: POV Action Cam Round-Up.

It also revealed that there is still opportunity in this market. We concluded that no one is able to unseat the incumbent GoPro company that started the POV category. GoPro has grown to a market cap company value of over $2 billion by offering a product that was simple but versatile. And with the shutdown of the Contour company, (details here) more opportunity for a serious player opened up.

Garmin, the GPS maker, is entering the POV market with the $299 VIRB and $399 VIRB Elite, a pair of rugged POV cameras that are designed to capture your active endeavors. Both models can shoot 1080p clips at 30fps and 16-megapixel still photos (while recording video) for up to three hours with one 2,000mAh cell. What they bring to the table are features that some competitors can’t match, which include a low-power 1.4-inch transflective LCD for navigating menus and previewing footage, and the ability to sync up with a variety of other Garmin devices through ANT+.

VIRB’s ANT+ chip lets you add on accessories like a heart rate monitor while also pairing with the company’s Fenix watch, logging GPS coordinates and other stats with each captured clip. The Elite flavor brings GPS positioning sensors on board, plus an altimeter and WiFi, which you can use to connect the cam to a dedicated Android or iOS app. The software promises to be very functional and useable as well. And finally, a tiny remote is included with the package.

The product looks well thought-out and the features and price easily trounce the GoPro Hero 3. We like our Hero 3 since it works like a real piece of electronic equipment now. But it keeps crashing and keeps running out of battery after one hour. And the user interface is atrocious even for us who’ve been using this UI for the last five years. Perhaps this new competition from Garmin will really force the players to develop robust products.

But the real question is: Is Garmin prepared to make incredible videos that gets viewed on youtube tens of millions of times? That’s what sells cameras after all. They are selling a lifestyle, not just an electronic gadget.

Go to the next page to see all the available mounts.

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About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.

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  • Haywood Jablome says:

    Imagine the GoPro with a UI that doesn’t suck? Now THAT’S a market opportunity right there.

  • thiago7 says:

    Everybody puts Gopro on a pedestal. I have the go pro hero 2 and could never get the same video quality as their promotional videos. It just makes me happy to see other companies getting into this market.

  • Boat Mike says:

    I use a Polaroid with a chest mount. Point, shoot, pull, and watch the magic happen before your eyes!

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