The wait is over for all the Garmin fans as Garmin launches its action camera, termed as the Garmin VIRB XE! Albeit, an expert in GPS devices, Garmin has long been facing constant market share loss due to the ongoing obsolescence of GPS devices through the hands of smartphones. The Garmin VIRB XE, contrary to its predecessor, the VIRB Elite, borrows a lot from the GoPro. Yet, its newest innovations make it a show stopper among the usual lot of action cameras.
In this Garmin VIRB XE review, the action camera will be looked upon in great detail starting from the physical features till the performance level detailing.
On top of all the other cool features that Garmin is offering in its VIRB XE, the company also claims that the action camera can function at temperatures even as low as in the range of -20C to -40C. Furthermore, it can operate at even a depth of 50 meters below the water surface level. A secure locking panel ensures that it would be almost impossible to burst open the device from its front.
On the downside, the smaller panel contains a removable battery of 980mAh which is lesser than what the VIRB Elite offered at 2,000 mAh. This practically means that the battery life has now gone down from three to two hours. Yet, most action cameras do not even offer as much as two hours of battery life and the Garmin VIRB XE is definitely value for its money. The removable battery is also quite cheap and available online at prices as low as £15 only. However, a major disappointment would be the loss of the handy screen the original VIRB offered.
The Garmin VIRB XE outperforms its predecessor by a wide margin as it has raised the bar of shooting up to 1440p at 30 frames per second whereas the VIRB Elite only had a WVGA 120 fps slow-motion mode. Despite this, the Garmin VIRB XE fails to deliver a 4K feature which is a necessity for most action camera enthusiasts. In its 480 p slow-motion mode, it can shoot at 240 fps.
One of the major advancements in the Garmin VIRB XE is the image stabilization feature which most action cameras fail to deliver. The gyro-detection enhances the image stabilization to a further extent and gives noticeable effects on making the videos less jerky.
The Garmin VIRB XE offers a mounting bundle that includes support for both the curved and flat surfaces but what the box does not include are a strap and a tripod. Optional extras can be bought to do the needful.
The action camera has a built-in feature that offers lens distortion correction and the electronic zoom has two levels which can be configured to adjust the field of view. Videos can be recorded upside down.
Furthermore, the Garmin VIRB XE offers pro settings that offer white-balance presets in the range of 2,800K to 7,500K and three different levels to sharpen the videos. With auto-exposure control, ISO can be adjusted to 6400 or 400 as image brightness can be balanced with grain.
One of the basic selling point of Garmin is the fact it has a built in GPS system and ability to track record from other Garmin sensors. This information can be displayed along with the view and it can show speed as it changes during the recording.
Compatible sensors have distinct range of features and provide connectivity to Garmins remote. Bluetooth is also available for external audio.
The Garmin VIRB XE offes full HD 1080p and a data flow faster than 20MB/sec, which is what opens new horizons for low compression. Sharpness is directly linked to good lighting and improves with its increase; however, it comes with the expense of a video gain problem. The Garmin VIRB XE is an action camera that can capture high resolution bright footage in even the poorest of illuminations.
Sample footage shot with the Garmin VIRB XE at the 1080p resolution at 60fps.
The Garmin VIRB XE outperforms its nearest competitor Panasonic HX-A1ME and with its clear, bright and sharp footage, it is an action camera that is indeed worth your every dime. So, go grab yours now!