Garmin Annouces the VIRB and VIRB Elite Action Cameras

by Brian Mullin on August 22, 2013

Garmin
has dropped themselves into the crowded POV (point of view)
high-definition sports camera market, and will be battling against the
market leader GoPro, and secondary contender’s Drift Innovations, JVC,
Sony and Replay. Unfortunately, one of my favorite camera companies,
Contour, has recently closed their doors for unknown reasons. The new
Garmin camera will come in two versions, the $299 VIRB and $399 VIRB
Elite, and they’ll be able to shoot up to 1080p at 30fps videos and 16MP
still photos, and have a 3 hour battery, a 1.4-inch LCD screen, ANT+
capabilities, and a 16 MP CMOS sensor.

The VIRB cameras use a 1/2.3″
16MP CMOS sensor that can record video footage in 1080p, 960p, 720p and
SD formats, and 16MP, 12MP and 8MP photos in several modes, including
still, time lapse, and burst. It records data onto a microSD card up to
64GB in size, and is powered with an internal rechargeable Li-Ion
battery (swappable) that gives three hours of recording time. It utilizes a low-power built-in 1.4” Chroma color display for menu
navigation and viewing footage. There is a large slider trigger on the
side of the camera for initiating the recording of videos and photos.
The fancier VIRB Elite adds Wi-Fi connectivity, a GPS, an accelerometer, an
altimeter, and you can embed the data into footage. The WiFi will allow
communication to a device running an Android or iOS app for live
previewing and basic camera controlling settings, so you can remotely
start and stop videos and capture photos. The cameras also include video
enhancement features like Digital Image Stabilization and Lens
Distortion Correction. The ANT+ feature allows wireless connectivity to certain Garmin devices, including the Fenix and Quatix watches, Oregon 600, Edge 810, for remote control
functionality. They’ll also be releasing an optional accessory remote later in the year. Through the ANT+ connections the VIRB Elite can receive
temperature sensor, speed/cadence bike sensor and heart-rate monitor
information, and add that to footage. The ruggedized camera is IPX7 water resistant/proof
certified, which means it can be immersed in up to 1 meter of water for
30 minutes.

Thoughts => I’ll be interested to see how good the footage from the 16MP sensor looks, since one of the main highlights of the GoPro is its 12MP sensor. The VIRB Elite seems to be comparable to the GoPro Black Edition, and it gives you all the best features, including Wi-Fi connectivity to smartphones via their app, ANT+ sensor connection, and a GPS, altimeter and accelerometer. Being able to add this plethora of additional data and sensor information into videos will make the VIRB Elite a standout over the GoPro cameras. Unfortunately, only the Edge 810 can be used for remote control. The mounts look interesting and useful, and I am glad they have an included an optional vented helmet for their system, though I am not sure how useful a shoulder harness mount will be for the typical hydration pack users? Since the attachment to the mounts uses some GoPro like swivels, it will place the camera fairly tall on top of a helmet, taking away from the apparent low profile shape of the camera. I am looking forward to testing/trying out this camera under real- world conditions.

The
housing attaches to an assortment of mounts, including a handlebar,
curved and flat surface, wrist, tripod, vented helmet, shoulder, and
others. The following mounts seem to most interesting and useful for
biking:

  • Vented Helmet Strap Mount – $14.99
  • Cradle – $17.99
  • Bike/Large Tube Mount – $24.99
  • Shoulder Harness Mount – $39.99

Dimensions

  • Unit size (HxWxD): 32 mm x 53 mm x 111 mm
  • Display size: 1.4″ (205 x 148)
  • Unit weight:
    • Without battery and battery door: 4.40 oz
    • Without battery: 4.79 oz
    • With battery: 6.26 oz
    • With battery and cradle: 7.16 oz
    • With battery, cradle and flat mount assembly: 8.31 oz

Video

  • Image sensor: 16 MP, 1/2.3″ CMOS
  • File Type: .mp4
  • 1080p HD video: 1920 × 1080; 30 fps
  • 960p HD video: 1280 × 960; 30,60 fps
  • 720p HD video: 1280 × 720; 30,60 fps
  • WVGA (slow motion): 854 × 480; 120,60 fps
  • Still photo resolution: 16 MP (4664*3496); 12 MP (4664*2632); 8 MP (3264*2448)
  • Photo burst: 6/s
  • Photo time lapse (seconds): 0.5,1,2,5,10,30,60

Audio

  • Internal microphone: Yes
  • External microphone: Optional USB to 3.5 mm stereo mic adapter

Connectivity

  • Bluetooth®: No
  • VIRB Elite – ANT+™ compatible: Yes (remote & sensors)
  • VIRB – ANT+™ compatible: Yes (remote)
  • Interface: USB 2.0
  • HDMI output: micro HDMI
  • Wi-Fi: 802.11 bgn

Miscellaneous

  • VIRB Elite – GPS: Yes
  • VIRB – GPS: No
  • Temperature range: -15° to 60° C
  • Memory: microSD™ card (up to 64 GB); card not included
  • VIRB Elite – Accelerometer: Yes
  • VIRB – Accelerometer: No
  • VIRB Elite Altimeter: Yes
  • VIRB – Altimeter: No
  • Water resistant: IPX7 (1 m/30 min)
  • Image stabilization: Yes (digital)
  • Lens distortion correction: Yes

Battery

  • Battery type: Removable Li-ion
  • Battery capacity: 2000 mAh
  • Battery life: 1080p (30 fps); up to 3 hrs

 What’s in the box

  • VIRB action camera
  • Lithium-ion battery
  • Cradle
  • Short link
  • Right angle link
  • Adapter to popular industry mounts
  • Flat surface mount
  • Curved surface mount
  • Removable flange base
  • Threaded collar
  • Knobs (3)
  • USB cable
  • Documentation

VIRB Elite uses ANT+™ wireless connectivity to enable you to use your compatible Garmin product like fenix™, Oregon® and Edge®
as remote controls. With VIRB Elite, you also gain the advantage of
Wi-Fi so you can stop and start recording or take still images
wirelessly with your smart phone or compatible Garmin device. Now, you
don’t have to take your hands off the handlebars or remove the camera
from the mount for that perfect shot.


Press Release
OLATHE,
Kan./ August 20, 2013/Business Wire—Garmin International Inc., a unit
of Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN), the global leader in satellite
navigation, today announced VIRB, its first true HD 1080p action camera
series. From action sports to family vacations, VIRB combines a unique
feature set that makes it easier than ever to capture life’s memories.
VIRB features a rugged and waterproof (IPX-7) housing, so there is no
extra case necessary to withstand the elements. The unique 1.4-inch
Chroma color display makes setup and playback a breeze
and uses minimal power so VIRB can record up to three hours of true HD
(1080p) video on one charge. On-board video enhancement features such as
digital image stabilization and lens distortion correction ensure that
footage recorded with VIRB will look great, even before editing. VIRB
can capture high quality still photos while the video camera is
recording. VIRB Elite incorporates all these features, plus has built-in
WiFi, data sensors and a high-sensitivity GPS. Both VIRB and VIRB Elite
feature ANT+™ connectivity for remote control functionality with other
Garmin products, and for data transfer with other fitness sensors.

“Action
cameras are growing rapidly in popularity, and VIRB has some
game-changing key features—like a color display, extended battery life,
optional GPS and compatibility with existing Garmin products—that set it
apart from other cameras on the market,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin’s vice
president of worldwide sales. “Our customers already embrace an active
lifestyle, whether they’re hikers, mountain bikers, skiers, trail
runners, boaters, or pilots, so a Garmin action camera is a compelling
option to them. With GPS and enhanced wireless capabilities in VIRB
Elite, users can capture not only what they were doing, but also where
they were and how they did it—and then share it with their friends and
family.”

VIRB has a sleek, aerodynamic design that makes it fun
and simple to record HD video- just move the slider forward to record.
The rechargeable lithium-ion battery can record up to three hours of HD
(1080p) video with one charge, and can be easily changed on the go. The
WideVü lens captures all the action, and the high-resolution Chroma
display makes it easy to change menu settings, set-up and playback
shots, but has reflective technology so it doesn’t drain the battery.
The 1.4-inch screen uses ambient light (instead of a battery-draining
backlight) to illuminate the screen and make it easy to see in bright
sunlight.

VIRB is durable enough to capture even the most extreme
activities right out of the box. With the rugged external housing, VIRB
has an IPX-7 waterproof rating (can withstand accidental immersion in
one meter of water for up to 30 minutes), so it can record activities
like skiing and kayaking without additional protection or fear of
damage. An optional dive case is available for deep-sea adventures, as
well as a wide variety of other rugged mounts to secure VIRB to
handlebars, helmets, surfboards and more. VIRB easily snaps into the
mounts, and the teeth linkages tightly secure VIRB in place to prevent
drooping and sagging in high vibration environments. There is even an
available industry standard mounting adapter, making it easy for
existing action camera users to get started with VIRB.

Users don’t
have to be professional cinematographers to get great footage with
VIRB. Video enhancement features ensure quality footage, even before the
editing process begins. The digital image stabilization technology
corrects camera shakiness for smoother footage, and the lens distortion
correction feature gives users the option to automatically remove the
fish-eye look that is common with action cameras. In addition to high
quality video, VIRB can take 16 megapixel stills with photo burst and
time lapse options. VIRB can even take stills while recording video.
VIRB also has a micro HDMI output for convenient video playback and a
microSD slot that can hold up to 64GB card (64GB microSD card can hold
over seven hours of 1080p video).

VIRB Elite incorporates all
these features, as well as high-sensitivity GPS, accelerometer,
altimeter and WiFi. WiFi capabilities allow users to connect to the free
mobile applications for iPhone and Android. VIRB Elite comes equipped
with specific activity profiles so users can track location, speed,
elevation, heart rate (monitor sold separately) and more while
recording. This data can be reviewed right on the device, or can be
embedded into their video during the editing process.
Additionally,
in Ski Mode, the VIRB Elite is able to recognize the difference between
going down the mountain and going up the ski lift. In this setting,
VIRB Elite automatically turns on and starts recording when going down
the mountain, and then goes into standby mode once on the ski lift. This
mode saves battery and memory space, and keeps the user from forgetting
to record when going down the mountain. This allows VIRB Elite to
record all the action while users focus on their activity.

VIRB
allows many current Garmin customers to take advantage of the Garmin
ecosystem. In addition to the optional accessory remote (available Q1
2014), the Edge® 810, fēnix™, quatix™, Oregon® 600 series, and many more
can control VIRB allowing users to start and stop recording and take
stills right on the device through ANT+ wireless communication (for the
full list of device compatibility, visit garmin.com/virb).  Also through
ANT+, users are able to control several connected VIRB devices. Just
move the slider forward to record on the master device, and all the
other connected VIRB devices will record as well. VIRB Elite is
compatible with other sensors with ANT+ connectivity such as the heart
rate monitor, cadence sensor and tempetemperature
sensor. This data can then be embedded into the video during the editing
process, or viewed on the display of VIRB Elite.

To complement
VIRB Elite, Garmin is launching a mobile application for preview,
playback and remote functionality, along with a free desktop software
application to edit and upload VIRB and VIRB Elite videos. With this
software, users can easily edit their footage and embed sensor data in
the video, then share with family and friends or upload to social media
sites such as YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.

VIRB and VIRB Elite
will be widely available for purchase in September 2013. VIRB MRP is
 $299.99, and VIRB Elite MRP is $399.99. VIRB is the latest solution
from Garmin’s outdoor segment, which focuses on developing technologies
and innovations to enhance users’ outdoor experiences. Whether it’s
golfing, hiking, hunting or geocaching, Garmin outdoor devices are
becoming essential tools for outdoor enthusiasts of all levels. For more
information about Garmin’s other outdoor products and services, go to
garmin.com/outdoors, garmin.blogs.com and twitter.com/garmin.


About Garmin International Inc.
Garmin
International Inc. is a subsidiary of Garmin Ltd. (Nasdaq: GRMN), the
global leader in satellite navigation. Since 1989, this group of
companies has designed, manufactured, marketed and sold navigation,
communication and information devices and applications – most of which
are enabled by GPS technology. Garmin’s products serve automotive,
mobile, wireless, outdoor recreation, marine, aviation, and OEM
applications. Garmin Ltd. is incorporated in Switzerland, and its
principal subsidiaries are located in the United States, Taiwan and the
United Kingdom. For more information, visit Garmin’s virtual pressroom
at www.garmin.com/pressroom or contact the Media Relations department at
913-397-8200. Garmin, Edge and Oregon are registered trademarks and
VIRB, ANT+, tempe, quatix, and fēnix are trademarks of Garmin Ltd. or
its subsidiaries.

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