Garmin Virb elite
The outdoorsy experts’ first action cam shows potential
Garmin has taken its experience in sports trackers and GPS devices and applied it to this 1080p action camera. The result is a cam with more than the average amount of smarts.
The Elite connects with ANT+ sensors, from heart-rate monitors to speed and cadence sensors, thermometers and more. It also comes with GPS, an altimeter and an accelerometer built in, so you can add actual raw data to your videos, tracking how fast you were hurtling down that hill before you crashed and exactly where the emergency services needed to be scrambled to.
Those added extras are nice, but it’s video quality that’s important and here the Virb really shines. It delivers amazingly clear and rich visuals in daylight, with Garmin’s 16-megapixel CMOS sensor picking up great detail and clarity that trounces all cameras on test (except one). This even holds true in shaky conditions, mountain biking through uneven muddy areas and over drops. You can watch it all back instantly on the Virb’s 1.4-inch, 205x184 resolution colour display, too.
Decide to take to the trails at night, however, and it’s a different story. Video comes out very dark indeed, with a lot of detail lost. The lack of a casing for the Virb also means wind noise at just about any speed overwhelms the audio.
Battery life is a slight improvement over many other cams on test at three hours, but then this is also one of the larger cameras. Mounting options are plentiful, too, with all the usual options, plus an adapter that fits to standard GoPro mounts. This gives the Virb instant access to the massive array of add-ons already on the market.
For a first attempt, this is a proper balls-out action cam, throwing absolutely everything into the mix. It’s a corker, but needs a small amount of finessing before it earns that extra star.
Love Daylight video performance is best in class. Waterproof. Best battery life on test Hate Low-light video performance lacking detail. Too much wind noise. Not as compact some T3 Says We love the extra features, but we’d prefer more focus on delivering in low light