Garmin Virb elite

Australian T3 - - RATED - $499, GARMIN.COM/en-au

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

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