August 20, 2013
This just in from Garmin. News of its new action video camera. It shoots 1080HD and includes an on-board video screen.
Here’s more of the press info below. The important bit is that the cameras are due to appear later next month and will cost £269 for the basic model and £349 for the version with built-in WiFi and GPS. The WiFi will allow connection to your smartphone. Both models are waterproof to a metre for half an hour, which should suit most winter deluges). With the future of Contour uncertain at the moment, there aren’t many GPS-equipped video cameras out there that can film you, plus tell you how many metres of descending you’ve done. Probably more of a ski thing, but always good for bragging rights on Alpine trips… Unlike other Garmin products, this won’t be available through Madison as Madison already carries the successful GoPro range. Talking of which, Garmin says ” There is even an available industry standard mounting adapter, making it easy for existing action camera users to get started with VIRB.” – which sounds rather like it makes a GoPro compatible mount – although its lozenge shape is going to make it near-on impossible to mount to a chest harness, arguably GoPro’s biggest advantage over its competition.
We’ll get ourselves in the queue to try one and let you know what we think.
Press release follows:
The unique 1.4-inch Chroma™ color display makes setup and playback a breeze and uses minimal power so VIRB can record more than 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 compatible Garmin products, and VIRB Elite will support data transfer with other fitness sensors in addition.
“Action cameras are growing rapidly in popularity, and VIRB has some game-changing key features—like a colour viewfinder display, extended battery life, optional GPS and compatibility with existing Garmin products—that set it apart from other cameras on the market,” said Martin Resch Product Manager Outdoor EMEA. “Our customers already embrace an active lifestyle, whether they’re hikers, mountain bikers, skiers, 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.”
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.
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 to take the VIRB experience to the next level.
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.
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 tempe™ temperature 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 free mobile application for preview, playback and remote functionality on your smartphone, 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 October 2013. The RRP for VIRB will be £269.99, and the RRP for VIRB Elite will be £349.99. 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.