Garmin Virb Elite

9.0
9.0 score
[Editors rating (9.0)] = (TheGearHunt) score (9.0)/10


0
Editor rating: 9.0 / 10
User's rating: based on 0 user ratings
1 star
0%
2 star
0%
3 star
0%
4 star
0%
5 star
0%
Add your Rating
Garmin Virb Elite Review Facts

There has been a massive wave of increasingly more impressive shorts and youtube videos of point of view action shots of people biking, snowboarding and even driving sometimes. This point of view allows the viewer to get an idea of what the rider sees when at high speeds and making quick movements without actually performing those hazardous sports. These videos have become more stable (rather than shaky due to the quick movements) as well as clear due to technological advancement. Go-Pro really paved the way for this type of technology and since other manufacturers of video and photography technology have started to offer similar products for consumers.

Image stabilization has really become a crucial advancement now offered by those making this type of product. The reason for this is it is really hard to get interested in a video that is shaky and out of focus. There are alternative options to this type of photography and video as well which are drones. Not only do drones have the ability to fly through the air rather than roll on rougher terrains but they can also take aerial shots at massive heights.

This article focuses on cameras contained to the ground, though. Our website provides unbiased reviews on popular products offered by manufacturers. This article specifically focuses on one product which is the Garmin Virb Elite offered by the popular brand Garmin. We looked at what consumers thought of this product and how well the product works. We also looked at the feel and ergonomics of the product in order to see how easily the product works when in motion. This is our comprehensive review of the Garmin Virb Elite. We hope that this article serves you with your next action camera purchase.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Very durable even in accidents 
  • Sleek and aerodynamic 
  • Large buttons idea for large hands/gloved hands
  • Long lasting, rechargeable when recording battery is a plus
Cons
  • Slow updating time (once per second)
  • Low external sound reduction which impacts recording quality
ACCESSORIES

ACCESSORIES

The Garmin Virb Elite offers numerous additional accessories in order to help with the functionality and convenience of the device. Though these are all included in the box at no extra cost, there are additional accessories available for the device on the manufacturer's website and Amazon for those looking for different features (such as a specialized mic to help with noise reduction, discussed in a little more detail below). The accessories that are included in the package are the Virb camera itself, as well as a removable lithium-ion battery. The benefit of it being removable is that it can be removed while riding and replaced with a fresh battery when it runs out eliminating any issues associated with missed footage.

The Virb also comes with a cradle to hold the camera, a short link, a right angle kink, and an adapter for popular industry mounts for easier and more effective installation. Also included with this device are a flat surface mount, a removable flange base, and a threaded collar. The Virb also comes with 3 knobs, a USB cable and, of course, a manual for how to effectively use the camera. As mentioned, the Virb comes with a ton of accessories in order to help the buyer effectively and safely install the camera as well as to get a better, more level picture when recording.
SETTINGS

SETTINGS

The Vibe offers several different settings and options. This includes an adjustable resolution in both picture and video format for a better picture. It can also record in slow motion up to 120fps for a more dramatic or detailed review of footage. It also offers "smart" GPS-based recording profiles for a more specialized recording depending on the activity being filmed such as skiing and racing. It offers a start-stop setting where it will record while starting a run and stop when motion slows down in order to save on battery life and record times (card memory). It offers control for playback as well to view the footage recently taken and offers adjustable camera settings for a more personalized recording.

As touched on earlier, the device has the option for either recording HD video or still shots (photos) similar to its competitor (the Go-Pro). This eliminates the need for two devices as this one is two-in-one. The camera also has the ability to either shoot in 16 megapixels, 12 megapixel or 8 megapixels, as well as allows the user to take photos in photo burst or time lapse in order to offer some interesting photography techniques. Finally, the device allows the user to take photos similtaneouly as recording a video via touch or a remote offered by Garmin for duality and ease of use.
DESIGN

DESIGN

This device is regularly reviewed as being both sleek and aerodynamic which is especially helpful when using this device to record when racing. Its dimensions are 32 mm in height x 53 mm in width x 111 mm deep making it quite small and offering less bulk when compared to others on the market. It offers a 1.4 inch LCD display to easily review taken footage and to change settings. It weighs in at about 6.30 ounces in weight, again making it quite light for no additional weight when traveling.

It comes with an attachment mount in order to connect it to helmets and different rides (like cars and bikes). The microphone of this device is internal rather than external, which again offers better ergonomics and aesthetic. The Vibe comes in two different colors (white and black). Reviewers who bought this product were very happy with the design of the device. They found that the start button for recording videos is large enough to turn on even when wearing gloves unlike comparable products like the Go-Pro, where they felt that the button is a little small and found that they never actually knew when they were recording.

They also appreciated that the body of this device is small and aerodynamic in design. Finally, reviewers were very happy with the large LCD screen offered as this allowed them to see what they were recording and for how long. Overall, the design of this product is highly praised by consumers which is really positive.
CONNECTIVITY

CONNECTIVITY

Reviewers were pretty impressed with this device both due to its features but also due to its constant free updates offered by Garmin. Garmin tries to keep their devices in working order without requesting additional purchases. Rather than requesting the buyer to feed more money into the company like comparable companies, Garmin provides new and improved updates to buyers in order to keep their equipment running well. Reviewers were really pleased with this. With the updates offered by Garmin, reviewers found that they were happier with their Garmin products longer and felt like they got a good bang for their buck which is really positive.

The Vibe offers highly-sensitive GPS for data and also offers Wi-Fi for wireless connectivity. In today's buying market when it comes to this type of technology, offering Wi-Fi is almost expected. It almost seems out of date if this is not something included with technological devices. Unfortunately, it's seen less than one might expect. Luckily, this is a feature of this device and it does appear to be quite reliable when looking at reviewers comments about this device. This device is also ANT+ compatible which reviewers were happy about and offers a micro HDMI output for transferring pictures and videos either to a computer or directly on a smart TV.
PERFORMANCE

PERFORMANCE

The primary concern that buyers found with this device are that the external noise reduction is quite poor. Those who would use this camera, especially when on a fast-moving unprotected vehicle (like a bicycle or a motorcycle) found that the video had heavy wind disruption. Though this may not necessarily be the point of the device when using it for this purpose, reviews still felt that this could have been a nice addition to the camera (some external noise cancellation/reduction).

Now, one reviewer did note that they bought an external microphone for this device and it helped substantially with unwanted noise filtering which is positive. This does require an additional purchase, however, it still fixed the issue.

Meanwhile, others took issue with how often the camera updated. Though the camera does update once per second when cruising at higher speeds the vehicle/ride being recorded can change in a millisecond. Some used this device in order to assist themselves with their driving and correct any errors that may have occurred in order to prevent future issues. Because of this camera updates so slowly, some of the nuances were missed and were not able to be reviewed/adjusted, unfortunately.
FEATURES

FEATURES

The Vibe offers numerous features in order to get an accurate and true image of the rider's experience. The Vibe includes GPS tracking in order to review the ride taken which can add to the overall and sharable picture of the ride. It also offers an accelerometer and an altimeter to record speed and acceleration when in motion. It has water-resistant features as well for those looking to use this device in water or snow. This was particularly appreciated by reviewers as a lot of reviewers were using this device for their outdoor skiing and snowboarding experiences. It offers HD video in multiple modes including 1080P, 960P and many others, depending on what the user requires or desires. It has up to 3 hours of battery life supported by its powerful lithium-ion battery- an advanced battery often used in quality technology.

The battery is also replaceable. Some reviewers bought multiple batteries in order to change out the battery when the used battery was dead in order to extend recording time. It offers digital image stabilization which is crucial when considering sports-style recording equipment as sports tend to be quite aggressive which will make the image quite shaking. This device offers the ability to stabilize the image in order to get the best and most steady video and photo possible.
ERGONOMICS

ERGONOMICS

As mentioned earlier, this device is quite nicely designed. It's quite small in design and is taller than it is wide so it's easier to hold in your hand. It offers a large switch on the side to start and stop recording which reviewers found really handy as alternative products offer buttons that are either too small, too sensitive or impossible to press when wearing gloves. This would be especially frustrating when in cooler conditions due to the requirement for gloves in those climates. The dimensions of this device are small (32 mm in height x 53 mm in width x 111 mm deep) making the device much easier to hold but it also offers a mounting bracket which allows the device to become hands-free which is probably the most preferable option. Along with the mount, it includes a flat surface to take an even picture and a threaded collar for a more secure fit. Reviewers were very happy with the ergonomics of this device which is really positive.
KEY FEATURES

KEY FEATURES

- GPS tracking abilities
- Accelerometer for convenience
- Altimeter for review
- Water resistant coating for protection
- Multiple HD video modes for customization
- Digital stabilization to help with video quality
- Internal microphone
- ANT+ Compatible
BOTTOM LINE

BOTTOM LINE

In conclusion, this device is pretty impressive! For a little guy at the price, it's pretty quality. One reviewer was in a full-on wreck and the device survived the wreck fine. The device is also water-resistance which extends the life of it. This is also great for those looking for a snowboarding or skiing companion. The device is pretty small and light as well so it won't add any weight to those performing body-weight resistant activities like biking and running. It also offers image stabilization that seems to be pretty reliable for a clearer, stabilized image.

Those who bought this device were mostly happy with it, however, a couple of reviewers noted that the mic of this product does seem to catch a lot of external, unwanted sound (like wind). One reviewer noted that by buying an additional, external mic, this resolved the issue which is positive. The other common note about this device is that the GPS updating happens once per second which some reviewers felt was too long. Outside of these minor issues, the comments left about this device were all pretty positive. This device is definitely worth considering when looking for a sports camera.