UPDATE: Read my hands on review of the Garmin VIRB.
Just a few days ago, when a new Garmin product cleared the FCC, I speculated that it was an action camera. It turns out I was right, as the company has made it official and announced the Garmin VIRB and VIRB Elite.
The ruggedized and waterproof (IPX-7) VIRB series records up to three hours of 1080p HD video on a single charge. A 1.4″ Chroma™ reflective color display can be used for setup and playback, and helps extend battery life. The rechargeable 2000 mAh li-ion battery is removable.
Digital image stabilization technology is included, as is lens distortion correction, which “gives users the option to automatically remove the fish-eye look that is common with action cameras.” Both models can capture 16 MP stills while video is being recorded.
The VIRB Elite adds WiFi, accelerometer, altimeter and high-sensitivity GPS. The WiFi-enabled Elite allows users to connect to “free mobile applications for iPhone and Android.” It also includes activity profiles — in Ski mode, it only records when you’re going down the mountain, not up on the lifts. The Elite is also compatible with other ANT+ sensors, allowing you to embed (or view on the VIRB display) heart rate monitor, cadence sensor and tempe temperature sensor data if you wish…
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.
Both models feature ANT+ to allow for remote control from Garmin models including the Edge 810, fenix, quatix, and Oregon 600 series.
Garmin promises an optional dive case, “a wide variety of other rugged mounts to secure VIRB to handlebars, helmets, surfboards and more,” and a mounting adaptor for users of other action camera brands. You can see the range of offered mounts on the accessory tab on this page.
Priced at $299.99 and $399.99 (MSRP), Garmin says both models will be widely available this September.