Garmin VIRB 360 review: Rugged, waterproof 360 camera with voice control, GPS, and four mics

  • Editors' rating
    9.4 Spectacular
  • $799.99

Pros

  • 4K resolution (5.7k unstitched)
  • Easy to use interface and buttons
  • 10 meter water resistance
  • Data overlays due to included sensors
  • Simple editing software and smartphone connectivity
  • Removable battery

Cons

  • Bit pricey, but less than comparable professional rigs
  • Live streaming only on iOS

Last year I had a good time testing out the Garmin VIRB Ultra 30, especially while riding my bike and fly fishing. Garmin took everything to the next level this year with the new Garmin VIRB 360 that brings all the great functions one wants from the VIRB Ultra 30 to a 360 degree camera capable of capturing your life outside.

This time around, Garmin beat GoPro to market with a 360 camera and it is very good. The VIRB 360 is priced at $799.99, which might seem high compared to something like a Samsung Gear 360 at around $250. However, the Garmin VIRB 360 is a rugged 360 camera with water resistant rating to a depth of 10 meters.

You can take the Garmin VIRB 360 snorkeling, skiing, skydiving, swimming, biking, hiking, and more without worrying about the elements slowing you down. The removable battery means you can also carry spares and capture all the action you want in 4K resolution.

Specifications

  • Display: LCD touchscreen display
  • Camera: Dual lenses providing 360 degree field of view, capable of 15 megapixel still images and 4K/30fps or 3K/60fps stitched
  • Microphones: Four integrated mics
  • Wireless connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth, ANT+
  • Storage: microSD expansion card slot supporting up to 128GB
  • Sensors: GPS, accelerometer, barometer, gyro, and compass
  • Battery: 1250 mAh removable
  • Water resistance: Up to 10 meters
  • Dimensions: 39.0 x 59.3 x 69.8 mm and 160 grams

Hardware

When I pulled the Garmin VIRB 360 from the box, I could immediately tell this was a different kind of 360 camera. It has a matte black body with a rectangular shape and a lens facing out on each end. The casing looks tough and it is designed to withstand the elements. The lenses are the most vulnerable parts of the camera since they protrude out from each side in order to capture the 360 field of view.

There are three buttons on the top, under a small monochrome display. The power, OK, and WiFi buttons are used to fully control the camera without a connected smartphone, as discussed below.

There is a small door on the left side that hides the microSD card slot, HDMI port, and microUSB port. An instant video mode slider button is on the right so you can simply slide it forward and start capturing video right away without messing with any of the top navigation buttons.

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A removable 1250 mAh battery is accessed via the bottom door. The hour is rated to last just about an hour while recording video. Spare batteries cost $34.99 so if you plan to capture a lot of action you may want to pick up one or two spares.

The Garmin VIRB 360 comes with a tripod/handgrip accessory that is connected to the tripod cradle. The cradle clamps onto the bottom and then you can connect it to the small tripod/handgrip or to any larger tripod you may have for capturing video and still images. The tripod/handgrip quickly collapses to serve as a good handle while the sturdy tripod stands a few inches tall and has rubber feet to grip a table. The box also contains an action plate that lets you connect the camera to typical GoPro accessories.

Camera interface

There is no touchscreen on the VIRB 360, but you can still use it as a stand alone camera thanks to the navigation buttons and small display found on top of the camera. The power button is used to turn on and off the camera. After it is on, then the button serves to move left through the menus. The center button is an OK/acknowledgement button. The right button toggles WiFi and also moves right through the menus. I personally found it much faster to use the buttons on the camera itself to control everything, rather than using my smartphone to navigate and setup the camera.

You can change the video and photo resolution, setup timelapse details, quickly go back to the presets, manage your wireless connections, and manage display settings. You can select which indicator lights appear too while also enabling voice control.

One of the coolest features on the Garmin VIRB 360 is the ability to use your voice to control the camera. The following commands are available for you to use with the camera:

  • OK Garmin start recording
  • OK Garmin stop recording
  • OK Garmin take a photo or picture
  • OK Garmin enable/disable WiFi (WiFi is used to connect to your phones via WiFi Direct)
  • OK Garmin remember that

You can also use your connected Garmin fitness watch to serve as a remote control for the VIRB 360. This was helpful while fishing to use my Garmin Fenix 3 HR to control the camera that was positioned a distance away from where I was fishing in the rivers.

Garmin VIRB 360 phone software

You can also connect the camera to your iOS or Android device with the VIRB smartphone app. I tested the smartphone software on an iPhone 7 Plus and Samsung Galaxy S8 and even though the apps I tested were in beta they worked flawlessly.

The VIRB 360 supports using your smartphone as a remote for the camera. You can use your smartphone display as a viewfinder while also using your smartphone to fully customize all of the settings on your VIRB 360. In addition, videos and photos captured by the VIRB 360 can be viewed on your smartphone display or shared to your favorite service.

With your iPhone or iPad connection, video can be streamed live to YouTube or Facebook for a real-time experience.

Garmin VIRB Edit desktop software

One of the pain points of action cameras and 360 cameras is editing the footage afterwards and then sharing that out to family and friends. Thanks to the included Mac and PC desktop software that pain point is taken away with quick editing tools that never once frustrated me. The tool is very easy to use and there is even an automatic video maker that steps you through the creation process so that anyone can create professional looking videos.

The software supports trimming of your clips, mixing of multiple clips, animations, sounds and music, maps, and G-Metrix.

The Garmin VIRB 360 is the first 360 camera to feature 4K spherical stabilization with three available modes: stabilize, follow, and lock. The VIRB mobile phone app or desktop software can stabilize your video to match the type of action you are capturing.

The G-Metrix provides support for including GPS and sensor data collected either by the VIRB 360 or a connected Garmin GPS sport watch. The Garmin VIRB 360 includes the sensors needed to capture all the data as you travel around the world and then share your video with those stats.

Experiences out in the field

The Garmin VIRB 360 is a lot more camera than someone like me needs since I just don't have enough exciting outdoor adventures to justify such a powerful camera. If you ski, mountain bike, zipline, skydive, kayak, or perform other outdoor activities and want to capture it in the best possible manner then the Garmin VIRB 360 may be the one you want.

I posted a couple of videos, embedded in this review, but recommend you check out the much more active ones on the Garmin website and on YouTube.

You can check out a 360 still photo outside the Seattle Aquarium near a fountain and another of me getting ready to fly fish on the Cedar River on my Flickr page in 360 mode.

The Garmin VIRB 360 did a great job of capturing my surroundings with the sound of the river, birds chirping, and even the captured fish slapping the water. It was a pleasure to test out this camera and if my leisure life gets more active I might consider it.

GoPro's Fusion 360 isn't due out for several more months so as of now, the Garmin VIRB 360 is the best non-professional (aka $10,000) rig out for 360 rugged cameras.

Specifications

General
Depth 2.7 in
Widescreen Video Capture Yes
Optical Sensor Type Dual BSI-CMOS
Optical Sensor Size 1/2.3"
Digital Video Format H.264, RAW
Image Recording Format JPEG
Max Video Resolution 2880 x 2880
Interfaces Provided USB 2.0
Image Recording Format JPEG
Sensors Accelerometer, digital compass, altimeter, gyro sensor
Max Video Resolution 2880 x 2880
Navigation GPS/GLONASS receiver
Camcorder Interpolated Photo Resolution 15.0 MP
Optical Sensor Size 1/2.3"
Effective Photo Resolution 12.0 MP
ISO (Max) 6400
Camcorder Sensor Resolution 12.0 MP
Digital Video Format H.264, RAW
Widescreen Video Capture Yes
Optical Sensor Type Dual BSI-CMOS
Exposure & White Balance
Light Sensitivity ISO 100-6400, ISO auto (100-6400)
Exposure Modes automatic, program
White Balance automatic, custom
Exposure Compensation ±2 EV range
Light Sensitivity ISO 100-6400, ISO auto (100-6400)
White Balance Custom, automatic
Exposure Compensation ±2 EV range
Exposure Modes Program, automatic
Environmental Parameters
Min Operating Temperature 32 °F
Max Operating Temperature 104 °F
Carrying Case
Underwater Depth up to 30ft
Lens System
Special Functions wide angle
Focus Adjustment focus free
Max View Angle 360 degrees
Miscellaneous
Color Category black
Underwater Use Yes
Underwater Depth Up to 30ft
Memory / Storage
Image Storage JPEG 5640 x 2816 - Stitched 360
JPEG 3008 x 3000 - Unstitched 360
Video Capture H.264 - 2880 x 2880 - 30 fps - 120Mbps - Unstitched 360
H.264 - 2496 x 2496 - 30 fps - 100Mbps - Unstitched 360
H.264 - 3840 x 2160 - 30 fps - 80Mbps - Stitched 360
H.264 - 1760 x 1760 - 60 fps - 100Mbps - Unstitched 360
H.264 - 1920 x 1080 - 120 fps - 50Mbps
H.264 - 1920 x 1080 - 60 fps - 40Mbps
Memory Card Slot microSD card
Additional Features
Features One-Touch Audiovisual Recording, Time-Lapse recording, audio recording, multi-picture burst, voice control
Additional Features Audio recording, multi-picture burst, Time-Lapse recording, One-Touch Audiovisual Recording, voice control
Microphone
Microphone Operation Mode surround
Microphone Operation Mode Surround
Battery
Technology lithium ion
Details 1 x Li-ion rechargeable battery - 1250 mAh (included)
Header
Brand Garmin
Product Line Garmin VIRB
Model 360
Packaged Quantity 1
Video Input
Type 360 Degree camera, 4K camcorder, Action camera
Continuous Shooting Speed 20 frames per second
Light Sensitivity ISO 100-6400, ISO auto (100-6400)
ISO (Max) 6400
Digital Video Format H.264, RAW
Image Recording Format JPEG
Max Video Resolution 2880 x 2880
Frame Rate (Max Resolution) 30 fps
High-Definition Video Support 5.7K
Interfaces Provided USB 2.0
Image Stabilizer electronic
Features One-Touch Audiovisual Recording, Time-Lapse recording, audio recording, multi-picture burst, voice control
Exposure Parameters
Exposure Compensation ±2 EV range
Exposure Modes automatic, program
White Balance
White Balance automatic, custom
Dimensions & Weight
Width 2.3 in
Height 1.5 in
Weight 4.69 oz
Optical Sensor
Camcorder Sensor Resolution 12 pixels
Camcorder Effective Resolution (Photo Mode) 12
Camcorder Interpolated Photo Resolution 15 pixels
Optical Sensor Type Dual BSI-CMOS
Optical Sensor Size 1/2.3"
Optical Sensor Size (metric) 11 mm (1/2.3")
Sensor Qty 2
Camera Memory
Memory Card Max Supported Size 128 GB
Memory Card Slot microSD card
Supported Memory Cards microSD Card, microSDHC Card, microSDHC UHS-I Card, microSDXC Card, microSDXC UHS-I Card
Camera Specifications
Wireless Interface ANT/ANT+, Bluetooth 4.0, IEEE 802.11b/g/n, NFC (Near Field Communication)
Navigation GPS/GLONASS receiver
Sensors accelerometer, altimeter, digital compass, gyro sensor
Connectivity Features Live streaming, remote control via mobile devices, remote live view
Computer Connectivity Mac, Windows
Camcorder Features
Widescreen Video Capture Yes
Action Camera Features
Camera Type mountable
Dimensions & Weight Details
Details camera only, camera with battery
Weight 4.7 oz, 5.6 oz

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Where To Buy

Garmin Virb 360

Part Number: 010-01743-00
Price
$799.99

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