Last year I took the Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 action camera out for some road tests and enjoyed the unique ability to integrate data captured by the GPS receiver and sensors into my videos.
Today, Garmin announced its first 360 camera, the Garmin VIRB 360 that brings many of the excellent features from the Ultra 30 to a rugged 360 camera designed to capture everything you do outside and bring others directly into those experiences.
Garmin has competed with GoPro in the action camera market, but this time it beat GoPro to the market for 360 image and video capture. The Garmin VIRB 360 has a MSRP of $799.99 with availability slated for June.
The Garmin VIRB 360 provides the following:
- 360 camera that shoots up to 5.7K
- 360 audio with 4-built in microphones
- 4K Spherical Stabilization to make every video smooth and steady
- Automatic in-camera stitching up to 4K/30fps
- Customizable G-Metrix data overlaid in a new 360-degree augmented reality setting
There are three hardware buttons on top of the VIRB 360 to control the menus and camera so no smartphone is required. There is a large button on the right side that lets you slide it and immediately begin recording video too. In addition, the voice control capability found in the VIRB Ultra 30 is present so you can mount the VIRB 360 on your helmet and control the camera with just your voice.
The camera charges via microUSB and stores content on a microSD card. There is a removable battery so you can carry extras and make sure you capture your entire adventure. The battery provides a one-hour life of constant video recording. Photo capture modes include single capture, burst, and time-lapse. The VIRB 360 has WiFi, Bluetooth, ANT+, and NFC connectivity.
The G-Metrix overlay adds a fun element to your content with stats that show the sensor data captured by the camera, including GPS-based info like speed, altitude, orientation angle, etc. This helps give some context to the content the viewer is enjoying. Speaking of viewers, you can live stream your content on YouTube or Facebook Live or watch it later on a VR headset like the Google Daydream or Samsung Gear VR.
There are iOS and Android apps so you are not limited to which phone you connect with to control the camera. You also receive desktop software that you can use for advanced editing of your content, but you can also perform basic editing and sharing right from your smartphone.
The new Samsung Gear 360 is a solid 360 camera for the masses, but doesn't have the rugged integrity found in the Garmin VIRB 360. The 360fly camera offers some ruggedness at a price of $399.99, but doesn't shoot at nearly the quality of this new Garmin camera. Thus, if you are serious about capturing all those great moments when skiing, kayaking, biking, fishing, or other adventures then the Garmin VIRB 360 may be the best choice available today.
An evaluation unit just arrived a couple of days ago so I've only been able to test it for a few hours. I plan to take it out on the road and into the rivers soon for more testing with a planned full review in a couple of weeks.