To date, there has been only one truly legit player in the surging world of action cams: GoPro. There have been other entrants, but no competitor has been serious enough to thwart the company’s name from becoming the default term thrown around when talking about point-of-view devices. But the big boys are catching up. Among them is Garmin, a company known mostly for its GPS devices, which has brought out the VIRB and VIRB Elite.
The pair of POV cams shoot in 1080p HD video via a 16-megapixel CMOS image processor and a nine-element glass lens. They utilize simple, one-click recording, but separate themselves from other action cams by including a 1.4-inch display and boasting a battery life of three hours, a timespan that handily beats GoPro’s offerings. Another differentiator for the VIRBs is their ANT+ compatibility, meaning they can pair with gadgets like fitness watches and bike computers and overlay heart rate, cadence and outside temperatures on a video. The Elite model has an accelerometer, altimeter and GPS, so you can overlay speed and altitude figures, too; that model also works with Wi-Fi, so you can control it via your smartphone. Both models are waterproof for 30 minutes at one meter, and an available dive case makes them submersible to 50 meters. Both versions are able to shoot stills in the midst of recording video.
Prices: $300 for VIRB; $400 for VIRB Elite