Garmin has decided to upgrade their action camera line and they have now announced their new Virb Ultra 30 action camera. The action camera is said to have unique features such as voice control and live-streaming options. And because of the surfacing competition from Sony and Xiaomi, it can of course record at 4K video resolution. As of today, the Garmin Virb Ultra 30 is available for $499 on their website.
Garmin gained it’s name in the navigation tech industry. In the recent years however, they have moved onto other markets, from action cameras to fitness tech. Their previous Virb action camera, released in 2015, was good but it didn’t quite reach the level of GoPro and Sony. With the release of Virb Ultra 30, the action camera should definitely be able to compete with the models. Especially since GoPro and Sony haven’t released a flagship camera since 2014. So it is kind of new technology vs old technology.
The Virb Ultra 30 has kept the same unique features that the previous Virb had. For example the ability to add data (speed and altitude) to all of your videos by overlaying it. A feature that makes sport videos way more interesting. What they have changed is the design. They have turned the Virb into an action camera the size of Hero 4 with double the amount of features.
The two biggest features Garmin has added is 4K resolution and digital image stabilization. What is cool about Garmins digital image stabilization is that it works in every mode. Even in 4K and 1080p at 60fps. Other action cameras on the market turn off the stabilization system at 4K. So this is a step forward in making 4K videos even smoother. There is nothing worse than shooting an amazing video and then later on discovering that it is way too shaky.
Another interesting new feature is voice control. Apparently there are rumors that GoPro will be adding it to the Hero 5. Those are just rumors though and Garmin will be featuring it now. It basically works like a simplified version of Siri. You turn on the action camera, shout “okay Garmin”, wait for the lights to blink and then you can start giving commands. For example, you can tell the action camera to start or stop recording. This is great for if you wish to record yourself. This feature does work with a waterproof case but you are going to need to shout.
The second new feature, is ability to live-stream. According to Garmin, the Virb Ultra 30 needs to be connected to a smartphone over WiFi. Also, the footage can also be streamed to YouTube and the video resolution will be capped at 720p.
The Garmin Virb Ultra 30 still has a nice touchscreen LCD on the back. You can even use it while the action camera is in a waterproof housing. Garmin has also made an app for both iOS and Android, that let’s you control the camera from your smartphone. As I also mentioned before, the Virb Ultra 30 is capable of recording videos in 4K resolution at up to 30fps. It can also recording in 1080p at 120fps, which will provide the ability to record slow-mo videos at Full HD.
Also, what is so great about the new Garmin Virb Ultra 30, is that it’s accessories use the exact same mounting connector as GoPro. That will open up to so many more mounting options.
The Garmin Virb Ultra 30 is definitely an interesting action camera and I can’t wait to get my hands on it to review it. I’m really excited to see what GoPro can come up with now.