Garmin takes on GoPro with new action cameras

Action cameras are getting quite popular this year, GoPro being the leader in the industry right now, and the most popular one at that. GoPro might be smart to watch out, though, as Garmin (not to mention Xiaomi) is launching their own line-up of rugged action cameras for relatively affordable prices. The Garmin action cameras’ prices are between $299 and $399, Since the GoPro Hero 4 prices are between $400 and $500 on Amazon, the slashed prices of the Garmin action cameras might be worth a look. So what do they have to offer?

Garmin’s action cameras are called the VIRB X and the VIRB XE, and you might have guessed already which is the more expensive one. Note that these are not the only action cameras from Garmin, but they do look better than the VIRB Elite, their first try at the business. The Garmin VIRB X is the $300 model which is considered to be the base model, while the $400 action camera is the VIRB XE, the higher-end variant of the two new releases.

When it comes to action cameras, ruggedness is key to good sales, and Garmin seems to be doing that part right, as the VIRB X and VIRB XE look like more rugged GoPro Heros than anything. The VIRB XE is the higher end one of the action cameras, coming with features like 1440p at 30 fps, 1080 at 60 fps, and quite a few manual settings that you can tap into. These manual action camera settings include ISO limit, sharpness control, exposure, white balance and such. The VIRB X is slightly inferior, as it konks out at 1080 at 30 fps. Both can shoot 12 MP photos, which is nice.

If that doesn’t sound impressive, note that it shouldn’t. Garmin’s action cameras don’t have 4K shooting or crazy slow motion and other features, but the do do one thing right: sports. Garmin aims the VIRB X and VIRB XE at sports fan by offering extra features that cater to their actual needs. These features include GPS, rugged build quality, two hour battery life (which is more than the average for action cameras), heart rate monitoring, speed, acceleration, G-load, distance tracking and more. The overall design of the Garmin action cameras has also been improved since the Elite, making them smaller and more easily mountable on various equipment, although Garmin doesn’t have too many accessories available just yet. Certainly these action cameras are not the best video capture tools, but they are among the best when it comes to recording sports activity while displaying and embedding a lot of detail into the frames and videos.