Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 Brief Review


REVIEW SUMMARY

Specifications

  • 4K video at 30 fps
  • 2.7K video at 60 fps, 1080p at 120 fps
  • 12 megapixel still photos with burst rate up to 60 fps
  • 3 axis image stabilization
  • Manual camera controls with Live preview Automatic and manual video highlight tools
  • Voice control
  • GPS
  • Accelerometer
  • Gyroscope
  • Altimeter
  • Compass
  • Bluetooth and Wi-fi
  • Touchscreen
  • Weighs 3.1 oz. Li-ion battery rated at 1 hour and 15 minutes for 4K (2 hours and 15 minutes at 1080p 30 fps)
  • Release Date: 2016-08-31
  • Final Grade: 94 4.7 Star Rating: Recommended


The Garmin Virb packs stabilization and sensors into a compact action camera
Want to know how high, far or fast you went? The sensors inside the Garmin Virb Ultra 30 make it possible.
By Hillary Grigonis, Last updated on: 10/1/2016

The Garmin Virb Ultra 30 wraps up everything you'd expect from a company that also manufacturers GPS units, and then some. The action camera includes several built in sensors, including a GPS, altimeter and speedometer, and embeds the details into the footage. Yes, that means you can find out exactly how fast you were going during the peak of the action. The built-in sensors also work to automatically tag the highlights of your footage, which makes turning a long video into a quick shareable movie much simpler. 

Voice activation is another feature that will help prevent users from shifting through hours of footage. Saying "start recording" or "take a picture" or "remember that" will allow users to access the features hands-free, which is a pretty intriguing feature for action cameras.

While the abundance of sensors is what makes the Virb Ultra 30 unique, it also includes tough-to-find image stabilization. While the technical specifications don't detail the sensor, the camera does capture 4K footage at 30 fps, and when faster frame rates are necessary, there's 60 fps at a 2.7K resolution or 1080p HD at 120 fps. 

Design-wise, the Virb Ultra 30 is compact and includes a water resistant casing. A touchscreen at the back makes accessing the different options simpler as well.

Compared to Garmin's earlier action camera attempts, the camera has enhanced stabilization, better sensors and a faster frame rate. The battery life doesn't look so good at not much more than an hour on 4K, however. While we haven't yet been able to compare the video quality against the new (and also stabilized) Sony X3000R, or the GoPro line, on paper, the Garmin Virb Ultra 30 looks like a serious contender for the built-in sensors and voice activation features alone.


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