Garmin VIRB XE
Garmin is better known for making GPS devices, but the brand is also exploring new things these days. Recently it launched the VIRB XE action camera, which is really a nice device. The brand is trying to give a direct and tough competition to the GoPro HERO 4 series devices with this camera. But is the VIRB XE worth your hard-earned money? Let’s find out.
Compatible with GoPro Mounts
The manufacturer has cleverly designed this camera. It is compatible with most of the GoPro mounts that are available in the market. And, as we know that GoPro’s attachment market is really rich, you will get a number of options to choose from.
Use of premium quality materials in the body of this device is highly appreciable. The camera is waterproof on its own and does not need a watertight case to do the underwater recording. Durable outer shell enables the VIRB XE to be used in rugged situations.
The front panel of the camera can be opened up, underneath which you can find the battery compartment. A fog tray on the left side of lens proves to be really helpful as it does not let moisture to block the view field. Moreover, the plastic cover of the lens is made of hydrophobic materials, which means it will not attract water droplets.
Easy To Operate
Garmin has tapped on the right nerve by offering a better set of controls. Cameras offered by GoPro and Sony are famous for relatively hard to use interface. The software of this camera is uniquely managed and offers quick access to all the settings. A special toggle can be used to start video recording in no time.
Decent Picture Quality
The sensor of the VIRB XE is really great at capturing details. It also helps in producing accurate colors. Better dynamic range lights up all the details in a footage. The gyro-based image stabilization method works pretty great and gives smooth results. However, the bad thing is that you can only record videos up to 1440p on this camera. Slow motion videos are also supported. One of the great features of this camera is its high-quality audio recording that beats all the GoPro devices out of the competition.
Great Connectivity Options
This camera comes loaded with connectivity features like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It also sports inbuilt GPS and accelerometer. In the final processing phase, all these connectivity features help in tracking the speed and location of the camera. The VIRB Edit software comes pretty handy and allows for overlaying of different types of Meta data. Garmin’s ecosystem is really great. If you own a Garmin manufactured device like Fenix, then you will be able to control the camera directly from it. Moreover, the camera can also be controlled from smartphones by installing an app.
- Shoots images in 12 MP
- Can capture up to 30 images per second
- Slow motion videos
- Wide dynamic range
- Is compatible with GoPro mounts
- Waterproof up to 50 meters
- Fog tray
- Hydrophobic lens cover
- Inbuilt GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth
- Great battery life
- Records high-quality audio
- Durable body for rugged use
- Cannot record 4K videos
The Garmin VIRB XE can be a great solution if you are not into 4K videos. It can be used in any environment and is also compatible with GoPro mounts. Moreover, the features that this camera offers are unparalleled in this segment.
Sony FDR-X1000V 4K Action Cam
Sony is trying to penetrate all the segments of camera market. Its entry into the Mirrorless Camera world has changed how we look at those devices and now the brand is trying to do something similar to the action camera segment. Many people consider the Sony FDR-X100V camera as a viable alternative to the action cameras offered by GoPro. However, the device is available in the market for a really high price of 39990 rupees.
This Sony device looks more like a compact Handycam. You can easily hold this device by making a fist. One can walk and record at the same time without the need of a selfie stick. Sony has used durable materials in the outer shell of this camera that also give a nice comforting feel.
Records In 4K
The only reason why people consider this camera as an alternative to GoPro is because it is capable of recording 4K videos. You also get to choose from two frame rates i.e. 30 fps and 24 fps. However, the camera lacks Optical Image Stabilization and the Electronic Image Stabilization does not work at 4K resolution. So, the high-resolution videos that users will record on it will always be shaky unless they use an expensive tripod. Moreover, the 4K bitrates of this camera are lower than what GoPro Hero 4 Black offers because of which the videos lose the crispiness.
Another downside of the Sony Action Cam is that it lacks flat profile for both images and videos.
Slow Motion Video Recording
This camera certainly gets an upper hand on the front of slow motion videos. It can record 120 fps videos at 1080p resolution and 240 fps videos at 720p resolution. Well, slow motion videos are possible on GoPro cameras, but not at such a high resolution.
Decent Battery Life
Compared to HERO 4 Black, this Sony camera is really impressive on the power back up front. Its 1240 mAh battery will easily give more than 2 hours of power backup on a single charge. However, its battery life is still not so great and my advice would be to purchase at least two extra batteries if you plan to record high definition videos all day.
Wide Angle Lens
The Zeiss Tessar lens that this camera features will blow your mind for sure. It enables the sensor to capture wide angle videos and images at 120 degrees when the Steady Shot mode turned on. And, when it is turned off the view field of this camera increases to a whopping 170 degrees.
Not Easy to Use
Although this action camera sports a simple looking control panel but you will face a hard time while changing the settings. The interface of the camera is really confusing and all the options are hidden deep into the sub menus. It takes quite a bit of time even if someone tries to change the shooting mode.
Disappointing Underwater Performance
The case that comes in the box is waterproof, but you will not be impressed by the underwater video quality of this camera. The plastic material of the case distorts the image and also blurs small details. However, if you have already purchased this camera and wanted to do quality underwater video recording then a viable option would be to purchase a different case.
The live view remote can be wrapped around the wrist of your hand. It sports a small colorful display that also acts as a remote viewfinder. This useful device can simultaneously control up to 5 devices. Sony has also released a special PlayMemories app that can be used to control the camera wirelessly from a smartphone.
- 170-degree wide angle lens
- 1/2.3-inch sensor
- Interval photo capture feature
- 4K video recording at 30 frames per second
- Can be operated wirelessly via a wrist remote
- Capable of directly streaming videos to Ustream
- XAVC S codec
- Superior audio recording
- Inbuilt Wi-Fi
- Good battery life
- Confusing controls
- Sony’s ecosystem is not as rich as GoPro’s
- Underwater performance is not impressive
This camera is good at performance and records decent quality videos. But there is room for improvements. In my opinion, it is more like a compact point and shoot camera than a high-quality action camera. Considering the price point, GoPro HERO 4 series cameras are better alternatives.
Ride vlogging has become a popular trend these days. There are a number of channels on YouTube that are run by bikers. Similarly, if you have a reputable bike or car and want to start a vlog, then the very first thing you will need is a camera. The DRIFT GHOST-S can be a great entry-level camera for ride vloggers. It offers hassle-free handling and can be easily mounted on a helmet. However, I must tell you that the video quality of this camera is disgusting.
Good Build Quality
The DRIFT GHOST-S is a waterproof camera and it does not require external casing to record videos underwater. Moreover, its outer shell is made of durable materials. There is also a color display on this camera that can be of great help while changing the settings. But the buttons that are located on the top are really hard to press. The camera lens can be rotated to fit the orientation, which is great news for those bikers who like to mount cameras on the side of their helmet.
Average Connectivity Options
There is nothing special on this front. This camera comes with all the features that are generally found on other action cams like inbuilt Wi-Fi and mini HDMI port. You also get a remote shutter that can be used to trigger the camera wirelessly. However, instead of a normal mini USB port, the manufacturer has equipped this device with a mini-B USB port. So, all your smartphone data cables and chargers will not be of much use.
Bad Video Quality
Although this camera shoots 12 MP images but its video quality is highly disappointing. The maximum resolution supported is of 1920 X 1080 pixels. The sensor considerably fails to capture highlights and small details. However, the lens offers a wide view field. Color reproduction of the camera is also accurate.
Impressive Battery Life
This camera takes in a high capacity 1700 mAh user removable battery. You can expect at least 2.5 hours of power backup on a single charge.
- The display panel is secured by Corning Gorilla Glass
- Can be easily mounted on a helmet
- Its lens can be rotated
- Removable battery
- Color reproduction is good
- Waterproof body
- Inbuilt Wi-Fi
- Not capable for recording 4K and 2K videos
- Sensors are not good at capturing details
This device does offer some noticeable features, but the bad video quality overshadows everything. Moreover, the price of the camera is also too high.