Garmin Action Camera Review 2022: Best Choice For You

Garmin Action Camera Review 2022: Best Choice For You

Garmin Virb Ultra 30 is a top-of-the-line action camera that offers stunning 4K video quality and 12 MP photos. It also has many features that make it a great choice for athletes and outdoor enthusiasts, such as GPS tracking, barometric altimeter, and compass. In this Garmin Virb Ultra 30 review, we’ll take a closer look at all the features that make this camera so great.

Garmin Action Camera Review

Pros

  • The camera quality is quite good
  • Includes a waterproof case
  • Voice control
  • WiFi smartphone connection
  • 3-axis stabilizer
  • Excellent audio even when the case is closed

Cons

  • 4K has no stabilization
  • Better stabilizers are possible
  • The waterproof housing is essential

Garmin Virb Ultra 30 Review: Design

Garmin Virb Ultra 30 Review: Design

  • 57.5×45.9×31.3mm (without waterproof cover); 87.9g
  • Touchscreen; power, Wi-Fi/Menu buttons, and record switch controls

You’ll be amazed at how small the Virb Ultra 30, once you take it out of its box. Similar to the GoPro Hero5, it is small with only a few millimeters difference.

The small square grid is located on the front of Garmin’s Virb. It is next to the protruding lenses. The black and red finishes are simple and effective and feature Garmin branding at the front and rear.

The Virb Ultra 30, which is a 30-inch device, has a power button and a button that connects to your smartphone via Wi-Fi. It also features a switch to turn on or off the recording.

The Micro-HDMI/Micro-USB ports are located on the left side of the screen. On the right, there is a switch that opens the battery cover at the bottom. You can remove the 1,250mAh battery and also find the microSD card slot.

The 1.75in touchscreen is located on the back. It can still be used with a waterproof cover. The case comes with the box and allows you to waterproof the Virb down to 40 meters.

We did experience a little problem with ours after we took it out into the ocean. Although it kept it dry, it did pick up some sand, which made it difficult to open the shutter. We couldn’t remove the camera without having to dig out the sand. To improvise, we used a rolled-up banknote. What are dust, sand, and grit? But not so. Water? Water?

You will need to protect the waterproof case if you intend to mount the camera to any other objects, such as your bike handlebars or chest.

Display

Garmin Virb Ultra 30 Review: Display

  • 44.5mm/1.75 inch touchscreen

You can adjust settings by tapping away on the touchscreen display at the back of the Virb. Although the panel is not as large as that of GoPro Hero 5 Black, it still displays a clear image and has good brightness levels.

The home screen has six buttons for video, photo, and playback. Garmin even managed to add a back button to the home screen and a settings icon to aid navigation. These buttons, despite being large in size, are easy to use and well-sized.

You can access a few quick settings on display by simply swiping to the left or the top to access video and image settings.

Shooting Options and Specification

Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 – Shooting Options and Specification

Garmin hasn’t changed the specifications of the Ultra 30 sensor over the XE. It features a 12-megapixel resolution and a large 1/2.3-inch sensor. However, signal processing has seen significant improvements. It is now possible to shoot 4K with a Garmin Action Camera – at 30 frames per second.

You can also shoot at lower resolutions with great high-speed options. The resolutions you can use include 2.7K at 60 frames/sec and 1080p at 120 frames/sec. You can also shoot 720p at 220 frames/sec and 480p @ 300 frames/sec. Smooth slow motion can be captured at Full HD too. This will prove useful for action videography. These are the most important features of the GoPro Hero 5 Black, but the latter offers a wide range of resolutions.

In the 4K mode, the maximum data rate is 60Mbits/sec. However, this can be compressed to 35Mbits/sec if you add the G–Metrix overlay. This is not enough to shoot Full HD at 8.75Mbits/sec. The MicroSD slot is hidden under the main unit cover, so the footage is recorded to microSD. 35 minutes of 4K footage will be stored on a 16GB card.

Like the XE, the Ultra 30 also offers image stability. However, this relies on pixel-shifting to the sensor and doesn’t work in 4K as there isn’t enough. It can only operate at 1,440p at 60 frames/sec, or 2.7K @ 30 frames/sec. It’s still a three-axis system. While it is not as good as optical image stabilization, such as Sony’s FDR-X3000 Action Cam’s, it is worth owning. Extreme action can cause optical systems to have trouble.

 Features and Settings

Review of Garmin Virb Ultra 30: Features and Settings

  • Wi-Fi connection (to compatible smartphone)
  • 2-hrs 15-mins battery life (removable battery)
  • Voice control
  • Built-in Altimeter, Compass, Accelerometer, and Gyroscope

The Virb Ultra 30 also offers voice control, just like the GoPro Hero5 Black. If you have the camera mounted to your handlebars, and you don’t have your hands free to control it, you can speak commands to the camera to turn the recording on or off.

The voice commands are “OK Garmin start recording” and “OK Garmin remembers that“. So the Virb Ultra 30 will place a tag in the most recent recording to help you locate an important moment whenever you import it to a computer.

The camera will beep once you have given a command. This is to verify that it understands the command and will execute it. If the camera doesn’t make a beep sound, it may not have been able to hear what you said. Or maybe the surrounding noises are too loud. Fortunately, the Virb Ultra 30 was able to pick our voices in all conditions, including windy and noisy.

It was quick to respond to our commands and very good at understanding different phrases. It will respond the same way if you ask it to take a photograph or take a shot. Some voice-controlled cameras, however, require that you use the exact phrases. This is something that must be learned rather than being completely natural.

The Virb Ultra 30 can be connected to your smartphone using Wi-Fi. Garmin Virb App is required for Android and iOS. It can be used to view what your smartphone is seeing, adjust video resolution, change the battery level, and access content on the memory card. You can also live broadcast your videos to YouTube.

To add additional data to your videos, you can connect the camera with a smartwatch.

G-Metrix is also part of the Virb Ultra 30’s specs. The camera can measure different data that can be added to your video. The feature allows you to measure altitude, speed, and location. It is powered by a compass, accelerometer, accelerometer, and gyroscope. This will allow you to show your family and friends that you ‘boarded as fast as you claimed down a slope.

Usability

Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 makes it easier to capture memorable moments in your life. It works flawlessly, even with waterproof housing. One-touch can turn on the camera, take photos and then turn it off. It is easier to use and provides shortcut keys for controlling video and photo settings. VIRB Ultra makes it easy to access night and standard views, frame rate adjustment, and resolution adjustment.

Image Quality

VIRB Ultra 30 is a photo-capturing tool that has the best features. The results are always exceptional, regardless of whether you choose to use time-lapse or burst modes. With its F/2.6 lens, stills can be captured at a resolution of 12MP. The most advanced feature of VIRB Ultra 30 includes the ability to take photos and record videos at 4K resolution. It will take perfect pictures without losing any detail in your video. It also has the ability to adjust exposure, ISO, and white balance.

Electronic Image Stabilization:

While electronic image stabilization can be enabled up to 1440p resolution, it is not possible to use a 4K recording. It is possible to capture flawless footage while riding a bicycle. This feature is great for those who work at a lower resolution.

Voice Control

Garmin Action Camera Review - Voice control

Garmin’s action camera series has the most notable addition: voice control of functions. You can’t use your smartphone app or the camera control buttons while you are driving, biking, surfing, or riding. Voice commands are the best way to communicate in such situations. To stop recording, shout “Stop Recording” or “Take a photo” to capture the moment. Voice commands can be used to enable the tagging feature. Simply say, “Remember that”

Wearable Sensor

Ultra 30 has a built-in type GPS sensor, compass, and altimeter. Garmin has given it the name G-Matrix. The device can record motion, force, elevation, and rotation. This device can also be paired with external sensors via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and ANT+.

App

Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 apps are now available for desktop users and mobile phone users. It is possible to view videos and change settings on your smartphone. The desktop app is also available for Mac and PC. It offers advanced video editing tools.

Batteries

  • Although the Garmin VIRB Ultra 30’s 1250mAh battery is good, it does not use as much SJCAM technology. With the Wi-Fi and screen off, the battery can record 1080p Full HD video for up to 120 minutes. The battery life drops dramatically when you capture a 4K video.
  • The battery can be found at the bottom. There is a cover that allows you to access the battery. Garmin 30 ships with one battery. I recommend purchasing an additional battery to quickly change the batteries and continue recording when they run out.

Stabilization

  • Garmin 30 has Electronic Image Stabilization. This electronic image stabilization is built-in Electronic Image Stabilization. It detects movement changes and positions when the camera shakes or moves. This helps to eliminate the jerky jumping that most action cameras suffer from.
  • To compensate for camera shakes and movement, the sensors employ a cross-border compensation algorithm.
  • The (EIS-stabilization) can be used to stabilize video at resolutions up to 1080p FHD and 4K video. This is the first model of inexpensive sports cameras capable of stabilizing 4K video.

Photography

The Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 is capable of taking photos up to.

  • 16MP (4320×3240)
  • 12MP (4320×3240)
  • 10MP (3648×2736)
  • 8MP (3264×2448)
  • 5MP (2592×1944)
  • 2MP (1600×1200)

It is a good quality image. We also have the option to adjust the ISO and exposure time using other settings. With patience, we can create interesting images.

The Ultra 30 also has the option to use Time Lapse in photo mode and other features. This is something that I really appreciate. Also, the Ultra 30 allows you to set the resolutions of your pictures in either 4:3 or 16/9 formats.

Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 also has the ability to take RAW images. This allows you to edit them in postproduction and improve the quality. Garmin’s RAW converter can be used for RAW photos.

Video

The camera can record 4K full HD at 30 frames per second and for up to 120 minutes. These videos are saved in.MP4 format using the H.264 codec.

Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 records in native 4K Ultra HD, which is incredible for a low-budget action cam. It uses a 170deg super-wide-angle lens to capture video and 16MP photos in low light.

Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 includes video features that allow you to capture better footage. These include single shooting, photo burst, and self-timer.

These are the video resolutions for the Garmin Virb Ultra 30:

  • 4K at 30fps
  • 2.7K at 30fps
  • 1080P FHD 120fps/60fps/30fps
  • 720P HD a 120fps/240fps/60fps/30fps

Sensor Connectivity

All VIRBs have the unique ability to record additional information along with the video. This allows you to display details about your activity embedded within the frame. The Ultra 30 has an integrated GPS, accelerometer, and gyroscope, as well as a compass. Garmin refers to this as the G-Metrix. This is more than what the GoPro Hero5 Black can offer.

The Ultra 30 will not work correctly if it is in its waterproof case. Garmin provides a second door that isn’t waterproof. This is only IPX7-rated. It can go to 1m depth for 30 minutes. Rainstorms should not be a problem.

The Ultra 30 can connect via Bluetooth and ANT+ to a wide range of external sensors beyond the built-in G-Metrix. You can connect to various sensors such as heart rate monitors, bike sensors, and ELM327 OBD2 car interfaces. There are also boat and aircraft sensors. Although not all these data sources can be superimposed onto the frame, the data can still be collected alongside the video.

Wi-Fi is also available, which allows a smartphone to be used as a control device. This works by turning the action camera into a point of access. VIRB App provides full configuration and control options.

Your smartphone’s mobile data can be used for YouTube streaming. Sign in to Google, and the software will set everything up for you. After that, you can email a YouTube link to your viewers. It worked well for me.

You can also view the G-Metrix alongside your video, and embed it in the app when you share it. After signing in to Google, you can transfer files to the Ultra 30 to your Drive account. This is a great way to a backup video while on the go, but it will eat up your mobile data plan. However, the 4K file transfer speed is now reduced to 35Mbits/sec.

Garmin Virb Ultra 30 Review: Performance

Garmin Virb Ultra 30 Review: Performance

  • 4K video at 30fps
  • 1080p @ 60fps
  • 12-megapixel stills
  • Night mode for low-light photos

The Garmin Virb Ultra 30 also has the unique ability to record 4K video at 30 frames per second. For the best playback, you will need a device that can display 4K resolution (3840×2160). However, the resulting footage is clear and detailed.

If you want Full HD capture, this is where the GoPro Hero5 excels. The camera can do slow-motion editing at 120fps at 1080p. This might not be important to you if you don’t have the time or tools to do more sophisticated editing. However, the Garmin can only process half of the frame rate equivalent.

A wind noise blocker is another thing that we’d like to see on Virb Ultra 30. This feature is available on the GoPro Hero5 Black, and it works great. Many of our footage was shot in windy conditions. While it did not prevent us from hearing speech, it did distract from the main focus, which was beautiful scenery.

Garmin Virb Ultra 30 can take 12MP photos at a 4/3 ratio or 8MP photos at 16:9. The “Pro Settings” feature manual adjustment of ISO sensitivity and exposure. It even offers a live preview in real-time. The Virb Ultra 30 won’t be able to compete with a dedicated digital camera, or DSLR, due to how muddy our lens got from being sprayed in all sorts of conditions. However, it is capable of quickly capturing a shot (and can even take photos while recording) and is a worthy performer.

The most important thing is battery life. The battery life was just below 2 hours. However, this will vary depending on the resolution and active settings. G-Metrix 4K is recommended. Don’t expect it will last that long. G-Metrix off, 1080p, and Garmin’s 2-hours and 15-minutes recording time are acceptable. This is often better than the GoPro equivalent.

Conclusion

The Garmin Virb Ultra 30 is a great action camera for anyone looking to capture their outdoor adventures. This camera is packed with features, like 4K video recording and voice control, that will help you capture amazing footage of your activities. The Virb Ultra 30 is also waterproof without a case, which makes it a great option for athletes or anyone who wants to take their camera anywhere.

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