I’ve been wanting to look into a new action cam for awhile now. I used to own a GoPro and, this time around, I sort of figured I had been there and done that. I wondered what else was out there—was there a GoPro alternative that was any good? My search led me to try out the Garmin Virb Elite action camera.
I think what initially drew me to the Garmin Virb (and subsequently the Virb Elite as the two models look identical save for a different color scheme) was it’s styling. Namely, it had some. Compared to the boxiness of the GoPro it seemed like a nice—although larger—change.
Also unlike a GoPro, the Virb feels like it was made to fit a hand. It’s easy to hold, it’s grippy and in this case, it’s larger size makes a bit of sense.
I also find the color scheme of the Virb Elite compelling for some reason. I guess the black and white and red stand out a bit in a world where most of my gadgets are silver. I mean, I love my Apple products, and the aluminum and glass look works for a refined office feel, but it wouldn’t work for a product made to take into the great outdoors.
Plus, unlike a GoPro, the Virb doesn’t need a case to prevent it from getting beat up. The ruggedness is built right into the product (that’s not to say there aren’t a ton of accessories Garmin would love for you to get your hands on, though—more on that later).
Using the Garmin Virb is easier than easy. Rather than have an on button and a record button—a two step process—the Virb just has a record button that takes care of both functions. See something you want to record? Just flip the switch and you’re in business.
Being right handed, I did find myself wishing the record switch was on the right side of the device which would make it easier to hold the device in my right hand and use my thumb to switch it on. As it was, I typically ended up holding the device with two hands to turn it on and then switching it to my preferred hand for filming.
There’s a large red light on the Virb that flashes a bit obnoxiously during recording. I assume this is so that a person in the midst ...