Renowned for its motion sensors and robust products with excellent battery life, Garmin finally takes the turn of 360 ° spherical video and adds to its catalog the Virb 360 °. It competes directly with the Nikon KeyMission 360 ° and offers a technical sheet quite close. Will its integrated activity sensors and grip make it stand out?
As usual, Garmin offers a beefy product, with excellent manufacturing quality. The camera has been designed to be waterproof up to 10 meters deep without a box. It’s not as impressive as the Nikon KeyMission, capable of diving up to 30m, but it’s a good start, especially since spherical 4K / UHD and watertight cameras without box are still rare in the industry.
First good points for this camera Virb 360: its easy handling and small control screen, which displays most of the information and allows most important settings (mode, activation of Wi-Fi, etc.). Unlike the Nikon KeyMission, the camera is manually controlled. It is not necessary to go through the compatible application to control it. We regret, however, that the screen is not backlit.
Like the GoPro Hero6 Black and Hero5 Black, the Garmin Virb 360 has a quick record button: by activating the large latch on the side of the camera, recording will start automatically. In this case, it is not possible to set anything. For a more complete use, it is preferable to switch on the camera via the switch, set as desired and activate the recording. Finally, the voice command “OK Garmin, start recording” also allows you to trigger the camera remotely. This feature is primarily suitable for athletes in action, who can not always free themselves to manually start recording, or when the camera is attached to specific accessories and sometimes inaccessible. So many ways to trigger welcome to vary the uses.
The camera is compatible with a microSD UHS-I card up to 128 GB. Its location has been conveniently positioned on the side to be able to change easily, even when the camera is attached to a tripod. The same goes for HDMI and USB connectivity. This is very convenient for long recordings, especially since it is possible to charge the camera and record at the same time. The latch system to open the hatch secures everything. The 1250 mAh battery has a battery life of approximately 1 hour in 4K / UHD. It is not exceptional, but in the good average of the cameras that we tested.
The dedicated application, compatible and available on iOS and Android, is relatively complete. It gives you access to the main settings and allows you to broadcast your live recording on YouTube and Facebook. The camera can also be controlled via an existing Wi-Fi network. In practice, the application displays some random slowdowns that can sometimes disturb the live preview.
A professional video mode provides access to more advanced settings for controlling exposure, including white balance, exposure compensation, ISO sensitivity, and more. You can choose to assign these settings to both sensors, the front or rear sensor only, or independently. The app also displays the remaining battery level and recording time – always convenient to anticipate its recording.
We regret the lack of a mobile editing application. To edit and edit your movies, you must bring Virb Edit software, available on computer (PC and Mac) and yet free, which is ultimately quite rare. Depending on the duration and type of registration, the import may be long. In addition, the software sometimes lacks maneuverability and fluidity, but remains complete and allows you to manage the editing, stabilization, transitions, modify the viewing experience in progress, etc.
Finally, the Garmin Virb 360 integrates many motion sensors (speed, altitude, rotation in the air, temperature, weight, volume, etc.) from which it is possible to extract the data which can then be exploited gauges or graphics within his video editing. A Garmin Connect Share companion app, compatible with most Garmin connected devices, offers to share its achievements with the community.
By default, the Virb 360 films in 4K / UHD 3,840 x 2,160 px at 30 fps. It is also possible to shoot in 1,920 x 1,080px Full HD via the 9MP front or rear sensor, coupled to a lens opening at f / 2 and enjoying a 141 ° field of view. Three stabilization functions are applicable a posteriori (vibration attenuation, stabilization, and a tracking mode), only via the application Virb Edit.
A more advanced video mode RAW 5K / 2,496 x 2,496 px at 30 fps and 5,7K at 2,880 x 2,880 px, accessible only through the app, produces two independent video files from each lens. They must then be assembled to obtain a spherical video. This definition is dedicated to experts who want to gain precision and perform the assembly and calibration themselves. Be careful however, viewing your live recording is not possible in this mode, which is also particularly greedy in autonomy and memory.
Exposure management in professional mode, including exposure compensation and ISO sensitivity (up to ISO 1600), improves brightness in difficult conditions. However, we observe a grain consequently unflattering from 800 ISO. Use with moderation, therefore.
On the sound side, four microphones record at 360 °. We expected a clearer and homogeneous restitution. In reality, it is necessary to raise the tone of the voice so that it is correctly perceived.
The Garmin VIRB 360 ° stands out mainly for its watertightness up to 10 m without box and its many integrated activity sensors that will seduce a sporting public. With its spherical videos in 4K / UHD good quality, ease of use and advanced settings offered by the mobile application and software version, the immersion is only more complete.