Garmin VIRB XE Review

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Updated July 21, 2022
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88 Expert Rating

Looking for the best action camera? The Garmin VIRB XE is a rugged, waterproof recording powerhouse, which many Amazon reviewers directly compare to the GoPro HERO 7 Black Action Camera. Powered by Garmin GPS and the G-Metrix, you’ll know exactly how far, how fast, how high, and how awesome the moment was. Expect crisp image quality and extra performance data from the XE Garmin VIRB. For more top-of-the-shelf digital cameras read our best digital cameras reviews.

Why We Like It – Garmin VIRB XE

For rich, high-definition, wide-angle footage, look no further than the Garmin VIRB XE action camera. It shoots in 1080p and 60 frames per second. More than just a camera, the new G Metrix technology wirelessly connects to sensors that help you track your speed, heart rate, and other stats. With built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-enabled audio, Garmin has you covered.

Pros
  • Built-in GPS, g-force, and orientation sensors
  • Dive-ready for up to 50 meters underwater
  • 1-touch record switch
Cons
  • Short battery life as the camera ages
  • User reviews report issues with video recording randomly stopping

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Performance

The VIRB XE is Garmin’s evolution of the VIRB Elite, a redesign in both design and control. It connects to extras for more performance data, and users can download the VIRB Edit software from Garmin’s website. It’s gyro-enhanced for great image stabilization and offers a burst shooting mode for several photos in just a couple of seconds. The VIRB XE has fantastic video capture, up to 1080p with 60fps. Or, you can capture up to 240fps in slow motion for dramatic shots. For two more models with similar recording features, check out the GoPro Hero 8 Black and the GoPro HERO 7 Black Waterproof Streaming Stabilization camera.

Related: Check out our Gary Fong Flip Cage review to learn more about protecting your camera from falls and blocking extra light for a macro shot.

Design

Seriously, anywhere you go, the VIRB XE Garmin can go with: water and snow sports, riding, hunting, mountaineering, skydiving, extreme sports, and even drone flying. It’s designed for the most rugged adventures, with the ability to dive over 50 meters without a case to provide cleaner and clearer audio. That’s deeper than the DJI Osmo Action. You can download the VIRB app to your smartphone for live data and instant share options, and connect to Bluetooth audio for recording in high definition.

Value

At $400, it’s not as cheap as the Dragon Touch 4K Action Camera, but you definitely get what you pay for with the Garmin VIRB XE. There are so many built-in features and compatible apps, like Garmin’s free editing software, that it’s hard not to justify the extra price. You can also connect the VIRB XE to the VIRB remote, your smart devices, portable navigation devices, aviation flight decks, and even other VIRB cameras—so there’s no need to replace your existing tech.

Garmin VIRB XE Wrap Up

The Garmin VIRB XE is one of the best action cameras on the market, packing a big punch in a tiny camera. It’s perfect for the most extreme sports lovers, as well as divers. It has excellent audio and video quality, a gyroscopic image stabilizer, and built-in G-Matrix technology for more data and more fun. It’s more expensive than other action cameras, but it’s definitely worth the price.

Related: Consider the Fujifilm xp80 for a waterproof and shockproof camera best known for its excellent images in bright scenes.

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