Garmin Launches PWC-Friendly Action Sports Camera

Waterproof Garmin VIRB ready to record your ride

Garmin is well-known within the PWC industry for the brand’s line of handheld, water-friendly GPS units. Now the brand is making the jump into another market familiar to many personal watercraft owners – the high-definition, action sports-oriented video camera market.

In short, Garmin is going, well, GoPro…so to speak.

VIEW: Waterproof Camera Options For PWC Enthusiasts

How will the brand differentiate itself from the market leader? Both models, the VIRB ($299) and VIRB Elite ($399), will capture 1080p, HD quality video, along with 16-megapixel still images – even while recording video. Both burst and time-lapse modes will also be available. Like other similar cameras, the VIRB captures a wide point of view.

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

Garmin VIRB on Stand

All of the above is nothing radically new. More unique, however, are things like the camera’s water-resistant body, capable of being submerged to 3 feet of depth for up to 30 minutes without a separate, external case; the energy-efficient, built-in Chroma display, which will allow users to frame their shots, review what they’ve just recorded, and interact with menus; digital image stabilization to remove the shakiness that is common to these types of cameras; and a fish-eye compensation feature that promises to correct lens distortion. The VIRB also offers three hours of record time on a single battery charge.

VIEW: Olympus TG820 Camera Review

The VIRB Elite includes that feature that Garmin built a brand on – GPS – as well as an accelerometer, altimeter and Wi-Fi. The combination allows for some unique possibilities, including embedding GPS data into the video, controlling the camera via smartphone apps, or even – in a “ski” mode – turning the camera on and off while riding ski lifts. Both models can also connect to fitness-oriented Garmin devices via ANT+, allowing these devices to serve as camera remotes, or allowing things like heart rate to be embedded into video as well.

Garmin VIRB Various Angles

Like other similar devices, the VIRB can be attached to things like helmets, arms, feet, or mounted directly to a PWC via Garmin connectors, or the existing array of GoPro or similar mounts with a Garmin adapter. Both models will be available in early September.