Garmin

Garmin Virb vs GoPro Fusion

August 23, 2019

Looking for a quality 360 camera? Garmin Virb vs GoPro Fusion are two models that are very popular in the market right now. Both are able to shoot videos in higher resolutions than 4K, and both are packed with cool advanced features. So, which one is better for the money?

Read on below to learn about:

  • Which 360 camera that has better image quality
  • The comparison of their battery life and ease of use
  • The apps available for Garmin Virb and GoPro Fusion
  • The advanced features of Garmin Virb vs GoPro Fusion
  • Which 360 camera that provides a better value for the money

Image Quality

The first thing that we are going to compare is the image quality. Although it is true that both of these cameras are able to record in resolutions higher than 4K, they are still different. If you are looking for an action camera with a more conventional design and purpose, see Garmin Virb vs GoPro Hero 6.

Garmin Virb 360 is able to record stitched spherical videos in 4K at 30fps. With this setting, the camera can perform the stitching directly. Garmin Virb 360 is also able to record videos in 5.7K at 30 fps, but it will require rendering on the Garmin Virb Edit software. For stills, the maximum resolution is 15MP.

GoPro Fusion, on the other hand, is able to record videos in 5.2K at 30fps and in 3K at 60fps. Compared to Garmin Virb 360, the video resolutions of GoPro Fusion are slightly lower. Also, GoPro Fusion can’t stitch the videos directly in the camera; you’ll need to render them on the GoPro Fusion Studio software. For stills, the maximum resolution is 18MP.

So, in general, Garmin Virb 360 is better because the video resolutions are higher and the camera can render spherical videos in resolutions up to 4K directly. For shooting fast actions, GoPro Fusion may have an advantage with the 3K/60fps setting, as the higher frame rate will allow motions to look smoother and sharper – but it won’t be able to share spherical videos right away.

Battery Life

The next notable difference between Garmin Virb vs GoPro Fusion is the battery life. When choosing an action camera, the battery life is extremely important to consider. Nobody wants to run out of juice in the middle of shooting.

When tested, Garmin Virb 360 was able to last for about 60 minutes from a single charge. Not bad, but you’ll want to bring a back-up battery. On the other hand, GoPro Fusion was slightly better, as it was able to last for 90 minutes from a single charge. Depending on the length of your trip, bringing a back-up battery may or may not be necessary.

So, in terms of battery life, GoPro Fusion is a little bit better than Garmin Virb 360. Note that the test involved mostly video recording and occasionally snapping stills. If you enable their Wi-Fi continuously, they will run out of juice much more quickly.

Apps

Of course, these cameras come with their own apps. Both cameras are equipped with Wi-Fi to connect to smartphones. Garmin Virb 360 has the Garmin Virb mobile app for remote viewing and control, whereas GoPro Fusion has the GoPro mobile app which offers remote viewing as well as some advanced image enhancement features.

They also have desktop apps for rendering spherical videos at high resolutions and more advanced post-production capabilities. Garmin Virb 360 has the Garmin Virb Edit desktop software, whereas GoPro Fusion has the GoPro Fusion Studio desktop software. Both apps are free to download and incredibly easy and intuitive to use. Even if you have no prior experience in rendering a 360 video, you will be able to understand the options and controls of these apps in no time.

The Garmin Virb Edit software is really robust and efficient. When running on a MacBook with 8GB of RAM and an Intel Core i5 CPU, it can render 4K spherical videos in a matter of minutes. On the other hand, the initial version of the GoPro Fusion Studio software required more than an hour to render similar videos. However, the app has been updated, and the current version is considerably faster than before.

Operation

In general, Garmin Virb vs GoPro Fusion are intuitive and user-friendly. They both have been updated multiple times to further enhance their ease of use. Both also support voice commands.

Garmin Virb 360 comes with menu screens and buttons that are very straightforward. There are some additional features that can be quite useful, such as the option to adjust the stitching distance. The voice control is also reliable, even when in a noisy environment.

The mobile app for Garmin Virb 360 provides full control of the camera along with some post-production features, such as the ability to apply image stabilization and the option to overlay data from GPS or other sensors. The mobile app is available for a wide range of iOS and Android devices.

GoPro Fusion, on the other hand, comes with a simplified menu system that will feel familiar if you have ever used another GoPro camera. The button layout is similar. It also supports voice-activated controls, which can be very handy if you want to operate the camera hands-free.

The mobile app for GoPro Fusion is the same one that is used by other GoPro cameras. It has been updated to be fully compatible with this particular model. As usual, it provides access to all the camera settings, some image enhancement options, and the option to apply image stabilization. Unfortunately, the mobile app is mostly available only for iOS devices, as the number of supported Android devices is still very limited.

Remote Viewing

Neither 360 camera here has a display screen. As the effect, Garmin Virb vs GoPro Fusion require their companion apps in order to show the live images that are being shot.

The Garmin Virb mobile app already has an advantage due to the compatibility with a wider range of iOS and Android devices. In addition, the performance is really good. The live images are very crisp, clear, and bright. Other 360 cameras often suffer from pixelation and lag, but this is not the case with Garmin Virb 360 at all.

As mentioned previously, the Garmin Virb mobile app offers advanced controls and post-production features. You can adjust the exposure value and the frame rate from the mobile app. You can overlay data from GPS or other sensors. There are also useful image stabilization options.

The GoPro mobile app should be compatible with most iOS devices, but the support for Android devices is still very limited. Nevertheless, when tested, the live images are also very clear and bright. There is no lag, too. In terms of quality, the remote viewing of GoPro Fusion is just as good, if not better.

The GoPro mobile app offers advanced image enhancement options. For example, you can adjust the exposure, increase or decrease the brightness and contrast, and apply image stabilization. However, it can’t overlay data from GPS or other sensors.

Advanced Features

Garmin Virb 360 and GoPro Fusion set themselves apart from other models in the market by coming with advanced features. The most highlighted features of them are Garmin’s HyperFrame and GoPro’s OverCapture.

Despite having different names, these features are similar. It will allow you to export a flat 1080p video from any perspective in a 4K spherical video. This is very useful for vloggers who want to make content in both spherical and flat formats without having to shoot twice.

Both 360 cameras here also support voice commands. If you can’t connect your smartphone or simply don’t want to drain the camera’s battery with a continuous wireless connection, you can still control the camera remotely by using voice commands. Both 360 cameras here work very well with voice commands; they can understand your commands even when in noisy environments.

How about live streaming? If you are looking for a 360 camera that will allow you to live stream, Garmin Virb 360 is the way to go. The mobile app has a live streaming function that supports the 4K resolution at 30fps. It can live stream to YouTube and Facebook. On the other hand, GoPro Fusion unfortunately doesn’t support live streaming at all.

Finally, both companies do have wide ecosystems of accessories, mounts, and companion items. Garmin is a bit behind, but the range is already quite vast. Not to mention that Garmin accessories are often cheaper. GoPro has been around for quite a long time, so there is no surprise that the range has matured with vast options and optimized designs. However, GoPro accessories are usually more expensive.

Garmin Virb vs GoPro Fusion

- Resolution up to 5.7K/30fps with desktop stitching; 4K/30fps auto-stitched in-camera
- Up to 15-megapixel resolution provides high-quality, spherical photos
- HyperFrame Director Mode gives you the editing power to easily reframe content after filming — using smooth camera pans, incredibly wide angles and even tiny planets
- Spherical video + photos Capture incredible 5.2K videos and 18MP photos of everything around you by shooting in every direction at once
- Transform spherical photos into traditional shots Crop 18MP spherical photos any way you want to create standard resolution photos that are easier to save and share
- Immersive 360 experiences Play back spherical footage in VR to bring everyone into the moment with you

Conclusion

Both of them are good 360 cameras with powerful features. In general, Garmin Virb is more recommended. It can shoot videos in higher resolutions, and it is able to stitch spherical videos in up to 4K directly. It also has some useful features which some people may find handy, such as the ability to overlay data on videos and the live stream function.

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