The action camera section in the market has greatly improved. There are now several strong companies that produce great action cams with innovative features and excellent image quality. In this article, we will help you choose between Garmin Virb vs GoPro Hero 6, two of the most popular action cams in the market right now.
This article will tell you further about:
- The design and build quality of each action cam
- The features and connectivity of each action cam
- Which action cam that shoots better slow-motion videos
- The performance of Garmin Virb vs GoPro Hero 6
- The comparison of their battery life
- Which action cam that is generally more recommended for you
Garmin Virb: Design and Build
The first time you see Garmin Virb Ultra 30, you will immediately agree that it is such a compact camera. It is very similar to GoPro Hero 6 in size, with just trivial differences of several millimeters. On the front panel, beside the wide-angle lens, you can see a squared grid that becomes one of the distinguishing features of the camera, despite looking a bit odd. See also: Garmin Virb vs GoPro Hero 5
Some people may argue that the squared grid can help to enhance your grip on the camera, but other than that, it doesn’t serve any purpose. Be careful when taking Garmin Virb to a muddy environment, as the squared grid can catch dirt easily. Using the included additional housing to protect the camera would be wise.
On the top, there is the power button, start/stop recording button, and Wi-Fi button. On the left, you can find the Micro HDMI and Micro USB ports. On the right is the switch for opening the compartment which holds the battery and the MicroSD slot.
The display size of Garmin Virb vs GoPro Hero 6 is slightly smaller. This is a 1.75-inch color touchscreen, which looks nice and remains functional even with the additional housing on. The brightness is good, as the display is still visible under direct sunlight. Garmin Virb is not waterproof by itself. With the additional housing on, it is waterproof to 40 meters under water.
The only problem with the housing is, it somehow catches sand easily around the opening mechanism. Also, if you want to mount your camera on your bike or helmet, you need to equip the housing. The mounting points are on the housing rather than the camera’s body.
Garmin Virb: Features
Garmin Virb supports voice commands, so you can control the camera without using your hands. Upon detecting a voice command, the camera will beep to confirm. If you don’t hear a beep, it is because either the camera didn’t hear you or the camera doesn’t understand what you said. Nevertheless, Garmin Virb is able to understand a wide range of phrases, and the response time is excellent.
You can connect Garmin Virb to your mobile phone via Wi-Fi. Then, through the Garmin Virb mobile app which is available for iOS as well as Android, you can see what the camera is seeing. You can also adjust various settings, monitor the battery level, access the camera’s memory card, and live-stream to YouTube through the mobile app.
Furthermore, you can also connect the camera to your smartwatch. Garmin has been known as a maker of fitness and bike sensors, so it is not really surprising that Garmin Virb can also connect to third-party sensors such as cadence sensor and heart rate monitor. The camera has a built-in accelerometer, altimeter, compass, and gyroscope.
With the G-Metrix feature, Garmin Virb can overlay various kinds of data on your videos. For example, you can add your speed, altitude, and location. With a heart rate monitor connected, you can also show the ups and downs of your heart rate during your adventure.
Garmin Virb: Performance and Recording Quality
How is the recording quality of Garmin Virb vs GoPro Hero 6? Although Garmin Virb held an advantage over GoPro Hero 5 due to being able to record in 4K at 30fps, it is no longer the greatest contender in the market as GoPro Hero 6 is able to record in 4K at 60fps. Even so, Garmin Virb still offers very good performance and recording quality.
The images are very clear and detailed. It can capture 1080p footage at 120fps, which is good for slow-motion. Garmin Virb can take 12MP photos in the 4:3 ratio. There are Pro Settings that can enhance the photo quality, including manual adjustment of exposure value and ISO level. You can take still images in the middle of a recording session.
Unfortunately, Garmin Virb doesn’t have wind noise reduction. While the camera can capture exceptionally clear sound, the footage can be quite noisy with wind noise if it is shot in a windy condition. You can still hear speech quite clearly, but the wind noise may shift away your focus.
The battery life is great. It can last for about 2 hours per charge. The battery life is longer than GoPro Hero 6, though the actual battery life will depend on how you use the camera. Disabling the Wi-Fi can extend the battery life.
GoPro Hero 6: Design and Build
GoPro Hero 6 is very similar to its predecessor in terms of design. The dimensions are identical, and the camera is still waterproof to 33 feet by itself. With the additional housing, the camera can be waterproof to 60 feet under water.
So, GoPro Hero 6 is your go-to choice for serious diving. The camera can withstand swimming and temporary exposure to rain just fine, whereas the additional housing is very rugged and will provide extra protection while a in harsh environment. The opening mechanism is very tight.
The 2.0-inch display screen on the rear is wide, bright, and sharp. People who have used previous GoPro cameras will find the user interface familiar. Totally new users may find it not as intuitive as expected, but there is a useful tutorial that explains all of the basics. Accessing different groups of features require swiping from the top, bottom, left, or right.
At first, the controls in the corners may feel a bit difficult to access. However, once you get used to it, they will be easier to use. The controls are all fast and responsive. Meanwhile, the connectors and battery are hidden in sealed compartments behind tight covers.
GoPro Hero 6: Features
Both Garmin Virb vs GoPro Hero 6 can be controlled via voice commands. This is very useful because, when the camera is mounted on your bike or helmet, you won’t be able to access its controls with your hands. GoPro Hero 6 responds quickly to voice commands, and the operation becomes very easy.
Another useful feature of GoPro Hero 6 is the zoom slider. The previous model, GoPro Hero 5, can only zoom with preset values. Meanwhile, GoPro Hero 6 will allow you to adjust more precisely how far to zoom in. You can also adjust the field of view, such as wide or linear.
GoPro Hero 6 can connect to your smartphone over Wi-Fi. The GoPro mobile app will turn your smartphone into a remote control for the camera, complete with a live preview and all the settings and features. GoPro Hero 6 is also compatible with GoPro Quik, a new mobile app from the company, which provides a quick and simple way to edit and share your videos. GoPro Quick can cut clips, stitch clips together, add music tracks, and create slow-motion videos.
GoPro Hero 6 supports 5.0 GHz Wi-Fi so you can transfer files at higher speeds. Considering that you are going to shoot a lot of 4K videos, which typically have large file sizes, this is a great improvement.
GoPro Hero 6: Performance and Recording Quality
This action camera is armed with the company’s new GP1 processor, which is much faster and more powerful. Thanks to this new processor, GoPro Hero 6 can record 4K videos at 60 fps. It is really great. Videos will be significantly smoother and more detailed.
This also means a dramatic improvement for slow-motion videos. GoPro Hero 6 can shoot 1080p videos at 240 fps. As a result, slow-motion videos will also look much better.
The footage is sharp and with excellent colors. The contrast and brightness are excellent. Even when shooting in a bright sunny day, the videos never look washed out. GoPro Hero 6 has built-in image stabilization which works impressively well. It is very effective for removing shakiness and blur, and you’ll want to enable it whenever you are going for a bumpy ride.
The low-light performance is good, too. GoPro Hero 6 can capture good, visible images even in low-light situations. The audio quality is very nice; speech can be captured with very good clarity. There is wind noise reduction to ensure that the audio will sound clean.
However, the battery life is a bit limited. It can only last for about an hour per charge. This is pretty much the average for most action cameras in the market. Bringing a back-up battery and a charger is highly recommended.
Garmin Virb vs GoPro Hero 6
Between the two, GoPro Hero 6 is generally the better action camera. It is superior in terms of build quality and performance. The camera is already waterproof without the housing, but you can add the housing when going for a deep dive. The recording quality is excellent. GoPro Hero 6 can capture 4K videos at 60 fps and 1080p videos at 240 fps.