Garmin Virb X vs XE

January 26, 2021

Action cameras are convenient and very ideal for active people who want to film or record their adventures. Options are widely available depending on what you want to achieve but the product itself is often too similar to each other as well such as Garmin Virb X Vs XE. Garmin is a famous brand and they do have various good products including these action cameras. If you wonder whether they are the same model or want to own one of them, do check our short comparison below.

In this article, we are going to give you information about:

  • What to Look For in an Action Camera
  • What are Garmin Virb X and XE
  • What Garmin Virb X and XE Look Like
  • How are the Image Quality of Garmin Virb X and XE
  • What else Garmin Virb X and XE can offer
  • Are Garmin Virb X and XE Convenient
  • Garmin Virb X Vs XE

Action Camera

Smartphones cameras are amazing, they can capture high quality image and video right from the device that is mostly on your hand or carry around. This raises the question whether it is necessary to have or buy another camera because as we all know, investing a little bit on the smartphone and now we get pretty reliable compact cameras already. The answer however, varies among users based on what they want to achieve and yes, many of us may still need another dedicated camera.

For people who are active and making video content of their adventure such as their travel or favorite sports, mounting our smartphone on the gear and putting them under stress doesn’t sound like a good idea and it is not. This is why it is better or safer to have a dedicated camera for the activity such as a small digital or action camera. As the name suggests, they are what best for such activities and not only for the shape and rigidity, they can capture amazing images or footage as well.

Essentially an action camera is a digital camera, similar to our older pocket camera but is much smaller and more rigid or has certain accessories that can support its application. Since this is a tool to capture image and video, the most important factor to consider will be the ability to work as well and there are many affecting how they perform. The easy way to choose a better camera is from the resolution because the higher the resolution, the clearer the image as well on a larger screen.

However, make sure that the resolution is native because in cheaper models they are often interpolated. We can check the frame rates as well to see whether they are capable of delivering a performance as you want, especially for those who will be recording fast moving actions, a higher frame rate at least 30fps is needed to capture the motion smoothly. However, do note that the higher the resolution means the larger the file size as well thus, we have to mind about the memory capacity.

Another important feature in an action camera is the image stabilization itself because of the nature of this device that is often used under such circumstances where the users are moving along or mounted on an object that is not always fixed. A good image stabilization will save you much time in the post-processing stage unless we can spend on an additional stabilization like Gimbal, investing a little more for a high-end camera like GoPro Hero 8 Vs DJI Osmo Action will be a great decision.

 Garmin Virb XGarmin Virb XE
Best Offerclick hereclick here
Product Dimensions1.4 x 3 x 1.6 inches
1.4 x 3 x 1.6 inches
Item Weight5.3 ounces
5.3 ounces

About Garmin Virb X and XE

There are plenty of good options out there when it comes to action cameras from the entry-level to the expensive range, all are available to let you choose freely. As we all know, price often makes the product and this is why if you have the budget and are serious about the recording or plan to share the result to a wider audience, we do recommend to invest a little more on the device. Even on the budget range, do make sure at least they have good image stabilization and HD resolution.

But, if you can spend more the quality can go higher as well because 2K to 4K are now available in various high-end cameras. Among those options, Garmin is one of the popular options out there with their reliable products and amazing qualities. Most people may be more familiar with their bike computer or GPS devices but, this tech company also releases action cameras in the collection. What’s great is these are well performing options for the more serious users.

If you are looking for a rigid camera with good image and video quality, the new Garmin Virb X and XE are two ideal options to consider. Both of them are the successors of the original Virb Elite and comes with an all-new design as well as control. As the name suggests, the two are close siblings or the other variant of each other and they do share so many similarities. What’s confusing is the XE is actually about $100 more expensive despite looking exactly the same.

However, this is also because the Virb XE is more capable or a higher spec-ed variant of the new Virb camera so if you are wishing to record a high resolution footage then the latter will be the option but if you are fine with regular HD, the X variant is going to save you the cost. Side by side they are identical to each other and have similar set of features.

Garmin Virb X and XE Design

As you can see from the sample picture above, both Garmin Virb X and XE are similar or identical to each other when it comes to shape and form factor. You can set them apart from the box as the model name will be printed there and from the rear panel. If you have seen the Virb Elite, now there will be no handy screen anymore and in terms of design is very different with a more of a boxy shape, similar to most action cameras in the market.

The camera with its housing is about 150 grams in weight which makes it quite light but almost twice as typical cheap action cameras. The housing is very compact and unlike other cameras that fit the battery from the bottom, you will need to open the face cover of these cameras as the battery compartment is next to the lens, along with the memory card. While there is no color screen anymore, there is a small black and white display at the bottom for showing stats.

Garmin Virb X and XE Image Quality

Now for the most important part which is the image quality itself and as it has been mentioned above, what set Garmin Virb X and XE apart is their recording capabilities because the more expensive Virb XE is capable of recording at 1440p while the Virb X is topping at 1080p or recording in HD. This makes the XE variant have about one-third or 33% more pixels than the former. However, the higher resolution means we are recording at a slower rate or at 30fps in comparison to 60fps in HD quality.

Side by side the image quality is not that far apart from each other and the two are looking really good with amazing details and crisp images. The XE can be downgraded as well to HD and this will allow the camera to capture a fast moving motion better so your footage will look smoother and we also recommend this setting if you want the best slow-motion footage or plan to still capture it. As for the still image, both cameras can capture 12MP photos.

Garmin Virb X and XE Features

Another side that stands out from these cameras is the G-Metrix stabilization itself. This technology is relying on data from the built-in GPS as well as the accelerometer sensor and gyroscope. It gives support for OBD tools with Bluetooth to capture your vehicle data including throttle position and speed while the camera’s Wi-Fi will use Mobile app to be connected with tablets or smartphones. The mobile app is a bit outdated however so some people may prefer to import the video directly to the computer first.

As an action camera, Garmin Virb X and XE comes with a waterproof body and allows the camera to be submerged under water without external housing up to 50 meters. Their glass lens is also hydrophobic in order to avoid droplets forming on the lens as you remove it from water.

Garmin Virb X and XE Connectivity 

Another factor that makes these cameras attractive is for users who are already using other Garmin products, or their smartwatch because we can integrate it with the cameras. You can check the list of compatible devices in their homepage but for example if you already have a Fenix watch, we can use it to control the camera. This is extremely convenient when you are mounting it on something and recording from a distance as we can access the camera right on your wrist.

Garmin Virb X vs XE

Garmin Virb X and XE are good options on the mid to high-end cameras out there. Footage quality is nice and in comparison very much similar to each other with good detail and wide dynamic range but, they can  record better in 60fps, especially for XE as the 1440p is slower. Another difference is XE also offers some manual control such as ISO limits in case you need further adjustment. The rest about rigidity and battery wise they are the same.

- G-METRIX-Built-in GPS and external sensors with connectivity to Garmin devices to capture performance data like speed, elevation, heart rate and G-force
- ADVANCED VIDEO - Capture exciting footage with high definition 1080p resolution at 30 frames-per-second, or capture up to 120 frames-per-second slow motion. Ability to capture crystal clear photos with up to 12MP image quality
- BURST CAPABILITY - The VIRB X and VIRB XE offer a burst shooting mode that will capture several photographs in quick succession so that you don’t miss the action.
- WATERPROOF - Waterproof to 50 meters without a case, allowing control of cleaner and clearer video and audio. Weather proof contacts allow for rugged charging and powering
- G-METRIX-Built-in GPS and external sensors with connectivity to Garmin devices to capture performance data like speed, elevation, heart rate and G-force
- ADVANCED VIDEO - Capture thrilling footage with high definition 1080p resolution at 60 frames-per-second, or capture up to 240 frames-per-second slow motion
- BURST CAPABILITY - The VIRB X and VIRB XE offer a burst shooting mode that will capture several photographs in quick succession so that you don’t miss the action.
- WATERPROOF - Waterproof to 50 meters without a case, allowing control of cleaner and clearer video and audio. Weather proof contacts allow for rugged charging and powering


It is best to choose the one that fits you the most and among the two, if you will record in HD only, we do recommend to stick with Virb X but if you want to have a further versatility on the manual camera control, Virb XE is the one to opt for. 

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