New Kind Of Action Camera: ‘Data Rich’ Garmin VIRB XE


“Tell A Better Story” — that is the tag line with two to-be-released cameras from Garmin.

The VIRB X and VIRB XE are top-end action cams with built-in sensors to read speed, GPS, gyroscope and accelerometer data, and more.

Those stats and quick bits of data can be superimposed onscreen in an edit. The company is calling the models “next generation” action cameras.

Front and back of the VIRB XE

Unlike GoPro cameras the Garmins require no case — they are waterproof to 50 meters with no external covering required.

They shoot HD footage at max 1440p/30fps and have “super slow-mo” modes and image stabilization.

Both come to market this summer. The VIRB X will be $299.99, and the higher-resolution VIRB XE, $399.99.

The cameras have a new form factor from the previous VIRB model. Standard features include GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ANT+ compatibility, as well as internal accelerometer and gyroscope sensors.

Further, the cameras can sync with multisport watches, smartphones, and power meters.

Camera measures speed and other stats, which can pop onscreen in an edit

A skier can get his speed off the camera data and transpose it over video shot during a run. A BASE jumper might grab the Garmin stats on elevation and vertical drop.

All these stats are then available to add in during the video edit phase.

A final touch: Garmin notes its new microphone gives “extremely clear audio,” even underwater.

This and the data capture are welcome upgrades in the growing world of action cameras ready for any environment or activity in the outdoors.

Stephen Regenold

Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.