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GoPro killer? Garmin tries to make a dent in red-hot action cam market with VIRB

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Garmin VIRB
Garmin VIRB

Garmin is expanding its sports accessory line up with VIRB, a rugged action camera. Just like the GoPro, the VIRB is designed to capture HD video during action-packed activities, like skiing, surfing, or skydiving. The camera can take some abuse, requiring no extra protection to earn an IPX-7 waterproof rating, which means it can be submerged in water about three feet deep for up to 30 minutes.

The VIRB captures 1080p wide-angle video, featuring digital image stabilization, and the ability to take 16-megapixel still images without interrupting video recording. Even with the always-on 1.4-inch color display, the VIRB allegedly lasts up to 3 hours recording 1080p video, compared to the GoPro, which only claims 2 hours and 15 minutes with 720p resolution.

There are two different VIRB models, with the higher-priced VIRB Elite adding built-in Wi-Fi and GPS tracking. But both units include low-power ANT+ connectivity, so even the cheaper model can connect to other GPS-enabled Garmin products for GPS and Wi-Fi integration. Garmin feels that integrated GPS is the missing link, a feature lacking from the GoPro cameras, which allows richer videos by allowing for easy insertion of location, speed and elevation information.

Both the VIRB and the VIRB Elite will be available in September, costing $299 and $399, respectively.