114 responses

  1. Phil
    March 16, 2016

    Another fab review.
    For those of you who want data layered on your GoPro footage, check this out from DashWare.

    • Chris
      March 16, 2016

      You can still use the Garmin software with a GoPro + watch data. I like it better than DashWare.

    • Ray Maker
      March 16, 2016

      Plus…it’s free. 🙂

    • Tom
      March 16, 2016

      Dashware is also free currently, they mention that they are working with GoPro now and so their software is no longer paid

    • Michael Swann
      March 16, 2016

      I found the DashWare program which allows you to overlay data from a slew of devices onto GoPro footage. I played around with some footage on the weekend and was able to overlay data from my Polar M450 onto it. It helps if you can start them both at the same time, otherwise you have to align the video and the data.

      I haven’t played with it much, but you can produce videos with overlays quite quickly. It will even join videos together that have been broken up during recording (the 4 GB FAT32 limitation). Joining videos is fairly quick, even on my old Core 2 Quad.

      Both your video and data need to be continuous for it to work properly (no automatic pauses), but it seems to work okay.

    • George
      March 17, 2016

      Dashware not available for Mac

  2. Giles R.
    March 16, 2016

    In the recent cold weather I was getting awful battery life on my Virb XE – less than an hour and about 20 minutes less than my commute. There were a few times when I missed a driver being an idiot in front of me as the battery had died.
    I got a new battery this week though and do far the battery life is much better – it is still going at the end of my ride which is all I want.
    Battery life still very poor compared to the old Virb though.

  3. Peter I. P.
    March 16, 2016

    Nice review (as always)! I agree that the VIRB Edit is a great desktop app (much easier to edit things than in the original GoPro Studio). I have a GoPro Hero4 Silver and I had no problems loading in the recorded videos to VIRB Edit and put data imported from a Garmin Edge .fit file over. If you sync up the clock of the GoPro to the GPS time of the Edge, then there is really close to zero extra effort involved in the process. For me the image quality of the GoPro is more important than anything else. To be honest I was extremely (positively) surprised that the VIRB Edit was not somehow restricted to videos from the VIRB cameras.

    • Ray Maker
      March 16, 2016

      I think Garmin figures that if you’re using their hardware to record at least the data side of your ride (i.e. the Edge/Forerunner/etc…), then they’re still out on top.

  4. gingerneil
    March 16, 2016

    Ray – as per my comments on the Session post, I am considering an action cam. How do you think this stacks up with the gopro ? You have compared to the hero, but this lines up more closely to the Session 4 in my mind. Waterproofing etc.
    I have a Fenix 3, and in that sense have bought into the Garmin family. Maybe that swings it ? The £50 or so difference in cost in the UK isn’t an issue. (ps – when do we get a EU retail partner for DCR?!?!)

    • Ray Maker
      March 16, 2016

      Comparing the VIRB X to the Session is definitely interesting, especially when you look at specs, etc… The thing is though, if you have the Fenix3, then you can easily just import the GoPro footage in and have it sync with the Fenix3 HR file in VIRB Edit.

      As for EU partner, I believe the current hope is to announce/open it up to Euro DCR Supporter (gold star) people in the next week or so. However, while Garmin will be available at launch, GoPro will have to wait a few more months.

    • gingerneil
      March 16, 2016

      Thanks for the reply. I use a fenix 3 and rhythm+. If I don’t capture the ant+ data during the activity directly on the verb (or obviously gopro), does the virb software link with garmin connect to enable me to easily pull in an activity file, or would I need to extract the fit file and import that myself? You’ve got ‘via garmin apps’ in the table, but what does that mean?
      Good news on the eu partner – could be useful! 🙂
      (gold star added earlier today anyway – enjoy a beer or two on me, sorry it’s taken so long! 🙂 )

    • Ray Maker
      March 16, 2016

      It doesn’t link with Garmin Connect directly (that’d be nifty), rather, you do have to grab/copy the file manually. So with the Fenix3 you could just grab it via USB, or you could download it via Garmin Connect from the little download icon.

      Perhaps it’d be a good post to write-up…

      (Pro Tip: You could also use something like Tapiriik to get it to Dropbox, so you’d always have it handy.)

  5. Peter Fine
    March 16, 2016

    Any way to use the VIRB XE with an external battery, say with a usb connection?

    • Ray Maker
      March 16, 2016

      Yup, no problem at all!

    • ChrisK
      March 27, 2016

      Thanks for that bit of info. I think most of the Garmin stuff can run while plugged up to a USB source. Does the charge cable block anything vital if I stuck it on a Garmin combo computer mount and strapped a USB battery somewhere? Any finickiness (mode switches, button presses to get the camera to function normally when hooking it up external USB power?

    • Ray Maker
      March 27, 2016

      Nah, nothing blocked. The charge connector is on one side, and buttons are on totally opposite side. You could reasonably easy tape a USB battery pack to the back of it.

    • ChrisK
      March 27, 2016

      Thanks. Good comparison to GoPro4 Silver also.
      I’m already running an Edge 810 or a VivoActive which would make the Virb X or XE easier to control. On the flip side, sounds like the GoPro Silver gets more functional time per mAh since it is not trying to run a GPS. The GoPro Frame has access for the USB port for external power. I just wish that it was slightly weatherized for the occasional shower.
      For what I use cam’s on the bike for, I probably could get by with a Hero+.
      I’ve run Virb Edit before with my old Virb. Syncing is more work than is should be but it isn’t horrible.
      (Thanks also for your info on the 4iiiis Precision. It’s a huge difference moving to power based training without having the “you spent how much on what?” discussion with the Mrs.)

    • Ray Maker
      March 27, 2016

      Fwiw – There are some 3rd party GoPro charging-cable-compatible cases. Basically weatherproof cases for the unit that have a hole for the charging cable. Cheap too, like $13: link to amzn.to

      Also – you’d be amazed how weatherproof the units are though by themselves. I left a unit outside for 30 days last spring capturing a timelapse (a Hero4 Silver in just a frame case). It was under a slight (barely) overhang, but got the full brunt of the elements for 30 days (sun/rain/wind/more rain/more wind, etc..).

    • Dan
      April 5, 2016

      Ray, I’m considering the Virb XE or GoPro Hero 4 Silver. Have an old Virb elite and Fenix as well as an Edge 1000. Seems like Garmin may be discontinuing the Virb XE. They are marked down almost everywhere. Your review is great, but I’m still undecided. If Garmin is headed out of the camera biz, then it’s GoPro. Garmin has nice features and interface but the battery life and image quality makes me hesitate. Especially if this item is done!
      Your thoughts?

    • Mike King
      May 3, 2016

      I use mine for sailing videos so the waterproofing is pretty key (I also have a Sony AS15 and a Go Pro 4 Silver) and the ability to have power connected safely is a major thing. Since I’m mounting things at the top of masts it’s critical that I can leave it for long periods of time (most of the day on the water sometimes) and it needs to have Wi-Fi on to allow control which tends to suck the life out of it.

      The Go-Pro backs to allow USB power are pretty good but don’t like going deep (and if you have a camera on the end of a 5m mast the chances are it’ll go deep) so the Garmin is great. The main issue is that the cable is so big and long. If you stick a battery to the back then you have a huge wedge of cable to manage. The accessories haven’t caught up yet.

  6. Kyle Polansky
    March 16, 2016

    I believe there is a section missing under “Accessories” where you meant to list some of your favorite accessories.

    An idea for future camera reviews: Add a quality comparison video between say original Virb, Virb XE, and GoPro 4 Silver. Somewhat similar to the Speedboat Resolution Demo on the GoPro 4 review. It can sometimes be difficult to judge quality differences between different cameras shooting different things. I’m sure the GoPro 4 Silver has better video quality (hence why you recommend it), but from this review, it seems like battery life and a display screen are the only things that the GoPro has going for it over the Virb.

    • Ray Maker
      March 16, 2016

      Eeks, my bad on the missing table. I had a typo in the code so it wasn’t displaying. Fixed!

      Yeah, it’s funny on the comparisons in that I actually do have footage around here somewhere – just can’t seem to find it (part of the problem with waiting 8 months). I’ll probably head out tomorrow and shoot some more dual stuff.

      For example, I shot this morning some dual stabilizer/non-stabilizer sections. So the bike is setup with a dual config thus making it easy.

  7. Steve
    March 16, 2016

    I wish this was the form factor like the GoPro session, with a variable sized battery pack you could stick on the back. Short ride, small battery; long ride, extra capacity battery.

    Battery life stinks. Need a good 4-hour camera for long rides. My PowerTraveller PowerMonkey is pretty heavy to keep lugging around on long rides.

    • Ray Maker
      March 16, 2016

      I’d agree that I would have liked Garmin to take one of two directions:

      A) Smaller camera (like the Shimano) with same feature set, also waterpoofed like the Hero4 Session.
      B) Camera the size of the VIRB X/XE, but with the better display screen and waterproofing

  8. Mark
    March 16, 2016

    Just to follow up on Ray’s comment about the forum for Virb Edit on Garmin’s website. It seems that Garmin is slowly improving its official participation in its own forums (most of which, it should be noted, are still orphaned by Garmin). In addition to the Virb Edit forum (which is monitored by Garmin rep Falagar), the Vector forum has always had attention paid to it by Garmin reps Vector_Info and the great t_smit. Garmin Express has ExpressCustomerCare; and (finally!) the Edge forums, at least for the 1000 and 520, have a Garmin rep there, GFM1011.

    • gingerneil
      March 16, 2016

      …. And adding to that, the Fenix 3 has seen the creation of an excellent beta firmware programme. Big thumbs up to Garmin there too.

  9. Gabe
    March 16, 2016

    I have the old gamin virb elite – how much of an “upgrade” is this new virb or even a hero for that matter?

    I have to say form factor can be an issue since it’s not compatible with a lot of virb accessories.

    BTW didn’t GoPro have a terrible year of sales and projections arent great? Hopefully we see price drops throughout the industry.

    • Ray Maker
      March 16, 2016

      Depends a bit on which Hero. The new VIRB does come with the adapter, so it’s still compatible with most accessories. Though some wouldn’t make as much sense and would add a fair bit of bulk.

      GoPro didn’t actually have that bad a year, though the media likes to think they did. GoPro basically made one solid F-up, and paid the price dearly for it. They released the Hero4 Session mid-summer, and was horribly overpriced.

      That had two impacts:

      A) Virtually every review on the planet noted that for $400 it was heavily overpriced and comparing quality to GoPro’s other units it just didn’t cut the mustard. Now at $200, it’s awesome for the money. Money matters.
      B) The release of a new camera mid-July is likely the worst possible time, especially when GoPro has a well established annual history of all releases in October, so consumers basically held out for a release than didn’t happen in the fall.
      C) GoPro tried to recover in November by slashing the price of the Hero4 Session to $199, but the damage had been done – both in terms of sales and even more mainstream media coverage about it being overpriced/poor.
      D) All of which ignores the confusion of a slew of Hero+ LCD, Hero+, Hero base, etc.. cameras that were oddly priced.

      Going into April they’ve noted that they’ll be trimming all of that old stuff and basically just keeping the three core models.

      I’ve talked with many in the industry, including competitors. Everyone is in agreement that the headline analysts and mainstream media missed understanding the core issue.

    • Scott Buchanan
      March 17, 2016

      I’ve got 4 Virb Elite’s and can’t see any particular reason to move over to the newer X, XE. Even if I didn’t have them and was coming into the market for an AC looking at the features table above it pretty much shows parity between them all so add on the price difference and X/XE are going to be much harder sell.

    • gabe
      March 17, 2016

      Thanks – that was very insightful.

      I may wait for the gopro silver to drop in price.

  10. marius
    March 16, 2016

    Thanks for the review ray. Great as always.

    I already have bought a virb xe and I’m quite happy with it. However I was not able until now to install the latest software update. did you experience similar problems?

    Also which interval did you use to shoot the timelapse videos and how many hours are you actually filming in these videos (i tried to do a similar video once, which drained the battery extremely fast)?

    • Ray Maker
      March 16, 2016

      No issues installing the update – however, you will need to ensure you’ve got the battery fairly well charged. It won’t update unless it’s pretty full.

      For the timelapse it just depends on how long I have. Both of those timelapses were about an hour, but I shot it at .5s. My thinking is for anything under a few hours, I can always speed up the playback later in VIRB Edit or YouTube (as I did for both of these, at 2x).

      Generally though when I do timelapses I connect it to either a battery pack or the wall.

  11. Larry S.
    March 16, 2016

    Thoughts on the forth coming Fly12 vs Garmin Virb X or XE?

    • Ray Maker
      March 17, 2016

      I’ve done a bit of a preview within my semi-recent Fly6 review: link to dcrainmaker.com

      However, I don’t see them as direct competitors. Meaning, I see the Fly12 as a bike light first, and then safety/etc recording device second. But not as an action cam per se (mostly because it’s heavy and bulky).

  12. Oriolj
    March 17, 2016

    Hi Ray! I’ve a question. Imagine that I’m going to make a 5h ride. Obviously the camera doesn’t have enough battery to record it all. But can the camera be on (without recording) and during the ride fire pictures and some short videos with the edge 520? will the battery last? How many hours does the battery last while on but not recording?

    Thanks! and awesome work!

    • Ray Maker
      March 17, 2016

      No, I find it burns battery pretty quick in standby too. I don’t have an exact figure – but it doesn’t seem to last a few hour ride sitting around in standby.

      I expect part of the problem there is that it still has GPS enabled in the background, which is churning through battery even more.

    • Oriolj
      March 17, 2016

      thanks for the quick response!

    • Tony
      March 17, 2016

      Hi Ray, love the website. As the old Garmin Virb (discontinued) doesn’t have GPS, I assume it would last much longer when on standby?


    • Ray Maker
      March 17, 2016

      I can’t remember off-hand, but some folks did see much longer standby times there.

      Keep in mind that only the base original VIRB has no GPS, the higher end Elite did.

    • Mark
      March 17, 2016

      Ray, wondering about this, whether it’s the GPS that’s to blame for the battery drain. By comparison, a device like the Edge 520 (which presumably has a battery even smaller than the Virb battery) can get 15 hours of life while running the GPS, and supporting a color display at the same time.

  13. Joe
    March 17, 2016

    I wish they would give better battery life specifications. It is basically impossible to find out the battery life for time-lapse photos (in either photo mode or video mode) for this or any other action camera.

    Personally I would *love* an action camera with good battery life for time-lapse shots. (I actually don’t care about normal video.)

  14. David
    March 17, 2016

    Hi Ray
    The extended time lapse feature.
    Any details on how long that would run for ?
    Would it be able to for example 1 shot every minute for 24 hours ?

  15. DonS
    March 17, 2016

    Hi Ray,

    As usual, another superlative review. I’ve been toying with buying an actioncam for some time, but never pulled the trigger because I wasn’t sure what I’d do with all the video and camera footage I’d compile. I have hours of video of my kids and thousands of pictures, most of which end up on external harddrives and seldom get viewed. After the novelty wears off, I’m afraid the cost of the device and not using it very often will continue to sway my desire to buy one.

    That said, wouldn’t it be convenient if one could rent a Go Pro or Virb XE for special occasions? I’m planning a bike tour of Glacier National Park next summer and would love to capture the event on video and film but don’t want to lay out $400 or so for a device I may not use very often. Wishful thinking, I suppose.


    • Ray Maker
      March 17, 2016

      Interestingly, Marriott hotels do actually rent GoPro’s to guests at some hotels (more resort like ones).

      That said – I’ve used Lensrentals in the past for numerous photography gear, and they seem to have GoPro’s in stock for rental: link to lensrentals.com

    • Don S.
      March 18, 2016

      Perfect! Thanks for the link.

  16. Alex
    March 17, 2016

    This is one of the things that drives me nuts about about Garmin, once a new anything comes out they just go ahead and ignore all the previous devices. Adding being able to have a speed sensor to the original Virb Elite would just be a software update, but they refuse to do it! This would allow me to turn off the GPS and get increased battery life, but Garmin wants you to buy the new product instead!

    There are also other updates to the mobile app (live overlays, etc) that’s even IOS software that they won’t do!

  17. Tom H
    March 17, 2016

    regarding the lens fogging issue, consider wiping lens with a product such as “Nikon Anti Fog” cloth,
    link to amazon.com

  18. Gorilla Nation
    March 17, 2016

    The empty library issue is resolved in firmware v3.90. Also, the export dying is an iOS issue. The same thing happens in iMovie.

    • Ray Maker
      March 17, 2016

      Doesn’t seem to be for me. I took those screenshots the morning of the review (see the crazy time stamp) on the latest firmware.

      As for export dying, in theory apps get 60 seconds before data over the locally connected WiFi dies (iOS rules). For example, GoPro uses that and if a text comes in during that. But in this case, the split second a message/etc comes up – it kills it.

  19. George
    March 17, 2016

    I’m a cyclist and purchased the GoPro Silver after reading the reviews here. Great camera in every respect but fails at the key task of an action camera which is to give context to the action.

    I used my camera in the Velodrome, but it’s worthless footage unless people can see speed, heart rate, power etc. I was using Virb Edit to try to align the data, which I was able to do a few times after a LOT of work. However, that got old very quickly, when I would have to spend hours trying to align the data to the video for a 5 minute segment.

    Oh, and Dashware does not work with Mac.

    Sold the GoPro and purchased the XE as have others I know. Now I get the data aligned automatically. In the Velodrome, I have not seen a huge difference between the video.

  20. Guru
    March 18, 2016

    Ray, from one sample picture i noticed that you have a hairy legs, you never shave them? I fight with myself for about 2 years now with a question “to shave or not to shave”, my all cyclist fellows shave and i don`t. Why are`nt you ? 🙂

    • Ray Maker
      March 18, 2016

      It seems like a lot of work to me. 🙂

    • Paul S.
      March 18, 2016

      Just tell yourself that the turbulent layer caused by the hair makes you slip through the air easier. Who knows, that may even be true 🙂

  21. Tommy
    March 18, 2016

    Pretty disappointing battery to be honest. I need a solution for recording my commute as a safety camera. Its an hour in and an hour back. I have no way of charging at work, so i need a 2 hour battery. At the moment i use a GoPro H4 Silver. Its doesn’t last. It doesn’t look like these will either.

    I’m also yet to find an action cam that will do proper looping video for use as a safety cam. Both GoPro and Garmin have useless looping modes that just chunk the video up. What people really need is for the SD card never to fill up (like a car dash cam)

    • Ray Maker
      March 18, 2016

      Have you looked at the Fly6? Seems exactly what you want (unless you want it for other things beyond the commute): link to dcrainmaker.com

    • Alex
      March 18, 2016

      It’s impossible for an SD card to never fill up as they all have a limited amount of space. The Virb does have a loop mode where once the SD card is full it will start overwriting the old file. It also has a timelapse mode where it only does 1 frame every couple of seconds. If you enable these and disable the GPS/ANT+ I’m sure you will achieve over 2 hours of battery life.

  22. Tommy
    March 18, 2016

    Thanks guys

    Ray, the fly 6 is exactly what I need, just on the front!

    Alex, the loop mode Garmin and GoPro have is not like you say. They will not overwrite previous clips, just the current clip. Useless for using like a dash cam. It’s not true constant loop. You have to manually clear the SD card every couple of rides

    • Ray Maker
      March 18, 2016

      Indeed, so you need the Fly12. In theory that’s supposed to start shipping (again) shortly. They had a heat/humidity issue in last production run, had to recall all shipments. 🙁

      I’ve got more various of Fly12 prototypes/beta/near-final/final units stacked up here than I can count right now while I wait for final-final – and really impressive unit (using off/on since August). Kinda heavy, but that doesn’t matter as much on a commute. Works well.

    • Tommy
      March 19, 2016

      Yeah I’m not worried about weight (within reason). It does seem a bit pricey but I suppose it includes a light. Hopefully they will do cheaper version in the future without a light. Most people already have a front light!

      Looking forward to your in depth review of the 12!

  23. James
    March 19, 2016

    Hi Ray,
    Great review. I own an XE and think that it is a tough a call between it and the GoPro and it comes down to a compromise between video quality and ease of use of sensor data and overlays.
    Unfortunately the latest XE firmware (3.9) seems to ignore the Garmin wheel speed sensor and instead use the XE´s GPS data.
    Did you notice this as well with your units?

    • Alex
      March 20, 2016

      Which speed sensor are you using? I have the old Virb Elite and it ignores the speed from my powertap, but picks up cadence. I think you can file this under one of those things that Garmin just refuses to fix. I really wish I could turn the GPS off and still get speed information but it doesn’t seem so.

    • James
      March 20, 2016

      I have the Garmin magnet free version that came with the Edge 1000:
      link to dcrainmaker.com
      Even if you do turn the GPS off, it seems Virb Edit still uses the blank GPS speed data instead of the stored wheel sensor data.

  24. Mike King
    March 21, 2016

    I’ve just received my XE and have been playing with it. Agreed that I can’t pair to the new magnet less wheel speed sensor. Also really can’t work out the remote support on my edge 520 but I’ll play some more.

    I also can’t work out if I can change the units to knots (sailing) and slightly disappointed in the video quality. I’ll do some proper renderings and work out some options.

    Battery life is going to be an issue but I’m already working on some external power solutions that will allow me to leave it in some strange positions (top of mast) and still be able to use it.

    Early days though.

  25. Erik Larsen
    March 22, 2016

    Great review as always.
    Quick question about aligning the sensor data with the video – I find that the data is way off when importing it in Virb Edit. Is the XE better than the old Elite here?
    Do you have a trick for aligning it? I find that even if I align using a known spot on the map in the beginning of a ride it will drift.

    • Ray Maker
      March 22, 2016

      Weird, I hadn’t seen that before. That sounds like a bit more of a time tracking problem (i.e. time drift).

  26. Mark Young
    March 22, 2016

    Hi Ray.
    I currently have a GoPro 3 black. Its my main go-to camera for sports. I’m thinking about purchasing the the older Garmin Virb elite as a second camera as there are some great deals at the moment. Like you I love taking photos with the action cams. My first question is, how do the photos compare between the Elite and the XE? My second question is unrelated, but what are your thoughts on the Garmin Tempe? Love your page. Always a go-to site for my tech interests. Thanks in advance Ray.

    • Ray Maker
      March 22, 2016

      Photos were honestly pretty similar between Elite and XE, except with the XE you get a bit more control over things like ISO settings in Pro mode. Note, neither will be as good as the Hero3 Black photos.

      Also be aware that with the older Elite, you can’t actually transfer stuff via the mobile phone app (yes, seriously), only the XE. So another big downside if coming from GoPro.

      I like Tempe, mostly because it just lasts forever on a coin cell battery. So it’s great if you mount it somewhere and totally forget about it (like inside a bike bag, or under a saddle). For the longest time I had one clipped to the back of my cycling shoes actually (it had a little loop on the back of it).

  27. Arturo Rangel
    March 23, 2016

    Hi there R! thanks for the review just got mine for amazon delivered all the way to malaysia. Any tips for swimming, as i want to check my stroke and position, saw ur review for go pro doing that. How would it go with the virb, should i just put it in record and leave it for an hour and later on check? thats the only way right? or any other advise taking pic every certain time. im getting to old for this gadgets 😛


    • Ray Maker
      March 23, 2016

      I’ve found the best way to get shots while swimming is typically putting the camera on the bottom of the pool at the end of the lane. If you can find a small piece of something heavy/flat that you can place along the bottom – it’s best. Like a piece of metal that’s perhaps 5″ by 5″. Then take a sticky mount and stick it to that (it’ll stay just fine in water as long as you give it a tiny bit of time to dry the first day).

      Then tilt it up at about a 45* angle. I usually do video, and basically restart the video file every set (i.e. every 500m). That way it makes it easier to find snippets. You can do photos, but it’s not worth it unless you have a buddy, in which case you can do burst mode.

  28. Doug J
    March 23, 2016

    Ray, nice write up.
    Been using Virb XE on few rides, agree battery life poor… Getting apx 1 HR.
    Had the Shimano, same poor battery life but not changeable. At least Virb XE can swap batteries. Carry 2 spares, and Garmin Edge pops msg when Virb battery low… Quick stop & swap for longer rides.

    Really like the overlay metrics including power, agree Di2 data would be a plus.

    For those wanting low cost, lightweight, very small 1080; I use the mobius video camera under my saddle for rear recording road rides (mainly for evidence video) USB battery stick tucked too giving 3 HR plus recording. Excellent mini camera, used in cold & rain with no problems. link to mobius-actioncam.com.

    To add feature in Virb Edit to include PIP would be really nice!!
    Abilty to add the rear view in 2nd sm window on group rides would add a lot of entertainment.

  29. Martin
    March 24, 2016

    Hi Ray!

    Superb review, thanks! I’d like to make video of short bike rides. My question is: if I buy a Garmin Bike Speed Sensor (I do not have an Edge nor other bike computer), can I have the data overlay connectig directly the VIRB with the Sensor?



  30. Doug J
    March 27, 2016

    Had several rides recorded and wanted to explore the overlay options within Virb Edit. While reviewing the ride and watching the overlay meters noticed the Grade is not stable like Edge 1000 in comparing data. On nighty 25 mile route, has 3 nice climbs. 1st one is 6.2 to 7.5 grade. The Edge 1000 data is stable, the Virb XE indicates 6-13 grade and includes a section of -2 to -3 which does’t exist. On other climbs I notice similar but not as drastically off. Other more mild incline stretches, Edge indicates a long .5-1 grade, the Virb XE indicates -1 to 1, again the declines don’t exist. This is based on what the Overlay meters are indicating.

    Any one else notice a unrealistic grade in comparison to Edge. In addition, updated the Virb to the most current firmware prior to rides.

    • Ray Maker
      March 27, 2016

      Unfortunately this is due to the VIRB X/XE not having a barometric altimeter, unlike the Edge 1000 (and the previous VIRB).

      Fwiw, you can select in VIRB Edit to use the Edge 1000 data instead.

    • Doug J
      March 27, 2016

      Ray, thanks and I’ll look for setting and change selection in Virb edit.

      Not that it matters; But If the Virb is that inaccurate without barometric altimeter, for cycling why even utilize Virb’s grade metric to collect data? Where would this data collection be useful or more accurate?

    • Paul S
      March 28, 2016

      With a VIRB Elite, which does have a barometric altimeter. It was actually not so great with the Elite, either, until quite late in the development process of VIRB Edit, but they seem to have fixed it. You can’t calibrate the VIRB Elite’s altimeter, so you can’t rely on the raw elevation, but it gets the changes in elevation right.

  31. Matt Phillips
    April 13, 2016

    Working in the bike industry, I’m fortunate enough to have been able to get the Virb XE at wholesale cost, so I recently purchased it vs a Hero or Sony cam, primarily for the purpose of commuting. I like the fact that the metrics are onboard and can be overlaid without any hassle, so all my bases are covered should I need to use the footage for legal purposes. I’ve also really enjoyed using it as a dash-cam on the rare occasion that I drive my car somewhere rather than riding. As many have stated, the battery life is positively abysmal, but I was able to find a pair of extra batteries along with an external charger on Amazon for $25 (search EforTech if you’re interested, I’m not down with advertising via links) and I’ve also found that plugging it in to the cigarette lighter to power it while driving works wonderfully. I even have a Samsung Fast Charger pack that I can use to power it if all 3 batteries die, so I’m all good there.

    My big problems with the unit are the app, the desktop software and issues with playback on my PC. I’ve used 2 different computers to attempt playback and both resulted in choppy, horrible playback. It’s like the capabilities of the video card in the computers can’t keep up with the video itself. Is my computer just a piece of crap? Probably, but still… I’ve had zero issues using it to play ANY other 5+gb 1080p files via HDMI to my 50″ 4K television, or on its own screen. When I plug the XE into my PS4 it is recognized and plays videos perfectly fine, but not anywhere else. This frightens me to think that the video may be unusable if I ever find myself in a legal situation where I might need it to defend myself. On that note, a PS4 editing app would be amazing, considering Sony has a native YouTube app on the PlayStation…

    I’ve also noticed massive issues with the mobile app. I’m using a Samsung Galaxy Note5, one of the most powerful handheld devices on the maket, but I’ve only been able to successfully download a video from my Virb XE once. Every time I try, it fails. It also doesn’t export to your phone’s gallery, but rather to a Garmin file that I had to dig through and find with ES File Explorer.

    I’m really hoping that the issues I’m experiencing get resolved with updates, I really do like this camera and I’d prefer not to begin to hate it for its current failures.

  32. Marc
    April 18, 2016

    Thanks a lot Ray for this great review

    Is it (or will it be) possible to include on the side of the video a map showing the progression of the cam(eraman) ?
    If not, do you know any other piece of software allowing to do this ?



  33. Patrick
    April 22, 2016

    Quick question on timelapse & battery life. You noted that the unit now “sleeps” when doing time lapses, does this mean that running on timelapse recording mode can have several hours of battery life?

  34. Tomasz
    May 29, 2016


    I’ve just red your test and have one question about “ANT+” sensors (cadence HR, speed) I cant’ find any information if Garmin Elite cooperates with other “no garmin” ANT+” sensors – I have sigma rox 10 (ANT+) and wondering if it is possible to pair garmin elite with sigma rox cadence, speed and hr sensors.

    • DC Rainmaker
      May 30, 2016

      As long as it’s ANT+, you’re good to go!

    • Alex
      May 31, 2016

      It seems that the Garmin Virb cameras completely ignore speed sensors. Do you know if Garmin intends to fix this at any point? It’s extremely annoying.

    • DC Rainmaker
      May 31, 2016

      The latest version of the VIRB Edit suite allows you to specify the speed sensor now (3.6.0): link to www8.garmin.com

      I haven’t tried it myself though.

  35. Julian
    June 12, 2016

    Does anyone know how VIRB Edit deals with multiple video clips relating to one Garmin (e.g. Fenix 3) activity. For example, if I take 3 different 5 min clips using a VIRB during a 3 hour race and then later sync the Fenix 3 activity file to the clips, does VIRB edit automatically know where in the race these clips were taken? In other words are the VIRB clips tagged with a timestamp that can be automatically synced with the .FIT file?

    Deciding between GoPro Hero4 Silver and a VIRB, and just need to understand how VIRB Edit deals with this scenario.

    Many thanks

  36. Chris Searle
    June 14, 2016

    One thing I’m unclear on:

    The virb series support the garmin ant+ sensors – that’s fair enough.

    But – when you’re using it alongside another garmin unit (in my case the edge 1000) – where the sensors are already paired with this other unit – how does that shake out?

    Can you pair a sensor to both edge and virb? Does the edge send the sensor data on to the virb?

    • gingerneil
      June 14, 2016

      ANT+ is a broadcast protocol. Its a one to many relationship, unlike Bluetooth. Many devices can connect to an ANT+ broadcast at the same time. You can therefore have both your Edge and Virb connected.

    • Chris Searle
      June 15, 2016

      Ah! That’s good to know. I was unsure if the sensor was actively pairing (and therefore switching) or just sending out a signal. Thanks.

  37. Christian
    June 22, 2016

    Dear DCR

    I just got my hands on the XE and have a question about connecting sensors. There is of course not an unlimited battery life on the camera so going on a long mountain ride, say Galibier or Izoard, I’d like turn video recording of and on again repeatadly to just capture desired moments to save same battery life. When turning on again, will it automatically pair the sensors, e.g. power and HR, and thus enable these metrics to be overlayed in video editing later, or will I have to manually pair the sensors after each torn-on?

    Thank you in advance

    • DC Rainmaker
      June 23, 2016

      Yup, it automatically connects -usually within a second or two. Enjoy!

  38. Richard
    June 26, 2016

    Hi Ray, great review and extremely beneficial when purchase decisions have to be made, so thank you.

    If I’m missing or missed something then I apologise in advance.

    I have a Gopro Hero 4 Silver but would love to produce workout videos with Heart Rate data etc being shown. I also have a Fenix 3 HR (with Chest HRM strap).

    I have two questions;

    1) Can I get my workout Metrix overlaid onto my Gopro footage from my Fenix 3 HR ? If so is this/can this be done in the Garmin Edit software ?

    2) If the above is achievable, is it then possible to export/save and then import file into another video editing software to be part of a bigger project and the Metrix be contained ?

    If both are possible then I’d not necessarily need to actually purchase a Virb XE at all……………or like I said, have I missed something ?

    Either way, big fan of your reviews Ray, please keep them coming.


    • DC Rainmaker
      June 27, 2016

      1) Yes and yes.

      2) I’m not aware of a way to export out the data and pull it into something like Premier. You can certainly pull in the video file no problem (just exports out vanilla file with data overlaid), but I don’t know of an easy way to (for example) take 4K footage and overlay Garmin data from a unit and then feed it into Premier or FCPX.

  39. rui
    June 27, 2016

    Hi Ray,
    Love your site.. but my wallet hurts every time. 😉 just ordered a Garmin Virb XE based on your reviews. I’ve been torn between GoPro or this.. and boiled down to Virb XE.

    Question is.. do you know if Garmin is going to be discontinuing this XE model? I’m on Garmin forum and many whom had the previous Virb Elite or Virb versions now have issues with it not turning back on or even bricking it after FW update.. being SOL since it’s discontinued.

    I see the XE pricing are starting to come down from their $330-350 range and was wondering if i should hold off and wait for something new with better battery life?

    I was looking at the GoPro Session.. but without external battery support or changeable battery.. i was weary on that.


    • DC Rainmaker
      June 27, 2016

      I suspect at some point, like any other product, a new one will come along and they’ll shift to selling that instead. Given Garmin continues to work on the software side of things for the VIRB lineup, it sounds safe that the company plans to continue investing in the product lineup.

      They’ve also continued to expand/increase sponsorships and PR stuffs with the camera, which is another good sign they’re looking at the lineup as a longer term play (which matches my discussions with them). Whether or not they put out a new camera this year or next is anyone’s guess of course.

    • rui
      June 27, 2016

      thanks Ray for the quick update. that’s good to know. i got my 810 and stages PM thanks to you.. and now virb xe. kudos to you!!

      one question i have is if during my ride, battery dies, and i swap out new batteries.. will video later sync up properly in virb edit with my 810 activity?

      guess what i’m trying to figure out is how does virb edit sync up video with .fit file from my 810. does it go by time stamp, gps (breadcrumbs) or something else that’s embedded in the video?

      i’m thinking maybe based on that i can disable which features like either GPS, sensor or whichever from the Virb XE to prolong battery life without running into issue with syncing in virb edit.

    • DC Rainmaker
      June 27, 2016

      Yes, you’ll end up with two video clips, but everything will easily sync in VIRB Edit. It’ll actually do all the merging for you. You need only plug in the the device and it’s good to go and pulls the files from on the VIRB unit itself. Or, if you do want to use the Edge data, then it’ll grab that data once you give it the .FIT file from the Edge (simple wizard for doing so).

  40. Vonnman
    July 14, 2016

    Hi Ray,
    My virb X needs 24hours to charge to 100% and it just turns on by itself. I tried searching for the net for a similar issue but found none. Have you heard of anything like this before?

    Thank you!!

    • DC Rainmaker
      July 14, 2016

      Definitely not normal. However, typically when I’ve seen VIRB charging wonkiness, it’s been related to using a PC/laptop to charge it. Not quite sure why – but just an FYI.

    • vonnman
      July 25, 2016

      Hi Ray, apologies for bugging you with these questions 🙂 can’t really find answers anywhere else. The Virb X just suddenly turns on by itself even if it’s not connected to a charging port. And if it was charging it takes a full day to charge it. Tried to contact the reseller but gave me the cold shoulder.

    July 19, 2016

    208-218 ELIZABETH ST, URANGAN, QLD 4655, AUSTRALIA-(Keithvass65@hotmail.com)
    Your critique of Virb X and XE was superb-thankyou. The only question I have is I don’t believe you mentioned the benefit of “Picture stabilization” which only comes with the XE? I ride a recumbent trike and notice from using a previous video camera mounted on a helmet that the resultant video tends to rock from side to side quite a bit. I wonder if this would be dampened by the stabilization feature?

  42. paul
    July 23, 2016

    i love my virb xe and have created a couple of great vids of my ski trip last winter. I am wanting a additional action cam with lcd display. i was thinking of the tg tough but dont like the wide angle on it. I was going to get go pro silver but maybe Garmin will produce a 4k with a display in the future.

  43. Konrad
    August 9, 2016

    Great review, best out there and I’ve read most it seems, very informative, everything covered but can you help with the following please.

    I need an action camera that records hh:mm:ss, the Garmin Virb XE manual only has the time stamp in hh:mm without the important seconds.
    Are you able to confirm that is the only onscreen option please.

    I have heard that once the recording exceeds an hour, the seconds are then displayed but as I haven’t a model to trial, are you able to confirm please.

    It may be possible to add in the edit suite but as the videos will be in excess of 12 hours, I suspect that would be too time intensive and hence the raw onscreen display in seconds.



  44. Nazareno
    August 28, 2016

    Puede alguien que tenga el cable de salida de video (TV OUT) probar si su XE emite señal de salida cuando la pones a grabar video? (La mia corta la salida de video)…. lo necesito para poder ver lo que se está grabando desde un dron.

  45. marc stokes
    August 31, 2016

    A quick question for you, I’m close to upgrading from my hero3 and ive been looking at the newest 4k Virb, i’m have garmin devices and the fact i wont need my remote control is a big selling point, but my question is, on the virb control on my fenix, i only see video/photo, but can i trigger a burst from the fenix? is that covered by the photo mode? almost all my action shots i take on my gopro use the remote and bust modes.

    thanks for your time.

    • DC Rainmaker
      August 31, 2016

      Yeah, the way it works is the photo mode simply triggers whatever photo mode you have it in. So if it’s in burst, you get bursts.

  46. Dean
    December 17, 2016

    I’ve owned a few sports cameras. Started with a Contour HD (fantastic video but lousy audio). Then onto a Hero 3 Silver (all I’ll say is it served it’s purpose but a pain to toggle between taking videos or stills),serious considering giving to son in law. My current camera is a Virb XE. I absolutely love not having to place it into a waterproof case when out on the jetski. Also for extended recording time I clip on the link cord and power it directly off external power (something you can’t do with a GoPro). One more good thing with the Virb XE with the link cord,it’s not a flimsy USB connector (broke loose on the pc board on the GoPro and had to repair myself). The GPS and accelerometer removes scepticism as to your performance,something GoPro can’t match. I love my Virb XE so much I’m buying a second!

  47. Karl
    February 1, 2017

    Hello do you know if this camera works while being charged and do you also know what the power requirements are to charge it as in amp and volts? Thanks Karl.

    • Ray Maker
      February 2, 2017

      Yes, you can. I’ve done many timelapses that way.

      Last time I checked/tested I believe it maxed out around .8A on current, but didn’t measure anything else.

    • Karl
      February 2, 2017

      Thanks I only ask because I would power one through my Son dynamo hub and Busch and Muller E-Werk.

  48. Kalvin Pradana
    February 28, 2017

    I want to know, how to show data G Force on microsoft excel for VIRB XE?, because i have VIRB ELITE its easy to show data G Force on microsoft excel, but when i’m using VIRB XE i didnt find G Force data on Ms Excel

    Best Rgds

  49. Jason Canobie
    April 11, 2017

    Can someone tell me if you can connect the camera to a power bank so it charges and record at the same time

    • DC Rainmaker
      April 11, 2017

      yes, it can.

  50. Mark
    April 14, 2017

    I have just aquired an XE, and have a problem with the W-Fi set up, in particular entering the password. It appears you cannot enter a space (underscore??) in the first 8 characters, as the unit just beeps at me when I select it, but it will allow it after the first 8 characters. I REALLY don’t want to change my Wi-Fi password on every device I own just to connect the VIRB. Is the Wi-Fi connection feature purely to avoid having to use the USB cable to connect to PC? If so, I probably don’t need to set it up on wi-fi anyway.

  51. Hamish Bloxham
    June 15, 2017

    Hey I was just wondering if you can replace the case lens just in case it gets cracked or smashed.

  52. Danny
    January 5, 2018

    Great review. Really helpful.
    I have one more question about using the Virb in combination with my Edge 1030. When paired via Ant+ to my Edge 1030, should I turn off GPS on the Virb? As GPS data is recorded on my Edge already. Would that maybe have a little positive effect on the battery life in the Virb? I will be making an 8 day tour from the Stelvio (italy) to the Netherlands in june and would really like to shoot about an hour a day or so. Thanks.
    Danny Mooij
    The Netherlands

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