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Garmin VIRB 360 5.7K Action Cam In-Depth Review


Today Garmin jumped into the 360° fray by introducing their own 360° action camera – the VIRB 360.  This camera one-ups everyone in the specs department by mic-dropping 5.7K resolution alongside being completely waterproofed with GPS built-in.  Not to mention the usual Garmin VIRB sensor support for data overlays from sports, automotive and boating devices.

You might remember it was only last month that GoPro announced their 5.2K Fusion action cam, set to start shipping in limited quantities by the end of the year.  In Garmin’s case though, the VIRB 360 will ship next month in June, and with what is easily the most capable feature set of any 360° action cam on the market (aside from ~$10,000 pro rigs).

I’ve been using the cam for about a month now – more than enough time to figure out the good and the ugly, and everything in between.  Like always, I’ll ship back the loaner camera to Garmin shortly.  If you find this useful, you can support the site via the links down at the end.

Before we dive into the whole review though – if you want the skinny on the camera in less than 17 minutes, check out this complete video I’ve put together, talking about all the features and how everything works.  And if nothing else, don’t forget to check out the ‘Video samples’ section down below – as I’ve put together some neat stuff there.

With that – let’s get onto the review.

What’s in the box:

Now normally I’d have a final box to unbox for ya.  But in this case I’ve got a box without the final wrapper.  The contents are final, but the fancy graphics on the outside weren’t printed yet when I received my test unit.  No worries, down the road I’ll swap them out.  In any case, here’s the box.  In case you’re wondering – it’s the same exterior shell as the Fenix 5.


Inside you’ll find the camera nestled in protective foam casing.  Oh, and it’s got a sticker on it so you can visualize what’s about to happen on the LCD, before it happens.

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Here’s everything all unpacked on a table.


And here it is all again without the plastic wrap:


Let’s walk through each piece.  First up is the little tripod/handle.  The fact that this somehow fits in the box is kinda mind-boggling to me.  It’s got a standard tripod adapter up top, but then down below has legs to open up and set it on a table.  Further, you can use it as a handle too.


Then the are two different mounts included.  First is a GoPro style mount (to attach to other GoPro mounts), and the second is a tripod style mount (to attach to other tripods and the included tripod):


Here’s how these look on the bottom:


Then there’s the charging cable, which is micro-USB.  Now some might wonder why not USB-C, and that’s a valid question. But ultimately, there’s actually little upside to USB-C today for the majority of consumers.  Only a fraction of us ‘tech elite’ might have USB-C ports.  For most people, using micro-USB means you don’t need to carry an extra cable around if your phone (or other Garmin device) uses the same charger.  I see both ways, but I don’t really fault any company at this point in choosing one or the other from an accessory standpoint (equipping laptops with *only* one or the other is an entirely different ball game).


Then we’ve got the camera itself.  You’ll notice it sits flat on a table, so no funky rolling around or anything like some cameras.  Also, it’s fully waterproofed to 10m/33ft.


The side door opens up and that’s where you’ll find the micro-USB charging/download port, a micro-HDMI port, and a micro-SD card slot.


I went out and bought a 256GB micro-SD card, mostly so I never have to worry about it.  I’ve had really good luck with zero card errors on this one.  I know a lot of people ask in my reviews what I use.  In this case, I wanted something with super high write speeds and a lot of storage (I hate running out of space), and frankly there was only one option on Amazon that had Prime shipping.  So…umm…that’s what I got.


Note that Garmin doesn’t officially support 256GB cards, but I’ve seen no issues using it to date.  Their officially supported card listing is located here.

Finally, in the box there’s a little paper manual thing.


As usual, you really won’t need the manual after this post.  Unless you want to make a paper airplane, which is a totally viable thing to do with it.

The Basics:


In many ways, the VIRB 360 is like most other action cameras.  Or at least, like most other Garmin action cameras.  To start, you’ll long ago in this post have noticed that the camera has two lenses.  Each lens contributes to the ability to have a single cohesive view once stitched together.  In a default configuration, that stitching occurs on the camera itself, though you can also do a higher resolution version via computer after the fact. I cover all the resolution details within the video modes section a bit lower down.


On the top of the camera you’ll see a small display with three buttons.  There’s no image preview on this display, but honestly that’d be kinda silly – since everything you see around you would be in that preview.  Instead, it’s used for configuring settings as well as validating recording status.  You’ll use the buttons to navigate.


In addition to the top buttons, on the side you’ll find a slider for recording video.  Slide it forward and recording starts, slide it back and recording stops.  Dead simple.  As you may have noticed above though, you’ve also got a dedicated photo button on the top.  Thus you can do either without having to dig into menus to change the mode.


Once recording, there are two recording lights which will illuminate red, visible from any of the four sides.  These will also flash green when just powered up in standby.  And there’s a blue light for wifi connectivity.

On all four sides of the camera there are microphones (tiny dots), creating spatially aware audio (if your living room setup supports such awesomeness).  In addition they can cancel out wind noise as well automatically, as you can see in some of my sample clips – even at pretty high speeds.  Here’s one of the mics highlighted:


One of the biggest advantages of the Garmin VIRB lineup has always been their connectivity to external sensors, as well as GPS data overlays.  That holds true with the VIRB 360 as well.  The camera can connect to a boatload of sensors (literally, it can actually connect to a boat), enabling you to do data overlays with heart rate, power, speed, cadence, automotive, marine and many more.

To pair these you’ll use the camera menu and dive into the sensors.  You’ll select whether it’s an ANT+ sensor or a Bluetooth sensor.  Note that at this time the Bluetooth sensors are for automotive use, not sport use.  For sports sensors it’s just ANT+ right now.


You can pair multiple sensors of the same type as well, useful if you have multiple bikes for example.  Or any duplicate sensors.  It’ll automatically connect to them once in range.


In addition to external sensors, the unit has internal sensors.  These are as follows:

Barometric Altimeter: Elevation data
Accelerometer: Force and motion data
Gyroscope: Rotation data
Compass: Bearing/heading data
GPS (with GLONASS): 10hz data capture

Most of these are pretty self-explanatory above.  But one that’s really notable here is the gyroscope and accelerometer.  That gives Garmin the ability to create an internal gimbal in the footage – which is incredibly impressive.  It’s sorta like the electronic stabilization we saw both GoPro and Garmin introduce last fall in their lineups.  Except here – there’s no need to crop anything.  Instead, it’s just keeping everything nice and level.  The stabilization is applied in post-production using either the mobile app or desktop app.


It’s in this same sensors menu as the ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart sensors that you’ll configure your WiFi.  You’ve actually got two options.  One is to make a direct connection so your phone connects to your camera directly, and the other is to have the VIRB 360 connect to an existing WiFi access point.  Or, you can configure both and when the VIRB 360 is in range of a hotspot it’ll use that instead.

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Like most action cams there’s a dedicated phone app for it.  This app connects via WiFi and allows you to preview what the camera is seeing.  That’s useful if you’re trying to get positioning figured out and want to do so remotely.  The app also allows you to configure all settings.  In fact, some settings, like setting the RAW recording resolution (5.2K vs 5.7K), are only available via the phone app.  You can set whether or not it’s RAW mode on the camera itself though.

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In addition, the mobile app allows you to download and edit videos and photos.  You can even do data overlays from the mobile app and export them out as fully edited videos.

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Note that if your phone is less awesome, this will limit what you can do from a 4K standpoint.

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I’m going to save the whole desktop piece for the moment, since I’ve got a dedicated section down a bit lower.

Finally, when it comes to battery life, things are a bit more limited here than most other action cams.  At the same time – it’s actually on par for 4K footage.  The VIRB 360 claims 1hr and 5 minutes of recording time (be it at 4K or 5.7K), which is almost identical to that of the GoPro Hero5 Black at 4K, or the VIRB Ultra 30 at 4K.  In my testing, those times are pretty accurate.

Ok, with all the basics out of the way, let’s dive into the video modes a bit more, and then we’ll talk editing and mounts.

Video & Photos Modes:


Of course, the purpose of a 360° action cam is to shoot in 360°.  But in actuality, there’s a handful of different modes that you can shoot with on the VIRB 360.  For 95% of people, it’s likely going to be the standard 4K 360° mode.  But for more advanced users, you’ve got the ability to record each lens individually, as well go into a special RAW mode.  Further, you can also do timelapses as well as enable pro settings to configure things such as white balance.

Here are the five core video shooting modes you’ve got on the VIRB 360:

A) 360° at 4K (stitched on camera)
B) Front lens only at 4K
C) Rear lens only at 4K
D) RAW shooting at 5.7K (not stitched)
E) 360° Timelapse at 4K

With the normal 360° mode you’re going to get a single pre-stitched video file that you can immediately upload to YouTube or wherever you’d like.  By default, it won’t have any data overlays on it until you use either the VIRB Edit mobile or desktop apps to add those.  It’s just a simple 360° video file.

For those folks who’ve been around the 360° video block a few times, note that Garmin pre-injects the videos with the 360° metadata.  So there’s no need to do any of that manually.  For those of you that have no idea what I’m talking about – be happy, it makes your life easier. These files are all sitting on the SD card like any normal video file.

Next, we’ve got the two front/rear lens modes.  These basically just turn your unit into a single-lens action camera.  In other words – a really expensive regular VIRB.  You, of course, do get a bit wider view out of this than a regular action cam though – so that might have appeal to some folks.  When you do that, you’ll get a bit higher frame rate options.  Here’s the full table of all official resolutions/modes:

5.7K RAW: 2880×2880 (2 files) / 30fps @ 120Mbps (60Mbps per file) : 360 Unstitched
5K RAW: 2496×2496 (2 files) / 30fps @100Mbps (50Mbps per file) : 360 Unstitched
4K: 3840×2160 / 30fps @ 80Mbps : 360 Stitched
3.5K: 1760×1760 (2 files) / 60fps @ 100Mbps (50Mbps per file): 360 Unstitched
HD: 1920×1080 / 120fps @ 50Mbps: Traditional 16:9 Single Lens
HD: 1920×1080 / 60fps @ 40Mbps : Traditional 16:9 Single Lens
Timelapse Video: Available in 4K and 5K Resolutions. Interval 2/5/10/30/60s

Then we’ve got the RAW mode. In RAW mode the camera does *NOT* pre-stitch the video.  Instead, it’s going to give you two 4K video files (front and rear lenses), for a total of 5.7K of resolution awesomeness.  Why not 8K?  Because that’s not how resolution math works.  And that’s an important point to make.  5.2K is significantly more than 4K.  See, 4K in this case is 2800×2800 (per lens) = 8,064,000.  Normal rectangular 4K is roughly the same – 3840*2160 = 8,294,400 (or 8.1MP).

So what happens when we take two lenses? Well, we add them together: 8,064,000 + 8,064,000 = 16,128,000 (or 16.1MP).  Which is a super-round about way of showing you that 16MP is twice that of 8MP.

So why doesn’t the camera just do the RAW mode stitching for you? Quite simply – it can’t. The camera doesn’t have enough horsepower to do that stitching in real-time.  That’s why in the regular mode you’re left with a ‘lower resolution’ 4K video, instead of something in the 5.2-5.7K range.


For stitching these RAW videos you’re going to need some 3rd party software.  Options include VideoStitch, Mettle, and Autopano, among many others.  That said, Garmin does plan to update VIRB Edit in the near future to be able to do the stitching of the RAW files.  That’s ideal for those of us with more powerful computers.  If you lack a more powerful computer, now’s a good time to start warming up your significant other on why you need one.

Oh – and before I forget – in all these modes the frame rate is at 30FPS.  There are no other lower resolution but higher frame-rate modes for the 360° stitched modes (all others are un-stitched or RAW).  Which is sort of an oddity, but at the same time I kinda get it.  You can save a ton of money if you want crappier 360 footage at lower resolutions.  So might as well slow it down in post rather than make crappy looking 360° videos.  It sounds like doing 2x4K/60fps would have been just dire on the battery/processing situation.  Maybe next time…

While we’re talking higher end related stuff, the VIRB 360 does have a pro config mode, which enables you to tweak settings like exposure bias, white balance, and ISO.

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Next, we’ve got the timelapse mode.  In this mode the camera can be configured to take an image at a set interval and compile it into a cohesive 360° video file.  You can choose intervals of 2, 5, 10, 30, or 60 seconds.

This is great for longer situations like sunsets or a stadium filling up.  You wouldn’t necessarily though want to use it on something that may have fast action in it, because it might miss that moment.  This is also better on the battery too.

You can configure the timelapse mode and interval using either the app or the camera itself.


I’ve got a sample in the next section of how the 360° video timelapse looks.

Next, we’ve got photo modes.  The camera can take 360° photos as well, and there are three basic modes: Single photo, burst photo, or timelapse photo.  In the burst photo mode it will shoot 20 frames in one second (oddly non-configurable).  In the timelapse photo mode you can configure the interval the same as within the video mode – 2/5/10/30/60 seconds.  The difference between photo and video timelapse is that in photo timelapse you get a pile of photo files at the end, whereas in video timelapse those are compiled into a video file.


Within the photo mode you can also configure a self timer delay (2/3/4/5/10/30/60 seconds).  I find this super useful on 360° photos because most times I actually don’t want to be in the frame.  So this gives me a few seconds (I usually use 10 seconds) to get out of the frame.  Like, hide behind a tree or something out of camera view. It’s tricky when the camera sees everything!

Note that the camera actually has a dedicated photo button on the top of it that you can press at any time to take a photo.


It’s nice having the dedicated camera and video buttons, so you don’t have to toggle back and forth between those modes like on a GoPro.

Finally, there’s live streaming.  The camera can live stream to both YouTube and Facebook Live in 360° video.  Note that it wasn’t something I was able to test since that feature has been locked down until release.  So I’ll add back in this at some point in the near future on that once I can try it out.  Note that Facebook has pretty limited 360° resolution live streaming support (actually, limited resolution support all around), whereas as YouTube has really really strong and impressive live streaming resolution support

Updated Tidbit: Lacking anywhere else to stash this, I’ve uploaded a nifty tech spec sheet that Garmin sent over.  You can download the full PDF here, or just browse through the gallery of 8 pages below.  I was super happy when they did this geek-doc for the VIRB Ultra 30 last year, and it’s nice to see them continue this here too with the VIRB 360.

Ok, onto some more geek goodness we go!

Editing (Mac/PC):


When it comes to editing, most of you will want to do the majority of edits on a desktop or laptop computer (PC or Mac).  The reason is simply around horsepower and the ability for you to have more finite control than on a phone or tablet.  As shown elsewhere in this post, you can edit on a mobile device, it’s just not as easy or detailed.

When it comes to getting started you’ll plug your camera in to import the clips. You can either choose everything new, or just selectively pick certain clips.  The reason you generally want to do this versus just dragging the video files in, is that this will also correctly align the Garmin G-Metrix data (which includes the data for stabilization).

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Once that’s done you can watch certain clips or you can start to create a movie.  Note that I’ve found when previewing clips (even at 4K) on my computer within VIRB Edit, it doesn’t quite look as good as it does later on in YouTube (lack of clarity).  So don’t be discouraged at this point.

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After creating a movie project, you’ll drag and drop files onto the timeline as with most other editors.  You’ll see your source clips in the upper left section, and then down below you’ve got your edited clips.  You’ll see little icons for areas that have notable moments from a data standpoint (i.e. heart rate spikes, jumps, etc…).

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You can use the G-Metrix tab to tweak the different gauges as well as the appearance and data contained within them.

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Next you’ve got stabilization.  This is probably the most important piece of the VIRB Edit suite for the VIRB 360, as it allows you to stabilize the video using the accelerometer/gyro data.  You can also lock data overlays onto an object as well, enabling it to look like you’ve affixed them to something like a windshield.

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Finally, once your editing prowess is complete, you’ll go ahead and export out the movie:

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I’ll note I have had some issues during the beta period of VIRB Edit, with minor bugs.  Garmin has been pretty responsive in getting fixes out for outstanding issues (even one just an hour ago at 2:30AM Garmin time), so I wouldn’t fret too much on this.  There are also plenty of interesting/potential features that I see them doing down the road here.  Areas such as RAW file support or the ability to punch out videos as with what a few other 360 action cams can do.  Still, they’re already at a tremendous advantage over any other 360 action cam competitors today, as their consumer tools far exceed what anyone else has done.

Video & Photo Samples:


I’ve put together a handful of video clips that you can check out from the VIRB 360. All of these were shot and edited by me.  Since I’m generally a sucky editor, they roughly show the capabilities of the camera to a non-video pro.  My workflow was downloading the footage to a laptop (MacBook Pro), then using the desktop VIRB Edit software to do either the full edit (for shorter edits), or instead to Final Cut Pro for more complex edits.  It’s an imperfect process if you use two editing tools because once you leave VIRB Edit you can’t edit/tweak any of the gauges.  And inside of VIRB Edit you can’t have different gauges for different clips. So in my triathlon video for example, I’d wanted to have cycling gauges for the cycling segment, and running ones for running.  But no can do.  Thus I have to basically edit it twice and combine it into a cohesive video.

I’ve put together two ‘edited’ clips that tell some sort of story.  One is a triathlon from this past weekend (yes, I actually took the darn thing hand-held into the water during a mass swim start)…but that might be a few hours still due to a small issue I’m running into.  And two is from the Giro d’Italia a week ago, when I lucked into a red convertible sports car as a rental car.


One thing you’ll notice in these videos is that the stitching for very near objects (my hands on the handlebars) isn’t perfect.  When you get further away from the camera, it’s virtually perfect though.  Garmin says that’s largely going to be a limitation of the lens overlap and processing on the camera itself.  Whereas if you went to RAW mode and then post-processed those with other 3rd party applications (on a desktop/etc…) you’d likely get better results where the software can do more manipulation.

Here’s the Giro car video:

Then we’ve got a simple timelapse atop my roof, in one shot.  It’s sunset over the city.  Kinda neat:

Here’s a bit older clip I did while cycling around Paris.  Nothing fancy – just riding.  Some of the stabilization where I was on the cobblestones is likely to be improved here:

Update – Here’s a newer clip using a helmet mount while cycling. This is shot on the latest (but still not 100% final) firmware.  I also demonstrate in this how the follow-camera option works to keep the camera pointed straight while I rotate my head around/up/down.

Here’s a sample clip I put together while running – to demonstrate stability there:

Finally, here’s a 5.7K timelapse that I shot as an image-timelapse, and then converted to a video with Final Cut Pro.  This gives me higher resolution than is natively possible with doing the video timelapse in the camera.

Note that all of these shots except the cycling handlebars one are taken on the latest firmware within the last 8 days.  While I have older shots, the stitching on those earlier beta builds isn’t quite as good.  So I just focused on these ones.

Again between now and when the camera starts shipping here shortly, you’ll likely see further tweaks/enhancements to video quality.  That’s pretty much normal of any product, even after release (even GoPro Hero5 cams last fall had some solid improvements in the first few weeks).

Note – you can find a massive pile of my sample clips up on this Dropbox share.  I’ve been constantly adding new stuff to it.  This includes sample photos and video, both processed and unprocessed (RAW and non-RAW).  Also, with the updated VIRB Edit version now available from Garmin, I’ve included the G-Metrix files in the folders, if you wanted to do some test edits using these samples yourself.  Enjoy!



When it comes to action cams, the most important thing is good video quality (i.e. resolutions and frame rates).  But pretty much right behind that is a good mounting system and fleet of accessories.  The coolest shots that you see in your favorite YouTube videos are almost always down through creative use of mounts and accessories.  If you don’t have those, the ecosystem falls apart.  It’s actually a core reason I’ve gotten frustrated in the past at various camera brands – they didn’t have the accessories and mounting options I needed to get the job done.

With the VIRB 360 it includes both a GoPro-style and tripod-style mount.  So that pretty much takes care of you off the bat.


However, they go a step further and also have two powered mount systems that are water resistant (sold separately).  Obviously you can’t swim with them, but I’ve stuck them on a roof in a thunderstorm for about 5 hours and had no issues.


One is a USB variant (above right), and one is designed to wire into a car system (above left).  They share the same plate though, and have a little locking mechanism to swap out the cables.  It uses the small metal contacts on the bottom of the VIRB 360 to provide continuous power.


And given the battery constants (about an hour of recording time), you’re going to want to have something if you do anything longer term – such as a timelapse or any sort of continuous live broadcasting.  You can also of course just use the micro-USB cable too and provide continuous power that way.  Of course that’s not waterproof, but with a bit of scotch tape creativity on the door, you can at least get that out of the frame.


Speaking of batteries, they are swappable, so you can buy extra if you’re out and about for the day.  Also – the camera can operate using the USB port on the side for power too, but that somewhat blocks the shot unless you tape it mostly closed (I did that for some shots too before I got the charging cradle).


In my testing, the claimed battery life of about an hour is pretty accurate (non-RAW mode).  I haven’t done battery tests in RAW mode, but Garmin claims it to be the same since they’re saving by not doing any stitching (which has processing overhead).

Next, there’s Garmin’s own remote.  This is the same remote as found with the previous generation VIRB devices.  Also, while not pictured here you can use almost any Garmin watch or bike computer (and a bunch of other Garmin devices) to start/stop recording and take photos, by controlling the VIRB 360 wirelessly.


Note that you can swap out the lens ‘covers’ fairly easily.  Basically, the glass part.  This is ideal in case you manage to injure them capturing something cool.  I did just that when I whacked it against a concrete surface while swimming.  It’s barely visible on the lens (and doesn’t show up in the videos), but I appreciate being able to do so easily without having to buy anything new.


Of course, the real plus here being that pretty much any other GoPro mount works.  Note that when choosing mounts you’ll want to choose ones that have a really small footprint, so that you don’t get the mount in the image itself.  Also, since the unit is a bit heavier than your average action cam, remember to choose a sturdy mount.  Those $3 no-name suction cup mounts on Amazon are great…until they snap in half with vibrations and send your unit tumbling.  On the flip side, spending $39 for a GoPro branded one is probably equally stupid.  Though, stupid I was as the convertible videos you see here in this post were on a GoPro suction cup I bought at the airport when I realized I forgot mine.  Says it’s certified to work up to 150MPH.  I’ll refrain from discussing my top speed…but I’m impressed.

Market Competitors:


There both are and aren’t competitors to the VIRB 360.  See, it’s complicated.  The VIRB 360 sits in this middleman of price and functionality above everything else in the consumer 360 space today (which is priced at $300-$400 mostly).  So things like the 360Fly 4K, Samsung’s entrants, and others – all sit below the VIRB 360 in spec and price.  Then we’ve got this massive gap (of about $1,000) until we see the higher end pro-like options.  They start in the $1,500-$2,000 range, and then go up into the tens of thousands of dollars.  So with the VIRB 360 priced at $799, it actually fits in nicely there – even if it’s above what many will want to pay.

The only potential competitor right now? GoPro’s upcoming Fusion 360° camera.  That camera was announced a few weeks ago, but with only a single spec (5.2K).  We don’t know anything else about it.  GoPro says it will start shipping later this year “in limited quantities”.

If we assume that the GoPro Fusion will have all the functionality of a GoPro Hero5 Black plus that of the 360 pieces, it still puts GoPro behind when it comes to things like data overlays (which GoPro barely has but frankly suck).  Same goes for resolution, with Garmin at 5.7K and GoPro at 5.2K.  And of course availability – with Garmin out 5-6 months earlier.

One really important thing to keep in mind too is that if you look at GoPro’s Fusion sampler video – it’s important to note how much editing and post-production work was done there.  That footage was not straight out of the camera, but rather heavily edited to clean up artifacts and issues within the footage.  Where in my post, all my videos are basically straight out of the camera with no manipulation of the images to remove issues.

So as of now – if you want the best non-pro 360 rig, that’s the Garmin VIRB 360.  There’s really no question there.  It kinda wins by default.  It’s hard to fast forward 5-6 months from now to see how the GoPro Fusion will line-up, but one key area I’d be looking at is the software side.  That’s been the biggest downfall of all existing 360 cameras on the market, and it’s an area that Garmin actually mostly gets right here.  Their VIRB Edit suite on the desktop is really good – leagues ahead of what GoPro offers today.

Historically GoPro has made better hardware than Garmin, though the only real advantage it had in the latest salvo last fall (VIRB Ultra 30 vs GoPro Hero 5 Black) was being internally waterproofed.  Beyond that, it came down to preferences.

Of course – the real question will be GoPro’s price.  I suspect it’ll be lower than Garmin is today (maybe by $100 or so), but it also sounds like Garmin is ready to be competitive here (just like they dropped price to match within 3 minutes – literally – of GoPro announcing the Hero 5 Black last fall).

Finally, there’s the Yi 360 (announced, and slated to become available in June).  This comes in at half the price of the Garmin VIRB 360.  It’s got similar resolution (4K stitched/5.7K RAW) and slightly better battery life (75mins vs 65mins).  On the flipside it lacks any of the sensor connectivity or dashboard/gauge type functionality of the VIRB, as well as lacking stabilization (software based or hardware based according to provided specs) or waterproofing.  We don’t know yet how quality will look.  I think the Yi will likely do well in more static type situations, but will probably be tougher in action situations like mounted to a bike.

The reason being that the taller design will be a challenge for lower mounts during vibrations/hard movements.  We’ve seen similar (taller) camera designs in the past and the vibrations can lead to unstable footage and/or breakages of mounts.  Still, at half the price it may end up being a really interesting option for a lot of situations that doesn’t require as much movement.



Without question, this the most impressive consumer 360° cam to date.  Now granted, that wasn’t exactly a high bar to overcome.  The rest of the entrants out there have sucked to pretty significant degrees.  But the VIRB 360 doesn’t win on the account of ‘sucking the least’, rather it wins on actually being a legit darn good 360° cam.  One finally worthy of buying.  The data overlay and internal stabilization piece works well (something not found on most units), and the much higher resolutions are easily noticed if you’ve got a capable device to watch it.

It’s not perfect though.  There are still some quirks being worked out, mostly minor things in the VIRB Edit suite (both mobile and desktop) and a few oddities I’ve seen with longer duration (multi-hour) time-lapses on the unit I have, plus stitching very close to the camera isn’t perfect either.  Garmin is trying to track down my issues and determine if the handful of things I saw are just unique to my setup or some other bugs to resolve.  The desktop VIRB Edit bugs (albeit some fairly frustrating at times) are largely ‘known issues’ set to be fixed shortly in the next few days (well before you get the camera).  If there’s any team at Garmin that’s got a good track record on software, it’s actually the desktop VIRB Edit team.  Just look at the updates/new features list on that thing over the years, or how incredibly active they are in the Garmin Forums.

But of course – there’s the reality that for a lot of people it’ll be tough to play back these videos in their full 4K (and beyond) glory.  Unfortunately, if you’re playing back 360° videos in 1080p, it’s largely a crap experience.  Still, one can’t really fault Garmin for that.  That’s a problem that the industry has at large, and one that really only can be resolved by buying newer hardware.

Will this replace my every day non-360° action cam?  No. But, it will complement it for those situations where I think 360° footage can make for a unique perspective.  That won’t be every setting, but there are certainly cases where it can make sense and you can do really cool things with it.  Thus, I’d easily recommend the VIRB 360 for those advanced video consumers that want to start experimenting with 360° footage in a way that finally doesn’t suck.

Found this review useful? Wanna support the site? Here’s how:

Hopefully you found this review useful. At the end of the day, I’m an athlete just like you looking for the most detail possible on a new purchase – so my review is written from the standpoint of how I used the device. The reviews generally take a lot of hours to put together, so it’s a fair bit of work (and labor of love). As you probably noticed by looking below, I also take time to answer all the questions posted in the comments – and there’s quite a bit of detail in there as well.

I’ve partnered with Clever Training to offer all DC Rainmaker readers exclusive benefits on all products purchased.  By joining the Clever Training VIP Program, you will earn 10% points on this item and 10% off (instantly) on thousands of other fitness products and accessories.  Points can be used on your very next purchase at Clever Training for anything site-wide.  You can read more about the details here.  By joining, you not only support the site (and all the work I do here) – but you also get to enjoy the significant partnership benefits that are just for DC Rainmaker readers.  And, since this item is more than $75, you get free 3-day (or less) US shipping as well.

Garmin VIRB 360 Action Cam
Garmin VIRB 360 Powered Mount (Waterproof)
Garmin VIRB 360 Dual Battery Charger
Garmin VIRB 360 Extra/Spare Battery

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Thanks for reading!

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  1. BartMan

    Great review, as always, thank you. Too bad that playing with 360 video comes at that high price (so not only you need to cash out for camera, but basically upgrade many other components incl. TV-set to be 4K).

  2. Tony

    No waterproofing while charging is negative with these cams for my use case – it’s an action camera after all. Still using the virb x due to this shortcoming in the future models that have some out

  3. Bryan Blake


    Any indication or idea if your use this in single front lens mode using lower resolutions say > HD: 1920×1080 / 60fps @ 40Mbps : Traditional 16:9… that the battery life will be longer then the hour or so mark?

    Use my Garmin Virb Elite and Virb Ultra 30 a lot “in race” bike videos and usually flip between the two depending on race length it’s either that or race way way faster!

  4. Harry Roberts

    Have you had any post or can you comment on how much PC “Horse Power” is required to reasonably edit video from this camera?

    • It’s hard to say. My main Windows laptop is a few years old and I can edit, but it’s really clunky (even with 16GB of RAM and SSD’s). Meanwhile, my MacBook Pro is brand new and it easily handles editing.

      Here’s what Garmin officially recommends:

    • Mike S.

      Off topic but how do you find the Mac? Are you mostly using it for video editing or is it taking on more tasks?

    • Andy Jelagin

      Hi Mike,

      I use my Mac to admin about a thousand machines at the university I work for; we’re about 60/40 Mac vs. Windows.

      People use both platforms for everything, from video editing to magnetic nerve stimulation; it’s really just a matter of what tool they prefer to work with.

    • As for how I’m liking the Mac, I like it. I really only do use it for only one thing though – video editing (and watching YouTube videos in high res that my Windows laptop can’t). Though, finalizing new Windows laptop to buy shortly has been on my list for about 6 months.

      On the video editing front with FCP (and even VIRB Edit), it just screams. Most of these 4K 360* video edits on VIRB Edit would only take about 1-2 minute (at most) to export. Even that 5.7K one in FCP X took only about 10 minutes. It is obvious that FCPX is certainly more optimized on the Mac than VIRB Edit, which is something that’s long been noted about Premier on Windows vs Mac, where people note that FCP runs faster than Premier on Mac, but not usually faster than Premier on Windows.

      But ultimately, I’m still a PC guy for everything else.

    • Ray – you mention that good software for stitching the raw 360 files together is expensive. Does Adobe premier pro count? (I am not even sure if it does this at all).
      I assume that if you record it raw and stitch it in 3rd party software there is no way of taking advantage of the image stabilisation that you can do in Virb Edit – a very promising feature I think. Can you even do overlays?

    • While I do own/subscribe/whatever the Adobe Cloud suite, I don’t tend to edit much in it to be honest, as I’ve gotten more comfortable with FCPX.

      As you noted, the challenge with any 3rd party program is the lack of being able to do overlays or stabilization. So the ‘best’ option (hardware allowing) would technically be to export out everything you want from VIRB Edit with the gauges you want, and then slice and dice in FCP/Premier. The downside to that is if you have a lot of clips, it is tedious. And even more if you have clips you don’t want overlays on, or want different overlays, that takes time too.

      And that’s all hoping your computing device of choice has enough power to export out the uncut stuff in a reasonable time.

      All that said, you technically can do transparent overlay exports, and then pull them back in within FCP/Premier as overlays. It’s not simple, but it’s possible.

      (As a side note, for fun I tried to stabilize a clipset in FCPX instead, and while it did make it more stable, I found it dramatically reduced clarity. Wasn’t worth the tradeoff).

    • Ok, so I assume that if you do raw footage that produces 2 separate video files you can’t add gauges or do stabilisation in Virb edit then stitch it in third party.
      i.e. – can you add an overlay to a raw half 360 video THEN stitch that in third party?

      I have done the overlay thing before if I have complex videos with different angles. I have done an overlay then used that in Premier as an overlay across different camera angles:

      link to youtube.com

      That was when I was a little over zealous and had 4 cameras on the bike! :-)

    • Correct at the moment, which is why they’re looking to get the RAW data files added in for support there. Now technically you may be able to import it into VIRB Edit, but my bet is that it won’t export back out at 5.7K (I haven’t tried it).

    • Byron

      Curious which macbook you are using (processor) looks like a 13″ pro in the pictures. Thanks!

    • Specs…of mine

      13″ MacBook Pro with Touch Bar – Space Gray (2016)
      • 3.1GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, Turbo Boost up to 3.5GHz
      • 16GB 2133MHz memory
      • Intel Iris Graphics 550
      • 1TB PCIe-based SSD

  5. wow, this looks really fantastic. I am so glad I didn’t buy the Nikon!

    Ray – is there any chance you could do a clip with the camera on your helmet whilst cycling?
    I have cameras for my commute through London in case anything happens. I think having a 360 cam on your helmet is the best way to catch all activity on all sides.

    I know it’s not going to look that cool but hey, I’m a middle aged, overweight man in Lycra on a Ti racing bike with a pannier rack and bag so I think that ship has sailed!

    • Yup, I did some clips with just that (helmet). I’ll post them as soon as I can. I’m in a bit of a pickle right now with the most recent Edit betas causing some sort of crash on my Mac, hence why there isn’t the triathlon video I shot or a video of a bunch of random shots I shot (including cycling atop helmet). The Garmin folks were working super-late last night trying to get me a build to fix it, but it didn’t seem to fix my issue. My guess is I’ll have something later today.

  6. Nico

    Tu Ray, does the camera allow any kind of “dash cam” use ? That would make it a no brainer 😎

    • Sorta.

      You can put dashboard overlays onto it (including timestamps and all that goodness) using the software, but it isn’t on the native footage straight off the camera.

  7. One more question, does Virb edit allow you to export a stabilised non-3d 1080P video?

    i.e. I am cycling North and there is a guy following me being an idiot and I just want a normal video pointing south regardless of how the camera has rotated – if the camera is on my helmet and I look behind me I still want the exported video to be pointing south

    • Not yet. That’s called a punch-out, and is where you basically take a 1080p frame and have it be non-360. It’s coming though.

      Note that on the second paragraph of your question – you can do something different which may be of use, which is to compass-lock the view, so the default view in the 360* player (upon export) will always be south. Or in a specific direction. So that might somewhat solve your item temporarily until the punch-outs are added.

    • OK, many thanks Ray.
      Once again seriously impressed by the level of detail of the review and your ability to pretty much instantly answer any questions anyone has!

  8. Mika

    Does the Virb software 4.2.3 that is available for download have the support for 360 video editing? Or are you using some other version?

  9. Luyi_PR

    Hi Ray, great review as always!

    Dont see any comparison shots or size specs. Very interested to know how it compares to GoPros or the non-360 Garmin Virb in size and weight.

    • Bill Y

      specs from Garmin site
      360: 160g with battery, 39x59x70mm
      Ultra: 88g, 45x75x70 with case, 31x45x57 w/o case

  10. Felix

    “But of course – there’s the reality that for a lot of people it’ll be tough to play back these videos in their full 4K (and beyond) glory.”

    Why do you say that? I think that nowadays most computers should be able to handle 4K playback. Many integrated graphics solutions do it and dedicated graphics cards from 650 upwards obviously as well.

    My guess would be that more people can enjoy 4K 360 videos than “normal” 4K videos because the display is typically the bottleneck. And since a normal 1080p display suffices für 360-videos, more people can watch those videos as intended as a full 4k-video.

    • It’s tough though – many mobile devices can’t handle it. For example an iPhone 6 can’t, which is certainly rather common. And on desktops/laptops, realistically anything generic older than about 2 years likely won’t be able to (PC side, Macs tend to do better).

      And then editing 4K is a whole different beast too…

  11. Patrick Mollbrink

    Hi there,
    Sorry if I missed this in the text.
    Is there an actual download link to any of the 360 videos, with the actual metadata injected?
    Would like to run them in my Gear googles and compare quality with my GoPro 360 rig
    Cheers, Patrick

  12. Have they solved the metadata issue in Virb edit yet?
    When I import videos from my camera it goes straight to a large network drive. Virb edit used to put the metadata is some hidden away, un-backed up folder on your local machine and there was no way to change that location or in fact anyway to import that data into a new install of virb edit if you re-install your PC.

    I wanted a way to configure it so that the metadata for the video was stored next to it so that if my PC dies I don’t lose all that data rendering all my videos pretty worthless.

  13. Derek Chan

    360 is neat however where to mount is the real problem. Having it on the front and with my crotch taking up the other half of the view isn’t compelling viewing. Helmet mounting is heavy tho mountain bikers probably wouldn’t mind. Maybe somewhere on the upper part of the fork or handlebar drops if it doesn’t slip off.

  14. Anony

    Any idea if the Virb Ultra will be updated with Facebook Live support as well?

  15. Wow, this could be a gamechanger in combination with our SailVideoSystem bodymount…
    Will try to get my hands on one of these asap.
    Thank you for the review!
    link to sailvideosystem.com

    Thijs / SailVideoSystem

  16. Larry

    Do you know if the “punch-out” mode you described will let you produce a video where you can keyframe different points (kinda like a vector) in your 360° video timeline and have it smoothly scroll to those keyframes as part of the punch-out production?

    • That’s honestly my dream as well. Take for example that cycling video. I’d love to be able to have set various things to look at while riding (Arc, Eiffel Tower, random dude on the side of the road, etc…), and then have the punch-out be just that.

      That said, I don’t know if that’s what we’ll see. I get the impression the specs are still being finalized for it (which, is good, because then maybe I can influence them). :)

  17. David

    I’m not grasping these cameras to be honest. When I look at the 360 video examples from Garmin (and GoPro’s preview) the image looks very, very warped and unwatchable for all but the most brief clips. Maybe its just me but the image isn’t very nice looking. Sooo… is this camera capable of doing what Ray’s example from Samsung or something about a year back could… it was a bike video where you could pan around the image (which had a normal field of view) in any direction utilizing the 360 degree field of view. The resolution was poor but the holy grail was the idea you could use a 360 camera someday and then pick your 1080p (normal field of view) angle in post, basically a action camera that captures it all and allow you to decide which way you want the image to point in post production, that I could get behind. If the point of this camera is those warped 360 images I for one am out.

    • David

      I suppose this feature I’m looking for is what you describe as a “punch out” mode right?

    • Andy Jelagin

      I’m seeing the same and having similar thoughts. Perhaps it has something to do with viewing on a Mac with Safari?

      Is there a 360 video plugin needed?

    • CV

      Safari doesn’t support 360 playback yet. Check it out in Chrome or on a mobile device.

    • Lee

      Ya. I’m not sure about these cameras. Watching the videos these cameras produce doesn’t do anything for me.

    • graham r

      im guessing you are on a mac and safari – you need to use Opera or Chrome or Firefox to get 360 panning in YouTube :)

    • David

      That’s EXACTLY what the problem was. I was using Safari and the image shows all 360 degrees at one time and is warped as all heck and looks terrible. I just opened Chrome since you all mentioned it and sure enough I can pan around a normal looking image, very… very impressive. NOW I get it.

      Sorry if you mentioned it Ray and I missed it but if you didn’t you should really emphasis to Safari users that the need to use Chrome or something because us Mac users might think this is pretty silly looking otherwise. :-)

  18. Dessa

    I’m curious about HDMI specs for more professional streaming.

    – Does HDMI work in 4K ? or 1080 only?
    – Does HDMI provide Live preview ( aka HDMI streaming mode)?
    – Does HDMI provide Live preview stitched ( equirectangular) or 2x Fisheye ?

    Other questions regarding USB streaming modes:
    – Does it appear as camera in PC/Mac or storage device only?
    if appears as camera, what is max resolution and is it stitched.

    Some cameras like Ricoh or Insta360 support features above but either low res or not action camera ready.

    • Dessa

      Here what garmin’s manual says on HDMI, no mention of HDMI at all in full specs, that is strange.

      Outputting Live Video to an External Device
      You can use a micro HDMI® cable to output live video from the camera to an external device, such as a broadcasting or live- streaming device.

      It still unclear if this is 4K or stitched..

    • For the HDMI port, here’s the spec sheet I have:

      “Equirectangular, Stitched Output Resolution up to 4K at 30FPS (3840 × 2160)”

      I haven’t hooked it up to anything to see what happens exactly at different modes. I’ll try and find an appropriate display around here to do so.

      For PC/Mac, it appears as a storage device when not in charging mode.

    • Dessa

      Will be great if it does that. Let us know if you can confirm!

  19. Sean

    Out of the saddle looks pretty funky from this perspective!

  20. Tim

    Can the camera be used to shoot video like a “normal” action cam?
    Is there any speculation for a successor of the virb ultra 30 coming out this year?

    • Yes, you can use either front or back lens individually to shoot like that.

      I don’t expect to see a new VIRB Ultra 30 variant this year. It sounds like Garmin is really focusing on nailing the VIRB 360 over the course of not just the immediate launch, but throughout the remainder of the year.

  21. Jim Flesch

    gr8 review (as usual)

    when will the edge 1000 be replaced or refreshed?

  22. Peter K

    Hi Ray, Quick question. You mention that it comes with a “GoPro style mount” but, unless I missed it, it doesn’t look like you expressed addressed helmet mounting. Your Paris video looks like you used a handlebar mount. With that set up, if you want to look backwards, then you are always looking into the persons gut.

    I’m particular interested in capturing 3D views for descents. With a helmet mounted option, that could give the viewer a pretty clear view all the way around.

    I was thinking of trying it with the Rico Theta 3D camera, which is much cheaper, but didn’t look like it had good options for helmet mounting it securely.

    Would love to hear your thoughts on helmet mounts for this one.



    • Yeah, I shot a bunch of helmet footage, but am having some software export issues right now. I’m hoping to be able to get a edit cut with the helmet footage tomorrow and posted.

      Also have most of the original/raw/etc files uploading to a Dropbox share, for those that want to see the non-YouTube compressed goodness.

  23. Dave Mohr

    I wonder how this will effect other bike mounted cameras? Does anyone think they could gobble up the market?

    • Ken

      No. Underseat mounted cameras will have obstructed views from seat, seatpost & thighs moving around. Handlebar mounted cameras will have views of gut, crotch, & especially unique under views of snot rockets that I would NOT want to see when viewing to the rear.

  24. giorgitd

    Cool, and appreciate Ray’s excellent review, but I’m not in the market. However, I was curious about the 5k+ 360 video clips on YT. Well, I’m not saying that I have a rocket ship for a laptop (but Win8.1, Core i7, 8 Gb RAM, 1 Tb SSD) and I could not watch the videos without pretty terrible buffering choppiness, So, that’s a WiFi thing more than a computer thing (I think), but we’re running a AC1750 rig here, so no slouch. These high res 360 videos appear to be outstripping the data rate I can achieve over my WiFi. Is this common, or is my rig / environment puny vs. others?

    • Adam Warrix

      That may be a good laptop but it isn’t great as far as PCs go. Laptops lack a dedicated GPU, which is used for producing high quality graphic images. Also, video processing through a CPU require a lot of RAM. I edit for a YouTube channel and have 64 GB of RAM, which is a lot but the RAM use peaks at 100% during video processing. Upgrading your RAM to 16 GB might help. Most laptop displays are 1080p unless you have a gaming laptops, which may be 1440p. I wouldn’t worry about having resolutions higher than that since your display couldn’t render it. As far as WiFi, AC1750 should be able to push that data across. Even N routers can push 4k 30fps images. Do an internet speed test and see what you get? The key download number you want is 25 Mbps or higher. I would check all of that. If you are still having issues, just reply and I will help out the best I can.

    • Just as a minor tip if your interwebs isn’t super fast – but you can cache a fair bit of YouTube videos by pressing pause when you start.

  25. Great review as always! thank you

  26. MAGNUS

    Pretty cool… But more importantly, did I win the giveaway?

  27. Dan C

    Hi Ray,
    Great review. Did Garmin remember to provide a tether anchor location? Do you think the GoPro / 360 mount is sturdy enough to the pricey 360 in its clamp mount?

    • No tether that I can find anywhere on it. That said, the mount/clip is almost overly complex in it’s locking design. That’s not going anywhere, period. Of course, in most cases it’s usually something else that fails where you want the tether.

      Both GoPro and Tripod mount (both in the box) are the same design, and honestly I’d trust a GoPro mount over a tripod one, since a GoPro one can’t rotate itself off.

  28. Naser

    Thank you for such a great review, I just have one question regarding still photos, which will be better at still photos, VIRB 360 or Keymission 360?

  29. Hi All-

    Just as a minor FYI, I’ve uploaded 8 pages of tech specs that Garmin sent over. It’s largely geeky stuff, but I’m sure some here in the comments fill find it interesting.

    You can go to this portion of the review (link to dcrainmaker.com), and then scroll up about one swipe worth and you’ll find all the goods.


  30. James

    Thanks for the thorough review – can you comment on low light performance? As a mountain biker the quality of footage drops significantly as soon as you get in the trees (or other area of poor light). I imagine that this can’t be as good as a dedicated single lens action cam as it has to process twice the footage in a package that is not significantly larger?

  31. Sri Kallidai

    Excellent review, Ray. Would you consider the Virb 360 to be a decent camera for FullDome acquisition? By using only the Front Lens, I presume we can get a Full Circular image. For fulldome, I would essentially require 180 degree FOV, and the Virb 260’s FOV is 201 degrees, which would make the image more immersive in fulldome. It’d be nice to be able to see a frame in full circle mode :-) I searched Google thoroughly, but haven’t found a single image!

  32. Brett Sherfy


    With single lens footage and the internal gimbal, you mentioned buttery smooth footage when running full sprint, would this would as well as a normal action cam with a gimbal, like a Hero 5 Black w/ the Karma grip or the DJI osmo? Or would you recommend something like this for getting super smooth running footage!

    Thank you for all you do!


    • It’s a bit different in that with a 360* cam it sees all. So it’s not so much a case of cropping footage (which is what EIS does on a Garmin/GoPro today), but rather within 360* it can tweak things like rotation to make it look like it didn’t move.

      With a gimbal, it’s doing that electronically, so it physically doesn’t move. In general physical gimbals are better, but finding a way to do that for a 360 platform is far trickier.

  33. Naser

    Thank you for such a great review, I just have one question regarding still photos, which will be better at still photos, VIRB 360 or Keymission 360?

    Still waiting for answer

    • I’m not seeing a huge difference in quality between the two there. Nikon is shooting higher resolution imagery, but I wouldn’t say it appears quite as sharp as the VIRB. So half a dozen one, 6 the other.

      I think the advantage of the VIRB 360 being the software doesn’t suck, and you can give voice commands for photos. I really can’t overstate how bad the Nikon software is. It’s pretty much the worst action cam/camera software on the market.

  34. Hi Ray,

    thank you for this nice Review. But there is no sample photo. Could you please take one and publish it here native? Im so interested in the Metadata and the max. resolution. Prestitched and RAW (unstitched). Could you please tell something about the Photoresolution?

  35. Wes

    Very cool stuff, I just wish it wasn’t $800. :(

  36. Degan

    Hey Ray,

    You’re the best, by the way. And thanks for doing this – but most of all answering questions!

    Two things:

    1) Can you find a vented helmet strap and go for a ride? I’m curious what a 360 would look like from the garmin. (this is going to be my main buying point if it works well/looks good).

    2) So I read this over and all the comments, but I’m still not sure about this – if it’s been answered before just let me know and I’ll go read again more carefully if you don’t want to type the answer:

    I have no problem doing the tedious work of rendering, export, compile, export (via adobe Premiere CC)… but…

    What I want to do with this is mount this sucker to my head, and go descend some mountains on my bike. I’d like the maximum quality possible, so 5.7k. Can I add my gauges for my sensors in one of the two videos (say the front lower part of my viewport (where my handlebars are – similar to yours), stabilize the video so it isn’t shakey, export both clips to stitch into Premiere? Or do you lose stabilization if you unstitched?


    • Thanks.

      1) Yup, already done. Just running into a wee bit of a snag trying to get it exported out of VIRB Edit (which s where the stabilization is) due to a bug in the current beta I have. If I don’t get a fix by end of day, i’ll just do a simplistic export which should work. I had done a nice edit showing how it worked on a helmet with the different modes (i.e. following direction of travel and stabilization/etc…).

      I’ll post, but keep an eye on the Dropbox share I’ve been placing all the samples in: link to dropbox.com

      2) Today, May 27th, no, not really. You can’t do overlays on 5.7K raw footage yet. VIRB Edit isn’t supporting the RAW footage (again, yet, hopefully soon). And thus you can’t stabilize. So the max stabilization right now is 4K. It’s not clear to me though when they bring in RAW support into VIRB Edit, if that also means stabilization too – or if that is more complex than just stitching.

  37. Phil

    Loved the review!

    Quick question, though. I mainly want to take 360 photos since video quality of most of these non professional cameras are pretty bad. Do you have a few sample photos taken with this? How do you rank the photo quality with other 360 cameras?

    • I’ve put a small pile of photos up here in Dropbox: link to dropbox.com

      I’ll be adding more over the weekend. Only had a few minutes before and then have had crappy WiFi all day travelling.

    • Sri Kallidai

      Hi Ray, could you please confirm if the RAW dual files are full circle without any crops on top and bottom?

    • They are. I just added some to the Dropbox share under ‘Photo Samples – Unstitched’*. Note these are like a month old, so there’s some camera improvements since then, but I’m on a plane and this is what I had handy without digging into the overhead bins.


  38. It’s impossible that the writer wasn’t aware of the same-speced Yi 360 coming to market simultaneously, so the strategic silence in the market comparison section here is suspicious…

    • I actually talked about it quite extensively in the linked piece I wrote just a week or two ago on the GoPro Fusion.

      As for my other comparisons – I generally compare them to products I have in hand. I don’t have a Yi 360 at this point.

    • And your response here further implies that you’re under some strange agreement in appreciation to Garmin for the loaner (and I don’t even work for or care about Yi Technology). After all, you wrote here, “In Garmin’s case though, the VIRB 360 will ship next month in June, and with what is easily the most capable feature set of any 360° action cam on the market (aside from ~$10,000 pro rigs).” And by saying that you did mention the Yi in an earlier article about GoPro, it’s even more relevant now. So why be defensive? And the comment about only mentioning things if you have them physically in your hands is silly. Again, your quote is: “In Garmin’s case though, the VIRB 360 will ship next month in June, and with what is easily the most capable feature set of any 360° action cam on the market (aside from ~$10,000 pro rigs).” You’re speculating, aren’t you? But, leaving out something in a suspicious way.

    • For someone that “doesn’t care about Yi technology”, it seems odd that all your posts here on the site are dedicated to being about Yi technology.

      Nonetheless, I’ve added a few of my thoughts in the market comparison section.

      As for my quote on being the “most capable feature set”, that’s 100% a fact based on the entities announced today. Yi doesn’t change that. Yi simply doesn’t have the features of the VIRB 360 (by a long shot). And that’s totally fine. It comes in at a lower price point.

      We’ve yet to see what the quality looks like – but that’s somewhat besides the point. It might be similar to what we’ve seen with Yi 4K+, which is that it’s generally good – but not quite as good quality-wise as the Hero5 Black. Again, that’s OK – as it has things the GoPro Hero5 Black doesn’t (like 4K60).

    • Just because you don’t agree with Ray’s opinion that the Garmin has “easily the most capable feature set” doesn’t mean there is some conspiracy going on and he’s being encouraged to sell Garmins.
      In fact I find it more likely that you are in fact linked to Yi in some way and are trying to get more column inches for your preferred camera.
      Give it a break.

  39. Thank you for a good and interesting post
    We made a stitch test of the 5.7 K test files
    the sad story about 5.7 k are that you cannot reedit and render it in
    consumer friendly software !
    Width: 5284 Height: 2642
    Maximum size allowed by ouput settings H.264 MP4 are 3840 x 1920

    see example on this link link to svendus.se

    Regards Svendus

    • Nice stitch. Which app did you use?

      Fwiw – many video editing apps do actually allow higher than 4K. For example both Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premier do. I don’t know off-hand of Apple iMovie does.

      Part of that way was paved by support for RED cameras, which go up to 8K.

    • Yes the software you mention are Quite expensive and cannot stritch the video also 😉
      if you right click tkr video you get the rest of the answer

  40. Just as a quick heads up to folks, I’ve published a new sample video – this time with the helmet mount while cycling. Within it I demonstrate how the follow-camera path option works to keep the footage oriented in the correct direction despite what my head is doing (up/down/side to side).

    You can watch it here: link to youtube.com

    In addition, I’ve uploaded that and other stuffs to the Dropbox with all the files, for those that want to watch/etc them in other players: link to dropbox.com


    • Hi impressive the stabilization and good clear an sharp video
      the audio are not bad when you know the microphones are waterproof
      but the wind noise are little disturbing
      can you not attach an external Mick ?

      Try to mount the camera on a fiber rod
      we use a 14 mm 850 mm col-fiber rod on the back of the motorcycle yamaha-tricity-tripod
      link to svendus.se

      Sorry The DCR-Public / Misc / Garm … folder is not available
      link to dropbox.com

    • Yeah, the wind was tricky on that one. I could do rear-only on the mics, but realistically that wouldn’t 100% solve it for two reasons:

      A) The camera was positioned almost on its side (so a lens was facing outward/forward), to minimize the stitch effect in certain places.
      B) I had a sideways wind in addition to the frontal moving wind.

      I can do an external mic, just didn’t bother to charge either of my two Bluetooth ones up for this. Oddly enough, my helmet is actually a mic. :)

      Link fixed btw – sorry, had pasted the internal link and not the shareable link. Thanks!

    • Mark

      Ray, what bluetooth mic do you use?

    • So I’ve used two:

      A) Coros helmet: link to dcrainmaker.com
      B) Plantronics Voyager Legend: link to amzn.to

      The Plantronics one came from a recommendation from the Garmin VIRB team. I asked them last fall which mics they’ve had the best luck with, and that was the one. So I bought it. I’m not sure what’s changed since then on that front though.

      I’ve got some recordings somewhere around here, and actually brought the mic (and helmet) with me this week. Though, as of this afternoon I can only seem to find the mics charger. :-/

    • Mark

      Oh. I was thinking more of an actual microphone, not a headset. Something that could be mounted in a fixed spot separate from the camera. The application I have in mind is sailing/racing. I’ve mounted my Virb Ultra 30 to the radar arch at the back of the boat and shot some good race footage this way. But the audio is terrible, mainly due to wind noise. So my thought was to put a bluetooth mic in a more sheltered place in the boat’s cockpit to pick up the crew voices and other boat sounds without excessive wind noise.

  41. Bruce Burkhalter

    Minor nit. Can you put the price in the opening section?


  42. Lothar Wieland

    What about water resistance up to 10m? Is it possible to dive under water? I did not see any sample yet. I assume its not possible without extra housing $$$$$…

    • I have brought it underwater, but only within the confines of starting a triathlon, and then keeping the unit underwater in my wetsuit for the short duration of the swim. If I finish editing that tri post today, you’ll see it within the next 24 hours.

  43. FYI for those following along in comments… I stuck up this YouTube video of running with it last night. It’s not listed as published yet on YouTube, but for those that want to take a look – here ya go: link to youtube.com

    It’s got some trail running in there, which the stitching actually turned out better than I expected.

    (Feel free to share the link, no worries about it being unlisted at the moment)

  44. Mike Richie

    Hi Ray, great review. I wonder if you could post some samples using this as a simple action cam. I.E., for just shooting rectangular video and photos using just the front or rear camera. I wonder how this would work as your only device or if the fisheye effect is compensated enough (seems there is a limitation in settings, there). I guess the real “best of both worlds” will be when they have the “punch out” in the editor, then you can just collect the raw footage and not worry about how you will use it until post.

    Also, do you think you could use this for “street view” like rendering using time lapse photo mode. Given the inclusion of the accelerometer and GPS this, from a hardware standpoint, aught to be able to provide a complete solution – rather than time lapse, shoot a new picture when the frame has moved enough. Your thoughts?

    • We made a 5.7K test stitch 3840 X 2160 and cannot go any higher in Kolor Autopano Video Pro 2.5
      link to svendus.se

      how do you go 5.7 K 5284 x 2642 in Kolor Autopano ?

    • I haven’t tried Kolor Autopano yet. That said, the VIRB 360 product team was working to get the specific steps they used to create the kayaking video (as an example) written out and sent over to me (which of course I’ll share). I figured I’d learn something on the workflow.

    • RE: Samples of just front/rear.

      That was my plan today, and then I realized I didn’t have the mount on my bike at the moment (not at home), so gotta install that and give it a whirl in next day or two.

      I’ll post files up to Dropbox and note here once done.

    • Hi Ray the inbuilt GPS captures info on every image on a time-laps perfect for a Google Street View tour
      But Sadly the images are not exactly 2:1
      5640 x 2816 i think this are not approved by Google

    • Ray will You please try to upload
      Google Street View approve images up to 100 Megapixel < 50 MB in size

      Regards Svendus

  45. Ravneet Singh Deol


    Awesome review, but would had been more informative if some stills shot with this camera had been uploaded as well. Also a question, even if i select the 4k resolution, I still get a lot of blur and distorted pixels, is that actually the case or something to do with my internet connection?


  46. The Dropbox preview are lower resolution save to your Dropbox or download direcktly to get full Resolution

  47. Lothar Wieland

    I’m still looking for a simple 360 player for iphone (6) where i can play the downloaded dropbox files Paris…. locally without the need to stream over youtube. I tried various from the Appstore but no success, they all did finally not succed to play the local file on camera roll. The App Pano is not available. Without having the posssibility to play a video offline (no wifi) in iphone the whole 360 thing makes no sense for me.

    • We considet this to be a bad Apple
      hat e to say it but Apple has to reinwent VR and 360 Video before it displayes offline on iOS you can to day not se Quicktime Panoramas either on any platform it must be some kind of deep sleep from Apples side vith .mov, and the Quicktime plugin are only 32 bit

      Regards Svendus

    • Stephane L

      Have you try the Ricoh Theta S app?
      This app allow you to watch any 360 video or image from your library. I use it to watch 360 picture from my Bebop 2 Drone as well that my Ricoh Theta camera.


  48. Karsten Scott Chu

    Excellent review. This looks like my type of camera. I like meandering about places holding my Samsung Gear 360. Your 5.7k time lapse looked quite amazing. Do you have any examples of stiched 5.7k video with the camera in motion?

    Also, did you suggest that the Garmin software might be updated to do the 5.7k video stitching? (Hopefully with stabilization???!)

    • I don’t have any stitched 5.7K video samples, though I do include in the Dropbox share 5.7K raw files, if someone wants to stitch them together. I was just having issues finding non-expensive options to stitch the RAW files and actually export at 5.7K. Exporting at 4K is much easier for free/non-crazy-expensive options.

      The hope for VIRB Edit though is to support the RAW files down the road, which would resolve this issue. In theory there’s no reason why that can’t support the stabilization. At that point it’s just a matter of how long it might take your computer to deal with that processing, but if you’re doing 5.7K video – I suppose you’re already in that boat anyway.

  49. jeff

    Can you upload some sample videos and photos to a public DropBox or GoogleDrive so we can download them? Thanks.

  50. David Goldwasser

    Awesome Review! thinking of selling my Sigma 8mm from DSLR setup to fund this. While I’d do some action work with it, also excited about time lapse feature for travel. I did talk to Garmin about battery life for time lapse, and seems like ti has really nice lower power mode for that.

    ” It appears that the device that I have in front of me has a 48 hour battery life with 360 time lapse enabled, on a 2 second interval.”

    • David Goldwasser

      Also forgot I got link to PDF manual from Garmin, didn’t see it elsewhere in this post
      link to static.garmin.com

    • No chance it’d last 48 hours on a 2-second interval. I’m happy to try it, but I can virtually guarantee you won’t get either digit of the word “48” out of it battery life in a timelapse. I think I did one that I got about 2-3 hours on.

      But at least they’re optimistic. :)

    • David Goldwasser

      I followed up with contact at Garmin, and they said they were mistaken, they were looking at something else. I still do wonder if using photos instead of video, and using raw vs. stitching in camera would help. Was hoping for low power mode with all sensors off, other than imaging sensors of course :), where it just takes pictures and writes to card. I’d be fine with shots every 15-30 seconds instead of 2. I also put in a request that they expand the exposure bracketing to 2 or three stops vs. 1 so it could be capture HDR.

      I’d be ok if I could get 6-8 hours this way. Contact said they would do some testing on this. More than that I can buy extra batteries, or hooking external battery since I won’t have it strapped to my head when doing time lapse.

    • David Goldwasser

      Just as an update, the support contact I was talking with wasn’t able to get beyond 2 hours on time lapse. I’m hoping maybe firmware updates will drastically improve this. If not may have to wait for gen2 or for competing device.

  51. Audunth

    Hi, and thanks for another great review! I’m curious about the 3.5K 60fps mode… I see it in the specs, but I can’t find any reference to it in the review, you even state that none of the 360 modes are more than 30fps. Wasn’t the 3.5K mode implemented in the firmware yet of your review unit or was the quality so bad you omitted it from any mention in the review?


    • David Goldwasser

      Looking at manual, the slow motion I think has to be post processed into 360 off camera. It did look really cool in the kayak demo movie.

      Slow-Mo360Not availableNot available
      Front OnlyRear Only1080p (1920 × 1080 px)120 fps
      RAW5K (2 files at 2496 × 2496 px)60 fps

      @DC Rainmaker, thanks for the comment on battery time for Time Lapse. I’ll follow up with Garmin. I noticed there is both a Time Lapse Video mode and Time lapse Photo mode, and in Time Lapse photo 2 of the three options don’t stitch images, wonder if that is the mode that gets much more battery. I’ll look into it.

      3604K (3840 × 2160 px)User-defined interval
      Front OnlyRear Only1080p (1920 × 1080 px)User-defined interval
      RAW5K (2 files at 2496 × 2496 px)User-defined interval

  52. David Goldwasser

    Odd, REI now shows it as no longer available. I expect it is a glitch or the shipping date moved out enough they didn’t want to take orders. Garmin and Amazon show it at 2 or 3 to 5 weeks, but then oddly BestBuy says I can pick it up on June 15th, of course can’t always trust that.

    • REI has some internal rules about delisting products when they fall to certain backorder states (either in duration or unit volume). I know there’s a 30-day rule in there (no pre-orders for items planned beyond 30 days), but I’m not sure what all the nuances are exactly.

    • Mehul

      Best Buy says it’s available now for pick up in some stores.

      For example it’s in the Framingham, Mass store today.

  53. Robert

    I looked in the user manual but couldn’t find anything on this, but does the Virb 360 include a hole in the case for a leash?

  54. Garmin VIRB 360 5.7K Action Cam Now have a Facebook group

    link to facebook.com

  55. Joe

    Hi, looking at the Garmin VIRB360 for a gift for a techie Ironman — but mainly for bike safety, not so much for posting cool videos anywhere. I know the Fly6 is cheaper but since it only records rear-facing (and our state does not have front license plates), I question the value. The Fly12 would handle forward-facing, but it has weight issues. Purchased together as a bundle, the Fly6 and Fly12 wouldn’t cost that much less than the Garmin VRB360. And the Garmin does have far superior video (right?) How useful would the Garmin be as a substitute for a Fly Bundle? And what kind of helmet connector would be required? Would it “look weird”? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

    • So a few people were looking at some footage I had posted on the bike to pickup plates. In general it’s pretty easy to pickup plates in all directions with the VIRB 360 in my footage when viewed at 4K resolution (tougher at 720p/1080p).

      The upside to this camera is that it’ll easy catch everything. No doubt about it. The downside is that it’s not a bike light.

      For the connector you can use just a simple GoPro mount. The one I used in the video costs about $2 on Amazon from a generic brand.

    • I am thinking of using the 360 camera for exactly the same reason. At the moment I have 3 cameras, one forward facing, one back and one on my helmet.
      I am considering replacing all of these with a 360 cam on my helmet.

      Even with all 3 of these cameras I still miss stuff sometimes, if I look away at the wrong time from something off to the side.

      I think that how you mount the camera will be important. The way Ray has mounted it in his Paris video means that any traffic behind you is blocked.
      I plan to mount the camera right at the back of the helmet so that you should be able to see behind the bike even when in a head down position.

      The other option is tying the camera to a helium balloon and have it follow along a few feet above you!! :-)

    • Joe

      So you’re thinking this will work??
      How awkward are helmet-mounted cams / his hard to mount towards rear of helmet, per your idea? (Good idea)
      I’m considering ordering this very soon for a gift … I’m not techie … wish I knew someone who could review the value of the Garmin VIRB360 for this purpose (bike safety).
      Did you get one yet?
      Thanks so much for your input!

  56. Hi Ray

    How do you copy videos off your camera? I have 3 cameras (2*virb elite, 1*Virb XE) and copying files from the camera takes many many times as long as taking the SD card out and using 3 USB 3 readers.
    With the amount of footage that you take you must get sick of waiting for files to copy! How do you do it?

    As a side note, one of the reasons that I don’t like Virb Edit is that it takes an AGE to copy the videos, even from an SD card in a reader rather than the camera itself.
    One of the reasons for the frustration is the fact that all my videos from commuting are around an hour long, I probably only want 2 minutes from that. When copying manually I can copy the actual clip that I want. With Virb Edit I have to copy the whole hour before trimming down.

    • Generally speaking for the VIRB series I do it twice.

      I’ll do once pass using the cable and the VIRB Edit importer, since that takes all the videos and GMetrix stuff along with it. Sure, I could do just the card, but I’ve got so many cards floating around that I forget which is which. So this keeps me organized.

      Then for videos/pics that I’m using out of band of VIRB Edit (like in a post or something), I’ll copy those manually to another folder.

      I definitely haven’t seen things taking an hour or anything near there though. Even at 5.7K with dual RAW files isn’t not too bad. Though I’m only dealing with a single camera.

    • sorry, the copy doesn’t take an hour – my commute is an hour so the recorded time is 1 hour split into 3 or 4 separate files. Manually I copy one of those files, Virb edit imports all 4.

      How do you backup the GMetrix stuff that virb edit imports? Has anyone found a good solution to that?

    • For backups, I actually just copy the entire SD card (sans DCIM) every once in a while. That way if I need to move to another SD card, etc… I can just copy the entire folder structure. VIRB Edit remains happy too.

  57. Audunth

    Hi again…still wondering why you say there is no lower resolution slow motion mode and all 360 resolutions are 30 FPS, when the specs say there IS a 3.5K 60 FPS 360 mode (even though it is unstitched, but so are the higher resolution modes).


    • I just clarified that paragraph a bit, to explain that I was talking stitched only. Thanks!

    • Time-laps from the 18GB 5.7KTimelapse
      Night and day HD !260 images from Paris shot by DC Rainmaker
      EDIT: Now
      Duration 00:02:28
      49335kbit / s
      49719 kbit / s
      29 frames / second
      Alternative video for tablets and smartphones that can not display 4K
      the Video will automatically tell you if the file playing are playing at the lower resolution
      HD Video
      Length 00:01:15
      5194 kbit / s
      5323 kbit / s
      14 frames / second

  58. Vladimir Gorbunov

    Great review, thank you! Do you know something about the battery life in photo mode? It would be nice if someone counted the number of photos on single charge.

    • David Goldwasser

      I’ve been told 1-2 hours or less of time on for time lapse depending on settings, I think how long the system is more of the driver vs. number of shots taken. I think 1 hour was shot every 2 seconds and 2 hours was every minute (also with GPS and everything that can be turned off).

      So while you can take 1800 shots every 2 seconds, you would get much less than that walking around taking pictures like point and shoot camera. There really needs to be low power mode for time lapse when not using in camera stitching, all I want active is imaging sensors and ability to write to memory card. Many point and shoots can go into low power mode well between shots.

      Has anyone played with exposure bracketing and using for HDR (or at least slightly expanded dynamic range)

  59. Dan

    Just got my virb 360 today and paired to my edge 520. I turned off the GPS in the camera thinking it’d use the GPS and sensor data from the edge but the video has no data once imported. Is it possible to use an edge/fenix for that data?

    • Paul S.

      After the fact, not during. The Edge doesn’t broadcast GPS data. You can certainly use the track from an Edge as the “G-Metrix” for a VIRB video in VIRB Edit.

    • Dan

      Thanks, that’s kind of what I thought but I was hopeful since it’s all in the garmin family.

    • Paul S.

      That’s why they have GPS and ANT+ in the VIRB itself. There’s no reason not to use it. The power consumed by the GPS chip is insignificant compared to that required to capture and record video. With the camera on you’re going to be swapping batteries every hour or using an external power source anyway.

  60. Thijs Vrij

    Hi Ray,
    thank you for this great review (it convinced me to order the Virb 360)!
    I have a question: I have been working with 360Video for the last 2 years (with many different cams) and today I started playing with your samples (from the dropbox folders). However; the exported mp4’s are 3840×2160 pixels.. This is not the equirectangular standard of 2:1 of 3840×1920 and this surprised me.

    Have you heard anything from Garmin why they chose these settings.
    Don’t get me wrong I love how the Garmin software does the stitch and stabilisation, it is just that I do not understand these output settings.

    Would love to hear your thoughts.
    Thx Thijs

  61. Vladimir Gorbunov

    I’ve stitched two of your raw photos using PTGUI 9.2. Here they are: link to goo.gl

    It looks like PTGUI performs a better job in blending the sky. The in-camera 360 photos suffer from pronounced difference in sky color between two parts of photo.

    • Very nice!

      It’s interesting, those two RAW photos were pretty early in the beat cycle – about 3 weeks out from announcement I believe, and thus about 5-6 weeks prior to final firmware. Still, they look pretty good. I’ll have to post some current photos with final firmware.

    • Vladimir Gorbunov

      Yes, it would be nice to try stitching some photos from latest firmware. But I doubt, if there is any difference in terms of image quality…

    • Stuart Tickner

      Hi Vladimir

      That stitch is really good. How did you get the panoramas to display in GooglePhotos? Is that something in PTGUI (i downloaded the trial) or do you inject spatial data into the images some how?

    • Vladimir Gorbunov

      Thanks! No, I haven’t done anything special. The Google Photos automatically recognizes my 360° photos and correctly displays them in viewer. I’ve already made lots of them using various fisheye DSLR lenses.

      In this case there was a problem with optimizer in PTGUI, which made wrong geometry corrections to the photos, so the result was heavily distorted. Probably due to the fact that I own a really old version, and the software cannot work correctly with 202° fisheye photos from Virb 360. I had to disable these corrections manually.

    • Stuart Tickner

      Thanks for the info Vladimir.

      It is strange, i downloaded your original and re-uploaded it and it works the same (with the arrow in the top right corner) link to goo.gl

      I then copy and pasted it into a new Photoshop document (added some squiggles to identify it). This time, when i uploaded it, i had to wait for Google Assistant to recognise that it was a Panorama before it display that way, but this time with the stars and ‘Pano’ in the corner link to goo.gl

      Does this happen for you also, do you have to wait for the assistant to recognise it?

      Just curious if anyone else has come across this?

    • Vladimir Gorbunov

      I clicked on your links – both photos are opened in 360° viewer. Yes, it looks like it takes some time for automatic recognition and applying the 360° tag.

    • David Goldwasser

      Will google photos also recognize 360 videos, or would YouTube or Vimeo be better for that. Saw YouTube was adding heatmaps for where people are looking on 360 videos which is cool.

    • Vladimir Gorbunov

      I cannot test how it works with 360° videos because of limited bandwidth.

      Anyway, Youtube is far more appropriate place for _sharing_ videos than Google Photos. The latter doesn’t allow neither having any sort of front page (like a channel page on Youtube), nor performing search throughout all videos on this service. It’s more like a private storage.

  62. Hi, has anyone figured out how to get the 5.7k clips in to viewable format. Only just got the Verb 360 and I’m trying out the 5.7k option. Obviously this comes off the SD card as 2 separate files. I’m stumped as to where I go from here.
    I am a FCPX user and I’m sure there will be a way to get the 2 files into a Equirectangular format which I this is what is needed.
    I must say this is real fun, the 4k 360’s are not that bad viewed on iPads or iPhones.
    Any help appreciated

  63. Lothar Wieland

    got the new virb 360 yesterday. How to manage with the remote in fenix5x with 2 cameras? The Ultra 30 and Virb 360?

  64. Stuart Tickner

    Great review.

    Has anyone got a comparison to the Kodak Orbit360? We were looking to buy the Kodak but they have dragged their heels for so long that the Garmin Virb 360 has arrived and still no sign of the Kodak! From the limited information available, my feeling is that the Garmin has the edge on video, stabilisation, software and gps functions, whereas the Kodak might edge the photos but have no evidence that this is true, and is a fair bit cheaper!

    Anyone had a chance to compare the two?

    • Vladimir Gorbunov

      It looks like there is still no photos and videos from Orbit 360 made by independent reviewers.

      The Orbit 360 is equipped with dual sensors of small physical size — just 1/2.3″ (the Garmin counterpart has the same size). I’m afraid that increasing the number of megapixels (like Kodak did) will not work. A noticeable leap in still image quality will be possible only with larger sensors (at least 4/3″). This will inevitable increase the camera weight to something like 500 grams.

      For 100% realistic 360° stills I use Canon EOS 6D and Canon 8-15 mm Fisheye. But the total weight is about 1.5 kg, and it takes several minutes for making a single 360° picture.