Despite the slick marketing, GoPro footage you see in ads and viral YouTube videos is the product of serious post-production work. The smooth footage is not a direct rip off the microSD card.

Garmin is attempting to attack that vulnerability with the release of the Virb Ultra 30. 4K/30fps footage, 1.75” touch screen, voice activated control, and the included GPS capture G-Metrix to make your day on the trail or mountain even more epic.

The company is even promising an extremely sensitive mic to capture audio both out of the waterproof case and inside the case. If you’ve heard the muffled mess out of a GoPro adventure, you know EDM owes a lot of its success to the action camera. Something has to be overlaid onto the footage, may as well drop the bass.

Funny the 4K action camera Youtube video only hits 1080p versus a 4K version. Granted, 4K is overkill for the reveal trailer, but it should have released alongside the promo for the hell of it.

Garmin Virb Ultra 30 Has a But

3-axis stabilization inside a 4K action cam? Sign me up. Oh, there’s a footnote…

The stabilization technology works up to 1080p/60fps. Not a deal breaker, but disappointing. And one consumers need to be aware in a direct way to manage expectations.

Garmin Virb Ultra 30 Features

If you set aside the limitation of the 3-axis stabilization, there’s a lot of good in the action camera. The voice controls allow you to control recording – stop and start. It also lets the user mark a clip they want stored with a simple ‘remember that.’

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Garmin Virb Ultra 30 touchscreen

Want to test the limits of T-Mobile’s convoluted unlimited data plan? The VIRB Mobile App allows one-touch livestreaming to YouTube. I’d expect an update to include Facebook Live at some point.

Garmin’s G-Metrix suite shines with the Virb Ultra 30, allowing the overlay of speed, altitude, jump distance and third party tracking. Strap a heart rate monitor to prove you’re cool as ice on your first skydive. Me? It’d only prove I need to see a cardiologist in a damn hurry. Planes and I don’t mix. Me jumping out of said plane ain’t happening.

Battery life is pretty standard for the crop of cameras. Shooting at 1080p, you can grab north of 2 hours. 4K footage will limit you to just over an hour.

Garmin Virb Ultra 30 controls

Grabbing stills off the Virb relies on the 12-megapixel sensor, and you can set up night time lapses.

VIRB 30 Price

It sits in the range of a GoPro. Considering the additional features, the $500 price tag makes it appealing. And you can order it today. No seeing an announcement to have to wait months on end. Amazon is your buddy for ordering the action camera.

A perfect world would allow 4K stabilization, but perhaps a firmware update could accomplish that. We see Garmin’s play. Now we wait for GoPro. What does the Hero5 hold for us? And I’d like to see the Karma drone before the holidays…

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