Garmin Virb XE
As long-time fans of GoPro, we were excited to see the new GoPro-style Garmin Virb XE. Some long awaited features have gone unadded by GoPro, so the rumours about the XE had us pretty stoked. Did the XE deliver?
Waterproof housing is one of the big-ticket companion items sofd for the GoPro. For those who don't know, it allows you to take underwater shots with the camera completely submerged. Obviously, it would be nicer if you could just forgo the camera scuba-gear, and just toss the camera into the water. This is where the XE comes out on top, as it can be submerged up to 50 meters with no need to carry around extra kit!
Another area where GoPro lacks is image stabilization. Sure, you can correct this in post, but it's a pretty expensive feature as it's only available on high-end video editors like Adobe Premiere. The XE pulls ahead again in this area with built in image/video stabilisation, and additionally without the distortion we found to be common in other video action cameras.
But what about wide angle shots? How about slow motion? And time-lapse? The XE has them all with Zoom, Ultra zoom, and close up shots, and captures every fov with frame rates from 30 to 120 fps! It blows away the GoPro Silver HD (the most recent GoPro at the time of this writing) with lens correction that is built right into the camera. This can save literally hours of post-processing work, as the Silver relies on software to perform that function.
With 12MP still shots at iso up to 6500, the XE is an all around great camera for high and low-light situations. The only thing we found really lacking was the absence of a screen to monitor the video recording. This is where the SIlver HD still owns the innovation field, so we hope to see this feature come to the XE in the near future.