Garmin Virb 360 great for shooting videos

The Garmin Virb 360 is a small but chunky 360-degree action camera that has two 12-megapixel cameras opposite each other, with each having a 201.8-degree f/2.0 lens.

This is different from most 360-degree cameras that use two 180-degree lenses to produce the two parts of a 360-degree image, which are stitched together at the edges.

With its 201.8-degree lenses, the two parts of the image produced by the Virb 360 overlap each other. Theoretically, this should result in a more seamless 360-degree image.

It comes with a small grip that can be expanded to serve as a tripod.

The Virb is water-resistant to a depth of 10m - the best in terms of waterproof rating in this round-up.

But it is not particularly user-friendly in terms of button layout. I found myself staring at the camera for a while before figuring out how to power it up.

  • SPECS

    PRICE: $1,199

    IMAGE SENSOR: 2 x 12-megapixel

    LENS: 2 x 201.8-degree f/2.0

    CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Near Field Communications, ANT+

    WEIGHT: 160g

  • RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 3/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 3/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

On its top is a small display with three buttons. The words above the buttons are so small I can hardly read them. The left button doubles as the power and back button, the middle button is the OK button for confirming options and the right button is the Wi-Fi button.

Confusing? Yes, it took me a while to get the hang of navigating the interface using these buttons.

You can change the settings more easily using the Garmin Virb app (available in Android and iOS). But you need to turn on the camera's Wi-Fi to connect it to your smartphone.

On one side of the Virb is a slider that you push to start video recording.

On the other side, there is a compartment that houses the microSD card and micro-USB port.

The Virb supports free capture, or HyperFrame in Garmin speak. And you can edit videos easily using the Garmin Virb app.

All you need to do is play the movie and pause, rotate or zoom to the frame you want. Tap save and move on to the next frame and repeat.

Alternatively, you can download the footage to your computer and use the Garmin Virb Edit software (available on Mac and Windows) to do the HyperFrame editing. Both desktop and mobile apps are easy to use and work great for me.

The Virb actually records 5.7K videos with the dual cameras. You can output your footage in 4K video or a HyperFrame 1,080p video.

The video quality is excellent. It is on a par with the GoPro Fusion's video quality. The moving images are sharp, with colours rendered accurately.

The stabilisation is fantastic in the videos I shot while walking, making them look like they were shot on a gimbal and not the mini-grip.

But in terms of still image quality, the Virb tends to be a tad soft with visible detail loss in images even in overcast conditions. I think it might be a case of over-zealous image noise reduction. There are also visible seams on the images.

Battery life is about 60 minutes of 5.7K video recording.

• Verdict: If you are primarily shooting videos, the Garmin Virb 360 is an excellent 360-degree action camera with intuitive desktop and mobile apps.

Trevor Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 31, 2018, with the headline 'Garmin Virb 360 great for shooting videos'. Print Edition | Subscribe