Garmin might be best known as a purveyor of GPS systems and sports watches, but now the company is striking out with its first 360-degree camera, the VIRB 360.
It’s far from the first 360 camera we’ve seen, but the Garmin VIRB 360 stands out with the ability to shoot videos at a maximum 5.7K resolution. That’s quite a few more pixels than other 360 cameras, which max out at 4K, although keep in mind that’s the resolution of the entire frame, and not just the section of video you’re looking at.
Shooting at maximum resolution also means sacrificing in-camera stitching and stabilization – if you want those two perks you’ll have to drop the VIRB 360's recording resolution to 4K. Users can also use the 360 camera to capture an entire scene in one 15MP spherical photo, with specific modes for capturing a burst or timelapse.
Aside from offering 5.7K video recording, the VIRB 360 comes with all the sensors Garmin has become acclaimed for, including GPS, gyroscopes, and accelerometers. The camera collects data about your adventures as you go, and you can overlay this information over your 360 videos to show just how fast, high or far you went.
The VIRB 360 also features four microphones to record sounds as you experienced them, and the whole thing is wrapped up in a rugged, waterproof shell. Users can connect their iOS and Android devices to the Garmin’s camera through Wi-Fi and Bluetooth with an accompanying app.
The only area where we think the VIRB 360 falls a little short is battery life – Garmin projects that users will only be able to record for a hour. It's also quite pricey, starting at $799, £649.99, AU$1,099.
We’ll have to see if its extra functionality is really worth the expense in our full review, especially when other cameras like the Samsung Gear 360 can also record 360-degree movies for much less.