Garmin Virb Ultra 30

7.2
7.2 score
(GearWeAre.com) score (7.2)/10

Our GearWeAre.com score is based on 3 different factors: Editor's rating after in-depth testing. User ratings submitted on this page Overall score from the "reviewmeter" based on reviews across the web the weight of each factor is: 40% editor rating 15% user ratings 45% reviewmeter.
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Editor rating: 7.5 / 10
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Garmin Virb Ultra 30 Review Facts

The Garmin Virb Ultra 30 is one of the most feature packed action cameras in the market currently. It shoots thirty frames per second at 4K, producing sharp clear quality video, and acts as a moveable sensor all in one compact casing. The latest in Garmin’s line of action sports accessories this camera features a touchscreen on the back with a quick menu accessible by swiping from left to right that you can continue to use even in its reinforced outer-shell. The casing is removable and waterproof up to 133 feet. Voice control enables the user with a true hands-free advantage over others like it. This advantage is extended further because the Virb also has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and ANT+. Watch out GoPro! We go over all of these features and more in our comprehensive review below.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros
  • The waterproof case protects the camera and keeps out moisture
  • Voice control lets you start and stop recording easily while on the move
  • Quality 4k video
  • Good image stabilization
  • A lot of connectivity and stats options
Cons
  • Short battery life
  • Only waterproof in case
See How
Reviews were analyzed here:
We read, analyze and sort reviews into positive & negative categories to give you the complete picture.
What are buyers saying?

We have spent 2 hours analyzing a total of 202 reviews.

These reviews are then categoried into "Positive" and "Negative" feedback.

Below you will read a summary of them:

Positive
  • There are a lot of positive reviews for the overall video quality.
  • The recording on/off switch eliminates the guesswork of a push button.
  • The timelapse mode incorporates distance traveled as well as time.
  • Intuitive editing software is included.
  • The waterproof case doesn't have much of an effect on the sound quality.
  • Buyers like the digital stabilizing quality.
  • G-Metrix data recording is efficient and convenient.
  • Voice activation allows more recording ability.
  • This camera produces crisp, clear photos.
  • The touchscreen is clear and easy to navigate.
  • Buyers who use this for basic purposes are satisfied with the GPS accuracy.
  • Former GoPro owners are impressed by the quality and performance of the Virb Ultra 30.
  • It fits most GoPro mounts.
  • It can be paired with a bluetooth lavalier mic allowing you to keep the audio close to you even when recording from a distance.
  • Overlays can be customized, and there are settings to limit the fisheye and lens distortion.
  • You can pair this with a heart rate monitor to record more data.
  • There are online how-to videos available to get the most out of the editing software.
Negative
  • The waterproof case can fog up in hot, humid weather.
  • A few buyers report problems reading some memory cards after a year of use.
  • This device is expensive.
  • For people who are more experienced at video editing, the software may seem clunky.
  • This device won't fully work with older operating systems.
  • In order to secure the Virb Ultra 30 to a tripod, it must be in the waterproof case.
  • Loud noises or strong wind can interfere with the voice command function.
  • There are mixed reviews on the video quality in low light.
  • Some issues with bluetooth connectivity are reported.
  • The GPS lags a little behind 10hz.
  • Although rare, there are a couple of reports of the case leaking during scuba dives.
  • Some reports of the on/off switch failing after a few months are noted.
  • Buyers complain about bad Garmin customer service experiences concerning this device.
Reviewmeter
The Reviewmeter shows you an overall score that you can easily refer to. The highest rating is 10 (100% positive feedback)
Of the 202 reviews we found in total, 30% were negative, and 70% were positive.
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Brand

Brand

Garmin is a multi-national company founded in Kansas, originally developing GPS technology for different specialties they are now located in Switzerland. Their mission is to create superior products for the aviation, marine, automotive, outdoor and sports industries that their customers can rely on. They have since branched out to include 360-degree cameras, sports sensors, personal navigation, and wrist-worn devices for all ages in their arsenal. With innovative technology, Garmin has cornered the action camera market making professionals in the film field take a second look.
Features

Features

Considered an all-inclusive type of camera, the Garmin Virb offers a range of built-in features to make each experience you capture unique. Other than an impressive camera capable of shooting in 4K at the full 30 frames/sec the Ultra 30 acts as a very capable sensor. It includes a barometer, altimeter, accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass. All of which can be overlayed into the corner of video recordings with added text designating the information each feature has collected. Impress friends or colleagues with speed of descent, altitude, g-force, hang time, distance and rotation that simple point-of-view cant convey. It’s good to note that only with the help of Garmin's app and editing software via desktop will filmers be able to do this. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and ANT+ capabilities of the Virb extends your use further because it can also pair with a multitude of external sensors that Garmin produces or is at least compatible with. Heart rate monitors; cycling sensors, even flight and boat computers that this company specializes in all pair with ease to this camera. A highlight user’s loved was the newly added voice command activation feature, simply say “Ok Garmin” and the camera becomes a hands-free device. Use commands such as "start recording," if you’re biking down a steep hill or "stop recording," when filming jump shots and it’s not your lucky day. "Take a photo" works well for selfies and "remember that" to add a tag to a specific part of the video.
Ease of Use

Ease of Use

Even for the non-tech savvy person who just enjoys a high-quality device, this action camera is incredibly easy to operate and builds from its simple base utility to really shine with advanced features gear heads enjoy. To begin with, the standard shutter and power buttons are positioned on top, enabling you to easily navigate using the touchscreen once the camera is on. All you need to do to take a photo is push down the shutter button. However, when it comes to shooting a video, there is a switch near the shutter button that will indicate when it is recording. Easily navigate through the settings using the highly responsive touch screen or voice command feature. The internal microphone has a special pass-through port that connects to the outside, this equipment provides excellent audio capture inside as well as outside of the casing. A rarity considering most action cameras when inside waterproof housings tend to record rattling of the camera along with a muffled overlay to voices and sound. Editing photos and video is a breeze using the downloadable app for hours of playtime but most users comment not needing this extra software because of the quality of still frames and videos already captured first hand.
Size

Size

More compact than a standard DSLR or point and shoot, one of the main advantages of this action camera is its portability. Small enough to fit into the palm of your hand with 10x the power. If you are staying in one spot wanting to catch everything you can easily prop your camera up with any standard tripod or mount and not have to worry about carrying it around. Larger hands may have trouble with setup and screen access but with time it’s easily adaptable. Even with Virb's water-proof casing on it’s still lighter than its competitors weighing in at just 87.9 grams. Small enough to take anywhere, throw the Virb Ultra 30 into your backpack or travel bag and head out to film your next adventure.
Use

Use

One thing you would notice straight away from footage taken by this action camera would be that it captures a really wide shot and a lot of details that can be seen from one frame. Its resolution and speed reach up to 4K at 30 frames per second, or 1080p at 120fps, making videos and pictures more immersive than what you’d expect from other cameras or smartphones creating a fun an different way to watch amateur footage. It can be hooked up to Youtube for live streaming through a smartphone and controlled using voice commands that can be edited out when splicing. Thanks to the high quality of the video and images, this action camera can also be used in a professional capacity such as website marketing or daily vlogs on YouTube. It offers numerous frames and resolutions and is compatible with previous Garmin camera accessories, GoPro devices and even mounts made by third-party manufacturers.
Style

Style

The compact, sleek design adds to the appeal of the Virb Ultra 30. This camera features a full color, LCD touch screen that works and looks great. The Garmin action camera has a waterproof outer shell that is removable. This is good news if you’d prefer to use different housing or none at all. However, if looking to mount on any sort of moveable surface a case or caddy will be required because the action camera itself doesn’t have a built-in mounting point. The textured design of the front of the camera helps reduce noise from the wind, and inside you will find a rubber insert that perfectly inserts within the camera. The small metal speaker insert improves audio recording quality while inside the case and retains a waterproof seal. Many users note the similarities in appearance to various GoPro models.
Protection

Protection

First, in the Virb series, the Ultra 30 comes with a waterproof case that will keep the action camera dry to a depth of 40m thanks to its tight double-locking mechanism. Since many competitors such as GoPro and Nikon have now gone shell-less with new versions and some users have been hesitant to “take a step back” with the Virb. However, the Waterproof casing not only protects from water, but it also protects the camera from wear in an action setting. While venturing out to go ATV mudding, cycle down a rocky hill or even just shooting hoops in the park, life happens. No matter how careful you think you are, fragile items get dropped and break. Most comment on the fact that after use out in the field, wear and tear become more prominent. Even with a high price tag at least you know you are getting your money’s worth with an action camera that will stay intact. The Touch screen still works remarkably well in the hard shell casing with only a slight delay in response which is hardly noticeable.
Connectivity

Connectivity

This camera uses Bluetooth, ANT+ wireless connection, WiFi and HDMI compatibility to allow easy integration to your smartphone and desktop computer to view footage from the Ultra 30. The Bluetooth sync ability enables your smartphone or smartwatch to act as a remote control so if your camera is out of reach you will still be able to manipulate it. The voice command system has been tested by users online who say they were able to stand as far as 40 feet away and the built-in high-quality microphone still worked flawlessly.
Accessories

Accessories

Garmin has a long list of accessories available for a variety of use through Bluetooth and ANT+ wireless connectivity. In addition to the built-in G-Metrix, the Ultra 30 connects to a truly incredible range of external sensors. Various heart rate monitors, bike sensors, car interfaces, and even aircraft or boat sensors are available. Not all these sources of information can be overlaid on the video frames, but the data can be collected alongside it for use in other ways.

Included with the Virb Ultra 30 is a waterproof casing, altimeter door, one flat sticky mount and one curved, several adapters and thumbscrews, anti-fog packets, an Allen wrench, a USB cable for exterior charging and removable battery. Some users did not find the accessory package that accompanies the camera particularly useful and ended up ordering their own extras to supplement on their cameras.
Version

Version

There have been a couple of Virb action cameras before and the Ultra 30 represents a positive rebrand of the line. This camera is the next tier up from the Virb X and Virb XE and boasts innovative change-ups. It now competes more aggressively today with GoPro and other competitors with its recent price drop. The Garmin Virb Ultra 30 is the first of the Virb series to feature a waterproof housing, in the past, the water protection has was integrated into the design and build of the Virb cameras. The Ultra 30 loses an hour of battery life with this version due to the added sensor capabilities.
Power Source

Power Source

This action camera excels in many ways and falls short in one unfortunate way. The most frequent comment and complaint made by users of this camera are it’s less than ideal battery life. The power is supplied by a 1250 mAh removable battery that provides 2 hours when shooting in HD and just over an hour when recording at 4K. The sensors and external connections take a toll on battery life, such as the voice control always listening for a vocal cue that adds to the strain on the battery. One user noted powering down the camera between shots to try and save battery life but that proved unsuccessful and inconvenient. Turning individual features off and changing the settings will preserve the battery a small amount but it is suggested to carry back up batteries just in case.
Key Features

Key Features

-Bluetooth, WiFi, ANT+, and HDMI Capabilities
-Ultra HD Video at 4K/30fps
-G-Metrix - Built-in GPS and external sensors that captures performance data
-LCD Color Touchscreen
-Hands-free Voice Control
-3-Axis Image Stabilization
-Waterproof Casing with Mountability
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

Garmin has delivered what is easily considered their best action camera to date. If you’re the type of person who is really into the outdoors, trailblazing, extreme cycling, fitness vlogging or off-roading in extreme conditions then the Ultra 30 is the perfect match for you. This version of the Virb lost none of what made the previous models special while adding superior features. The Video quality is exceptional, and although the higher bit rate increases the amount of space consumed in the card, the boost is well worth it. The touchscreen is easy to use even in the waterproof casing which is a plus however once you have everything set up, the voice commands are all you really need to activate the camera. The motion sensors enabled by GPS do exactly what you expect every time and can be used as overlays for your videos which is a feature enjoyed by many serious athletes documenting progress. Issues with the battery are what’s expected with the variety of use options but carrying back-ups will supplement this. The decreased price tag alone should be reason enough to give this innovative camera a try, we believe you will enjoy it.