Garmin unveils two new HD action cameras

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Garmin Virb X action cameraImage source, Garmin
Image caption,
Garmin's new action cameras are waterproof without requiring additional casing

Sat-Nav maker Garmin has unveiled two new HD action camera models.

The Virb X and Virb XE will be priced at £239 ($349) and £319 ($466) when they are launched in the summer.

Both models are waterproof to a depth of 50m without a case, and can capture "action data" such as speed and a G-force using bespoke system G-Metrix which can then be overlaid on the footage itself.

The market is currently dominated by top seller GoPro.

Garmin launched its first action cam, Virb, in 2013. Sony, Polaroid, HTC and Xiaomi are among other tech firms offering rival devices.

Users of the higher-end Virb XE can manually control advanced settings including white balance, sharpness, colour profile and exposure levels.

The XE also shoots video in high definition quality of either 1440p/30fps (frames per second) or 1080p/60fps, with the cheaper X version offering 1080p/30fps or 720p/60fps.

Both models can capture stills images at up to 12 megapixels and have wi-fi and bluetooth connectivity.

GoPro meanwhile announced a partnership with broadcast equipment manufacturer Vislink which will enable its Hero 3+ and Hero 4 models to broadcast high definition wireless video for the first time.

Image source, NASA
Image caption,
Nasa astronaut Terry Virts took a Go Pro on two space walks from the International Space Station. Footage on the Nasa website.

"GoPro is the undisputed market leader right now and its cameras have become synonymous with the category," said analyst Ben Wood from CSS Insight.

"We expect the next battleground to be with 360 degree action cameras to capture footage for virtual reality headsets.

"It will be interesting to see when GoPro makes the jump into that space."

Mr Wood also said that cheaper rivals - such as the Xiaomi Yi Action Camera which had a launch price of just 399 yuan (£41) - pose more of an immediate threat to the firm.

"GoPro probably won't be too worried about Garmin. The biggest threat comes from low-cost Chinese rivals," he added.

"As the quality of their products improves and prices drop they become more realistic challengers."