Everyone is recording literally every moment of their lives nowadays, especially outdoors-people and lovers of high-octane games. Nothing gets their hearts pounding like hiking, cliff-hanging, surfing, sky diving, racing and free diving. They use the most hard-core cameras around to document these exploits.

The Go Pro has ruled this niche for a while. Its customizability, High Definition (HD) footage, battery power, waterproof case and compact size make it perfect for recording things in dangerous territory. However, watch out Go Pro because there’s a new player in the game. The Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 camera is here and seeking to rule the outdoor camera industry. Here at Gadgetgang, we pit these cameras against each other. The GoPro Hero 7 Black vs Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 Camera, which is more badass?

To determine which camera rules them all, we begin by checking out their individual features. After that, we can compare the two and declare the winner. Here we go!

GoPro Hero 7 Black

GoPro Hero 7 Black

GoPro Hero 7 Black

The new GoPro Hero 7 Black is a fitting update on the outgoing Hero 6 Black. It packs features such as a compact design, waterproof casing, a high resolution and the capability to be mounted on a wide range of stands. It measures 6.2×3.2×4.5 cm and tips the scales at 117 grams.

From first glance, the new GoPro Hero 7 Black is very similar to its predecessor. However, it does have a collection of interesting updates under the hood. Not only does it pack a stronger punch physically, it is chock full of social-media friendly software updates. Let’s pop the hood and find out what gets the GoPro Hero 7 Black ticking!

Design

The GoPro Hero 7 Black has a stealthy black color. This is a new development from the Hero 6 which was grey in color. Its surface is rubberized throughout. This improves grip while minimizing scratches and smudge marks.

The front has a minimalist layout. The shutter takes center stage on the top right corner of the camera. Adjacent to it is a 1-inch LCD display.

GoPro Hero 7 Black front

On the back, there’s a 2-inch High Definition (HD) touchscreen display. Also, the power and record buttons are located on the side similar to the previous model.

GoPro Hero 7 Black back

In terms of design, the GoPro Hero 7 Black is solid. It puts all the controls that you need at your fingertips.

Special features

Hypersmooth

GoPro Hero 7 Black Hypersmooth

Here’s where the GoPro Hero 7 Black really flexes its digital muscles. The camera has a bouquet of image enhancement facilities. Top on the pile is Hypersmooth. This is an improved version of GoPro’s award-winning Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) system. Hypersmooth keeps your images and footage stable during the most tumultuous outdoor exploits. Furthermore, it records with 4K resolution at a speed of 60 Frames Per Second (fps).

Timewarp

GoPro Hero 7 Black Timewarp

Another mesmerizing feature on the GoPro Hero 7 Black is the Timewarp. This feature implements the Timelapse mode and stabilizes the image. It also shoots a silky First-Person recording fancifully christened the “Magic Carpet Ride”.

SuperPhoto

GoPro Hero 7 Black Superphoto

The GoPro Hero 7 Black doesn’t stop there, it has something special for all those who enjoy shooting still photos. The SuperPhoto feature changes the brightness, contrast, color and vignette settings automatically depending on the scene being captured. This ensures that your stills are perfect no matter where you are.

Automatic livestream

GoPro Hero 7 Black livestream

Everyone loves sharing photos and video on social media. The new GoPro Hero 7 Black helps with this tremendously. That’s because it can automatically livestream your footage to Facebook through your smartphone! The developers at GoPro are currently working on an update that will enable you to livestream to YouTube too!

Enhanced microphone

The microphone membrane on this new GoPro has also been enhanced substantially. This is so as to improve the quality of the sound and reduce the vibrations that emerge during vigorous outdoor activity. Thanks to this new microphone, the GoPro Hero 7 Black delivers deeper bass and clearer mid tones. As a result, it can be used to make YouTube videos, vlog and record general video with crisp, clear sound. As the icing on the cake, the new GoPro is fitted with a dual microphone setup to enable surround sound. This gets rid of ambient noise while boosting the quality of recorded audio.

Screen specifications and lens capability

The GoPro Hero 7 Black is fitted with a 12 MP lens powered by a 1 chip CMOS sensor. It is capable of recording video at 3840 x 2160 pixels (4K) at up to 60 Frames Per Second (fps). The lens can also capture burst photos at a rate of 30 photos per second!

This compact camera has a truly impressive 2-inch touchscreen. It has a resolution of 320 x 480 which facilitates clear viewing. The screen can also play MP4 footage at 78 Mb/s via the H.265 codec.

Storage and connectivity

The GoPro Hero 7 Black provides a wide range of connectivity and storage options. Upon purchase, the camera comes with a SanDisk 32GB Extreme microSD card and an SD adapter. The SD card capacity can be increased to 256GB for maximum storage capacity. You can store data into the new GoPro Hero 7 Black through a USB 3.0 Type C port. Furthermore, you can stream footage or stills from the camera through a Micro HDMI Type D port.

Interestingly, this new camera has a microphone input port. This comes in handy for recording audio in WAV format using an external mic. The built-in microphone also comes in handy for receiving your voice commands so as to control the camera. For maximum connectivity, the new GoPro is also compatible with Wi-Fi!

Battery capacity and convenience features

Are you about to explore the great outdoors for a couple of hours and need a way to preserve the memories? The new GoPro Hero 7 Black has got you covered. It comes with a 3.85 VDC rechargeable battery pack. On a full charge, the camera will deliver up to 45 minutes of continuous 4K video recording. It is rechargeable through a USB port.

The camera is waterproof up to 10 meters without its Waterproof Housing. Should you add this accessory, the GoPro Hero 7 Black can take a dip up to 40.0 meters. Moreover, the new GoPro weighs only 117 grams (4.13 oz). Overall, it is a formidable action camera for the modern outdoorsperson.

Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 Camera

Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 Camera

Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 Camera

Right out of the box, the Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 camera means business. It has a compact form factor but feels very solid. Its dimensions and weight allude to the fact that it is a professional, high capability camera. Boasting special facilities such as the G-Metrix and 4K capability, it is an action camera that can handle literally all environments that you place it in.

Garmin are fighting for the top spot in the action camera segment. As such, the VIRB Ultra 30 contains voice control, compatibility with a variety of mounts and a waterproof case accessory. A whole lot more is concealed in its miniscule body. Here’s what the underdog brings to this fight!

Design

Like most action cameras in the market, it has a boxy, minimalist design. The Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 camera measures 5.8×4.6×3.0 cm and weighs 87.9 grams. The front section is populated by two camera lenses. One of these is the main shooter while the other is a compound one. A nice lattice is situated adjacent to the main camera lens. It enhances your grip on the camera. Black in color with red accents, it really looks like an action camera ready to beat the elements.

Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 Camera front

The back surface is flat and populated by an expansive touchscreen panel. There are no tactile buttons on this section. This creates a clean, smart. There are buttons along its edges to control the camera’s features such as the shutter button, video activator and resolution picker.

Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 Camera back

The Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 also has distinctive ports for charging, multimedia sharing and HDMI connectivity. They complement the hardy, minimalist design perfectly.

Special features

The G-Metrix

Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 Camera G-Metrix

Did you know that if you got lost somewhere in the woods, the Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 Camera can get you home safe and sound? This is thanks to a sophisticated system known as the G-Metrix. Essentially the crown jewel of action cameras at Garmin, it is a combination of a built-in GPS, altimeter, accelerometer, gyroscope and compass. That’s a lot of equipment in a single action camera!

The ANT System

Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 Camera USB ANT Stick

This is another outstanding special feature boasted by the Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 Camera. For most action cameras, it is necessary to connect it manually to a computer using Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or a USB cable, HDMI for data transfer. Things are a bit more high-tech with the VIRB Ultra 30 camera.

This action cam uses a special ANT System for file transfer. The first part of this system is an ANT USB Stick that you connect to your computer. It automatically installs a special data transfer program. After this is done, the Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 camera will automatically transfer files to your computer whenever it is close to the ANT USB Stick. How amazing is that! Through the ANT system, Garmin have incorporated Near Field Communication (NFC) technology in this action camera.

Environmental monitoring

No matter where you go, the Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 camera keeps monitoring your surroundings. Through the ANT+Bluetooth system, it can connect to a huge variety of sensors. It can connect your hear rate monitor and even your car’s ELM327 OBD2 car interface. In addition to that, it can connect to aircraft and boat sensors as well. All this information is captured and kept within the camera’s storage media. While not all of it is presented in the camera’s screen, it is all stored for you to review.

Voice control

Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 Camera voice control

Voice control is already a main-stay in most action cameras. In the Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 Camera, this facility is pretty sophisticated. Its microphone can capture voice commands even with substantial background noise. It is also capable of recognizing commands despite accent and tonal differences.

The Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 Camera can recognize commands such as “Start recording”, “Stop recording”, “Take a picture”, “Remember that”, “Enable Wi-Fi” and “Disable Wi-Fi” among others. Quite noticeably, you don’t have to say “Garmin” before every command to activate it. This makes it very easy to operate the camera hands-free!

Screen specifications and lens capability

The Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 camera has a 1.75” LCD screen. The resolution is delivered at amazingly clear 4K at 30 Frames per Second (fps). This translates to 1080 pixels at 120 Frames per Second (fps). Even the widest shots are clearly accommodated thanks to the 16:9 aspect ratio. This combination of settings ensures that the color fidelity is amazing.

To deliver the content, this action camera is equipped with a 12 Megapixel (MP) camera lens powered by a single chip CMOS sensor. With a minimum focusing distance of 50.0 cm, it can capture impressive JPEG still shots. Also, this camera can easily capture 60 photos per second on the Burst setting. Whenever you’re engaging in high octane action, the Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 camera has got your back.

The Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 camera does not allow you to control its iris or shutter manually. However, it provides an excellent exposure bias. Using this facility, you can determine the exposure range from -2 to +2EV. Furthermore, you can utilize a Spot Meter which allows you to pinpoint the desired focus of your shot. Together, these facilities enable significant automation.

Connectivity and storage

The Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 camera uses its amazing proprietary ANT data transfer system for connectivity. It is a fantastic example of Near Field Communication (NFC) in action cameras. In addition to that, this camera is compatible with microSD storage. An ideal storage resource would be the 32GB microSD card. However, it can handle up to 256GB microSD.

Battery capacity and convenience features

Battery capacity is a very important factor in modern action cameras. In this aspect, the Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 Camera shines through. It is equipped with a 3.6 VDC rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery pack with a capacity of 1250 mAh. This power source delivers up to 60 minutes of continuous 4K video recording after a full charge. The battery is rechargeable through USB.

When placed in its waterproof housing, the Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 camera stays dry up to a depth of 40.0 meters. Upon purchase, it comes with a collection of mountings including standard, vertical adapters as well as short and long extension arms. It is also compatible with a wide range of after-market mountings.

GoPro Hero 7 Black vs Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 Camera

Now that we’ve checked out the characteristics of these amazing action cameras, let’s pit them against each other and find out which one is better.

  • Design

Both action cameras have a rugged, minimalist and boxy design. They both have pronounced shutters on the front surface and a touch screen panel on the back. However, they do have some differences in dimensions and weight.

The GoPro Hero 7 Black measures 6.2×3.2×4.5 cm and tips the scales at 116 grams. On the other hand, the Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 Action camera measures 5.8×4.6×3.0 cm and weighs 87.9 grams. As such, the Garmin is lighter and more compact in size. Unfortunately, these dimensions sacrifice its screen size. The GoPro’s double LCD screens also deliver more information at a glance. Therefore, in terms of overall design, these action cameras are tied.

  • Image quality

Both action cameras capture images at 4K resolution. This is provided at 30 Frames Per Second (fps). When you increase the frame rate to 120 fps, the cameras offer 1080pixel High Definition (HD) images. The GoPro packs on multiple image enhancement technologies such as Hypersmooth, Timewarp and Superphoto. As a result, it provides better image quality than the Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 camera.

  • Battery capacity

An outstanding characteristic of these action cameras is that they both provide pretty substantial battery capacity. The GoPro Hero 7 Black can go for 45 minutes of 4K video recording while the Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 can deliver 60 minutes. While the difference is subtle, the Garmin wins in terms of battery capacity.

  • Special features

Here’s where the brawl gets bloody. Both action cameras are equipped with numerous advanced image-capturing and transmission technologies. The most outstanding special feature on the Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 is its ANT System data transmission system. Utilizing NFC technology and an ANT Stick, it makes video and photo storage into your computer easy as pie.

The GoPro Hero 7 Black shines with its Hypersmooth technology. The GoPro engineers really hit the nail on the head with this feature. Lovers of outdoor sports and activities often have to grapple with shaky images caused by vigorous activity or rough terrain. The Hypersmooth technology solves this problem immaculately. Combining 4K recording and a high fps rate, it is the ultimate quality in action cameras today. Due to the sheer relevance of its Hypersmooth feature, the GoPro action camera wins this bout.

Verdict

The race between the Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 Camera and the GoPro Hero 7 Black was close and fast paced. Both action cameras provide state-of-the-art photo and video capturing technology. The Garmin camera makes connectivity very easy with the ANT System. However, the GoPro Hero 7 Black clinches supremacy with its excellent image augmentation technologies. The Hypersmooth, Super Photo and Timewarp capabilities result in supremely realistic, vivid photos and videos. Its livestream feature further proves that the GoPro has more utility to an outdoor athlete. Ladies and gentlemen, the GoPro Hero 7 Black is a better action camera than the Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 Camera!

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