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GoPro Hero8 Black (2019)
Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 (2016)
See Top Ranked Action Cameras

GoPro Hero8 Black (2019) vs Garmin VIRB (2016)

Analysis:

The GoPro Hero8 Black (2019) is an exemplary product and one of the very best Action Cameras at the $310 budget.

The Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 (2016), however, doesn't seem to have enough data available for us to be able to draw any meaningful conclusions.

The GoPro Hero8 Black (2019) has done great in quite a few roundups from some of the most highly trusted sources available, such as Wirecutter (NYTimes), Wirecutter, PCmag, and Tom's Guide, which perform high-quality in-depth testing. It got awarded the "Top Pick" title by Wirecutter (NYTimes), "Top Pick" by Wirecutter, and "Best for Sports and Adventure" by PCmag in their respective roundups. Earning that much praise from such respected sources is undoubtedly an impressive accomplishment.

Moving on to the Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 (2016): it was unable to reach the very top of any roundups from sources that conduct reliable and unbiased testing. Nonetheless, it still managed to impress reviewers from a number of such sites, like camerajabber.com, BikeRadar, TrustedReviews, Tom's Guide, Digital Camera World, Wirecutter, and Wirecutter (NYTimes), enough for them to include them on those lists.

Out of the sources that tested and rated both of these Action Cameras, Tom's Guide and Pocket-lint preferred the GoPro Hero8 Black (2019), whereas reviewers at WIRED liked the Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 (2016) better. TrustedReviews gave them identical review scores.

We also took a look at which sources liked these products best - the highest GoPro Hero8 Black (2019) rating came from Digital Camera World, whereas the Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 (2016) most impressed reviewers at camerajabber.com; they earned scores of 10 and 10, respectively.

Lastly, we averaged out all of the reviews scores that we could find on these two products and compared them to other Action Cameras on the market. We learned that both of them performed far better than most of their competitors - the overall review average earned by Action Cameras being 7.4 out of 10, whereas the GoPro Hero8 Black (2019) and Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 (2016) managed averages of 8.9 and 8.7 points, respectively.

Due to the difference in their prices, however, it's important to keep in mind that a direct GoPro Hero8 Black (2019) vs. Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 (2016) comparison might not be entirely fair - some sources don't take value for money into account when assigning their scores and therefore have a tendency to rate more premium products better.

Comparison of expert ratings
Highly Recommended
Recommended
Mentioned
Not Mentioned
PCmag
Tom's Guide
Wirecutter (NYTimes)
Wirecutter
Techradar
CNET
camerajabber.com
Digital Camera World
Expert Reviews
TrustedReviews
Tech. Specs Comparison
GoPro Hero8 Black (2019)
$299
Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 (2016)
Higher than average expert review score
7.5
Overall Avg. for Action Cameras
8.7
Avg. Review Score
Score
Highly recommended by trusted experts
PCmag
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Overall
in “The Best Action Cameras and Camcorders for 2020” 
Last updated: 9 Apr 2020
Wirecutter (NYTimes)
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Overall
in “The Best Action Camera” 
Last updated: 25 Nov 2019
Wirecutter
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Overall
in “The Best Action Camera” 
Last updated: 25 Nov 2019
Tom's Guide
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best waterproof camera for action sports
in “Best waterproof cameras in 2020” 
Last updated: 14 days ago
CNET
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Overall
in “Best camera gear and cameras in 2020: Canon, Nikon and more” 
Last updated: 3 Apr 2020
Techradar
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Overall
in “Best action camera 2020: the 10 top rugged cameras for video adventures” 
Last updated: 12 Mar 2020
Tech Advisor
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Overall
in “Best GoPro 2020 & Alternatives” 
Last updated: 26 Feb 2020
TrustedReviews
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Overall
in “Best GoPro 2020: Which of GoPro’s action cams is best to buy right now?” 
Last updated: 23 Jan 2020
camerajabber.com
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Overall
in “Best action camera | Camera Jabber” 
Last updated: 4 Jan 2020
Expert Reviews
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
best for action video
in “Best waterproof camera 2020: Splash out on the best underwater cameras from £119” 
Last updated: 18 Mar 2020
BestReviews
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Runner Up
in “Best Camcorders” 
Last updated: 5 days ago
Gadget Review
Depth of
analysis
No
In-house
Testing
Runner Up
in “Best GoPro in 2020 (May Reviews)” 
Techradar
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Overall
in “Best GoPro camera 2020: ultimate action cams and the best GoPro accessories” 
Last updated: 24 Jan 2020
CNET
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Runner Up
in “The best action camera for 2020: GoPro, DJI and more compared” 
Last updated: 5 days ago
camerajabber.com
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Runner Up
in “Which is the best GoPro Camera | Camera Jabber” 
Last updated: 2 Apr 2020
camerajabber.com
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Runner Up
in “Best Cameras for Skiing | Camera Jabber” 
Last updated: 24 Dec 2019
Techradar
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
The best action cam just got better
in “Best cameras for vlogging 2020: 10 great choices for YouTubers” 
Last updated: 7 days ago
Techradar
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
The best all-round action camera is a winner in the water
in “Best waterproof camera 2020: 5 great cameras for seaside snapping” 
Last updated: 27 Jan 2020
PCmag
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Mentioned
in “The Best Cameras for Travel” 
camerajabber.com
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Mentioned
in “Best waterproof cameras in 2020 | Camera Jabber” 
Last updated: 18 Jan 2020
Techradar
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Mentioned
in “Best travel camera 2020: 10 vacation-friendly models for your next holiday ” 
Last updated: 1 May 2020
Recommended by trusted experts
TrustedReviews
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Ranked #10 out of 10
in “Best Action Cameras 2020: top 11 cameras to capture life’s adventures” 
Last updated: 26 Jun 2019
Wirecutter
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Mentioned
in “The Best Action Camera” 
Last updated: 25 Nov 2019
Wirecutter (NYTimes)
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Mentioned
in “The Best Action Camera” 
Last updated: 25 Nov 2019
camerajabber.com
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Mentioned
in “Best waterproof cameras in 2020 | Camera Jabber” 
Last updated: 18 Jan 2020

Key things to consider when buying Action Camera

Our super simple Buying Guide

Action cameras are a niche product aimed at sports and action-video enthusiasts. They’re designed for capturing fast-moving objects and are built to withstand drops and, in most cases, contact with water. Some people also use them for filming vlogs or even as dashcams.

A good action camera needs to take high-quality video of fast-paced and shaky action scenes. That means that being able to record at high frame rates and having good image stabilization is incredibly important.

One can find a decent action camera for beginners for under $100. Products in this price range typically take decent 1080p video, need external cases to be waterproof, and have some form of electronic image stabilization. Action cams for enthusiasts on a budget cost around $200 and can typically record passable 4K video and come with decent image stabilization. However, action cameras that take professional-looking videos usually cost upwards of $300. For that amount of money, you typically get excellent 4K video at fluid framerates, great image stabilization, a waterproof body, useful accessories, and software that allows for some interesting, advanced shooting modes. Action cameras that cost more than $400 are usually designed for taking spherical, 360° video.

A typical action camera can stay relevant for around 3 years. Even though most of the main competitors in this space release new cameras every year, they’re usually only incremental updates that don’t warrant an upgrade. They mostly come with a one year warranty.

  • GoPro is the best-known brand in the action camera market. Its cameras are versatile, shoot great video, and have an excellent build quality that other competitors are trying to emulate. GoPro gets away with having more expensive products because it's a recognizable brand that has refined its cameras over the years. Older models of GoPros are still an excellent choice for most consumers. But that doesn’t mean that products from other brands can’t be as good; many options do certain things better, sometimes at a fraction of the price.

  • Yi is a company that produces excellent budget action cams. Products from this Chinese company offer better value for money than its GoPro rivals. While they don’t quite stack up against its competitors at the highest end, their low and mid-budget options often perform on a par with considerably more expensive options.

  • DJI, a company that’s mostly known for developing excellent drones, has also recently entered the action camera market. Its first offering was very well reviewed and can go toe-to-toe with some of the best GoPro models.

  • Insta360 produces 360° cameras that are a perfect choice for someone who wants to enter the world of spherical video without breaking the bank.

These are some of the most important specs to consider when buying an action camera:

  • Frames per second - The number of frames per second at which a camera can record determines how fluid the motion of the subject is and is essential to capture fast-paced scenes properly. Most traditional content is recorded at 24 frames per second, which leads to choppy and blurry action shots. For a smooth experience, one should look at action cameras that record at a minimum of 60 fps at the desired resolution. Recording at even higher framerates is ideal for taking great-looking slow-motion shots.

    The number of frames that a camera can process is heavily influenced by the resolution of the video - the higher the pixel count, the lower the fps. Some action camera manufacturers list high maximum resolutions at the expense of decent framerates, which makes recording at such a resolution virtually useless for capturing fast-paced action.

  • Image stabilization - One of the most important features for filming action shots is image-stabilization, which helps eliminate camera shake and prevents shots from being blurry. Action cameras without decent stabilization produce shaky, and mostly unusable footage. There are two types of video stabilization - software and hardware. Both can lead to good results when implemented well.

  • 4K resolution - The higher the resolution, the sharper the video. The current gold standard for decent action cameras is 4K, which has four times as many pixels as the 1080p Full HD resolution that's typically found on budget action cams. Most cameras sacrifice the number of frames per second to be able to capture such high-resolution shots. Cameras that can record at 4K need more processing power and a better sensor, which typically leads to a higher price tag.

    360 action cameras usually record at resolutions that are even higher than 4K. However, because they take in their entire surroundings, the final image isn't as sharp as 4K video taken with a normal camera.

  • Waterproof - Waterproof cameras can survive splashes and being immersed in water. It's an especially important feature in action cameras because of the nature of their use. Most action cams have optional waterproof cases that make the camera bulkier and usually negatively affect audio quality. Many high-end cameras, on the other hand, have fully waterproof bodies. Each camera can be submerged to different depths, which is why it's important to know what it'll be used for before making a decision.

Find the best product and price, effortlessly.

Discover deals on products actually worth buyingthe best products

We do the research. You save the money.
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