Varia App: Is It As Worthless As It Seems?

I did my second ride with the RCT715.  This one was nearly 40 minutes, with the new 128GB card installed.  The 103UNSVD directory has 81 videos, and I used nearly 7GB of space again.

I tried looking at a couple of the video files using the Varia app.  A half minute of video took more time than that to begin playing, and I experienced several pauses during playback.  The quality of the picture seemed good to me; I recorded at 1080P.  It also had audio of the rear derailleur clicking away as I coasted.

I tried to replay it for my wife, and it ran even slower, with pauses that seemed to last forever.  The second one I tried to play was just as balky.

This video showed me riding off my driveway, and up to the end of my cul-de-sac street.  I can envision myself spending a couple of days to actually watch the video of my ride.

Question:  What does the app setting for Video Clip Length do?  It has a default value of 1 minute 30 seconds, and can be changed in 30 second increments up to a maximum of 5 minutes.  I have it set to five minutes, so why are all the videos roughly 30 seconds, both when recording, and when viewing them?  Does the setting do anything?

When I read about the RCT715, with radar, a light, and a camera, I envisioned it as a way to look at a ride.  The radar seems somewhat pointless to me, since I've been riding for 40+ years without one, and I'm still here.  But Garmin seems to treat the video as providing critical information in case of a crash, or in case of a hit by a motor vehicle, and of little or no value for any other purpose.

Considering that I had to buy the unit, then buy a saddle rail mount kit, and then find one of my bikes that had round metal rails on the saddle just to get it mounted, did I buy a $450 brick?

  • I did my second ride with the RCT715.  This one was nearly 40 minutes, with the new 238GB card installed.  The 103UNSVD directory has 81 videos, and I used nearly 7GB of space again.

    I tried looking at a couple of the video files using the Varia app.  A half minute of video took more time than that to begin playing, and I experienced several pauses during playback.  The quality of the picture seemed good to me; I recorded at 1080P.  It also had audio of the rear derailleur clicking away as I coasted.

    I tried to replay it for my wife, and it ran even slower, with pauses that seemed to last forever.  The second one I tried to play was just as balky.

    This video showed me riding off my driveway, and up to the end of my cul-de-sac street.  I can envision myself spending a couple of days to actually watch the video of my ride.

    Question:  What does the app setting for Video Clip Length do?  It has a default value of 1 minute 30 seconds, and can be changed in 30 second increments up to a maximum of 5 minutes.  I have it set to five minutes, so why are all the videos roughly 30 seconds, both when recording, and when viewing them?  Does the setting do anything?

    When I read about the RCT715, with radar, a light, and a camera, I envisioned it as a way to look at a ride.  The radar seems somewhat pointless to me, since I've been riding for 40+ years without one, and I'm still here.  But Garmin seems to treat the video as providing critical information in case of a crash, or in case of a hit by a motor vehicle, and of little or no value for any other purpose.

    Considering that I had to buy the unit, then buy a saddle rail mount kit, and then find one of my bikes that had round metal rails on the saddle just to get it mounted, did I buy a $450 brick?

  • The app doesn't have a lot of functionality.

    The clip length setting is only for manually triggered clips - for continuous recording, all clips are 30 seconds which is particularly annoying if you're attempting to find a particular section of video. If you want to get the footage off your camera, connect to a computer and copy everything off the card. It's easier to view the clips in rapid, back-to-back sequence using a tool like VLC media player on a PC.

    On the usefulness of video... IMO, it's basically a tool for reporting aggressive drivers, or giving your family lawyer evidence if someone runs you over.

    In my experience, however, a highly visible camera on the rear of my bike makes would-be aggressive drivers think twice and give more space. So, really, its visibility is designed to negate the need for the footage to exist. As an "action cam", the video quality is too low and unstabilized to be of much interest for entertainment, though you could run it through a stabilizing tool on a PC. I have used it to figure out where a water bottle fell off my bicycle though.

    I disagree on radar's usefulness: I find it EXTREMELY useful for situational awareness and feel blind without it. Yes, you can ride without it but there is a large community of users who swear by it. It's best paired with a head unit (aka bike computer), but can be used with the cell phone app.

    All in all, I'm glad to have the RCT715 on the back of my bike and would absolutely buy it again. If there's ever a version with higher resolution, stabilized video, I would upgrade in a minute.

  • Hey, Otto, I appreciate your answer. It looks like you and I agree that the video isn't very useful, except for that one time when you absolutely have to have it.  In that case, I might as well use the supplied 16GB memory card, and let the video be overwritten every hour.

    I wonder if Garmin realizes just how badly the Varia app works.  My experience matches that of DC Rainmaker.

  • Why not remove the SD card and view on a computer? Using the app is always going to be a second-rate experience due to connection speeds. There's also plenty of software available that will let you watch the videos back-to-back, so the 30 sec duration becomes less of an issue.

    FWIW, I recently submitted footage captured by my RCT715 of a lorry trying to force me off the road, and the police took enforcement action against the driver based on it.