TomTom Bandit Action Camera Review
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The TomTom Bandit is the latest addition to the action cam market, and it brings a lot of new features which can make users think hard about buying any of the competition. It can shoot 4K videos, 16MP stills, time-lapse photography, as well as edit on the fly without a computer.
The feature set is complete without the need to bring in a whole new eco-system. It also makes it easy to shoot and edit action videos for social media.
The Bandit is the first attempt by TomTom in the very competitive action video camera market. Formerly, the company was exclusively a GPS device manufacturer. However, with their rival Garmin entering the action video camera market with their introduction of the VIRB XE, it seems logical that TomTom should follow suit. The TomTom Bandit brings a different set of features and innovation to the market which seems already saturated by GoPro Hero (and its variants), Sony FDR X1000V, Rollei Actioncam, and others.
As an action cam, the TomTom Bandit pushes the use case further. It makes it easy to edit videos, and post them online. This is not just for athlete and the action video maker, it is specifically aimed at those videographers who want to post online. It promises to be able to edit with a shake of the camera. The main problem of cameras in general is that the video and stills have to be downloaded to a computer, edited, and then uploaded online. The Bandit has made a lot of the processes very easy to do. It is possible to shoot the video, run the app, shake to edit, and upload the video, all without using the computer.
The 4K video captures at only 15fps. This may not be adequate for some fast and extreme action shots. However, the 2.7K 30fps video is more than adequate to the task. It captures action in normal light situations relatively brighter than a GoPro. On the other hand, low-light videos are darker than those captured with a GoPro.
• Easy editing feature
• Innovative design with Batt
• One of the best quality video in normal lighting
• Editing on the go with the shake to edit feature
• Rugged looking case
• 4K video is only 15fps
• Heaviest and biggest in its class
• No LiveView
• Dark video in low light
TomTom Bandit Specification
At the heart of the system is the mobile phone app. The LCD screen and controls on the camera are only for the settings. It does not have any LiveView capability. Settings can be changed on the mobile phone, as well as use if for monitoring the video. Connecting the mobile app to the camera is fairly straightforward, and not any harder than pairing any other action cam to a mobile app.
The mobile app is used to mark the highlights, as well as do the quick edits.
Editing is as easy as it can be. For those in a hurry, the app can make the edits for you. With the information available from the camera sensors (GPS, accelerometer, gyroscope and pressure meter) video highlights are marked on the video. In addition, the highlights can be marked manually. Giving a shake to the mobile device creates a compilation video using the marked highlights. The various highlights become the focal points of video clips which are included in the compilation.
There is still the option to choose the clips manually. If you don’t like the automatically picked highlights, you can choose not to include them. The editing screen shows a thumbnail of the highlights and it is easy to choose by just clicking on the particular clip. The resulting quick edit is in 720p resolution. The resulting videos are ready for upload to social media.
TomTom Bandit shoots at 4K 15fps, 22.7K at 30fps, 1080p at 30fps and 60fps, and 720p at 120fps and 60fps. It can also do time-lapse movies at 4K video, and slow motion for 1080p at 60fps, 720p at 120fps and WVGA at 180fps. The time lapse video is in either 4K or 1080p. The video it downloads to the mobile device is in 1280×720 pixel. If you want better resolution, you have to download the video directly from the camera and edit with a third-party software.
It can shoot stills in 16MP or 8MP and it has two modes, single and burst mode. The images are fairly good when there is adequate available light. The quality is not so good in low-light. Due to the size of the lens, barreling is very noticeable.
Casing and Mount
It has a large battery making it capable of recording 1080p video at 30fps for up to 3 hours. The battery itself is housed inside what TomTom calls the Batt-Stick. The Batt-Stick includes the sealed battery, a USB 3.0 connector and a MicroSD slot. You take out the Batt-Stick from the camera and plug it in to a computer for fast file transfer and for recharging. You can buy additional Batt-Sticks if you think that you would be away from power mains for an extended amount of time.
Instead of removing the Batt-Stick, you can still connect the TomTom Bandit to a computer’s USB port via a proprietary cable.
The main case is only splash-proof. You would need to buy an optional lens cover to make it waterproof up to 40 meters. The camera comes with an adapter which can make use of GoPro mount accessories. The camera can be rotated on the mount so that its orientation is aligned with the horizon. This makes it easy to mount the camera, with the view of a level video capture.
Battery Life and Charging
The camera has a robust 3 hours of recording time for 1080p video at 30fps. The normal way to charge the camera is to remove the Batt-Stick and connect to a USB charger or to a computer.
If you want to shoot time-lapse images, you can make use of an adapter which plugs the camera via the USB connector. Connect the camera to the mains, start the time-lapse shooting and come back later when it is done.
The TomTom Bandit is a solid performer, and if those who have a social media account starts using this to upload their videos, it could be the standard for ease of use. Clearly, TomTom has made good use of its sensors in creating a product which showcases what sensors can do. With this product, TomTom has pointed towards a direction. It is no longer enough to have a good action video. It now has to be shown as immediately as possible. The Bandit makes that happen.