Over the last few years, the term action camera evolved exponentially, and has now become a buzzword for all sport enthusiasts. Whether you are a weekend warrior, or professional athlete, it is now a trend to have an action camera, and capture your chosen sport. It has almost become more important to film and share the experience as it about the sport itself.
This evolution of action cameras pushes manufacturers to come up with new and better products. This is great news for us, as we, the end user, now have a choice of cameras to choose from with competitive pricing.
This manufacture war has brought us the TomTom Bandit, TomTom’s take on the action camera. At first glance, this camera scared me a little, as I, and many others, are used to seeing the small square look of the GoPro and now suddenly I was presented with a long white and red tube.
Having used GoPro’s for several years now, I expected the bandit to compete directly with the GoPro, by either copying the menu system or mountings. But I was happily shocked to discovery that they redesigned the whole camera to suit their needs and look, which excited me.
So let get started from the top.
At first glance, you can see that TomTom put some time in designing the product, which encouraged me to play and figure it out. I like the buttons above and below the LCD, and I appreciate the size of the LCD. The LCD however is not for viewing, but remains only for the menu system.
Below the camera, TomTom have completely redesigned the mounting bracket. It is incredibly easy to clip the camera on and off their mounts, including the mount that screws into the GoPro accessories. However, this mount does need some work, as it tends to sit a little bit loose, which entail, allows the camera to shake ever so slightly.
There is an easy to press record button at the butt end of the camera, and a water resistance lens cap at the front of the camera.
The camera out of the box is not water proof, but this can be changed simply by changing out the front lens cap, which makes me think why they didn’t release the camera standard with the under water lens cap.
Man, well the Menu system shocked me at first, as TomTom have really gone out their way to design what they believe is a user friendly menu control. After a few minutes of playing around, I finally understood what they had done and found it rather pleasing. So if you purchase this camera, just be patient and go through the menu in detail to figure it.
I really like how they have brought a whole new way of going through a menu, and when you get used to it, you can move around the cameras menu easily and fast.
Video & Sound Quality:
So comes the million-dollar question, what is the quality like? Well this was my immediate worry, and I was pleasantly happy to learn that the quality is surprisingly good.
The camera shoots 4k, 2.7k, 1080 50/25 AND 720 100/50. The 4k image however only at 15fps, so this is not usable, so I set the settings to 2.7k at 25fps and went out on a test shoot and filmed with a friend on his dirt bike. Upon reviewing the footage, I was blown away at how clear the image was, and how vibrant the colours were.
The onboard sound when the camera is static is what I would expect, clear and loud, however, when the bikes were riding, the wind took over and I was left with a video that had massive noise levels and was unusable for the edit.
Absolutely amazing, the dedicated app for the TomTom Bandit blew my mind and just made me want to play more with my camera. When it comes to apps and action cameras, TomTom got it right, and this is something that will set them apart from their competitors.
The app boasts ‘Easy Editing In Minutes”, and its exactly that, they did it right and it shows. The menu has a fully integrated editor for you to create a short video after a long day of filming. The app also has tags for when you received high G-forces, or simply jumped or moved around, or for those funny moments, if you fell, the camera will detect that sudden change of speed and tag it, allowing you to find that moment in a long recorder in seconds.
With the app, you also have access to the GPS co-ordinates, G-force detector, your heart rate, and altitude. To use the heart rate monitor function, you need to make an additional purchase to sync the camera to your body.
I am happy to say that TomTom brought out a camera that really surprised me, and exceeded my expectations. The camera has fantastic video quality, amazing photographs and the app, well the app is just incredible. This is definitely a camera worth getting, especially if you don’t own a gopro or any other action cam.
If you want a camera to film with and take photos, but don’t have the time to edit a video on your computer, this is for you, the TomTom bandit is all of that in one unit. If you are a professional videographer and require top quality video and the ability to set you ISO, White balance and colour grade, then stick to the GoPro, but don’t root out the advantages of the Bandit, such as the telemetry you can use in your next edit.
Straight away, I don’t like that I cannot change the battery, because I could be on a long trip and have limited access to recharging my device, and have no other solution to stop filming and charge my device.
The video settings don’t allow you to change your ISO, White balance, or colour profile, which is a requirement for the professional industry.