When I made the decision last year to mountain bike Bolivia’s Death Road, I did so knowing that even if I did ride myself off the face of a cliff, they would at least have footage when they found me to show the world I went out having the time of my life. Best action cameras
I strapped a GoPro to my helmet and hit record. I captured hours of footage cycling the most dangerous road in the world, among some of the most beautiful mountain scenery I have ever seen. That was last year in June, and I’ve been promising to edit the footage together for people to see for over a year now. Which action cameras are goo apart from GoPro?
The issue isn’t that I don’t have decent footage – the quality of video on action camera’s these days is phenomenal. Though sadly hours of thrilling action sports also means hours of raw footage that I need to go through, minute by painful minute. Review of the TomTom bandit action camera
So when I heard that TomTom was releasing an action camera which doesn’t just shoot great video clips, but instantly turns them into action movies you can share too, I was naturally intrigued.
Because action camera’s are fantastic, though let’s be honest, they’re not made for easy sharing. If you’re an adventure seeker you wait until the end of the day to see your footage and you spend hours editing it before being able to create a sharable clip. I would love to post videos more frequently from our adventures, but they often take days to complete. That is, until now.
The TomTom Bandit isn’t the first action camera to hit the market, though I’ve found it’s certainly one of the most unique. Breaking into the market of action camera’s and releasing a product consumers will remember is a fairly difficult task – the market is already cornered by established name brands, and many companies who have attempted to break into action camera’s simply haven’t managed to last against brands like GoPro.
Though after reviewing the Bandit I do believe TomTom are up to the task – and not because the specs on the Bandit match some of the best cameras out there, but because it has very obviously been created with us in mind – they’ve really put thought into what users today want from an action camera, identified the pain points of current cameras, and created the TomTom Bandit action camera to be the easiest way to edit and share movies.
They’ve cleverly realized that with a market which is already very established, to create a relevant product you need to change the conversation. You need to not only look at the great video quality, but what happens after capturing the video too. Cameras which aren’t GoPro
So if you’re considering the purchase of an action cam, pause before you automatically whip out the credit card for a GoPro Hero 4. The Bandit is a worthy competitor for your consideration too.
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Why the TomTom Bandit Rivals The Current Market
This is TomTom’s first crack at an action camera, and for a first generation camera they’ve done an amazing job. This is the first ever 4k HD action camera with a built-in media server and revolutionary shake-to-edit feature that allows users to capture and share their adventures within minutes of filming it.
Using a remote and GPS and heart rate technology, the TomTom Bandit automatically tags the most exciting moments in your adventure and combines them into a one-minute video highlight when connected to the accompanying TomTom Bandit phone app. No more hours of editing that could be spent exploring and even better – no need for wires, giving travelers one less thing to pack! Action camera alternatives to GoPro
The camera tech specs and capture modes are standard when compared to other action cams; it films 4K at 15 frames per second (fps), 2.7k at 30fps, 1080p at 60/30 fps and 720p at 60/120fps, enabling slow motion capture. The Bandit also has an option for time-lapse and can capture stills at up to 16 megapixels in single shot or burst mode. Video cameras for action sports
So while picture and video quality is equal to what you would expect from other cameras on the market, there are quite a few differences between the design of the Bandit and other action cameras which do make it stand out. The following are the reasons the TomTom Bandit rivals the current market of action cameras. Best video camera for action sports
Solid First Impression
The Bandit is a bullet style camera with a lot of very clever design. A very sleek and sturdy camera with a clean white look detailed with a red band means it certainly looks the part – it’s chunky and bright and it’s made of very thick, hard plastic meaning you’re not afraid it’s going to break apart.
The barrel style design means it’s very easy to hold and to shoot with. It’s a little heavier than other action cameras, though not by much. It weighs enough to feel steady when you’re holding it, though light enough to throw in your pocket or onto a mount. Edit footage from a GoPro
There are two packs to consider when purchasing, the Base Pack and the Premium Pack. The base pack comes with the camera, 2x surface mounts and one GoPro adapter. The Premium Pack additionally includes one 360° pitch mount, one handlebar mount, waterproof lens cover, remote control and a power cable.
We worked with the base pack, though TomTom also sent the waterproof lens cover and the remote control to be able to test the extra accessories.
Ease of Use
When creating this camera TomTom prioritized ease of use as the most important thing to keep in mind, and to that end they have succeeded – it’s definitely the simplest to use action camera I have ever used.
There are only a few buttons to navigate the different settings of the camera, and it’s very easy and straight forward to figure everything out. There is a start and highlight button on the end of the barrel to switch on and record as well as for tagging clips as you’re recording, a button on the other end to stop, and an LCD display on the top which navigates the menus, with a four way controller to scroll through your camera options and modes.
There’s literally 0 learning curve here and you don’t even need to consult the manual for ease of use. Easiest action cameras to use?
The battery system is also better and easier to use than any other camera on the market right now – they have created what they call the Batt-Stick which unclips and rotates off the main body of the camera and houses the battery and microSD slot, so when you plug this into your USB port, you can charge the battery and transfer footage at the same time. This means:
No Cables or Cords
The Bandit came with a micro SD card adapter for it’s micro SD, though instead of having to pull it out and then put it into your computer, and then charge the camera separately, you can actually do all of this in one step.
And you can do it all without any cables or cords – one less thing as a traveler to have to remember to pack, and the fact that the battery charges via USB means you never have to worry about having the correct international adapter.
The Batt-Stick combines the micro SD card with the battery meaning that when you go to trasfer the footage to your computer you’re charging your battery at the same time. There is an LED charge light status which easily let’s you track how much battery you have left, and all you need to do to both charge or transfer your data is unlock and slide the battery out of the main housing and plug it into your PC. Alternative cameras to the GoPro
TomTom promises over 3h of non-stop HD filming, and I was impressed to find this was true. They designed the Bandit’s battery with enough juice to ensure you can spend a full day filming your action.
Obviously though things like enabling Wi-Fi for smartphone connectivity will drastically reduce the duration of your battery life, so keep that in mind.
Sophisticated Smartphone App With Shake to Edit
The app is fairly sophisticated when it comes to action cameras, and the shake to edit feature really makes this camera stand out.
After connecting to the Bandit’s Wi-Fi, the features you would expect to be there are there; you have access to a live preview of what the camera is seeing, control to start and stop recording, and the status of both battery life and storage remaining on the SD. You can easily switch between recording modes, and all of the settings available on the camera itself are also accessible from the touch screen app. Edit video from a smartphone
You also have the ability to view your media library, though TomTom then goes above and beyond and gives you the option to edit together clips and make a movie while the data is still on the device. It’s this mobile editing feature which is a huge selling point.
Though if you don’t want to edit the footage together manually, the app can do that for you. In the “Create a Story” feature, you shake your phone and it orders short snippets of your clips together automatically into a film which you can then share instantly online if you choose.
The clips which go into your movie are “highlights”. There is a highlight button on the back of the camera marked with a star, and as you are filming you can tag (or do so from the wrist remote if the camera is out of reach) highlights on your footage as you record – a marker if you will. This makes finding your favorite clips super easy later on.
When you shake your phone the app then prioritizes 6 seconds of film after each of those highlight markers, and stitches it all together into a film. Though once in the app you can delete a highlight moment, extend it, or add one which wasn’t previously marked. You have full flexibility and control when it comes to editing, and the process can be as involved as you want.
It’s easy to add music and overlays of favorite metrics, such as speed, before sharing with friends. Also, in-camera sensors such as GPS, accelerometer, gyroscope and pressure meters mark big moments, so you can find them easily too. Easiest way to edit footage from an action camera
While you record your footage, integrated G-force, Speed, Rotation, Acceleration & Altitude sensors record action data. The Bandit uses that data to identify the highlights in your footage, and allows you to show those stats in your final video. This provides more context on what you’re doing, and you can prove how extreme an activity really was.
You can literally edit hours of action camera footage into an epic video within minutes. Without having to download any of the footage first!
The camera has been designed for easier mounting, and the mount is attached to the camera itself is another feature that stands out. The mount can be rotated 180 degrees around the body of the camera which enables you to easily re-position the camera as needed depending on the action sport at the time. Action camera alternatives to GoPro
There are versatile steel rings which always guarantee a horizontal shot, so, for instance, if you’ve already fastened it to a helmet it’s easy to get it up the right way. You can also rotate the videos and photos your camera makes by 180 degrees. This allows you to mount the camera upside down.
The basic pack comes with 2 surface mounts and a GoPro adapter. The surface mounts are for flat and curved surfaces and are adhesive. Also available as extra’s are a tripod adapter, wrist mount, pole mount, handle-bar mount, board mount and 360-degree rotating mount. I found the GoPro adapter to be particularly useful, and works well with the current range of mounts we already own. A bonus if you already have a range of mounts and you’re thinking about making a switch. Which action camera should I buy?
Waterproof to 50M
The camera in it’s basic form is only splash proof, though you can purchase a dive lens separately which makes the whole camera waterproof to a depth of 50m. That means no bulky dive cases, and that the Bandit looks and works the same inside and outside of the water.
Attaching the dive lens is once again very simple. It’s attached with the same twist and release system as the Batt-Stick – remove the regular lens and twist on the new one.
This is an optional extra costing around $50 USD. Without it, the device is only really good in 1m depth of water.
The Bandit matches other action cameras on the market when it comes to video quality, however it stands out from anything else the market has ever seen with it’s revolutionary approach to fast and easy editing and ease of use with no cables or cords.
This is a fantastic action camera, highly versatile and highly creative which has been produced with the users in mind. The key difference between this and other action cameras is that you don’t have to waste hours combing though your footage to find the moments and images worth sharing.
I recommend this as a worthy rival to the GoPro, and have no doubt that TomTom will soon own a very firm hold on a decent chunk of the market for action cameras. Visit http://tomtom.com for more information or to purchase the Bandid.
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TomTom provided us with a complimentary camera for review. As always all opinions are our own.