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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.

TomTom Bandit Review

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

TomTom Bandit Review

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?

TomTom Bandit Review

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

Shake to Edit

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!

Easier Mounting

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.

Verdict

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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Megan is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging since 2007, with the main aim of inspiring others to embark on their own worldwide adventure. Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

Follow their journey on Facebook, TwitterYouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.

TomTom provided us with a complimentary camera for review. As always all opinions are our own. 

    61 Comments

  1. This is a very interesting concept and I’d love to see how the videos “auto-edit” themselves into short clips and movies. Have you published any videos with this yet? How is it against the elements (rain, falling distance, etc)?

    Still, I like my GoPro but am always looking out for the next best thing….ESPECIALLY if the videos can edit themselves!

    • Oops, just re-read and found the waterproof section. I really need to get better about skimming articles! lol XD

    • Lol no worries, yes, it does pretty well against the elements, and is waterproof to 50 M when you’ve got the dive lens on. Otherwise in it’s normal casing it’s just splash proof.

      I haven’t published any of my videos from it yet as I’ve just been playing around with it to test out the video quality – heading on a skydive in Sydney tomorrow though so hoping to have some excellent adventure footage to post then :)

  2. The shake edit feature seems really cool and great for getting your clips out there in a hurry.I guess you need a good point of difference in an already saturated market. I dont really have any great experience with action cams but from your write it seems as good as any.

    • Absolutely Mark, the market is fairly cornered, and many other brands have attempted to release an action camera though it just hasn’t taken off for them, mainly because you do need that unique point of difference to stand out against an already very well established brand.

      I think TomTom have really got that covered with their ease of editing :) Can really see this camera taking off.

  3. you definitley put some intense research in this article! great advice for everyone who is looking for a new camera

    • Glad you found the review helpful Kathrin :) Feel free to reach out if you have any other questions and we would be happy to help.

  4. Oh no! Just bought my GoPro about two months ago. Oh well! “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.” That is the statement that sold me on this camera. Also, love the shake and edit feature.

    • Well hey, there are two of you right…maybe you’ll think about getting a second action camera one for each of you :D

  5. This action camera sounds good in regards to auto edit and anti shakes and handy when SM sharing too

    • Absolutely Anne – the auto edit is one of the biggest selling points in my opinion. Love the ease of it :)

  6. Well I’ll be dammed, what a fantastic idea. I love my GoPro but the editing can take forever and certainly be tedious. Thank you so much for this insightful article and I would love to see one of these auto-edited video if you could direct me to one you have taken. Thanks :-)

    • I feel your pain on the editing – my video blogs normally take 2-3 days sometimes to piece together. So this is definitely a refreshing change! Heading out on a Skydive tomorrow and will be bringing the camera along so I’ll post an auto edited clip after the day :) … or during the day even now that I can share instantly to SM too!

  7. We are currently in the market for a new go pro, so you have put a very good spanner in the works with the details about the Tom Tom Bandit. Will give this some serious consideration. Great timing Meg

    • Absolutely – if making your footage into short films and movies is something which you’re interested in I would definitely recommend this camera as one you should get :) The video specs are pretty much the same, though the editing features are far more superior.

  8. Meg, I wish we had read your review of the TomTom Bandit before we bought our GoPro, although it probably had not yet been released. I am all about whatever makes the video editing process easier. We travel bloggers do not have enough time to edit video well! The GPS and heart rate tagging and automation of the Bandit are huge draws for me, but I am still NOT jumping out of a plane!

    • Haha well I think we can still come up with some adventure sports for you Howard which don’t involve jumping from a plane :D Doing my dive tomorrow over Sydney so you can live vicariously through me for that if you would like :D

      Definitely consider the Bandit if you end up looking for a second camera later down the track – the video editing really is the most amazing feature. Makes life so much easier when you’re looking to quickly share film.

  9. One of the reasons I have been holding off buying a GoPro is I simply don’t have time to edit and and post videos, the shake edit sounds like a great feature and I would like to see the results of a finished video. I will have to see if my local camera shop has one that I can demo!

    • Absolutely Rob -I’ll be heading Skydiving tomorrow so am hoping to get some video up from that which I can post as an example of a Demo. Definitely look to see if the bandit is in stock in a local store though so you can actually have a test run with it yourself :)

  10. I’m starting to find myself wondering if these types of camera’s are the way of the future. Why bother carrying around a DSLR when you can use one of these for multipurpose captures. Nice review.

    • I believe they are – we still carry around our DSLR, but thats starting to be just mainly out of habit now that our phones and these kind of action cams have the ability to take just as high quality photos and footage.

  11. Interesting! You had me with the “hours of raw video footage to go through minute by minute.” This is such a tedious and time-consuming process. I’d love to see how the camera goes about putting the videos together once you shake it. I’ll definitely have to check this out!

    • Thats where they had me too! I’ve seriously got so many hours of footage from the last few years of our trips just sitting on my harddrive in bulk because I can’t be bothered attacking the task of sorting through it to make a film.

      This editing feature is really a gem!

  12. I’ve never even heard of this camera! I definitely need a new option. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve skipped making videos because the quality just wasn’t worth it. Thanks for the recommendation. Also, I love that you were committed to showing the world that you went out having the time of your life when you set out to mountain bike Death Road… glad you didn’t ride off the face of a cliff!

    • It’s just hit the market this year so is relatively new. Highly recommend it if you’re looking for a new option – makes editing and sharing so much simpler without sacrificing the quality you have on other industry cameras like the GoPro.

      Haha and I’m also glad I made it through the ride :D

  13. Super in-depth review. I’m a GoPro user for many years now. I like the simplicity and tiny size of the camera.

    The hard truth is that no matter how lovely your footage is, editing it is a pain. And these new cameras are definitely going to get a slice of the market because of it. It is only natural that GoPro moves to attack other segments of the market as they did with the last one, but also good to side other reputable companies fighting for it. Thinking about Garmin as well.

    • Thanks Hugo – the Bandit is definitely larger and a little heavier than the GoPro, and it’s a completely different shape, but I found it so simple and easy to use, and really love the ease of navigation with it.

      And obviously the editing feature is what makes is stand out from other cameras. I agree – really good to see other companies coming into the market with innovative ideas to push the bracket further.

  14. Hi Megan,
    I have no experience at all with the use of action cameras but found your article very comprehensive! I’d love to see some images, sounds impressive!

    • Thanks Liesbeth – the Bandit is definitely a great place to start if you’re looking for an action camera though haven’t used one in the past – it’s simplicity makes it very easy to use for a beginner.

      Let us know if you have any other Q’s :)

  15. Unfortunately I have no experience with action cameras but every time I see other tourists using them I’m jealous nad I think I should also buy one, but then…. I think my mirorless camera will be enough.
    But I wish I had a movie from my ride down the Bolivian Death Road – I don’t.

    • The Bandit is great for beginners Monica, even if you haven’t used an action cam before, it’s so simple and easy to use. I find one of the biggest things which turns me off buying a new camera is that I cringe at the learning curve of figuring out how to use everything and how it works.

      But this camera is literally as simple as you turn it on and hit record, and then to get the footage you plug the USB into your computer and it downloads.

      Cool that you did the Death Road in Bolivia too! Definitely look into an action camera if you are finding that you want to take video footage from these kind of adventurous trips. They’re a really good investment and I love the footage I get from mine :)

  16. Okay, any road with the word ‘death’ has to assume much contemplation! Loved the piece and hearing about your adventure!

    • Yes it does – luckily we made it out alive :)

  17. Simply wow. I’ve never heard of this brand, but now I’m saving the post for later. I think I’ll be buying new gear soon, maybe I’ll go for a TomTom Bandit.Thank you for a detailed review.

    • Feel free to reach out if you have any other Q’s :) Really love the Bandit so highly recommend it’s use.

  18. What an interesting review, very thorough. I have no experience with action cameras but if I think of how long it takes to edit any short video, after a trip, I can see this is absolutely amazing. Would love to see your video: I can’t believe you cycles Bolivia’s death road!

    • Thankyou Marta – this has been made with simplicity in mind, and that’s why I think it’s so fantastic. They’ve genuinely considered the user and made it exceptionally practical in use.

      Will definitely post it here once I’ve managed to piece together the video from Death Road. Too bad I didn’t film it with the Bandit so I could just auto edit it together and share!

  19. I have no experience with action cameras. But your review of the TomTom Bandit Camera sounds really interesting. Cannot wait to see your photos of Bolivia`s death road.

    • Best thing about the TomTom Bandit is that it’s been created so that you can easily use with even with no experience with action cameras. Best part about it next to the easy editing is the ease of use :)

      Will definitely post the photos from Death Road when I can sit down and go through them all – hopefully very soon!

  20. This is absolutely fabulous, I might buy it myself! I love taking footage but then don’t know what to do with it, I am lost, i can’t edit so I accumulate hours of footage to no use. I would love it if the footage edited itself. I’m down to try this one!

    • Isn’t it fabulous how technology is now being developed to take care of all of that for us! Seriously love it to bits, the auto edit is such a time saver, especially when you just want something quick and fun to share :)

  21. I don’t really do enough “action” traveling to had the need of an action camera, but the design of this one and the features definitely look interesting. Now I just need to learn a bit about video editing. :) And then hit the action.

    • Definitely consider the Bandit if you do start to take on more adventurous activities as you travel. It’s a good investment if you’ll get the use out of it, especially for the auto edit feature meaning you don’t have to learn about editing at all if you don’t want to, but youll still have fabulous videos to share :)

  22. This is so cool!! Again, you are sharing something I have never heard of yet. I do not know how to make videos at all, except for a short, unedited clip here and there. This would be so cool to have! What a neat little device.

    • It’s seriously so fantastic! You don’t need any knowledge of editing at all, it does it all for you with literally a simple shake!

  23. I have never heard of the Tom Tom, as we are GoPro lovers ourselves. Seems like a great camera that is very similar, I’m interested to see where this product goes from here. Great review!

    • TomTom have a very big slice of the GPS market with their Garmin, so it’s fabulous to see a reputable tech company jumping into action cameras – hopefully the competition only sees the future and evolution of action cameras improve :)

  24. First.. wasn’t the Road of Death amazing? I did it some 12 years ago and was scared out of my mind the entire time.. and even more so on the bus back up the mountain that night!

    Second.. I wish I would have known about this before i bought the GoPro. I’m not loving my GoPro to be honest and am considering selling it.. I will check this one out if we decide to get another action video camera!

    • OMG Death road was one of the highlights of our time in Bolivia. Really loved it! I went into the cliff a few times, though luckily it was into it and not off it :D

      Definitely consider the Bandit then if you are looking to change cameras – I’ve found that it’s a lot simpler to use than other cameras so this might be the change you need :)

  25. This looks great. Thanks for sharing your review, I’ve been considering a GoPro as a Christmas gift to myself, but I may have to do a little more research into this guy. I also love that it looks like a spaceship!

    • It does look a little like a spaceship doesn’t it!! And it’s just as revolutionary! Definitely consider the Bandit in your research for your Chrissy list :)

  26. Very interesting. I’m toying with getting one, mostly to be able to capture water adventures. Hadn’t heard of the Tom Tom before but glad to know more about it now. Thanks for sharing.

    • Glad we could introduce you to TomTom Megan – if you’re interested mainly in underwater adventures do make sure you get the Dive Lens – it doesn’t automatically come with the basic pack so you’ll have to purchase it as an addition. Roughly $50 USD to make it waterproof to 50M.

  27. With go pro the obvious category killer you do have to wonder if Tom Tom have left their run too late. But having said that it certainly looks a great product for adventure travellers – or for canny one bag travellers who want to do some serious videoing of their kids or of the odd market!

    • I think that even if they have come into the market a little late to the game, they’ve got something so unique on their side in the shake to edit that it’s that which will make them stand out. So I think that the Bandit will do really well on the market even though they’ve come in a little late.

  28. Great review–I’d never heard of this camera – and as much as I love my GoPro, there are definitely drawbacks to it.

    • Thanks Elena – definitely have a look into the Bandit when you’re looking for your next action cam :)

  29. Great review – this camera looks like it has it all with great quality and versatility and its ability to easily travel and upload/edit content.

    • Thanks Mary – they really have combined everything you could possibly want into one tiny casing of an action cam!

  30. Maybe it would be my next loving thing. Brilliant review! I need this as soon as possible. After reading the full article I am a big fan of this camera. Thank you so much.

    • Glad we could help Ruby – feel free to reach out if you have any other questions. Happy travels!

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