Snap judgements: TomTom Bandit edition

  • The TomTom Bandit does all the heavy lifting. Image credit: Lindsey Schutters
  • Some accessories for the TomTom Bandit. Image credit: Lindsey Schutters
  • The Bandit ticks all the market segment boxes like 4K at 15 frames per second. Image credit: Lindsey Schutters
Date:17 September 2015 Tags:, , , ,

TomTom followed perennial adversary Garmin into the wearables game and quickly carved out a corner of the market with the excellent Cardio series of GPS sport watches. Now they’ve entered the action camera game (hard on the heels of Garmin’s Virb series) and are once again bringing something new to the game.

The Bandit ticks all the market segment boxes: 4K at 15 frames per second (fps), 2,7K at 30 fps, 1080p at 60 and 30 fps, 720p at 60 and 120 fps, timelapse and stills up to 16 MP. Then there’s a full host of mounts and even one that makes it compatible with all your GoPro accessories. Also, the unit is waterproof down to 40 m straight out the box. But meeting industry standards is only half the story.

The magic is in the wireless features.

You don’t plug a cable into the Bandit to charge it or transfer data, but rather pull the core out and stick the USB end into a charger or your computer, and you can connect directly via the Android or iOS app and access the video files and control the device. You can also shake to edit and share directly from the device, which is a lot more involved than you would think. You see, all of the heavy lifting is done on the Bandit. It uses accelerometers and a barometer to automatically identify highlights. It also cuts and stiches the edit for you and will even let you add in a soundtrack from the music you have on your phone. Your phone is simply the window and downloads the edited file only when you want to share it.

When we attended the international launch earlier this year, the specs sounded impressive, but playing with the device for a morning showed by how much TomTom are raising the bar with regards to simplifying the action camera experience.

It’s little things like a separate stop and start button and the automated highlights bookmarking that really set it apart.

There are downsides, though. Like the steep R5 799 price for just the camera (R6 799 for a bundle inluding remote, mounts and a chest strap heart rate monitor). And although we couldn’t verify it, low light image quality is still a problem for everyone except GoPro. But if you want the easiest to use (in terms of video editing) action camera on the market, you should seriously consider this one.

*Video samples edited with the TomTom Bandit app on an Android device, shot at 1080p.

Video 1: Launch video with song track
Song credit: Silversun Pickups – Lazy Eye

Video 2: Time-lapse

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