In the world of small, action cams, it’s usually one brand that gets all the headlines. However, there are other players on the market and one not so obvious choice is the TomTom Bandit. The brand TomTom is most commonly associated with satellite navigation systems, but here we have their venture into the action camera world, with a slightly different take on the norm.
As a serious alternative to a GoPro, an action camera needs to tick a lot of boxes. Everything from build quality to the ultimate standard of footage. This means the TomTom Bandit has much to live up to, so let’s dig into the workings of this unit and see how it measures against the rest.
The most obvious feature of the TomTom Bandit is its tube-like shape, rather than the square little box of other action cams. The design makes it stand out from the crowd, especially with its white exterior and red accents.
To my eyes, the design looks reminiscent of either a tiny, consumer video camera or a minute golf bag. But, whatever weird association the design is reminiscent of, TomTom is definitely not going down the traditional route.
The exterior of the Bandit, just like other action cams, has kept a simple layout formula, with just the essentials needed. A large LCD screen for showing basic settings and menu items. A four-way controller and stop button, while on the back of a camera are the highlight and start buttons.
There are two packages available for the camera, which include the Base Pack having a GoPro adapter and a bunch of adhesive mounts, while the Premium Pack has more items like a bike handlebar mount, waterproof lens cover, remote, and 360 mount. In both packages you get the same camera.
Top-quality video features are going to be prerequisites here, and the TomTom delivers with 4k video at 15FPS, 2.7k at 30FPS, 1080p at 60 and 30FPS, and 720p at 60 and 120FPS with timelapse modes. Still images can be captured at 16MP.
As you would expect from a TomTom device, this one has built-in GPS and in-camera sensors for tracking your location. The camera can even track your heart rate when linked up to a Bluetooth heart rate monitor.
The GPS facilities are further extended with other sensors which can track speed, GeForce, rotation and altitude, which can be overlaid on top of your video footage. These added features can be used to mark highlight points in your footage.
One other innovative feature is the Batt-Stick battery Pack, which should be good for three hours of recording time. It also features a USB connector and MicroSD slot built-in, so no need for additional cables. Extra battery packs can also be purchased to extend shooting time.
Lastly, the camera is supplied with a bunch of attachments. The including mounts allow the camera to be turned 180 degrees, which should allow exact positioning of the camera once it is attached.
The TomTom Bandit in Use
One of the main reasons why the GoPro format works so well is the ease of use, coupled with great video quality. The TomTom Bandit doesn’t disappoint in this respect.
Once the unit is switched on, it quickly finds a GPS signal and the LCD screen displays all pertinent information, such as signal strength, battery power, and if a MicroSD card has been inserted. Video modes are also displayed, which can be easily changed with the large control button.
Although the LCD screen is simplistic, all the various shooting modes are easily accessible, such as video, photo, slow motion, cinematic, and timelapse modes. There are not many options with each mode but for total ease-of-use and simplicity, usually means more basic features.
However, all the essential functions are here such as the slow-motion mode, set at 720p at 120FPS and the option of cinematic mode, going from 2.7k to 4K. It’s a shame that the 4K mode is only 15FPS, but at least there is 2.7K at 30FPS, which gives the smooth level of footage you would expect from this type of camera.
Once a mode has been chosen with its basic settings, it’s a simple case of pressing the start button on the back of the camera to start recording and the stop button on the top of the camera to stop recording. Highlights can be added to a video clip by simply pressing the start button, which is great way to organize footage as you go along.
One standout feature of this action cam is its connection to the smartphone app. The app comes free with the device and easily connects via Wi-Fi, which initially shows a live stream of what the cam. is viewing. There is very little delay between what the cam sees and the app, and we didn’t experience any dropouts, making for a very enjoyable experience.
The app allows for accessing the full functionality of the camera which can be easily accessed via a menu icon. These include the default viewfinder screen, along with a library of video clips, preferences and the camera status.
There’s also a facility called Create a Story, which is a really easy way to edit and compile clips. A simple shake of the smartphone quickly compiles clips based on all the built-in sensors and produces a high-quality rendering ready to be shared online. The clips can be manually edited by adding or deleting highlights, with the addition of adding your own soundtrack or even using the speed and G-force overlay for additional information.
Although the unit doesn’t have built-in stabilization, the resulting footage is very high-quality and solid enough to be used for the same scenarios as you would with a GoPro. One thing to note is that the camera isn’t waterproof by default. It will need the optional dive lens cover.
How Does It Compare?
In the world of action cams, anything that hits the market is going to be immediately compared to a GoPro offering. It’s the way of things when a unit becomes the almost standard in the market. GoPro have a bunch of cameras that would line up nicely against the TomTom, with the GoPro HERO7 being a close match in price.
The HERO7 has some standout features, most importantly in the video quality department providing 4K video at 60FPS and HyperSmooth stabilization. The HERO7 is also waterproof and has its own little touchscreen display to see footage in real-time. This means that you don’t need a smartphone app linkup to see what the camera sees.
The GoPro may be a touch more expensive, especially with the most up-to-date models. But, with all the extra facilities and the wealth of accessories available to the whole GoPro range, you really can’t go wrong with this unit as a fully rounded, action cam.
|TomTom Bandit||GoPro HERO7|
|Video||4K 15fps||4K 60fps|
|Battery life||3 hours||2 hours|
The TomTom Bandit can definitely produce quality video footage and although there isn’t much scope for changing exposure, the results are definitely better than expected. The battery gives plenty of shooting time, with the benefit of batteries being swapped out at a moment’s notice.
One of the main selling points of the Bandit is the ease of compiling and sharing video on-the-fly. GoPro footage is not as seamless to edit and upload various clips, making the Bandit an easy-to-use solution. Making this a good option for those who want something that is just plug and play, without any of the additional editing headaches.
The TomTom Bandit is an interesting take on the traditional action cam and brings a straightforward way to compile video clips in an easy-to-use format. It may not have the extended features of a GoPro or the top line video quality, but it’s an interesting alternative that does have its place.