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TomTom Bandit Camera – stylish action cam with great battery life and features [Review]

tomtombanditmain

There are lots of action cameras on the market, and for the most part they are all focused on repeating the GoPro success story. The result is they look the same, operate the same and offer varying degrees of build quality and features. So it’s nice to find one company which is bucking the trend, by producing a camera which is genuinely different. We take a closer look to see just how different.

tomtombandit

The TomTom Bandit Action Camera is a 4K camera which comes in a full featured package, including a free app with some innovations in editing and storage. The specifications of the camera are pretty standard, however, with a limited 4K at 15 fps, and a default HD mode of 1080p at 30 fps. The battery life though checks in at around 2 to 3 hours due to a huge 1900 mAh battery. Check out our video below to get our initial impressions and some sample footage.

First impressions
The camera comes in a stylish pack, which includes the camera, user documentation and a few basic mounting brackets. There are no actual mounts, so you immediately have to buy additional hardware if you want to stick the camera to anything like a bicycle, car or helmet. This is rather naughty, since the camera is a premium priced product anyway, which is a definite downer.

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In use
The first thing that hits you about the camera is how innovative the design is. Not just the shape, but how it gets things done. For one thing, you don’t have to bother with cables or boring microSD adapters to get your footage off the cam. Just unlatch the battery block and you can plug it straight into the nearest USB port for charging and data dumps. Brilliant.

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The camera also comes with a nice large LCD for controlling functions, (although not for previewing), which coupled with the nice and easy control panel underneath, makes it super easy to change settings on the fly. It also makes for a simple WiFi hook up with your smartphone, so you do get a preview function, as well as image editing too. Just shake for the video to be created, which is probably more of a gimmick than something that a lot of people will use.

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The one big quirk about the camera is the fact that the rear red button is for start recording, but not for stop. For that you need to press the black button on top of the camera. Which is a bit of a pain, because it’s easy to forget and press the red button again to no effect. Yeah well, it’s not huge, but a strange decision which the company says is to stop people from getting confused over when the camera is running. We’re not convinced.

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A nice touch is the ability to swap out lens covers, to grab a filtered or waterproof option if that’s your thing. This is again unique on traditional action cameras. The camera takes microSD cards, up to 128 GB, which is enough space for anything short of a Hollywood movie. Another nice and different feature.

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The image quality from the camera in 1080p mode is actually rather good, although like most of this genre of camera you start getting a very grainy result in lower levels of light. But at normal daylight, it’s crisp and clear all round. The 4K however is the typical ultra-jerky 15 fps, so not really useful for anything meaningful in general shooting. Maybe still lives?

tomtombanditapp

Conclusion
The TomTom Bandit action camera is a really bold attempt to deliver a different kind of product to an over-crowded market, and for that we have to give the company full marks. The advantage is you get a great set of features which you won’t find elsewhere, like fast and easy charging and data dumps wherever there’s a USB port, plus a massive run time and storage capacity. The downsides are that you’ll have to pay a lot more for your accessories, since they’re not GoPro compatible.

There’s a GoPro adapter included in the base purchase price, but it’s still a poor showing when you realize that for the price you don’t even get a basic waterproof housing. That quibble apart, we really like this product, and would definitely recommend it to anyone who needs a great quality premium priced camera which has oodles of recording time and storage space on tap.

Price: £190.62 / $396.99

Specifications:
Video

1080p30 / 1080p60 / 720p60 / 720p120
Cinematic
4k15 / 2.7k30
Timelapse
1080p30 / 4k30 (Capture at 1/s, 1/5s, 1/10s, 1/15s, 1/30s, 1/60s)
Slow motion
1080p x2 / 720P x4 / WVGA x6

Photo
Single photo
16 MP
Burst photo
16 MP / 8 MP (Capture at 10/s, 10/2s)

Field of View
1080p30 / 1080p60 / 720p60 / 720p120
Wide angle / Normal
4k15 / 4k30 / 2.7k30 / Photo
Wide angle

Audio
Built-in microphone
Yes
External microphone
Via optional cable

Connectivity
Wi-Fi
Yes
Bluetooth Smart
Yes
USB 3.0
Batt-Stick

Storage
microSD card reader
Batt-Stick
Class 10 microSD card (max 128GB)
Not included

Size
Display
22 x 25 mm / 0.87 x 1 inch

Weight
190 g / 6.7 oz

Dimensions
94 x 38 x 52 mm / 3.7 x 1.5 x 2.0 inches

Nigel is the managing editor of the Red Ferret, as well as a freelance columnist for the Sunday Times newspaper in London. Loves tech and fancies himself as a bit of a futurist, but then don’t we all?

Nigel – who has written posts on The Red Ferret Journal.


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