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Verdict: 
Simple to use camera with smart auto-editing feature that makes it easy to create and share a film
Weight: 
192g
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TomTom Bandit action camera
8 10

TomTom isn't the most familiar name in the burgeoning action camera market, but its Bandit HD camera, launched last summer, is a decent GoPro alternative that's easy to use, with a smart editing app feature and high quality video recording.

Easy editing

Perhaps the standout feature of the Bandit is one that attempts to address the issue of what to do with all those hours of unedited video it's so easy to record with a video camera. You can spend forever on a computer editing footage you've recorded on a ride, and it's for that reason a lot of video never makes it past the editing stage, let alone onto a website like YouTube or Vimeo. The Bandit aims to make getting your video edited and shared online simple.

> Buy this online here

TomTom has developed its own smartphone app, which connects to the Bandit via Bluetooth or wifi, and allows you to edit the video all without having to go anywhere near a computer.

TomTom Bandit - 11.jpg

TomTom Bandit - 11.jpg

It gets better. Using the novel tagging feature, either manually with a button on the camera, or automatically using the built-in sensors, the app can produce an 'edit' of your tagged highlights.

The built-in sensors include GPS, so the camera can automatically highlight any high-speed, or high-altitude sections, or heart rate, and the smartphone app will pull these highlighted clips together into a cohesive edit. If you're not happy with the order, you can manually edit or, simpler than that, just shake the phone to rearrange. It's a process that works easily and is a smart way of helping you to produce a short film that is then easy to share.

It might sound like a gimmick, but it works. If you like the idea of filming your cycling but don't want to spend hours in front of a computer editing the video, this is a foolproof way to share your adventures.

Another smart feature of the app is the live view, so you can make sure the camera is perfectly aligned before filming.

TomTom Bandit - 2 (1).jpg

TomTom Bandit - 2 (1).jpg

If you do want to plug the camera into your computer to download all the raw footage, it's as easy as pulling the back of the camera out and revealing the neat integrated USB stick. No cables, no nonsense. With the camera in two parts like this, you can access the Micro SD card.

Video quality

The Bandit video camera houses a 16Mp sensor and can shoot full 1080p HD video at up to 60 frames per second. It can be stopped down to 30fps at 1080p, or 720p at 60 or 120fps. It'll even do 4K video at 15fps. Other modes include slow motion, time lapse and a still camera.

TomTom Bandit - 10.jpg

TomTom Bandit - 10.jpg

Recording time from the 1900mAH battery is decent: you're looking at about 3 hours filming 1080p at 30fps, enough for most uses. The battery is easily charged as mentioned already, just pull the camera apart to utilise the integrated USB stick.

The f/2.4 lens and 16Mp sensor provide impressive clarity and it copes well in low light. Colour balance is good but the camera does struggle a bit in rapidly changing light conditions, like going from bright sunlight to dark woods for example. The wide angle lens provides a good field of view, though; it's good for road cycling and weaving through traffic, and it works well whether mounted high up on a helmet, or low down on the handlebar.

TomTom Bandit - 6.jpg

TomTom Bandit - 6.jpg

The audio quality suffers when on the move and could do with some sort of muffling device, though a benefit of the unique mount (more on that in a minute) is very stable and solid recording. Even recording off-road produce acceptable smooth footage.

bandit action camera 1.png

bandit action camera 1.png

Smart design, clever mounting

TomTom has paid a lot of attention to how people use action cameras, and the Bandit is a joy to use. The barrel shape is compact and, using the supplied mounts, fits easily onto a helmet or handlebar, or a section of the frame if using one of the sticky 3M mounts.

You get a display that shows the essential information about each mode, and it's flanked by the menu control button. This is the same four-way toggle button that TomTom uses on its range of watches. It's very intuitive – you don't need a manual for this camera. At the rear of the device is the power on button, which also doubles as the highlight button that lets you tag clips when on the move. Also on the top of the unit is the stop recording and power off button.

Underneath the camera is the mounting system, which cleverly locks into the mount with two small spring-loaded release tabs. Another neat feature is that the camera body can be rotated independently of the mount. This opens up a whole raft of different mounting positions, and means you can mount it on the side of the frame, or a helmet, and still shoot level.

TomTom Bandit - 7.jpg

TomTom Bandit - 7.jpg

The mount is a clever design and provides impressive security and no unwanted bounce or wobble. TomTom supplies its own range of mounts and there are all the usual ones, and it provides one that makes it compatible with GoPro mounts. That's a smart move because there are many GoPro aftermarket mounts now available. The only negative with the mount is that it adds a bit of extra height, but it's fairly minimal.

bandit action camera 4.png

bandit action camera 4.png

The Base Pack (tested) provides a couple of sticky mounts and a GoPro adapter, while the Premium Pack bungs in a bicycle mount, a remote and a waterproof lens cover. You're probably better off sticking with the Base Pack and getting some GoPro mounts for any particular filming you want to do.

> Find more road.cc camera reviews here

I found the Bandit a tough camera during use. It's sturdy on the mounts and if you do bin it, the camera can survive the odd knock. It's rated to IPX7 standards so it's splash proof and copes with rain, dust and mud just fine. An optional waterproof case is available if you want to take it underwater.

The camera is reasonably light (192g) but it's heavier than a GoPro. You can certainly feel its weight when it's mounted to a helmet.

Conclusion

The Bandit is a well-designed camera that's easy to use, with good battery life and impressive video quality. The action camera market is starting to look a little crowded, but the Bandit brings something new to the table. It's a very user-friendly product, and is a viable alternative to the market leader.

And if you shop around you can get the Bandit for a third off the list price, at which point it looks like a really good deal.

Verdict

Simple to use camera with smart auto-editing feature that makes it easy to create and share a film

road.cc test report

Make and model: TomTom Bandit action camera

Size tested: n/a

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

TomTom says: "The TomTom Bandit GPS Action Camera. Just shake your phone for a ready-to-share edit of your highlights. Now every hero can share his skills.

"Integrated 1900mAh battery and microSD card housing for 3 hours recording of 1080p30 footage without any cables.

"Instant Playback. Use your in-app viewfinder for instant alignment and quick video previews."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Ultra HD Video (up to 4k) & 16 MP photo

3h non-stop filming with cable-free Batt-stick®

Built-in action sensors (Speed, G-force, Altitude, Rotation, Heartbeat*)

Edit and share your action within minutes on the Bandit App (iOS & Android)

Including basic mounts and GoPro Mount Adapter

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

Build quality is good, it's tough and well made.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

The button layout makes it an intuitive camera to operate, and video quality is very good.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

You don't want to be dropping an expensive camera on a regular basis, but the Bandit does survive a few knocks. It's splashproof and will survive some rain and mud.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
7/10

It's not as light as a GoPro.

Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

There's a lot of choice in the action camera market, and it's worth shopping around because I've seen the Bandit at up to a third off. The ease of use and nifty auto-editing feature add value to the product above its competitors.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Does everything you want from a camera, with the companion smartphone app making it a doddle to create and share a video from your ride or adventure.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

No manuals needed, it's a simple camera to use. The mount is very secure and it comes with a GoPro adapter.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

It could be lighter and video quality in more challenging light conditions could be improved, but I'm being really picky here.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Maybe

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe

Use this box to explain your score

The Bandit is a well designed camera that is easy to use, with good battery life and impressive video quality. The action camera market is starting to look a little crowded, but the Bandit brings something new to the table and it's a very user-friendly product, and a viable alternative to the market leader.

And if you shop around you can get the Bandit for a third off the list price, at which point it looks like a really good deal.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 31  Height: 180cm  Weight: 67kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

6 comments

Avatar
GiantGhostBike [47 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

I have been using this for a while now and was lucky enough to be given it. There is loads of useful functions and TomTom do seem pretty good at getting it updated - latest edition allowed the camera to be 180 degrees - great as i just bought the barfly dual mount!

Charges whilst out on the bike too if you have a power pack and the USB cable so you can extend the charging time.

The handlebar mount they give though is shocking it adds so much height for road cycling it just looks ridiculous - thank god for Go Pro mounts!

 

Also mine suffers from an awful rattle - apparently some are now fixed but no fix for ones that do - meaning i've put the dive lens on so i don't have to hear the rattle on the videos.

apart from that the app is really good and uploading via wifi is great. 

if they  can keep supporting with upgrades its well worth buying.

Avatar
Bike Swanky [66 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

First of all a declaration: yes i have a vested interested posting on here as we sell these cameras  1

 

We also sell GoPro and other cameras, but the Tom Tom Bandit does seem to shine.

 

It's really user friendly on the bike as well as with the editing post ride.  you can clip it on and off so easily that you can hold it and take video in any direction that takes you fancy.  Admittedly this is somewhat easier to do on road than off road, and when on the level or climbing than when descending rapidly  1

 

It's a got a great wide angle lens so it makes it really easy to hold it yourself and get selfies of yourself and your riding buddies whilst you ride along.

 

The highlight feature is really useful for post ride editing as well.

 

We've got two of these cameras on demo here at Bike Swanky if you'd like to try one for yourself.

Avatar
marche [95 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Concerning the shape of the camera:

I am using a Garmin Virb (1st edition). The newer Virb has a new body - larger than deep, as do all GoPros.

Mounting long cameras under the handlebar (drops) and under the saddle takes more space (versus cables and saddle bag). Mounting long cameras lateraly though (e.g. on the helmet, or on the frame) seems to be easier.

Is there a general rule of thumb for choosing the best camera body?

Avatar
BikeJon [184 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

It would be nice to see a pic of it actually mounted on a bike and helmet.

Avatar
The _Kaner [1074 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

looks like one of those min sub rigs that go down to the Titanic...

Avatar
Twowheelsaregreat [76 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
Bike Swanky wrote:

First of all a declaration: yes i have a vested interested posting on here as we sell these cameras  1

 

We also sell GoPro and other cameras, but the Tom Tom Bandit does seem to shine.

 

It's really user friendly on the bike as well as with the editing post ride.  you can clip it on and off so easily that you can hold it and take video in any direction that takes you fancy.  Admittedly this is somewhat easier to do on road than off road, and when on the level or climbing than when descending rapidly  1

 

It's a got a great wide angle lens so it makes it really easy to hold it yourself and get selfies of yourself and your riding buddies whilst you ride along.

 

The highlight feature is really useful for post ride editing as well.

 

We've got two of these cameras on demo here at Bike Swanky if you'd like to try one for yourself.

There's your five minutes of fame right there.