TomTom Bandit Camera | GIZMO REVIEWS
Thrashing around the world on two wheels means we get to experience some amazing scenery and occasionally have the odd hairy or amusing moment – so we need to capture and share it as quickly as possible.
Fuss free sharing is where the TomTom Bandit scores highly but can it cut the mustard in a GoPro dominated world?
As you’d expect from TomTom the camera looks snazzy enough, finished inwhite with red detailing it stands out well and looks bang up to date. There’s anLCD screen on the top and a four-way controller for scrolling through the functions, plus a stop/off button (it doesn’t have a live view but more about that later). The camera also has a simple on/record button on the back, press the button whilst recording and it adds a highlight – a useful function for finding your favourite bits when editing footage later, the camera also auto detects highlights using in-built accelerometers to capture speed, G-force, altitude and rotation – clever stuff.
The camera features a removable 1900mah USB battery stick (up to three hours recording time) with an integrated Micro SD memory card, you simply remove the stick to charge the battery or upload footage to a computer. The mounting system is user friendly, 3M sticky mount plates attach to either your helmet or bike and the sturdy metal spring loaded camera mount can be pinched to attach, or detach – simple. The camera can also be rotated 90º from vertical whilst on the mount to frame a non-standard shot.
As well as the important stuff like being able to shoot 4k cinematic movies at 15 frames per second (fps), 2.7k at 30fps, 1080p at 60/30fps and slow motion at 60/120fps the camera can also shoot stills at up to 16 megapixels. Footage from the camera is fantastic, on a par with anything out there. The Bandit also has built in Wi-Fi so it can connect to your phone via the free Bandit app wherever you are. The app turns your phone into a live viewing screen (great for checking the angle of your dangle before shooting), you can also watch recorded footage on your mobile and edit it into a story by simply shaking your phone. This gives a short film with some of your highlights and can be overlaid with speed in real time (great for getting yourself busted), heart rate if you’re doing action sports, or G-force if you’re a hero. You can also add a backing track from your music library, all within seconds. That short video can then be uploaded directly to your social media or you can send it to us at Scooter Lab (we love to see what you’ve been up to).
As you can see, the camera is bullet shaped, rather than the familiar GoPro square, which means it’s not as good for some mounting options – chest mounting for instance. The camera is also fairly heavy, although you soon get used to it when it’s on a crash helmet. The app is fantastic, simple and easy to use but the ‘Create a story’ function, albeit very handy could do with the option to add transitions between clips for a smoother looking film. I’m sure the app will be updated in time; in fact the firmware for the camera was updated within a month of release to add extra features, including different light settings, time lapse and the ability to rotate footage if you hang the camera upside down.
Out of the box the camera is splash proof but you really need to get the optional waterproof lens cover (rated to 50 metres so you can take it diving), that cover also covers the external mic to reduce annoying wind noise, which is good but sometimes you need to hear the sound of a howling two stroke on your footage. There’s an optional external mic though to compensate. TomTom also have a range of different mounts and a remote control, all of which are worth having.
Especially as it’s sometimes hard to know if you’re recording or not when you can’t see the camera, it’s a bit hard to feel the buttons properly with bike gloves on and although it bleeps when you start/stop recording you can’t always hear it at speed, a vibration on the buttons would have been a good additional feature.
Overall it’s a great bit of kit that’s easy to use straight out of the box. The camera can create amazing footage and the free app makes basic editing much faster. Image quality isn’t quite as sharp as the Sena Prismand you’ll need to buy some extras to get the best out of the Bandit; including a waterproof lens cover, external mic and extra mounts. The Base Pack costs £299.99 and comes with the camera and a couple of mounts.
We’ d go for the Premium Pack though; it costs £379.99 but also comes with the waterproof lens cover, a 360º pitch mount, bike mount, remote control, charging cable and a GoPro adaptor.
SLUK video: Check out some of our footage shot using the Bandit
Lab rating: 7.8