So it may not be the most obvious of products for us to review, but we do a fair bit of filming, and action cameras are always awesome to have for track days or road trips.
As we have seen in the past TomTom are branching out from being a “sat nav company”, the hands-free kit is without doubt the best we have ever used and the CURFER has some massive potential, especially for on track use.
Last year they launched their very first action camera, the Bandit.
What is it?
It’s a sports, action camera like a GoPro, but it has some pretty cool differences.
The biggest feature of the Bandit is its in built motion sensors, these allow it to actively tag events by itself so you can find them easier later on. It can track G-force, Speed, Rotation, Acceleration, Altitude, and even your heart rate (when linked to an additional monitor).
Another big plus is the Batt Stick. You don’t need any additional cables because the battery is inside a normal – albeit rather fat – USB 3.0 stick.
To charge, you just plug the stick into your computer, the same goes for downloading your footage. Nice and easy.
You can see the full specs here.
The Bandit has 6 buttons across it. A rear circle with a black star sits at the back, this switches the camera on and starts it recording.
On top there is a directional square pad that navigates you through the menus, and the stop button is right at the front.
You can alter the angle of filming with the built in mount, it rotates the whole camera by clicking round and locking into place.
At the back below the record button is a rubber grommet where you can connect an external mic, or USB cable.
Up front the lens cover can be removed. Big plus if it ends up getting scratched or damaged, it can also be swapped out for a waterproof one if needed.
The whole camera is splash proof thanks to its rubber O rings in all the major points.
What’s it like?
Well, it’s rather hefty compared to most of its competitors. Weighing in at 190g it has a decent amount of weight to it. Initially we were worried the rotating mount built into the Bandit wouldn’t hold, but it worked flawlessly over the whole time using it.
The extra weight is simply down to it being fully waterproof and not needing an additional housing.
Using the bandit is so easy. The on camera menus are minimalist and simple to use, you simply scroll across, or up and down.
Setting up the camera with the phone app is also a doddle. The Bandit sets up its own Wi-Fi network which you initially attach to, then you get a live preview and can access all the same menu items as on the Bandit.
The good thing about the app is that with the data logging you can just shake your phone and it will cut together a reel of your highlights.
It cleverly knows what these are thanks to the built in sensors. No more sifting through hours of footage to quickly upload your day’s action.
You will need to buy the range of accompanying mounts for the Bandit though, as it uses a unique quick release system. You just push the spring loaded clips on each side of the camera and lift it off, far less of a faff than unscrewing every time.
Using it for both the McLaren – The Drive video and the Focus RS hot lap we used the tripod adapter with a Delkin Fat Gecko mount. The tripod adapter isn’t included in the box…annoyingly.
In the box you get 4 sticky mounts, a GoPro adapter and a windshield for the on board microphone.
Also the Bandit will only film at 4K with a 15 FPS frame rate, not particularly useful. We left it in 1080p 30 FPS but it will also do 2.7k (Super HD) at 30 FPS.
For slow mo’s you can record 120 FPS at 720p, which is handy.
It will record for up to 3 hours at 1080p 30 FPS. We probably achieved just under that, but we were using the WiFi connection for quite some time before starting to record.
We have to comment on the fact that the white body can get a little grubby, but you can wash any marks off thanks to its splash proof capabilities.
Specs wise it’s pretty much comparable to the GoPro Hero4 Silver, but one of those costs £329.99 and comes without the bundled accessories. I know what I would go for.
Where can I get one?
TomTom have just updated the Bandit packs. You can now purchase an ‘Adventure Pack’ or a ‘Bike Pack’. The latter comes in at £279, whereas the basic model is a less pricey £239.
The difference between the packs consists of the accessories offered, with the Bike pack you get a wrist remote, helmet mount and handlebar mount.
Amazon have the older packages at good prices, or you can go direct to TomTom.