TomTom is better known for its in-car navigation products, but its new Bandit Action Camera moves the company into the POV camera industry. Despite entering a crowded market dominated by GoPro, TomTom has a product feature that differentiates the Bandit from others. The camera is scheduled for June, and will cost $399.
The Bandit is described as the first camera to come with a built-in media server. It allows users to process the footages in camera instead of downloading them onto a computer, speeding up the editing process, and making it easier. TomTom claims this is action cam users’ biggest frustration. (Sony’s Action Cam, however, also has a similar in-camera processing feature that creates a short highlight video.)
With a companion smartphone app (for iOS, and soon for Android), the user gets a live-view image and access to operation controls. In editing mode, recorded video can be reviewed and quickly edited to create a final movie by simply shaking the smartphone, or edited in traditional timeline, drag-and-drop method; additional edits like adding music and metrics on top of the video (showing info like speed). Built-in motion and GPS sensors can automatically find and tag moments based on speed, altitude, G-force, acceleration, and heart rate, or by manually pressing the tag button.
The camera uses a wide-angle lens and a 16-megapixel CCD sensor that’s able to shoot Full HD 1080 video at 60p. (There’s also support for 4K at 15p or 2.7K at 30p, but it doesn’t seem that TomTom is pushing this feature.) It also shoots time-lapse and slow motion videos. There’s a built-in mic, but if you want better audio, the Bandit supports an external microphone.
The Bandit’s shell is waterproof, although a special lens cap must be attached when diving down to 50 feet. Like all action cams, there will be a variety of mounts and accessories; acknowledging GoPro’s dominance, the Bandit comes with an adapter for use with GoPro mounts. It saves onto a MicroSD card, supports a USB 3.0 connection, and has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for wireless connectivity. The 1,900-mAh battery provides up to three hours of 1080/30p recording. Interestingly, the battery and memory card are housed in a detachable USB module that lets users easily plug it into a computer or power adapter for charging, without wires — a nice design touch.
Whether or not TomTom can make inroads in this category remains to be seen, but it offers some interesting features that make it unique. We do wonder, however, if the CCD sensor can deliver image quality on par with action cameras from GoPro and Sony. The camera is another example of TomTom’s foray into other product categories, such as wearables.