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TomTom takes best shot at action cam market



Many people associate the TomTom brand with personal navigation devices. But, now that most mobile devices come with a built-in GPS of sorts, the company had to diversify. Last week, TomTom announced its entrance into the action camera market with the Bandit, writes LIRON SEGEV.

When you think of TomTom you immediately think of a handheld GPS unit. That leads to the question whether people still buy a GPS unit or Personal navigational Device, since most mobile phones have built-in navigation systems. The fact is these devices still sell, but they don’t make waves nowadays.

So when TomTom promised something “wow” at its Media and Partner event in Amsterdam last week, I didn’t expect fireworks. Yet, it delivered on this promise when it announced the TomTom Bandit – an action camera!

TomTom has entered the exciting category of the action cam, dominated by GoPro. It’s come out fighting with a very strong offering, as the Bandit just seems to get things right that remain irritations in other action cameras.

I chatted with Peter-Frans Pauwels, co-founder of TomTom and Head of Product Innovation, about the Bandit action cam. He gave me the following background:

TomTom Bandit solves action cam issues

Typically with an action cam, you have one button to switch it on and the same button to switch it off. This is a frustration for users as it is very simple to make a mistake and turn off the camera instead of on, thereby loosing the entire shoot. Bandit has two separate buttons in two separate locations so you can confidently switch it on even if you are wearing gloves and the camera is mounted to your helmet.

Battery life has been an issue for the action cam. The Bandit cam comes with a 1900 mAh battery which allows you to record up to 3 hours of 1080p at 30 frames per second. When the camera need to be charged, no longer do you need to carry any cables with you as the entire camera untwists, allowing you to stick it directly into your computer’s USB port.

The camera is splash-proof, with no additional casing (shower with it or get wet in the rain), and even waterproof if you add a lens cover, allowing you to take it down to 50 meters in water.

The Bandit has slow-motion capability, time-lapse, and can snap a 16MP still photo.

The Real Differentiator

Action cam videos are posted all over the internet, allowing you to think that you can shoot the same clips. However, you soon discover that editing is hard. It takes hours just to find the various action shots, let alone adding music and cool effects. Even if you do manage to get through this process, you need to splice all the action shots together before uploading it to social network to show your friends. This is a painful and slow process, which results in hours of work. Most people give up at this point.

The real differentiator is that the TomTom Bandit is a Media Server which intelligently processes footage, highlighting the exact spots in the film where the action shots took place. Together with the app, these are easily put together so they can be shared on social networks. To make the task even simpler, simply shake the phone and the Bandit will create an action movie automatically. No more file-copying between the camera and the computer just to begin editing.

Everything is done via the connection from the camera to the phone.

Availability and Price

The Bandit is on pre-order here ( The unit will be available for sale in Europe “within weeks” at 429 Euro or 309 pounds. It could reach South Africa as early as June or by the 3rd quarter of the year. No Rand price is available at this stage.

* Liron Segev is also known as The Techie Guy. You can read his blog at or follow him on Twitter on @Liron_Segev