TomTom's new Bandit action camera at first seems to be just another uninspired rugged shooter. But a closer look reveals that even without trying the camera to see if it's any good, I'm impressed by the clever battery design.
The Bandit looks nice, but its specs won't surprise anybody. It shoots 1920 x 1080 footage at 60 frames per second, and 1280 x 720 at 120 fps. It has GPS. It's waterproof, obviously. The standard setup will be available for $US400 in June. In terms of features, the Bandit has unique editing powers. It has a "built-in media server" that feeds content wirelessly to an app on your iOS or Android device, which theoretically makes editing and sharing content on the fly easy — which we'll believe when we see it.
That's all fine. But what's really cool about the Bandit is the "batt-stick" integrated battery/USB/Micro SD card. After shooting footage, simply pop out the entire module, and stick it into your computer, where it will mount like a USB stick and charge the battery at the same time. According to Garmin you can get up to three hours of recording time. Clever! No more juggling cards and batteries. They're all just one thing.
It's hard to argue that a clever battery design is enough to make Bandit worth buying over all the other action cams on the market — especially GoPro, which is by far the most common and the best at every price. But if the Bandit's footage looks good, the race with GoPro might actually heat up.