TomTom have announced that they are launching an action camera in June this year. In an already fiercely competitive market that's currently dominated by GoPro, it's a bold move from the Dutch firm.
However, the brand synonymous with satellite navigation aren't just trying to hop on the band wagon without doing their homework. This new bit of kit has some pretty handy tricks up its sleeve.
While designing the camera, TomTom have focused on the people that'll be using it: you. The reason most of us buy an action cameras in the first place is not only to capture those moments where we're hooning around on the hill, cruising around on the water, or rolling on the streets, but also to share that footage.
We all want to show the world that stylish inde grab, or styled out whip that we finally nailed after a zillion attempts. Be honest, we've all been there.
That one run on the third day of the trip where everything just seems to work, and you nail everything you try. You're whooping like an idiot, your riding buddies are gassed... the next step is getting that footage on social media.
The TomTom Bandit Action Camera wants to make doing that easier. There are already numerous action cams out there that will get that footage, and do it brilliantly. The down side, though, is when you get off then hill.
When youre day of riding's done, realistically, you have two options. You can either sit down, transfer the data from cam to laptop straight away, and spend a few hours editing when you should be in the hot-tub with a beer, or eating your body weight in cheese. Or option two, leave the footage on your card and promise yourself you'll edit it when you get back home.
"you'll have an edit in minutes"
But, be honest, how often do you break that promise to yourself? If you're anything like us, you've got hard drives full of action that remains unedited because, after the buzz of the day fades, it seems like a bit of a ball ache to sit their searching for that grab, that bar spin, that cut back.
This is the area that TomTom say they can make easier. They believe that if they can make the editing easier, that will give you your movie quicker, in turn enabling you to show the world that sick line faster.
The TomTom Bandit had motion sensors built in that use some technical wizardry to detect the most exciting parts of your run. It'll pick up on things like speed, altitude, G-force, acceleration and heart rate to identify when something exciting is happening, and puts a flag on your footage.
What you end up with is footage with the highlights already, well, highlighted. This should cut down on the hours spent trawling through footage trying to find the good bits.
It's certainly interesting to see how well the camera can do this, and whether it can differentiate between the heart fluters felt while charging up to a kicker from those when you end up sharing a lift with that hot Italian you saw in the bar the night before.
The Bandit also has a built-in media server, something TomTom say is an industry first. This will stream the footage captured on the camera to your smart phone where, using the TomTom Bandit app, you can view what you've shot that day.
But, because the Bandit has already selected highlights, you can chose to just view them. But they haven't stopped there. TomTom say that, with just a shake of the phone, the app will piece together all of the pre-selected highlights into an edit.
From there you can change the order, add some music (probably Sail by AWOLNATION), include graphics telling saying how fast you were going, how high you were flying, or how much your heart was beating next to the Italian on the lift, and you've got yourself your edit in minutes.
"sit back and wait for the 'Likes' to stack up"
From there you just upload your masterpiece to social media, and wait for the likes to stack up.
It's clear that TomTom have targeted user experience as the key to breaking into the world of action cams. We haven't properly got our hands on a Bandit yet to put this to the test, so can't say how well this really translates when you're on the hill, riding trails, or hitting the park.
It will definitely be interesting to see how well the Bandit detects the highlights of a run and pieces them together. If it can deliver on all that it suggests, it could become a big player in the game. We're hoping to get out hands on one soon, and when we do, we'll have a full review.