I’ve always been a believer in the dashcam, but availability in the US isn’t quite as widespread as you may think. A lot of places only sell action cams, which yes you can use those, but they don’t have the dedicated features you want from a real dashcam. And when you do find a dashcam, it’s often a brand you’ve never heard of before from, which is actually the case with this new dashcam I’m checking out from PAPAGO! Their website says they are quite popular in Taiwan, China, Russia, South East Asia, Japan, and Australia so a quick check with a relative in Taiwan confirmed that yes, they are indeed quite popular there. They sent me one of their more popular, midrange dashcam units, the GoSafe 272 which has many of the more popular features found on their more expensive units, but in a smaller, more cost effective package.
The Papago GoSafe 272 is a lot smaller than I had imagined. It basically looks like a small GPS unit, but with a camera lens attached to the front. This unit is mostly all black, glossy up front and matte in the rear. It’s a fairly attractive unit and depending on how you mount it, it’s small enough where it won’t be in your way. What I like about this unit though is the fact that it does have a 2.4-inch LCD screen on the rear that lets you see exactly what you are recording live. You can’t do this for instance with a lot of action cams and this again is a benefit of an actual dashcam. What’s also nice about it is that because it is all black, you can’t really see it from the outside of the car if you have it placed high enough. That means there’s a less of a chance that someone would want to steal it, though I recommend just taking it out of the car when not in use so it’s not sitting in the hot sun.
To the right of the LCD screen are a series of buttons that help you navigate the menu. There is no touchscreen so you will have to use these buttons. Luckily, you don’t really need to do anything to operate the device. Just plug it in and the GoSafe 272 will automatically start recording.
The GoSafe 272 also uses standard Micro SDHC cards for recording videos. You never have to worry about running out of space either on your card as it will overwrite over old files with new files as it is recording. It will only save videos that you choose to save or ones that the device automatically saves due to accidents or sudden jolts..
The unit is powered using a Mini USB cable which you can use either plugged into a USB port if you have one or with the included cigarette plug charging cable. You can also hard wire it into your vehicle, but that would be something I’d have a professional do unless you have some experience with wiring electronics into your vehicle.
- Mini compact design
- Supports Driver Fatigue Alarm which drivers can set up the alarm for resting for long hour drive
- Supports Motion Detection while car is parked.
- Has a Stop and Go feature so you can avoid distracted driving
- Has a low-light sensor so you can record clear footage day or night
- Device alerts you when headlights are necessary for driving conditions
- Video resolution can be switched between 720p/60fps; 720p/30 fps; and 1080p
- Build-in G-sensor supports emergency video file backup when an accident happens
- Supports screen capture
- Auto turn on once engine starts
- HDMI output supports HDTV playback
Using the Papago GoSafe 272 couldn’t be more simpler than it already is. It is basically a plug and play unit, you just have to figure out where you want it mounted. You can use the included suction mount which makes windshield mounting it a breeze. I suggest mounting it in a more central location for a better view of the road ahead of you.
Although I say that for the most part, you can just plug the GoSmart 272 in and let it do its thing, there are more advanced features available for those who want to take the time to go through the menus. You can change the resolution of the video, how long you want each video to be, whether or not there are time stamps, and also how the unit handles automatically saving of videos. I have it set where it automatically starts recording when I turn on the car and automatically stops when I turn off the car.
In terms of video quality, the PapaGo! Go Smart 272 is actually very good. The above video is taken at 1080p, 30fps. It’s not quite a 5 minute clip because I cut it off early to save an accident I spotted on the highway, in which I also turned the camera a bit to capture more of the accident. I do straighten it back out after and you can see that the viewing angle is fairly wide (about 140-degrees). The unit also seems to capture ambient audio quite well so just keep that in mind when you’re using it.
The use of dashcams is still relatively sparse here in the United States, despite how popular they are in the rest of the world. While yes, it’s fun to watch all those Russian dashcam videos, many of those people use it as a means of protecting themselves from insurance fraud and you probably should too. Lets say you’re driving along and then someone in front of you decides to brake check you or stop completely and then back up into you. You know whose fault it looks like to a cop? Yours. In this situation, the person in the back is usually at fault and you’d be hard pressed to argue otherwise, unless you had a ton of witnesses to the situation. Now, how much easier would it be to plead your case if you had a dashcam? Basically, physical evidence will trump any lies the other person might come up with so don’t you owe it to yourself to get a dashcam? I know I’m not leaving the house without one anymore, especially when they are so affordable now.
With that said, PapaGo! has a winner here with the GoSmart 272. It has a lot of advanced features, but is simple enough for those who just want something that works out of the box. It’s small, easy to use, and again, very affordable for what it does. It’s a small price to pay for something that could save you thousands in the long run.