- Great video quality
- Quick and easy setup
- Equipped with driver assist features
- Not different enough from previous models
- Mounting arms aren't long enough
- Questionable value proposition
In a very short period of time, dashcams have gone from a fringe accessory only popular in places like Russia and China to a must-have accessory for drivers all around the world. But what if you don't want yet another random item suction-cupped to your windshield? The new PAPAGO! GoSafe 268 full HD dashcam could be the perfect solution for you, because it just clips onto your rearview mirror and stays out of the way. And it's got a fancy Sony Exmor sensor to boot.
Still Starin' At The World Through My Rearview
If you're thinking that the idea of a dashcam integrated into a rearview mirror is hardly an original idea, you'd be right. The GoSafe 268 is effectively the successor to the GoSafe 260 we reviewed two years ago. The fundamental appeal remains unchanged but the feature set has been improved all around.
Perhaps the most important upgrade is the switch to a Sony Exmor sensor for the camera itself, just like the GoSafe S30. This should provide far superior video quality and improved low light performance. You get a 135-degree viewing angle and a bundled 8GB microSD card to get you started. The rest of the feature set should sound familiar to anyone who has read any of my PAPAGO! dashcam reviews in the last couple years.
The GoSafe 268 automatically turns itself on and off, since it's plugged into your car's 12V accessory port. As we've seen in more recent models, the power cable is now separate from the 12V-to-USB adapter, which I appreciate. Aside from that, you can your regular loop recording, a G=sensor, and a suite of driver assist features like stop sign recognition and a driver fatigue alarm. These can be enabled and disabled through the menu.
GoSafe 268 Design and First Impressions
Compared to the GoSafe 260 that came before it, the GoSafe 268 has more of an angular look to it. The mirror itself is slightly curved to provide you a wider field of vision, as you would get with most other clip-on rearview mirror attachments (that don't have dashcams built into them). The camera does extend about an inch out the back and you can easily adjust where it's pointing, both on the horizontal axis and the vertical axis.
The design here is significantly streamlined too, because the controls have been simplified. Gone is the five-way navigator (plus two additional buttons) of the GoSafe 260, being replaced by a single row of four buttons like how you'd find on the non-rearview dashcams from PAPAGO! The menu navigation is consequently different too, since the "OK" and "emergency record" buttons start to serve double duty too. As before, the 2-inch LCD is embedded into the right side of the mirror itself.
And that's the main thing with this dashcam. It's really not all that different from what we've seen before. I would really like to see PAPAGO! push the innovation and design envelope further in upcoming models. Making the microSD slot more accessible would be a huge plus (even if the micro-USB connector and power button stay hidden on top).
Even better, Wi-Fi connectivity with a companion app could make it easier to get that footage onto our mobile devices, possibly for publishing on platforms like YouTube or social media. As it stands, I end up taking the whole thing off my mirror in order to get at the memory card.
Setup and Installation
The PAPAGO! GoSafe 268 mounts onto your car's existing rearview mirror by way of a pair of two spring-loaded clamps. Each of the four protruding clamps have rubbery feet on them with inward-angled triangles. It's kind of like those blades you can stab in easily but are meant to be difficult to take back out. That's the idea, anyway.
The problem that I encountered is that these four pegs didn't protrude out far enough to really wrap around the rearview mirror on my vehicle. There's just not enough depth. It still held in place, but it didn't offer the same kind of assurance as it would have if it could wrap all the way around to the back of the mirror. This will depend on the design of the mirror on your own car.
As far as setup goes, practically nothing has changed from previous PAPAGO! models. You set the date and time and you're good to go. You can then dive into the menu to further adjust your options, like the resulting video resolution, which driver assist features you'd like to have enabled, and so on. It's not the fanciest of interfaces, but it's reasonably effective in accomplishing what needs to be done.
Full HD 1080p Video Samples
What I will say is that this Sony Exmor sensor is a vast improvement over the unnamed sensors we've seen before. The video quality from the GoSafe 268 is top-notch and you get a nice wide field of vision. This comes at the expense of a definite fisheye effect, of course. Possibly due to the placement of the camera relative to the rearview mirror on my car, though, the view is partly obscured in the top-left corner. I think that's the arm behind my mirror.
Performance at night also appears to be quite good. There is going to be some glare, which is unavoidable if there's any distance at all between the camera and your windshield. And while it was a lot easier making out license plates in the daytime footage, that can become far more difficult at night, especially for cars that aren't directly in front of you.
Video quality is top notch with the contrast dialed up a notch by default. This helps to minimize fuzziness while enhancing features of interest. You'll want to keep your windshield as clean as possible, though. Mine could use a good wiping down, I know.
MEGATechie Two Steps Forwards or MEGATechie One Step Back?
The PAPAGO! GoSafe 268 is certainly one of the better dashcams in the company's lineup. The video quality is great under a variety of conditions and the streamlined interface makes for a cleaner overall look. That said, the design is still quite chunky and it's not nearly as discreet as PAPAGO! would like you to believe. It might look clean from the driver's perspective, but it doesn't look so great when looking in from the outside.
There are three main problems that make me hesitant to recommend this product. First, the mounting arms don't wrap around slightly chunkier mirrors, so you'll want to keep that in mind. Second, the GoSafe 268 represents a minor evolution of the line rather than a leap in innovation. If you already have a GoSafe, there's little reason to upgrade. Third, this dashcam retails for about $260, which is considerably pricier than more affordable options on the market.
But hey! You do get a "free" 8GB microSD card in there, which should be enough for about 80 minutes of 1080p full HD footage. So, that's something.