Have you ever gone on a bike ride through the woods or torn down the slopes on your snowboard and wished you could capture all of that action in glorious full HD to share with your friends and family? The market for action cameras continues to grow and one of the more compelling offerings that we’ve seen is the PAPAGO! GoLife Extreme, an ultralight and rugged camera that was “designed for intense outdoor sports.” Let’s see if it really is a barrel of fun.

Getting in on the Action


The GoLife Extreme full HD action camera was announced earlier this year and it comes from the same people that brought us the PAPAGO! P3 dashcam. It features a barrel-shaped aluminum alloy housing, full HD 1080p video recording, 160-degree extreme wide angle viewing area, a built-in microphone, USB rechargeable battery (800mAh), Wi-Fi support with a free mobile app, microSDHC card slot with support up to 32GB, micro-HDMI video output, f/2.2 aperture, an an Aptina 3.5MP 1/3″ CMOS sensor. The camera itself measures 104.2mm long with a diameter of 27.6mm.

Inside the box, you’ll find a good assortment of accessories to get you started. There is the GoLife Extreme camera itself, of course, well as a microUSB charging cable, USB wall adapter, double-sided tape mount, bike handlebar mount, tripod mount, warranty registration card and the user manual.

Just How Rugged Is It?


The physical construction of the GoLife Extreme is such that you unscrew the back third of the camera in order to reveal the microSDHC card slot, microUSB charging port, and micro-HDMI video output. This comes off like a metal sleeve, keeping the controls intact at the back. The middle third has an additional sleeve onto which you attach the various mounting hardware. I liked the overall feel of the aluminum alloy body, which gave it a certain sense of robustness, though I’m sure it could easily get damaged from a few unfortunate falls. There is also no lens cap, which could leave the camera quite vulnerable as well.

Given that it is an “action” camera that meant to be used in the great outdoors, the GoLife Extreme is set up to be dustproof, shockproof and waterproof. It is IP66 certified, meaning that it will survive some intense jets of water, but it is technically not certified to be submerged in water. For that, you’d need an IP67 rating like what we find in the Samsung Galaxy S5. Even so, PAPAGO! says the GoLife Extreme can survive being submerged in under one meter of water for up to 30 minutes without the need for an extra plastic case. Take that at your own risk and discretion.

Under most circumstances, the level of ruggedness of the GoLife Extreme will suit your “extreme” video shooting needs. That being said, it has an official operating temperature range of 0 to 60 degrees Celsius (32 – 140 degrees Fahrenheit). I’m not as concerned about the high end of that spectrum as I am about the low end. If you plan on taking this camera with you on your next ski trip, those freezing temperatures may prove problematic. Again, take that at your own risk and discretion.

Basic Controls and Mobile App


On the most basic of levels, controlling the GoLife Extreme is about as straightforward as it gets. There are just two buttons, both of which are at the back and have a rubbery touch to them. You simply hold the power button for a couple seconds to turn on, waiting a couple more seconds until you get the blinking green “ready” light. You do the same to turn it off. The larger “record” button does exactly what you think it does, while holding it for a few seconds activates the Wi-Fi feature.

It is through Wi-Fi that you then connect your iOS or Android device to the GoLife Extreme to access the more robust feature set through the free mobile app.

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The app is functional, though not exactly the most aesthetically pleasing thing in the world. Simply replacing some of the text and graphics with something sharper could have gone a long way. It is through this app that you can change the camera settings, like choosing the video resolution (720p30, 720p60 or 1080p30), video quality, white balance, exposure, and whether you’d like a wide angle or normal field of view.

There’s also a “playlist” section where you can watch the videos currently stored on your GoLife Extreme. The buffering time can be a little painful, so it’s best if you use the app to download the video file directly onto your phone. That way, you can upload it directly to the video sharing service of your choice too.

And while you’ll also find a “preview” function where you can get a live viewfinder of what the camera is currently seeing, this viewfinder cannot be used when you actually want to record something. Indeed, while the Wi-Fi is on, the GoLife Extreme is not capable of recording anything. You must first turn off the Wi-Fi. Considering that competing products (most notably the GoPro series) don’t have this limitation, this takes away from the overall appeal of this camera.

GoLife Extreme HD Video Samples

Of course, none of that matters if the video quality isn’t up to snuff. By and large, I’d say the video quality is quite good, particularly when you indulge in the 160-degree wide angle field of view. In this first sample, I shot in 720p and edited the compilation using Pinnacle Studio HD. Make sure you adjust your YouTube settings to 720p and watch at full screen to get the full effect.

These next two samples were shot at 1080p, also on wide angle, but they have not been edited in any way. The video files were taken directly from the microSD card and uploaded straight to YouTube. Again, make sure you change the video quality to 1080p and watch in full screen.

The level of detail is quite good on the whole. However, I did find the GoLife Extreme struggled with contrast and the color can look a little muted. This is particularly evident in the second 1080p video as the car drove in and out of different lighting conditions. As an action camera, though, this certainly does the job.

MEGATechie Extremely Awesome or MEGATechie Go Get a Life?


PAPAGO! is positioning the GoLife Extreme as a budget-friendly action camera for the masses. It’s meant to survive all sorts of “intense outdoor sports” and the metal body does give you some confidence on that front, as does the IP66 rating. I would have liked to see better support at the lower end of the temperature scale and true IP67 waterproof certification, along with a more refined app that allows for live preview, even when actively recording.

There’s no doubt that the PAPAGO! GoLife Extreme has its weaknesses and its quirks, but as a freshman effort into the action camera category, it demonstrates a lot of potential for what the company may be able to produce moving forward. The WiFi-enabled GoLife Extreme retails for a little over $200, making it a good value for “any spirited adventurer” to create and share epic videos of their own.

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