MEGATech Reviews: PAPAGO! GoSafe 520 2K Ultra-Wide Dashcam Michael Kwan January 19, 2015 MEGATech Reviews Dashcams continue to increase in popularity around the world and more people are uploading their dashcam footage of bad drivers to YouTube for everyone to see. Another emerging trend is the rise of ultra-widescreen monitors with a movie theater-like 21:9 aspect ratio. What if we could marry these two ideas together? That’s exactly what you get with the recently released PAPAGO! GoSafe 520 dashcam (model number GS520-US). Let’s take a closer look. What’s New in the GoSafe 520 Dashcam? Easily the most notable feature on the GoSafe 520 is its ability to record in an ultra-wide aspect ratio. Whereas most other dashcams are designed to record in a more standard 16:9 wide ratio, the GoSafe 520 features a 146-degree field of vision with a 21:9 aspect ratio and a maximum 2K resolution of 2560 x 1080 pixels at 30 frames per second. The options allow for other resolutions and aspect ratios, but the 2K WHD is where it’s at here. PAPAGO! is continuing to improve on its product line with each successive generation and while previous dashcams allowed for EV compensation, the GoSafe 520 has new HDR technology to help your footage be more “dynamic” in a variety of lighting conditions. The outward design of the GoSafe 520 is also different, taking on an appearance that is reminiscent of a (really small) point and shoot digital camera. Aside from that, you get a 3-inch 960 x 240 pixel display, F2.0 lens, 500mAh internal battery, HDMI output, microSD slot for 8GB to 32GB cards, and the latest Ambarella A7L chip. Check out my unboxing video for a quick overview. In-Car Installation and Setup One of the difficulties that I encountered with the PAPAGO! P3 dashcam was that the windshield suction cup mount didn’t appear to be strong enough. It’d fall off now and then. Maybe it’s because the GoSafe 520 is considerably smaller and lighter, but I never encountered that issue with this device. While it is smaller, the GoSafe 520 is hardly inconspicuous. It will be clearly visible from the outside of your car, so users looking for more of a stealthy solution may need to consider something else. That aside, the installation and setup process was very easy. As before, the GoSafe 520 is configured by default to turn on automatically when it detects power. What’s different is, thanks to the 500mAh battery, it can delay turning off even after you’ve shut off the engine. This can be for a maximum of five minutes, a length of time that I would have liked to see extended with a larger battery. The menu system is largely the same as with other PAPAGO! dashcams and is reasonably logical. I would have still prefered a touchscreen interface, however. Once you have set the options the way you like them, you really don’t go back in there again. The Extra Safety Features When we reviewed the higher end P3, we noted that it came with a number of more advanced safety features like the lane departure warning system. These were effectively removed in the more integrated GoSafe 260 rearview mirror dashcam. In the case of the GoSafe 520 here, we find ourselves somewhere in between. The more advanced safety systems are still missing, but this dashcam does come with some additional features. For instance, there is a stop and go alert for when you’re at a traffic light. If the car in front of you starts moving and you don’t, it can beep at you. There’s also the built-in G-sensor that will automatically save the video file in the event of a collision, marking it such that it won’t be overwritten by new footage. And like the GoSafe 260, there is also the “emergency” button here to manually indicate that you’d like a clip to be saved. One feature that I also liked here was the option to have the display automatically turn off after a certain length of time. Sample Video Footage Naturally, recording at a 2K resolution in a 21:9 aspect ratio comes with the advantage of seeing more of the periphery while driving. This is perfect for capturing events that may not have been visible with a standard 16:9 crop. The tradeoff with recording in 21:9 on this dashcam is that the video has more of a warped fisheye effect. The central field of vision is normal, but the outer edges will have that stretched, wraparound effect. Daytime footage is clear, albeit slightly muted in saturation, and you are able to make out a good amount of detail. As can be expected, nighttime visibility can suffer and the finer details may be lost. There is also the issue of glare, particularly because the camera must look through your windshield as well. This is not unique to the PAPAGO! dashcam, of course, and the footage will still be perfectly usable for insurance and YouTube-posting purposes. The videos, as before, are recorded in standard five-minute-long clips and the resulting files at maximum resolution are right around 660MB in size. With an 8GB card, you can expect about an hour of footage before your old clips get overwritten. MEGATechie IMAX-Grade Quality or MEGATechie Wide-Eyed Wonder? In an ideal world, it’d be nice to have a dashcam that can provide a stream of Google Street View like vantage points from your vehicle. This way, no matter where the action is, it’ll be captured. This isn’t all that viable, of course, and going extra wide with a 21:9 aspect ratio seems to be a step in the right direction. You really can see more of the road in front of your car when you record video like this and it could make all the difference if the institgating factor is something happens along the edges. Video quality is on par with other dashcams from PAPAGO!, though the “IMAX-grade quality” boastful claim on the official product page may be a little dubious. With a bigger and wider LCD screen (though still low-res), an internal battery that can keep recording after you shut off the car (though only for five minutes), and super HDR functionality with an F2.0 six-crystal glass lens, the GoSafe 520 is a solid choice for those considering a reliable and reasonable compact dashcam. You can find it for about $200 online. Share This With The World!