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MEGATech Reviews - PAPAGO! GoSafe S30 Dashcam with Sony Exmor
A really compact dashcam that still boasts a 2-inch display and a Sony Exmor image sensor, the GoSafe S30 makes sure you can go safer as you drive under all conditions.
Pros
  • Compact size
  • Sony Exmor sensor
  • Included memory card
Cons
  • No choice of interval length
  • Safety features can be annoying
  • Not cheap
8Overall Score

For the last couple of years, it has felt as if we have been on the verge of a revolution. Everyone has a smartphone these days, capturing and sharing random moments through Instagram, Facebook and Periscope, but it's both illegal and impractical to capture those moments while behind the wheel. The dashcam can be both a source of safety and a source of potentially viral entertainment. And with the PAPAGO! GoSafe S30, the incremental evolution continues.

The Compact Dashcam with Sony Exmor Powers

MEGATech Reviews - PAPAGO! GoSafe S30 Dashcam with Sony Exmor

Unsurprisingly, the GoSafe S30 is hardly reinventing the wheel. Instead, it follows the tradition already set forth by its PAPAGO! stablemates and tries to improve upon them in several ways. The key characteristics and features remain intact, including support for full HD 1080p video and automatic EV value adjustments to handle both day and night driving situations.

To further improve upon the video quality and performance, the GoSafe S30 comes equipped with a Sony Exmor sensor. PAPAGO! says that this allows "for the most precise and lcear picture quality... on the market today." One of the bigger advantages that this dashcam has over something like the GoSafe 520 (which I've been using as my primary dashcam) is its size. The GoSafe S30 is very compact, measuring 2.16" x 2.12" x 1" with a 2-inch LCD display.

This means it's easier to hide it behind your rearview mirror if you'd like.

Some Notable Differences

MEGATech Reviews - PAPAGO! GoSafe S30 Dashcam with Sony Exmor

In addition to the switch to a Sony Exmor sensor, the GoSafe S30 also differs from its stablemates in several other key areas. First, there are two mounts included in the package. There's a suction cup mount, which is also smaller than what I've seen elsewhere, as well as a 3M double-sided tape sticker mount. I prefer the former myself, but that's entirely up to you.

Another big difference is that like the budget-friendly Geko E100, this dashcam also comes with an 8GB microSD card from ADATA. That's good for about 80 minutes of 1080p HD video. If you want to save more than that at a time -- it'll automatically overwrite older videos -- the GoSafe S30 supports memory cards up to 64GB in size. That should be enough for over 10 hours of video.

With all the other PAPAGO! dashcams that I've received in the past, the 12V power adapter has been a single, unified accessory. Such is not the case here. Instead, you get a much more standardized 12V-to-USB power adapter, plus a mini-USB cable. I prefer this for the flexibility, though I would have preferred if the mini-USB cable came with an L-shaped connector. It's also curious that, after all this time, these dashcams haven't switched to a micro-USB port instead.

A Familiar Menu System

MEGATech Reviews - PAPAGO! GoSafe S30 Dashcam with Sony Exmor

If you have spent any time with any PAPAGO! dashcam in recent memory, then you'll find yourself right at home here. Not much has changed with the menu system. You've got the buttons to go back, move up, move down, and OK. That's all pretty self-explanatory with the on-screen indications for what each button does. These buttons change function when you're actively recording with the far-left button (previously "back") now used to mark a clip to be saved in the emergency folder, not to be overwritten by new footage.

As with other PAPAGO! dashcams, the GoSafe S30 is built for your safety with a number of "driving safety" features too. One of the newer ones is the stop sign recognition. When you're driving along and the dashcam "sees" a stop sign, it'll beep and display a red stop sign on its screen. In practice, I found this only worked during the day and under generally good weather conditions. If it's raining or it's night time, it can't seem to see the stop signs. I ultimately chose to turn these features off.

MEGATech Reviews - PAPAGO! GoSafe S30 Dashcam with Sony Exmor

The rest of the settings consist of choosing your video resolution, configuring the date and time, choosing when the screen should turn off and so on. One feature that I was disappointed to find missing was the ability to choose the length of each video clip. By default, every video recorded on this dashcam will be five minutes in length. In some other dashcams, you can set the interval to be longer or shorter than that.

It's also unfortunate that the GoSafe S30 isn't built with enough of an internal battery to stay on for a period of time after the car has been shut off. I realize a battery would add bulk to an otherwise compact dashcam, but the ability to keep recording without power is very useful for recording hit-and-run scenarios, for instance. While you could also hard-wire the GoSafe S30, I imagine the majority of users will not.

GoSafe S30 Video Samples

Generally speaking, the video quality on the GoSafe S30 is quite good. It may lack some of the crispness you might desire and the video does come off as a little under-exposed. That said, you'll have no trouble making out the details. The videos are saved in MOV format.

In order to achieve the 135-degree wide angle perspective, the resulting video will have a very distinct fisheye-like effect. This allows you to see more of what's happening in the relative periphery, because a narrower-angle view would really restrict what the camera can see.

Unsurprisingly, performance was the best under ideal conditions: bright, sunny and clear. A little cloud cover dims the video considerably, rain (and wipers) can obscure your view, and videos at night can be unclear. There's not much they can do about this, so just make sure your windshield stays as clean as possible. Be sure to watch the video samples above in full-screen and click on the little gear icon to access the 1080p version.

MEGATechie Good Things in Small Packages or MEGATechie Dashed in the Cam?

MEGATech Reviews - PAPAGO! GoSafe S30 Dashcam with Sony Exmor

There's a lot to like about this little dashcam. For starters, it's quite little, making for a more discrete solution that the bulkier webcams of the past. Even in the case of the small Geko E100, the relative depth made it more unsightly. What you get here is a relatively thin dashcam with a relatively small footprint. The inclusion of Sony Exmor optics and an ADATA memory card are certainly welcome. The value of the included driving safety features is questionable.

The PAPAGO! GoSafe S30 retails for about $170 and is available now through an increasing number of online and offline vendors, including B&H and Adorama, among others.



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