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Can I Use A Go Pro As A Dashcam? The Drivers Guide Through Traffic

Last updated: May 29, 2021
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Can I Use A Go Pro As A Dashcam

Can I use a Go Pro as a dashcam?  You can and I’ll show you how to use your GoPro as a dashcam.

But a better question is: should you use a GoPro as a dashcam? There are pros and cons to each decision, and here in this short article, I’ll cover the most essential ones.

GoPro or no pro, a dashcam is a must in today’s hectic traffic so read on and find out how to use a GoPro if you need it.

Can I use a Go Pro as a dashcam: Do you really need a dashcam?  

In these modern times, yes, it’s somewhat of a necessity. It provides ease of mind while driving, protecting you against deliberate crashers that want to cash out on your insurance policy. With a dashcam, you’ll always be ready to prove that the crash that occurred, wasn’t actually your fault. So the question is not really whether you need it or not, but what’s the best option out there.

If you’re new to this field, maybe you’re thinking of using your GoPro instead of purchasing a Dash Cam. Initially, that may seem like a good idea. The GoPro has a wide-angle lens and high-quality recording does it no?! Yea, but sadly, we’re here to tell you why GoPro it’s not best when used as a Dash Cam.

Before we dive into the plain facts, we want to make sure you can make a clear distinction between an action camera like the GoPro and a Dash Cam.

Action Cameras – Made for…well…action

can I use a go pro as a dash cam?

Lightweight, waterproof, durable, and with high frames per second count, these kinds of cameras are great for recording some adventure in the Himalayas or an off-road weekend with your friends.

Dash Cameras – A glimpse from the dashboard

Popularized in Russia, dash cams got their name from the fact that they were attached on a car’s dashboard. They were called DVRs or Digital Video Recorders that continuously record while you drive. While now they usually are mounted on a car’s windshield, they still kept their original name. Talk about character. 😊  

Dash Cams Features which GoPro lacks

  •         The home of a Dashcam is your car. It’s here to stay.

Leaving a GoPro in your car can be dangerous. Everyone knows what a GoPro is and how much it costs, while the dashcam has the proper size,  is discreet and it is barely noticeable.

  •         Dashcams start with the turn of the car key.
    Thinking that turning a switch on and off is easy? Try doing it every single time you drive and you’ll immediately start turning red. Trust us, it is a big hassle. One you can avoid.
  •         Safety collision alerts.
    You wouldn’t want a plumber to do a mechanic’s work now, would you? Well, your dash cam can be used as additional car equipment that notifies you whenever someone gets too close. Something a GoPro could never do.     
  •         Dashcams have motion sensors that save energy when nothing gets close to your car.
    While with action cams you would think about the battery life, the dash cam does it for you. It works only when it needs to.
  •       Dashcams can record multiple angles simultaneously.
    Please, please do not try this with installing multiple GoPro cameras. Your car interior would look like a computer repair shop with all the cables that are necessary to pull it off. 
  •         Dashcams have a “parking mode” that even monitors your car while it is parked.
    Got that minor anxiety when leaving your car for a while? We feel you. Luckily, your cam can keep an extra eye for you in these situations.
  •         Dashcams have loop recording. This enables them to fill out the entire internal memory and then start recording on top of it as if the memory was free. Rip memory cards.
    If not caring for battery life wasn’t enough, not caring for memory is the next best thing. Just plug that cam into the car’s charger and forget about it completely. It will do its job and you won’t even know it. Some models of GoPro do have loop recording as well, but due to their high heating, they could not withstand your daily needs. They immediately shut down when they reach 52 degrees Celsius.  
  •         Dashcams can operate on temperatures as high as 160 Fahrenheit or 71 Celsius!
    Light is hitting the windshield all day long. A GoPro wasn’t made to withstand all that heat, but a dash doesn’t get a suntan even on the hottest of days.
  •         Dashcams have the necessary equipment to be installed in your car.
    Many GoPro users have successfully mounted the GoPro in their vehicles using custom-made mounts, extra cables, and strategies of hiding them so that their car doesn’t look like a workshop. However, these extra things require an extra amount that needs to be spent. A dashcam comes with the required equipment and without the messy look to it. 
  •         Dash cams are small and discreet and don’t pose a security risk for your vehicle. Leave a GoPro in your car and you are immediately a target for smash and grab thieves.
    Due to its popularity, everyone is aware of the cost of a GoPro and what it could do, therefore unlike a dashcam that remains practically invisible, a GoPro is basically begging to be stolen.
  •         A dedicated Dashcam can come in under 100$.
    It always matters what you get for your money. And it’s always best to get a device specifically made for a single purpose. So if you’re ready to get that extra buck out to get a GoPro for your dashcam needs, why not invest it in a dashcam that is actually made to satisfy those needs.
  •         High-end Dashcams even have departure warnings, GPS tracking, and geofencing that alerts you of your car’s location.

Enough said.

  •         Dashcams have more accessible and easy-to-use controls.
    Rear screens, buttons in great locations, and review options can’t be compared with the basic three buttons scheme a GoPro has. Yes, you can purchase additional screens and download apps for your smartphone to enable some extra features for your GoPro but why would you do that when it comes in default with your dash cam?

Where there is a will, there is a way.  

Even after everything you read, you still want to use your GoPro as a dashcam, then who are we to stop you? Hell, we’ll even help you out so that you can do it as safe and easily as possible. 

Step 1: Getting the necessary equipment

  • 12v adapter for your car in case it does not have USB ports.
  • The skeleton housing can give you access to the USB ports while not increasing the temperature of the GoPro.
  • The windshield mount that we can personally recommend is Delkin Fat Gecko

Step 2: Power button & Battery Life

Always turn on your GoPro before starting to drive. Set it to 1080p. For the current dash purpose, you do not need any higher video quality. Additionally, keep in mind that the battery can go up to 2 hours so don’t take trips that are longer than that. When finished, turn it off. 

Step 3: Heat and Removal

As mentioned above, heat can seriously damage your GoPro, therefore remove it after every drive. Doing this also prevents this fancy little thing to be stolen, so make sure you always have it handy.

Verdict

If you really really want to use your GoPro as a dashcam the answer is YES, you can use it. But the issues it has with setting it up, the extra money required to do so, and the hassles that come with it, make it a one-time solution. Yes, if you’re going on a mountain trip and you want to edit a nice video of you and your friends traveling, be our guest. Using the Hero 7, Hero 8, and Hero 9 as dash cams will offer you 4K resolution. GPS tracking of date, time, and location in case of a crash. And yet it still won’t give you something that you could use every day.      

Therefore, you should really get a proper dashcam. It costs less, it’s more secure to use and it will do the job it’s meant to be done.

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