So, you want to put a camera in your vehicle to record what is going on around you, and to protect your investment in case of an accident. Should you get a GoPro or a dash cam? A lot of people think that all they need is a GoPro, and that is going to do the job for them. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case, and we really don’t recommend that you use a GoPro for this purpose. Today, we are going to take a look at the differences between a GoPro and a dash cam, and show you why you are going to be much better off with a dash cam. Let’s get started.
What is a GoPro?
A GoPro is a camera that is designed to record action, and is often used by those who are into extreme sports, or who are doing activities in extreme weather conditions. These cameras are small, lightweight, durable, and waterproof, and they can record a high FPS (frames per second) rate so you can always capture what is going on. So, it would seem that it is perfectly acceptable to use a GoPro camera as a dash cam, right? Not necessarily. A dash cam has features that make it better for use in a vehicle.
What is a Dash Cam?
Like the GoPro cameras, a dash cam is a video camera that is compact and lightweight. It can be mounted to the inside of your windshield, and will continuously record while you are driving. They are designed to stay in the vehicle at all times, and not for other uses like a GoPro camera. A dash cam will start recording automatically as soon as you turn on the ignition, and it records continuously. This is not the case with a GoPro. The dash cam is hardwired into your vehicle, or it can be powered via the cigarette lighter outlet.
Why a GoPro isn’t a Good Dash Cam
Since a GoPro is easy to set up and use, it should make an ideal dash cam, right? Well, the problem is that there are features that dash cams have that you will not find on a GoPro. For starters, a dash cam automatically comes on and begins recording when you start the vehicle. A GoPro will need to be turned on separately, and you need to press record. These are a couple of unnecessary steps you shouldn’t have to take. For instance, let’s say that something really cool happens while you are driving. You will miss the chance to record it if you haven’t turned the GoPro on. The dash cam is going to capture it.
A dash cam is wired right into your car, and doesn’t require a battery because it works using the electricity from the vehicle. A GoPro requires batteries, and the battery life is short. You can get about one and a half to two and a half hours of recording time before it ends up cutting out on you. So, you will either have to buy a lot of batteries to have on hand, or some rechargeable batteries (get extra so you are never without). We think it is just a lot easier to use the dash cam, since there is no need to fuss with batteries unless you are using the backup battery for storing files.
A dash cam will always be charged, and it will always be recording. You aren’t going to miss anything. We do recommend that you look for a dash cam that doesn’t use lithium batteries, which can overheat and cause a variety of issues. Go for a model that can be hardwired to your vehicle’s electrical system, and you will have no overheating issues.
If you live in an area that has extreme hot or cold temperatures, you aren’t going to get a lot of use out of a GoPro, especially in a vehicle, which can get exceptionally hot or cold inside. If you invest in a high quality dash cam, you won’t have to worry about extreme temperatures, even if there are varied temperature fluctuations. You will be able to use a dash cam year-round without being concerned that it is going to stop working at a crucial moment. You should also look for a dash cam that has a temperature-tolerant capacitor, which will help it to function properly in all temperatures.
Another advantage dash cams have over GoPro cameras is that they have a parking mode. Even if your vehicle is not turned on, your dash cam is still going to record what is going on around it while it is in parking mode. After all, your vehicle and its contents are at risk when it is parked and you are not around, and having video surveillance is going to help if your car is vandalized or broken into, because you will have video evidence.
When your dash cam is in parking mode, it will use the G-sensor and motion detection to start recording as soon as there is any type of impact or motion. So, if you are at a store parking lot and your car is hit by a shopping cart, or if someone tries to break into it while you are not in it, everything is going to be recorded and you will know exactly what happened. The footage is saved to the memory card, and you will receive a notification that something has been recorded. You won’t be able to have this peace of mind if you are using a GoPro camera.
While GoPro cameras are great for specific uses, including extreme sports, they are not ideal to use as dash cams. You need something that is going to work all the time, and that doesn’t need to have the batteries changed every couple of hours. A dash cam is going to give you that added protection you need, and you never know what kind of cool footage you are going to capture while you are on the road.