GoPro vs. Dedicated Dash Cams: Making the Right Choice

  • GoPro are versatile action cameras that can fit anywhere in your car
  • GoPro is good to use as a dash cam if you’re looking for a multipurpose use
  • Newer GoPro models, such as Hero 10 & 11, support night vision and have 4K video quality
  • Dash cams have G-sensors, intelligent parking systems and automatic recording
  • Dash cams are generally more durable, and they can be hardwired into your car

Dash cams give us peace of mind, so whether you should get one is not a question. But whether you can use a GoPro as dash cam is certainly worth the discussion. We’ll help you decide whether and when you should use GoPro for car recordings, how to mount the camera, and what are its ups and downs.

Let’s get right to it.

Can You Use a GoPro as a Dash Cam?

go pro used as dash cam

Long story short – yes, you can use your GoPro as a dash cam. The setup is rather simple, but you shouldn’t forget to manually switch it on and off every time you get in and out of your vehicle. 

What You Need: Tools and Requirements for GoPro Dash Cam Setup

You’ll need 3 things to set up the GoPro in your car:

  • The camera itself, Hero 3 or newer models
  • A Suction Cup or an adhesive mount
  • Type C or Type A USB cable for charging

How to Use GoPro as a Dash Cam: A Step-by-Step Guide

Here’s how to use a GoPro:

  1. Decide on the type of mount you will use based on the placement.
  2. Make sure you place the camera in a way that it has a clear view of the road ahead. It also shouldn’t distract the driver.
  3. If you choose a suction cup, make sure the camera doesn’t touch the windshield. 
  4. You’ll usually get an adhesive mount when purchasing a GoPro, but keep in mind you won’t be able to move it once you place it.
  5. Next, make sure to attach it to a power source with USB C or USB A. 
  6. Add an SD memory card of 32 GB or more.
  7. Configure the camera to allow Looping video.
  8. Pick Wide rather than a Superview for lance mode.
  9. Set your video quality at 60fps if doable.
  10. Turn it on and start recording!

Advantages of Using GoPro as a Dash Cam

The upsides of using GoPro as dash cam include:

  • Versatility: If you’re a travel adventurer, you can use the GoPro as a dash cam while on the move and as your head-mounted camera while on the move. Given its small size, you can fit it anywhere in your vehicle and record it without anyone noticing.
  • High-Quality Resolution: The newer models, such as Hero 10 and 11, have a crystal resolution even on low-light roads. Night drives will no longer be an issue, as these models support up to 240fps in 1080p and 120fps in 4K mode.
    4k go pro cam
  • Wide Angle & Image Sensor: While dedicated dash cams have one or dual cameras, the GoPro has multiple lens options, including SuperView, Wide and Linear. The Wide lens supports advanced stabilization (HyperSmooth 4.0).
  • Loop Recording: You can set the camera’s setting with just a few clicks and allow it to constantly record without worrying about running out of memory. Once the memory limit is reached, older recordings will be automatically deleted.
  • Easy Mount: Attaching the camera to your dashboard or windshield will take you a couple of minutes. Once you’ve set the mount, you can have the camera in and out within moments.

Disadvantages of Using GoPro as a Dash Cam

Some downsides of using Go Pro for car recordings are:

  • No G-Sensor: Dedicated dash cams can detect an accident or a rapid, unexpected movement and safely store the recording for easy access. Looking for a specific recording on a GoPro isn’t as easy.
    GoPro No G-Sensor
  • Higher Price: GoPros can be a bit more costly than dash cams, with its price starting at $350 for the lower-range models.
  • Manual Turn On/Off: Dash cams start recording as soon as you turn your car on, while you’ll have to turn the GoPro on and off each time manually.

GoPro vs. Dedicated Dash Cams: Which Is Right for You?

GoPro action models are a good fit for a dash camera if you already own one, if you’re not driving that often, or if you don’t do longer trips with drastic temperature differences. The camera offers 4K quality recordings, it’s easy to set up, and you’ll always have the option to take it out and use it for other activities. We’d only recommend having a second SD card with you if you choose to use it outside your car. 

On the other hand, a dedicated dash cam is a better choice if you want to set the camera once in for all. A hard-wired dash cam can record without you having to switch it on and off. The G-sensor ensures a recording is saved in case of an accident, which helps with easy access later on. Dedicated dash cams also have intelligent parking sensors and driver alerts.

Conclusion: Is Using GoPro as a Dash Cam Worth It?

A GoPro as a dash cam is worth it if you plan to use it for short trips and if you’re looking for high-quality resolution videos. It’s a versatile camera that you can use outside of your car, too, especially thanks to its easy mounting feature. 

You may want to look into other options if you’re looking for a less costly version, want continuous recordings of whenever you drive and the extra dash cam features, such as the intelligent parking systems and GPS mapping.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is GoPro for car recordings a good option?

If you already have a GoPro, you can certainly use it as a dash cam, especially if it’s a newer model with higher resolution, night vision and better battery capacity.

Why do I need a dash cam?

The recordings from dash cams can be used as proof in case of an accident, theft or any other inconvenience. Some dash cams can even record if anything happens to your car while parked. 

What makes a GoPro a good dash cam choice?

GoPro is a good dash cam option if you’re looking for a high-resolution camera with good stabilization. Mounting the camera is easy, and its size makes it fit anywhere on the windshield or the dashboard.  

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