Dashcam Final Thoughts
The PAPAGO! P3 Dashcam is one of the most elaborate Dashcams I’ve seen, but it’s let down by documentation that might politely be described as “inadequate” and poor feature implementation. Other than the Forward Collision Warning System and Lane Departure Warning System, none of the driver safety features are mentioned in the manual at all, much less explained. This means that when you want to use the Speeding Alert, Driver Fatigue Alarm, Remind Lights, Stop and Go, or other features, you’ll just have to figure them out yourself.
But that’s probably just as well, since in my testing the performance of the safety features simply wasn’t good enough to make them really useful. After a couple of days I simply turned them all off. Still, should things like “Collide Record” be turned on? Probably, but it’s really just my best guess.
Note: PAPAGO! has pointed out that this link on their web site contains more information on the features that aren’t covered in the printed and downloadable manuals. Stop and Go, for example, will alert you if you’ve been stopped for at least 10 seconds, but the car ahead of you has moved on (you didn’t notice that the light had turned green).
The necessity of positioning the camera on the windshield means you’ll have a power cord draping across your dash (of course, this is true of any dash camera). If you want to wire it into your car’s electrical system, PAPAGO! helpfully suggests you cut the end off the cable (you can’t use a standard USB cable since the P3 runs on 5V, and your car’s electrical system is 12V. The P3 cable has an inline adapter to adjust the voltage). The manual mentions that doing so voids the warranty! This seems silly given the price of the unit.
All that said, as a Dashcam the P3 is superb: I was really impressed with the quality of the videos it produced. The price is high but similar to the price of many other “Full HD” dash cameras. However, you can also get a number of full HD Dashcams without the P3’s extra features for much less money.
PAPAGO! P3 Dashcam Conclusion
As a Dashcam, the performance of the P3 was excellent. However, its many extra safety features and settings were less useful, due to a combination of no documentation and poor performance.
Most Dashcams are thin slabs or cylinders; the P3 is much chunkier, which can lead to problems with finding a good place for it on your windshield that doesn’t obstruct your field of view.
The physical construction quality of the unit is excellent. Its appearance is impressive, and everything fits and works with precision.
Functionally…well, if the P3’s myriad extra features were documented and worked as they should, it would be great. Sadly, they’re not and they don’t. The redeeming feature of the P3 is its video: sharp, clear, with excellent detail in almost all lighting situations.
The PAPAGO! P3 is excellent as a dash camera, but the extra features shouldn’t factor into your buying decision, as they don’t work well enough to be really useful.
+ Brilliant, razor-sharp HD video
+ HDMI port allows video output to TV or monitor
+ Includes 16GB memory card
– Many features are undocumented in printed manual (but are explained on the PAPAGO! web site)
– Can be hard to find a good place to mount it
– “Driver Safety” features don’t work well
– Map data is spotty
– No included direct-wire cable
Final Score: 8.75 out of 10.
Recommended: Benchmark Reviews Seal of Approval.
COMMENT QUESTION: Do you use a dashcam?