Review: PAPAGO GoSafe 520 GS520-US Dashcam 3" LCD, HDR, Ambarella A7L Chip, Ultra HD 2k.

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@PAPAGO! GS520-US GoSafe 520 Dashcam with 3" LCD Display, HDR, Ambarella A7L Chip, Ultra HD 2k.
This was sent to me for review.
**************************************************************
GoSafe 520 GS520-US review Summary:
It's similar to Dome G90 in size and shape as well as uses Ambarella A7 chip.
A7 has shown great video quality and no surprises here.
Video quality is excellent with all areas in focus, nice color saturation.
Audio is good as well, no crackling, no distortion.
Build quality is very good.
Night quality is good as shown from the screenshots and videos above but may need to adjust exposure either on camera or afterwards in the video for brighter footage but details are there.

Previous A7 cameras I have/had, have some issues like the mounts were flimsy, audio was distorted and got very hot. This 520 doesn't have those issues.
GS520-US has much better mount.
It uses mount like G1WX that's much stable and also the mount can pan all around that is great when it needs to point to window or inside.

The driver assistance features like headlight reminder, fatigue alert, stop and go work really good.
Stop and Go feature immediately beeps when front car moves on green light or heavy traffic.

Basically, it has excellent video and has few fixes that we wanted on the A7 based dashcams like better mount, better audio and better case.
I had this and another A7 camera side by side under hot Sun for 5 hours and this was hot but easy to grab and hold while the other A7 was burning hot to touch so this 520 should work better on hot weather.
Very good dashcam and I recommend it.
If you need cheaper, go for the Papago GoSafe 272 that has all the similar driver assistance features and build quality but video quality will not be as good as this 520.

**************************************************************
Details:
The dashcam product page is below that has links to stores that sell it:
http://us.papagoinc.com/products/gosafe-520/

Papago mentions this camera will have lifetime firmware upgrade support so that's something to change menu and settings in the future depending upon feedback.
Since it's based on Ambarella A7 chip, it can do 2560x1080p video resolution.
It has some neat features like stop/go alert, driver fatigue alert and headlight reminder.
I'll test those later but headlight reminder came on few times last evening.

Unboxing video: It's at 1.5x so slow down playback if needed.

Package contents:
  1. Papago GoSafe 520 Dash Camera
  2. Suction mount
  3. Car mini USB Charger 1.5A.
  4. mini USB to USB cable
  5. Product Manual and Warranty Card
00003.MTS_20150627_123239.015.jpg

The camera is pretty much black except the white ring on the tip of lens module and papago logo.
Build quality is very good.

Top: mini USB charging port, mount attachment, power and dedicated event button. DSC02254-Papago-GoSafe-520.jpg

Bottom: reset and mic.
DSC02252-Papago-GoSafe-520.jpg

Back: left has power and charging lights. Right side mode, up, down and ok buttons. These act as different function in menu settings.
DSC02255-Papago-GoSafe-520.jpg

Left edge of LCD: mini HDMI and microSD slot.
DSC02253-Papago-GoSafe-520.jpg

Right edge of LCD: nothing here.

This has EV adjustments available in menu unlike other Ambarella dashcams I have.
Me likey!
I think every dashcam either needs to have EV adjustments and/or auto EV, both is ideal.
Not having either one is a bad choice.
Papago quick menu settings:

Another feature I like in this dashcam is the mount is better like G1Wx cameras but can pan fully left to right in case you need to point it to the window.
Check @ 3:35 in the unboxing video to see how the mount pans left to right.
Once it pans to a position, the clicker kinds of holds it in that position.
DSC02256-Papago-GoSafe-520.jpg


Side-by-side with G90, Rexing F9 and Lukas LK-7950WD:
GoSafe 520 is slightly almost same size as a Dome G90 but body is slightly thicker.
DSC02258-Papago-GoSafe-520.jpg
DSC02262-Papago-GoSafe-520.jpg
DSC02261-Papago-GoSafe-520.jpg
DSC02259-Papago-GoSafe-520.jpg


More details and sample videos coming soon...
 
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File structure is same as other Ambarella based dashcams.
However, file names are datetime on the Papago GS-520.
This is nice so we can easily find clips.
For a 5-minute clip (no other option), file size is 676 mb.

Papago GoSafe 520-Folder-File-size.PNG

Overall VBR is pretty good @ 18.4mbps with video @ 18mbps and audio @ 128Kbps:
Mediainfo properties of a 5-minute video clip:
Code:
General
Complete name               : F:\NORMAL\2015-06-27-13-41-41.MOV
Format                      : MPEG-4
Format profile              : QuickTime
Codec ID                    : qt 
File size                   : 660 MiB
Duration                    : 5mn 0s
Overall bit rate mode       : Variable
Overall bit rate            : 18.4 Mbps
Encoded date                : UTC 2015-06-27 13:41:41
Tagged date                 : UTC 2015-06-27 13:41:41
AMBA                        :

Video
ID                          : 1
Format                      : AVC
Format/Info                 : Advanced Video Codec
Format profile              : Main@L5
Format settings, CABAC      : Yes
Format settings, ReFrames   : 1 frame
Format settings, GOP        : M=1, N=15
Codec ID                    : avc1
Codec ID/Info               : Advanced Video Coding
Duration                    : 5mn 0s
Bit rate mode               : Variable
Bit rate                    : 18.0 Mbps
Width                       : 2 560 pixels
Clean aperture width        : 2 560 pixels
Height                      : 1 080 pixels
Clean aperture height       : 1 080 pixels
Display aspect ratio        : 2.40:1
Frame rate mode             : Constant
Frame rate                  : 29.970 fps
Color space                 : YUV
Chroma subsampling          : 4:2:0
Bit depth                   : 8 bits
Scan type                   : Progressive
Bits/(Pixel*Frame)          : 0.217
Stream size                 : 644 MiB (97%)
Title                       : Ambarella AVC / Ambarella AVC
Language                    : English
Encoded date                : UTC 2015-06-27 13:41:41
Tagged date                 : UTC 2015-06-27 13:41:41
Color range                 : Full

Audio
ID                          : 2
Format                      : AAC
Format/Info                 : Advanced Audio Codec
Format profile              : LC
Codec ID                    : 40
Duration                    : 5mn 0s
Bit rate mode               : Constant
Bit rate                    : 128 Kbps
Channel(s)                  : 2 channels
Channel positions           : Front: L R
Sampling rate               : 48.0 KHz
Compression mode            : Lossy
Stream size                 : 4.58 MiB (1%)
Title                       : Ambarella AAC / Ambarella AAC
Language                    : English
Encoded date                : UTC 2015-06-27 13:41:41
Tagged date                 : UTC 2015-06-27 13:41:41

Text
ID                          : 3
Format                      : Timed Text
Codec ID                    : text
Duration                    : 5mn 0s
Source duration             : 5mn 0s
Bit rate mode               : Constant
Bit rate                    : 240 bps
Stream size                 : 8.80 KiB (0%)
Source stream size          : 8.80 KiB (0%)
Title                       : Ambarella EXT / Ambarella EXT
Language                    : English
Encoded date                : UTC 2015-06-27 13:41:41
Tagged date                 : UTC 2015-06-27 13:41:41
*********************************************

Video quality is excellent as expected from Ambaralla A7 chip.
All areas are in focus.
I drove only around half an hour with a break in between and didn't see heat related focus shift.

Few screenshots: sunny and hot day so some dashboard reflections.
2015-06-27-13-36-40.MOV_20150627_160357.013.jpg
2015-06-27-13-36-40.MOV_20150627_160421.850.jpg
2015-06-27-13-41-41.MOV_20150627_160529.976.jpg
2015-06-27-13-46-41.MOV_20150627_160619.333.jpg
2015-06-27-13-51-42.MOV_20150627_160722.718.jpg
2015-06-27-15-15-06.MOV_20150627_160814.744.jpg
2015-06-27-15-20-07.MOV_20150627_160849.750.jpg
2015-06-27-15-20-07.MOV_20150627_160859.766.jpg
2015-06-27-15-20-07.MOV_20150627_160910.232.jpg
 
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Daytime sample videos:
As expected from an Ambarella chip, video quality is excellent.
Audio is pretty good as well compared to Dome G90's audio. No crackles, no distortion.
Overcast day:

Sunny day:

Sunny day:

Evening and night videos coming soon...
 
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More daytime screenshots and video.

2015-06-30-08-54-34.MOV_20150630_224909.748.jpg
2015-06-30-08-54-34.MOV_20150630_225045.736.jpg
2015-06-30-08-59-35.MOV_20150630_225109.604.jpg
2015-06-30-08-59-35.MOV_20150630_225129.728.jpg
2015-06-30-16-39-28.MOV_20150630_225507.771.jpg
2015-06-30-17-23-45.MOV_20150630_225715.128.jpg
2015-06-30-17-33-46.MOV_20150630_225800.479.jpg
2015-06-30-17-33-46.MOV_20150630_225817.201.jpg
2015-06-30-17-33-46.MOV_20150630_225839.573.jpg
2015-06-30-17-33-46.MOV_20150630_225846.702.jpg


Videos:



 
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How do they look from outside and inside?

20150630_165506-Papago-G5WA.jpg

20150630_174524.jpg

20150702_092210-Papago-G5WA.jpg
 
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This definitely looks nicer than the 272 you're also looking at currently - how would you say this one compares to the A7LA70 G90 as it looks like a nice sharp lens on this one.
 
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This definitely looks nicer than the 272 you're also looking at currently - how would you say this one compares to the A7LA70 G90 as it looks like a nice sharp lens on this one.
Yes this is much better than the 272.
Compared to G90, video quality is similar, audio is better and mount is much better.
Also, the stop and go alert works very good that may prevent drivers behind you honking. ;)

I haven't noticed heat related focus shift yet and will watch out for that.
 
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GoSafe 520 GS520-US thoughts:
It's similar to Dome G90 in size and shape as well as uses Ambarella A7 chip.
A7 has great video quality and no surprises here.
Video quality is excellent with all areas in focus, nice color saturation.
Audio is good as well, no crackling, no distortion.
Build quality is very good.
Night quality is good as shown from the screenshots and videos above but may need to adjust exposure either on camera or afterwards in the video for brighter footage but details are there.

Previous A7 cameras I have/had, have some issues like the mounts were flimsy, audio was distorted and got very hot. This 520 doesn't have those issues.
GS520-US has much better mount.
It uses mount like G1WX that's much stable and also the mount can pan all around that is great when it needs to point to window or inside.

The driver assistance features like headlight reminder, fatigue alert, stop and go work really good.
Stop and Go feature immediately beeps when front car moves on green light or heavy traffic.

Basically, it has excellent video and has few fixes that we wanted on the A7 based dashcams like better mount, better audio and better case.
I had this and another A7 camera side by side under hot Sun for 5 hours and this was hot but easy to grab and hold while the other A7 was burning hot to touch so this 520 should work better on hot weather.
Very good dashcam and I recommend it.
If you need cheaper, go for the Papago GoSafe 272 that has all the similar driver assistance features and build quality but video quality will not be as good as this 520.
 
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Stop'n'Go alert works amazingly good on the Papago GoSafe 520 dashcam.
I think it missed one or two in the entire trip.
Here are 4 or 5 clips joined together when it triggered Stop'n'Go alert.
Very good and reminds driver pretty quick. Same feature is available on the GoSafe 272 as well.


Also, all these are after parking under hot Sun all day, no focus shift.
Focus is still sharp.
 
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Another video of familiar street to compare against old footage.
This is after being under Sun all day, no focus shift.
Focus is still sharp.

 
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How to remove the yellow Papago 520 text?

What you have to do is this:
1. Take the card out and open logo.txt file. The stamp is in the logo.txt file in the card.
2. Delete Papago 520 text and replace it with a space.
3. Save the file.
4. Go to file properties and change it to 'Read only'. If you don't do this, camera will add that Papago 520 text when it starts.
5. Put the card in the camera and no yellow text.
Note: If you format, you have to do it again.
 

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Compared to the other similar Ambarella A7+ov4689 cameras that you have (ie. G90), did you notice that the gs520 seems to have more sensor noise than the others or is it about the same? I've noticed video is a bit more grainy, especially noticable when looking at a blue sky. Perhaps they never turned on noise reduction in the firmware, which in can be a good thing since a raw video is better than one processed by the camera. It does have a smaller aperture of F2.0 vs the supposedly F1.8 in the dome g90 series. I also noticed that the gs520 firmware doesnt seem to take autoexec.ash hacks. Probably blocked in the firmware.
 
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Compared to the other similar Ambarella A7+ov4689 cameras that you have (ie. G90), did you notice that the gs520 seems to have more sensor noise than the others or is it about the same? I've noticed video is a bit more grainy, especially noticable when looking at a blue sky. Perhaps they never turned on noise reduction in the firmware, which in can be a good thing since a raw video is better than one processed by the camera. It does have a smaller aperture of F2.0 vs the supposedly F1.8 in the dome g90 series. I also noticed that the gs520 firmware doesnt seem to take autoexec.ash hacks. Probably blocked in the firmware.
I think all ambarella videos have grainy video when you look at full size.
Check this thread for hack:
https://dashcamtalk.com/forum/threads/how-to-unbrick-your-papago-gosafe-520.13192/
 
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SeeZeus Shadow RX300
I am pulling the plug on Papago GoSafe 520 tomorrow. My trusty SeeZeus Shadow RX300 kicked the bucket yesterday.

My questions is... I still have that nice GPS antenna I used with my RX300. Is it possible to use it with GoSafe 520? I believe they have same connectors, but not sure if they'd be compatible together. Anyone might have any info on this by any chance?

Thanks in advance!
 

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