Can you use a GoPro as a dashcam? What I learnt from 10 months testing

    During the last 10 months I’ve been using a GoPro Hero 10 as a dashcam in the electric cars that I test and to help me learn how to make short time lapse videos.

    Over thousands of kilometres of driving I’ve noted down the pros and cons of using a GoPro as a dashcam as well as how well the official Suction Cup mount works.


    A proper dashcam attaches to a car windshield using 3M adhesive stickers.

    These stickers are really good at staying stuck to glass regardless of how hot or cold it is for many years, so they’re not something you want to stick on someone else’s car and try to remove a week later when the car is returned.

    So let’s discuss the Suction Cup mount. It is the main reason I have been using a GoPro as my dashcam in media loan review electric cars.

    According to GoPro, people have used this Suction Cup mount to attach inside and outside cars, boats, motorcycles and more and it is is proven at speeds of up to 240km/hr! Adjustable arms allow for ultra compact mounting. It includes a standard base and a quick release base for moving conveniently between shots and locations.

    As you can see below I have found the GoPro Hero 10 and Suction Cup mount are best located for doing double duty as a dashcam and time lapse road trip recorder just to the left of the rear view mirror.

    That way they get a clear wide view of the road ahead but don’t interfere with my line of sight as a driver. The quick release base works perfectly for swiftly installing and removing the GoPro Hero 10 when I need to use it or pack it away while the car is parked.

    Pros of using GoPro as dashcam

    Suction Cup Mount – is rock solid reliable. I’ve been surprised that it holds fast to the windshield glass even when driving all day in 40C+ heat.

    Good for swapping between cars – as explained before if you often have to swap between cars often like me as a reviewer or more commonly perhaps you borrow someone else’s car so you can use it for rideshare income earning, then installing your own proper dashcam with 3M sticker is not possible. However a GoPro plus suction cup mount can be attached and removed in seconds without leaving a trace.

    Great day time video quality – during the day unless it is very dark and cloudy a GoPro should be able to record great 4K video of your driving. Just make sure you use “GoPro Start Recording” so you’re taking continuous video. Time lapse mode is different, taking photos at most often every 1/2 second and stitching them together to make a video.

    Reliable Voice Control – GoPro supports lots of voice commands and I have successfully used them often eg: GoPro Start Recording, GoPro Stop Recording, GoPro Take a Photo, GoPro Shoot Burst, GoPro Start Time Lapse, GoPro Stop Time Lapse.

    With or Without Battery – you can use a GoPro as a car dashcam either for short drives with a battery slotted in and no power cable.

    Or with battery in and power cable plugged in, I’ve used this often for drives of many hours.

    In both those cases the GoPro can be told to start recording before you start the car and stop recording after you park.

    Or you can not have a battery and just use the car power via USB cable to power the GoPro but your video might get corrupted if you haven’t stopped recording before turning the car off.

    GoPro Quik app – this app is very useful as it can be used to easily extract hidden GoPro information in the video metadata and display your speed, GPS driving path, Elevation, G Force and more in videos like below. Quik app can also take hours and hours of driving videos and automatically make a short time lapse video highlighting interesting bits of the drive.

    Cons of using GoPro as dashcam

    No Auto Start – a normal dashcam can be set to start recording as soon as you power on the car. With a GoPro you have to remember to manually start recording via a finger press or voice command. If you forget then you won’t record anything. GoPro Labs custom firmware might be able to do this reliably (untested).

    No Parking Mode – Some (but not all) dashcams have a parking mode that starts recording if your car gets bumped while parked. GoPro can’t do that.

    May attract thieves – people know that GoPro’s are worth several hundred dollars and are easy to detach from a mount so don’t leave it visible while parked or your glass might get smashed to steal it.

    Overheating – unfortunately while this doesn’t happen often, on a few occasions (perhaps less than 5% of the time) during hot weather long drives I’ve looked over at the GoPro and noticed it has shut down with an overheating error.

    Poor Night Vision – although GoPros have high resolution for day time video recording and are good at still timelapses of the night sky while on the ground, a GoPro imaging sensor is not that big so it struggles to capture high quality, clearly visible moving video at night.

    Wide Angle – while great for time lapse videos the default wide angle view of a GoPro means you might not be able to view car licence plates that are not close to your car. You can choose a less wide angle for video recordings if you want.

    Neerav Bhatt
    Neerav Bhatt
    Thanks to his broad general knowledge, research skills and ability to explain complex issues Neerav Bhatt has appeared in the online, print, radio and TV media including: ABC (Online, TV, Radio), SBS (Online, Radio), BBC World Service (Radio), 10 News TV, Sky News TV, Australian IT, Technology Spectator, Ausdroid, iTnews, APCMAG, IDG CSO and a variety of other publications. In 2023 he joined the techAU team and represents them at Sydney events.

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