PAPAGO! P3 Car Video Recorder -- Reviewed

Written by Martin Regtien on . Posted in Automotive

Papago P3 Car Video Recorder The first time I took a taxi in Taiwan I looked at the satnav device; it was a brand I'd never heard of: PAPAGO!. Then at Computex I came across a stand from PAPAGO! who obviously are very big in Asia. Their most interesting product was a video recording device for your car consisting of a small colour screen and a full HD 1080p camera that will record everything that is happening in front of you in glorious detail. Its purpose is to be a witness for your next car accident….

If that sounds a bit gloomy, keep in mind that more than 100,000 car accidents occur globally every day. I have been in three of them so I've had my fair share already and none of them were my fault. Yet I could have done with an independent witness to back up my side of the story. So what is this PAPAGO! P3 device like to use in real life?

You've seen police videos where the small dashboard cam records everything in front of the cop car. The P3 is a similar device that keeps on recording onto the 32 GB SD card and overwriting it when it gets full. The interesting thing is that whenever an accident happens, no matter how minor, that particular footage will be protected on the card and cannot be overwritten. Quite handy is also that the P3 comes with a built-in map, in this case of Australia, which is also on a protected section of the card.

Even though the screen is only 2.4 inch wide it is enough to show you the road you're on and it also mentions the next crossroad, even though sometimes it misses one or two….

One small problem is that every time you start the car the GPS assumes you’re in the middle of the Sydney CBD, rather than keeping the last lat/long in its memory when you switch off the ignition. That would save a few minutes of getting back on track when you’d need the guidance most if you’re in a different city. Re-acquisition takes sometimes 4 minutes!

There are a number of screen displays possible: the roadmap, the actual road ahead as seen by the camera, your speed and the time. Some gimmicky extras are the ability to get warnings when you depart from your current lane but I haven't found this a compelling feature as too many warnings were given (no, I wasn't drunk). This LDWS together with the Forward Collision Warning System (FCWS) are touted as important safety features. You just have to be careful not to be distracted by the many warnings!

The built-in GPS and G-Sensor in my opinion are the more important features and together with the high-quality Full HD sensor which covers about 130 degrees of the view ahead, rounds off a pretty useful design.

Papago P3 Car Video RecorderPapago P3 Car Video

Obviously the best place for this device is in the middle of the windscreen. PAPAGO!  suggest having it right below the rear-view mirror but as it needs to be powered by 12 V continually, the lead will be hanging down from the device unless you route it all the way around the windscreen. The lead is long enough to do this. It’s a pity that they have chosen for a mini-USB connection rather than the now standard micro-USB.
The device is attached to the windscreen with adhesive. The P3 is easy to set up and all the menu keys are very intuitive.

This is the best part of the whole unit once you install the software on the DVD for replaying the recordings. Not only will you see the actual footage with the road you were on listed on the bottom with the speed and heading but also a Google map with the vehicle progressing along. In addition, the accelerometer readings are there too with the speedometer and compass!  It’s like an aircraft data recorder.  In fact I’m now also using it in the cockpit of my aircraft when I fly as it gives a good overview of the dashboard instruments as well as a reasonable view through the windscreen. We’ve been using the new ION Pro WiFi action camera on the outside of the aircraft (see our upcoming review) but I think PAPAGO! can tap into a new market here for flight recorders as well. We found the video quality reasonably good both during daylight and night time driving conditions.

Papago P3 Car Video Recorder

Papago P3 Car Video Recorder

Whilst I absolutely believe in the necessity of these types of devices for insurance purposes I have some trouble with the installation where it needs to be. The device is fairly small and light weight but shaped like a bulky old CRT television which doesn't give you many other installation options. Probably the best way to increase sales and utilisation of these PAPAGO! devices is to embed them in the rear-view mirror. PAPAGO!  should be able to create a device that will either attach to an existing mirror or replace one altogether. I would imagine that car manufacturers will soon implement similar capabilities into new vehicles as they have with rear-view cameras and satnavs. Which gives PAPAGO!  a small window of opportunity to get as many systems out there with an improved product. I have found it quite useful to navigate by but of course it will be immensely more useful if ever I will be in an accident and this thing has been recording it….
There’s another side benefit to using the PAPAGO! P3: knowing that everything is being recorded I tend to drive more carefully and stick to the speed limit. Yes, that is a good thing when you realize it could also be used against you…

For the price of less than USD 300 we recommend you have a good look at this car DVR. In Australia this unit will be distributed through

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    Comments (7)

      • henry

        :zzz :sad: <br />So... it is basically GPS failure unit and you still suggests to buy it.... 4 min acquisition is plenty of time to have many accidents... Also... has it got an automatic iris controlling the incoming light? it is quite useless if it has not.<br />Taken the price tag... the unit is not worth much except perhaps to let us know that you have an air craft. :lol: :lol: <br />cheers

      • Willem

        No it is not an GPS failure unit, I have been using it for a while now, it is great! Can recommend to anyone who is on the road a bit. I just had the unit connected directly to the car power by an auto electrician, so no wires running through my car. In Thailand that cost me..... $20! The unit itself retails here for about $250

      • Mark in Aus

        I'd like to know where you got the Australian map. According to Papago no Australian map exists for the P3. So my p3 can't use any of the awesome map dependent features. If you can send me a copy of the Aus map I'd be very grateful but I very much doubt it's for the P3

      • Mark in Aus

        I'd like to know where you got the Australian map. According to Papago no Australian map exists for the P3. So my p3 can't use any of the awesome map dependent features. If you can send me a copy of the Aus map I'd be very grateful but I very much doubt it's for the P3

      • George Serna

        I need to replace my power cord to my Papago dash cam model number p1. Where can I purchase one?

      • Michael McDowell

        I also would like to get the Australian mapping SD card, I cant seem to get a reply from Papago to find out if they will supply it or if they will allow me to download it from their site. I purchased my P3 unit in Honk Kong and when using it found it great when it told me where the spped cameras were, all of the features were fantastic. I have emailed the Australian distributor to see if they can help with the Australian mapping data

      • forster

        just bought papago 300 1080p car dvr camcorder but instructions are in chinese and i need in english, supplier daggio cant help me can anyone?

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