PAPAGO! GoLife Extreme Camera Review


There are times in our lives a smartphone can’t record. Rock climbing, motorcycle riding and skiing to name a few. These are some adventures an iPhone wouldn’t be able to survive should it take an unexpected fall. For these life moments it’s good to have a dedicated device like the PAPAGO! GoLife Extreme. It may not be the name in action cameras, but it’s worth your consideration given its easy pick-up-and-go setup, inclusion of all the accessories you could need to start out, oh, and did I mention it has a digestible $299 price tag.


Design and Form Factor

The GoLife Extreme looks like one of those mini LED flashlights you’d pick up at the checkout line. Its long body and small form factor makes it less conspicuous than other boxy action cameras and easier to mount to a helmet, handlebar, or backpack. Papago also gives users plenty of options to mount right out of the box. There’s a reusable plastic zip-tie to attach to bike handles or forks as well as a more permanent sticky mount to attach to a backpack, helmet, or skateboard. It’s nice to have a few accessories right out of the box.

The 0.18 pound aluminum alloy body has a nice weight to it and feels sturdy. Papago lists it as being dustproof, shockproof, and waterproof (up to 1 metre), and unlike most action cameras the GoLife Extreme doesn’t require an extra plastic casing to keep it from harm.

There’s a portion of the GoLife Extreme’s body that can be unscrewed. Underneath it reveals a place to put a micro SD card (up to 32GB), a mini HDMI output, and a micro USB port for charging and uploading files to your computer. The camera comes with built-in Wi-Fi that will drain the battery quickly, so be careful if you’re using it out on the road. This wireless feature allows you to pair the GoLife Extreme with your iOS or Android device.



Ease of Use

The GoLife Extreme has only two buttons on the back: Power and Record, but they control three functions—the additional one being Wi-Fi. In order to enable Wi-Fi, you must power the device on and then hold the record button down for about 3 seconds. The GoLife Extreme lets you know what’s been enabled through three indicator lights (Battery-life/Power, Wi-Fi, and Record) as well as audible beeps. The audible cues were especially helpful when I was out on the road and the GoLife Extreme was strapped to my helmet. Turning it On/Off and restarting video recording was easy, and assured me I was getting the footage I wanted.

When Wi-Fi is on, the GoLife Extreme will create its own wireless network that will appear on your phone. This connection will allow you to interface to the GoLife through the app. There you’ll be able to change video settings, mic levels, and check the stats on the device (i.e. battery-life, Firmware, and so on). Any changes you want to make to the camera’s setting go through the GoLife Extreme app. I liked how easy it was to find the settings I needed in the app with no instruction—it’s an easily understood, simple interface. You can even preview what the GoLife Extreme is seeing, so you can correct your camera’s angle before your begin recording. However, the app doesn’t allow you to get this live view through your phone while the action camera is recording video—a minor nitpick.

The app also allows you to share easily from your smartphone. You can sync and save videos straight to your phone, where you can quickly edit and upload to your social network of choice.



Video and Audio Quality

The GoLife Extreme can record 1080p at 30 frames, 720p at 30 frames, and 720p at 60 frames. Video quality was solid. As you’ll notice in the sample video footage below the camera had some issues with exposure. Through most of the video the sky looks blown-out and the greens of the grass and trees looks a little washed out. Once I ducked into shade, however, you could catch a quick glimpse of the blue sky through some of the tree cover. Other than some over-exposure issues, the GoLife Extreme handled the vibrations from my motorcycles fork beautifully, keeping the image smooth and stable throughout the entire ride.

One minor sticking point when I downloaded the video was the GoLife Extreme name and time stamp that appeared in the bottom-right frame of my videos. You can’t remove this watermark, and this blatant advertisement on my video creations was a turn-off for me. It may not bother some, but I don’t enjoy a company taking ownership of videos I made.

As mentioned before the GoLife Extreme is open to the elements without a plastic shell. This feature allows the microphone to be exposed rather than muffled by a plastic case, which is to its disadvantage when riding motorized vehicles. While recording on my motorcycle the low rumble of the engine and gear shifts were lost to the wind. Other action cameras I’ve used in the past will pick up the rumble of the engine, which is more desirable than wind white noise. I found I preferred to mute the volume while I watched video footage from my trips.


Bottom Line

The Papago GoLife Extreme is a device that you don’t have to fuss over. Its form factor makes it easy to mount than the boxier action cameras and it’s less conspicuous. The button and app interface is simple and takes little instruction. It may not have as many features as more premium offerings, but it comes with everything you could need right out of the box to start your adventure (with the exception of a micro SD card). So long as you aren’t looking for pro-quality video and don’t mind a lot of wind noise in your videos, it’s a good deal for buyers who want a way to relive their adventures out on the open road or hacking their way through the woods.


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Natalie Shoemaker

Natalie found her passion for writing about tech when she started with PCMag. She has also written for Geek, GDGT and TechnologyTell.

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