Auto Tech

Greenlight wants to turn your smartphone into a dashcam

While it doesn't monitor the car when you take your phone with you, it's less expensive than buying an actual dashcam.

If all you need is a bare-bones cam that keeps you covered on the road, Greenlight is attractive and affordable.

Greenlight

Dashcams are responsible for some of the best viral videos on the Internet. But they also serve a serious purpose. Whether a dashcam's preventing insurance fraud or just keeping track of the dingbats that try to damage your car on a daily basis, it's quite the helpful tool. One company, Greenlight, wants to make dashcams even more accessible by turning your phone into one.

Greenlight's system requires one physical piece of hardware and one app. The SmartCradle mounts on your dashboard. You slap your phone in there and connect it to Greenlight's dongle. Then you pair the phone and dongle via Bluetooth, boot up the Dashware app (available on both iOS and Android) and boom -- instant dashcam. After you've paired them once, a swipe of the app is all it takes to activate the Greenlight.

Of course, there are some drawbacks. Unless you happen to own a spare smartphone, you'll probably take your phone out of the car with you, so the dashcam won't protect your vehicle when you're not in it. It will automatically save video, however, if the phone detects an incident. And it can save directly to the cloud, preserving any evidence that the guilty party might try to screw with.

So it's not the perfect dashcam replacement, but it serves a great purpose. And for $49, it's a hell of a lot cheaper than a standalone cam. Orders start shipping this fall, but you can pre-order the kit on Greenlight's website.