Veil Home » Guides » Best radar detector review: top-rated radar detectors of 2017

Best radar detector review: top-rated radar detectors of 2017

Best radar detector review: Best radar detectors of 2017?

Radar detector reviews of the best radar cetectors Available on the Market in 2017 from Beltronics, Cobra, Escort, Radenso, Uniden, Valentine, and Whistler.

Updated: 06-17-2017

Top Rated Best Radar Detectors to Avoid Speeding Tickets

Veil Guy Reviews the Best Radar Detectors of 2017

Introduction

Radar detectors have been around a long time, nearly 40 years, and for much of that time the best radar detector was considered to be one that was the most sensitive and alerted to police radar from the farthest distance. A lot has changed in both the radar detector and traffic enforcement industries and today in 2017, the RF landscape has significantly deteriorated and become far more challenging for a radar detector to function well. Now more than ever, the best radar detectors have to successfully balance two opposing dynamics: filtering (signal rejection) and sensitivity.

In fact, I have begun to put a greater emphasis in rating the best radar detectors on effective filtering and false signal rejection rather than mere radar sensitivity. Notice my use of the word effective. There’s a lot more to filtering than just keeping a radar detector quiet. The best radar detectors must also still be able to alert to genuine police radar during the active filtering out of the junk. While there are some radar detectors that filter very well, they are those that will leave you exposed because they during that time because the sensitivity to real police radar is so compromised that your radar detector is essentially rendered deaf, dumb, and blind.

Also keep in mind that today, most radar detectors offer plenty of sensitivity and will alert to radar (especially to continuous operation radar) at more than sufficient alerting distances,  generally giving you ample amount of time to react.  Today, now more than ever, other attributes or features of radar detectors matter more than they used to.

Contrived closed-course testing of radar detectors–a review format that’s popular with the forum community and other radar detector testing organizations–do not take these dynamics into consideration and therefore have limited value at predicting how well radar detectors will actually perform in the real-world. Our rankings of the best radar detectors are based upon how they perform on the open-road. This radar detector testing method is a format that actually pioneered 15 years ago and, in my opinion, remains the best possible approach to determining which radar detectors perform the best overall in the greatest variety of circumstances you’ll likely encounter in your areas of travel.

I’m going to first provide a quick summary of each radar detector’s rating, followed by a more detailed review of each radar detector. Individual in-depth radar detector reviews are also linked to, to help you learn much more about the specifics and nuances of a radar detector most appropriate for you.

This list does not include radar detectors that are no longer being manufactured or are slated to be discontinued–this includes the Escort Passport, Passport Max, Passport Max 2, and Beltronics GT7, all very fine radar detectors.  We have not included these radar detectors, because while they may still be available, at least for time, these radar detectors may no longer stay current.  With the rapid pace of a changing RF landscape, I recommend now more than ever, to stay current with the most capable radar detectors available.

Keep in mind, all radar detectors are also laser detectors.  I have also prepared a laser detector review, where I’ve rated the best radar detectors at detecting police laser.

We don’t sell radar detectors, Veil manufacturers a police laser and IR photo enforcement countermeasure that can be effectively used with them.  Please consider using these links below to my personally recommended sources if and when you decide to make your purchase. I suggest avoiding sites like Amazon or review sites linking to them, which are often outdated, inaccurate, or light on useful information.  Amazon and eBay “stores” often quickly appear and then disappear, leaving you little options for post-sales and warranty support.  Some are not even authorized to sell the products they list and the models they list may be older stock or overstocks and which may not come with a genuine manufacturers warranty.  We’ve also seen outright fraudulent listings. You’ve heard the expression: If a “deal” looks to good, it probably is.

The specialized radar detector and countermeasure vendors recommended below are the most knowledgeable and supportive both before and after your purchase–far better than those aforementioned vendors; are authorized by the manufacturers; and are readily available for your support questions by phone.  Your support of these specialized radar detector dealers helps to defray my out of pocket costs for conducting these radar detector reviews. So your support is greatly appreciated!  As an added bonus, one of these vendors, radarbusters.com, is offering my readers special discounts on these radar detectors and other countermeasures when you use the code: VEILGUY at checkout.  So, without any further delay, let’s get to it!

Rated Top 10 Best Radar Detectors of 2017 (windshield-mount radar detectors)

  • #1 Rated: Valentine One Radar Detector /w V1Connection or V1Connection LE
    Retail Price: $399 for the V1, $49 for Bluetooth module, associated iPhone/Android App is free
  • #2 Rated: Escort Max 360 Radar Detector
    Retail Price: $649, associated iPhone/Android App is free for basic functions, but becomes $49/year for premium version
  • #3 Rated: Uniden R1 & Uniden R3 Radar Detectors
    Retail Price: $299 for the R1, $399 for the R3 Radar Detector
  • #4 Rated: Radenso XP & Radenso SP Radar Detectors
    Retail Price: $249 for the SP, $399 for the XP Radar Detector
  • #5 Rated: Escort iX Radar Detector
    Retail Price: $399
  • #6 Rated: Escort Redline & Escort Redline XR Radar Detectors
    Retail Price: $549
  • #7 Rated: Radenso Pro SE & Radenso Pro SE Moto (for motorcycle use) Radar Detectors
    Retail Price: $499 for either model
  • #8 Rated: Whistler CR93 & Whistler CR88 Radar Detectors
    Retail Price: $279 for the CR93, $229 for the CR88
  • #9 Rated: Uniden DFR7 & Uniden DFR6 Radar Detectors
    Retail Price: $399 for the DFR7, $299 for the DFR6
  • #10 Rated: Escort X80 Radar Detector
    Retail Price: $299
  • Honorable Mention: Cobra DSP-9200BT Radar Detector
    Retail Price: $299

 

A more in-depth look these radar detectors.

 

 

Valentine 1 Radar Locator (V1, for short)

Valentine 1 Radar Detector - V1

Valentine 1 (V1) Radar Locator

Mike Valentine used to work with Cincinnati Microwave and had a hand in the design of their original radar detector, but eventually left the company to start his own radar detector manufacturing business to build the most uncompromising radar detectors. The V1 radar detector first appeared in the early 90s and his small cadre of highly dedicated engineers produce their first radar detector in the early 90s and their V1 radar detector was way ahead of its time. His radar detectors were the only ones that offered both a front and rear facing radar antennas, provided directional arrows that would point to the source of the radar threat.

Valentine’s philosophy then and now is that his radar detectors will be the only ones you will ever have to buy. He does this by offering a continuous upgrade path, both in hardware when needed and firmware, for a nominal fee that can vary based upon the amount of changes that have occurred between upgrades. One notable thing about the Valentine 1 radar detector is that Valentine Research has retained the same pricing over its 27 year life-span.

Updates to the V1 radar detector do come slowly and methodically and this is by design. Valentine radar detectors are always very refined and new features are thoroughly developed and are not released until thoroughly tested.

Valentine 1 (V1) Pros:

  • Excellent sensitivity to all police radar bands (X-band, K-band, 33.8 & 34.7 & 35.5 Ka-band)
  • The very best in police laser sensitivity
  • Exceptional quickness and ability to detection instant-on police radar, especially when “custom-swept”
  • Directional arrows for maximum situational awareness to all radar and laser threats from the front and behind
  • A bogey counter to inform you of how many detections there are and what band is the most important to be concerned with
  • Accurate and exceptional signal strength alerting both approaching and receding a radar source
  • Exceptional filtering from K-band collision avoidance systems (TMF/TMF2)
  • High level of construction quality both externally and internally
  • Can be Ka-band segmented (ie; custom swept) for improved performance with optional Bluetooth module and smartphone app
  • Very reasonable price (relative to other manufacturers other top products)

Valentine 1 (V1) Cons:

  • Does not include GPS to alert to photo enforcement locations (red light and speed cameras)
  • Difficult to program without optional Bluetooth module and smartphone app
  • X-band and K-band alert tones can sometime be difficult to discern
  • Limited auto-muting options
  • No frequency display of Ka-band radar (without Bluetooth module and smartphone app
  • Can be detected by radar detector detectors (RDDs) and can not be safely used in Virginia (where detectors are banned)

Valentine 1 (V1) Review Summary:

Valentine refrains from glitzy marketing terms and dubious “features.” It’s also a very technical detector, but for serious drivers looking a most refined and uncompromising radar detector, the Valentine continues to stand above all others and is my preferred radar detector when I go on long-distance multi-state (and sometimes high-speed) trips.

Further Reading:

Best place to buy:

 

Escort Max 360

Escort Max 360 Radar Detector

Escort Max 360

After years of downplaying the importance of using directional arrows (VR had a patent on the technology), Escort has given us a detector with just that–a front and rear facing antenna that provide arrows like the V1 has for nearly 26 years. But the Escort Max 360 is much more than a detector with arrows, it’s chock-full of features including built-in GPS; an industry leading photo enforcement database; built-in Bluetooth for easy pairing to your smartphone; and quick integration with Escort’s crowd-sourcing Escort Live! application.

The Escort Max 360 also utilizes what Escort calls a fully digital signal processing back-end with high levels of signal processing performance. Escort claims that this helps the Max 360 reject (ie; filter out) many K-band automotive collision avoidance systems that can wreak havoc on lessor detectors and it appears to come without much penalty in K-band detection performance–that can happen with less sophisticated detectors.

Unlike VR, however, it is not entirely uncommon to find that Escort products are released before they are fully refined. Fortunately, Escort provides a means to update the firmware (and photo enforcement database) by incorporating a connection to your PC or Mac. There have been five firmware revisions to this point from the time this detector was first introduced in late 2015.

The detector is not without its drawbacks, though. One, it is a very large detector, although its size does seem to diminish once mounted on the windshield. Two, the arrows are very slow to transition when passing a radar source and feels absolutely lethargic compared to the nimble valentine. Third, like all Escorts, the trailing alerts on this detector are far too long causing false alerts to last longer than they should and can blur the detections to approaching I/O radar. Fourth, while the Max 360 offers a four-color OLED display (compared to older LED types) and exceptional metering options, the display can be difficult to read in bright light conditions.

Overall though that Escort Max 360 is a very capable radar detector for drivers looking to have similar capabilities to the V1 but with all the nice-to-have features that the V1 lacks. Where the V1 has to be programmed to extract its maximum performance, the Max 360 can basically be driven right out of the box with its default settings. Despite its high price tag, the Max 360 is a big seller for Escort and clearly had shown that the market will support more expensive windshield-mount detectors.

Escort Max 360 Pros:

  • Very good sensitivity to a police radar bands (X-band, K-band, 33.8 & 34.7 & 35.5 Ka-band)
  • Good detection of police laser
  • Exceptional quickness and ability to detection instant-on police radar
  • Directional arrows like the V1, but with different colors for easy band identification
  • Doesn’t require band segmentation to extract high performance of Ka-band detection
  • Most configurable metering system yet available
  • Can display actual frequencies of police radar
  • Built-in GPS for variable speed-sensitive sensitivity and photo enforcement database
  • Firmware and photo enforcement database can easily be updated at home
  • USB Smartcord now comes standard

Escort Max 360 Cons:

  • Largest and heaviest detector yet produced
  • Multi-color OLED display can be hard to read at times in the daylight
  • All digital platform has yet to really prove that is more capable than conventional DSP
  • Construction quality (like buttons) have been somewhat varied (although have become more solid over time)
  • Overly long trailing alerts which continue to sound even when radar or laser source is no longer detected
  • Still missing the USB to mini-D cable which is required for connecting to your computer to update it
  • Most expensive dash mount detector
  • Detection performance was compromised during times of filtering out K-band CAS systems (addressable with newer firmware)

Escort Max 360 Review Summary

The Escort Max 360 is is an exceptional detector for a blend of highway and city driving. The 360 has the most features of any single detector yet. The 360 provides high levels of performance and filtering out of the box for drivers who don’t want to spend a lot of time programming their detector. The 360 is the equivalent of an ultra-high performance all-season radial and one that I wouldn’t hesitate driving with.

Further Reading:

Best place to buy:

 

Uniden R1/Uniden R3

Uniden’s recent re-entry into the radar detector industry has made a big splash with two new very impressive units.  Both the Uniden R1 and Uniden R3 offer extreme performance sometimes exceeding that of the much more expensive Escort Redline or Escort’s custom installed models which run into the thousands of dollars. Both models offer advanced features like dedicated K-band filtering, K and Ka band narrow sweeps (to increase performance and minimize falsing).  Their OLED displays appear brighter than those of Escorts and Beltronics and they size is just right.

The GPS-capable Uniden R3 provides

Uniden R1/Uniden R3 Pros:

  • Advanced digital signal processing (DSP)
  • Extreme radar sensitivity across all radar bands
  • Easy to program/customize settings
  • GPS with red light camera alerts (Uniden R3 only)
  • Free GPS database updates
  • Updatable via USB connection to PC
  • “Bright” multi-color OLED display
  • Special K anti-false filter
  • KA anti-false filter
  • Ka Narrow/Wide sweeps to maximize performance and minimize falsing on Ka-band
  • Nearly SPECTRE RDD undetectable
  • Single & dual suction cup brackets included (unique to Uniden)
  • Cigarette adapter with MUTE KEY and USB JACK
  • Great price points for both models

Uniden R1/Uniden R3 Cons:

  • No ability to configure display other than color

Uniden R1/Uniden R3 Review Summary:

Either Uniden R1/R3 model is an exceptional detector for a blend of highway and city driving and offers extreme performance for substantially less then a similar performing Escort Redline.

Further Reading:

Best place to buy:

 

Radenso XP/Radenso SP

Radenso’s 3rd & 4th offerings in the windshield-mount radar detector category are also most impressive units.  While not providing the absolute sensitivity of its more expensive cousin, the Radenso Pro Se, they’re pretty close and either one more than makes up for it with fabulous K-band collision avoidance filters, that are specifically designed for this function.  But what’s even more impressive is that sensitivity to real police radar doesn’t seem to be impacted while either radar detector is in the proximity of a K-band polluting vehicle.  The GPS-capable Radenso XP (and the non GPS version, the SP) are also more sensitive to police laser than the Pro SE and can detect police laser from the rear and more to the sides, whereas the Pro SE can not.  The new XP & SP can also be segmented to Ka, just like the Escort Redline, which ensures the highest levels of Ka-band sensitivity and quickness.  The are some of the most well-rounded radar detectors I have had the pleasure of driving with, and each come with a ticket protection guarantee and a two-year warranty.  I can’t recommend either highly enough.

Radenso XP/Radenso SP Pros:

  • Very good sensitivity to a police radar bands (K-band, 33.8 & 34.7 & 35.5 Ka-band)
  • Good detection of police laser
  • Can be Ka-band segmented to extract the highest performance of Ka-band detection
  • Minimal impact on detection to genuine police radar during times of active false signal rejection
  • Exceptional quickness and ability to detection instant-on police radar
  • GPS equipped to permit manual lock-out of known false sources of radar (Radenso XP only)
  • Built-in GPS which allows for variable speed-sensitive sensitivity configuration (Radenso XP only)
  • Comes pre-loaded with database of redlight camera locations and is updatable with the supplied USB cable (Radenso XP only)
  • Firmware and photo enforcement database can easily be updated at home
  • Can display actual frequencies of police radar
  • Slightly larger casing than the Pro SE, pays dividends in features and sound levels
  • Bright and readable display

Radenso XP/Radenso SP Cons:

  • X-band performance not at the levels of K and Ka band (affects drivers in NJ and Ohio)
  • GPS redlight database not as complete as other vendors’ offerings (Radenso XP only)
  • Menu and programming procedures is somewhat confusing and can be tricky to use

Radenso XP/Radenso SP Review Summary:

The Radenso XP/SP is an exceptional detector for a blend of highway and city driving.  The XP/SP does especially well when in the presence of vehicles equipped with K-band collision avoidance systems.

Best place to buy:

 

Escort iX

Escort iX Radar Detector

Escort iX

The new Escort iX is Escort’s replacement to their outgoing Passport 9500ix–Escort’s best selling detector of all time. The Escort iX addresses most of the weaknesses that I found with the Passport iX. While not at the performance level of either the Redline or the Max 360, it’s pretty close, close enough that the iX is a great all-around detector for combined highway and city driving.

The Escort iX, proves that you don’t need the fancy “all-digital” signal processing that Escort offers in their Max series of detectors as it does an exceptional job of filtering out K-band falses that stem from automotive collision avoidance technology so prevalent on the roads today.

Like the Passport 9500ix, the new Escort iX incorporates built-in GPS–in fact their most capable yet. Quick GPS satellite connections and more accurate geopositioning happen as a result. As with all GPS detectors from Escort, the iX can alert to redlight and speed cameras with the use of its industry leading Defender database.

The Escort iX can be Ka-band segmented and is much quicker in responding and detecting instant-on police radar. This was a real limitation to the Passport 9500ix, it was sensitive, but it was also slow to respond. The Escort iX perfectly balances its sheer sensitivity with advanced filtering and signal rejection.

The iX also has improve sensitivity to police laser, a capability that I rate as very important. The 9500ix was below average in this regard and I’m pleased to see that the iX has address the 9500ix’s weakness.

The iX also incorporates a new sensitivity setting which is extremely useful for driving around town. This new setting is called AutoLoK and reduces the sensitivity of the iX to K-band. This is especially helpful when you are in the proximity of CVS and Walgreens that often set off K-band false alerts with other detectors.

One of the most novel features that the iX offers is a very quick release magnet mount which attaches to the top of the radar detector. This mount makes for very steady (bounce-free) connections to the windshield and instantly makes every other mount seem outdated.

Finally, the Escort iX is a properly constructed detector in the vein of the older Passport 8500 X50. Some of the more recent detectors from Escort have been of dubious construction quality. I’m pleased to report that the iX is very solidly constructed, sleek, and is properly proportioned.

Escort iX Pros:

  • Great sensitivity to a police radar bands (X-band, K-band, 33.8 & 34.7 & 35.5 Ka-band)
  • Very good detection of police laser
  • Exceptional quickness and ability to detection instant-on police radar
  • Can be Ka-band segmented for improved performance
  • New AutoLoK sensitivity is a Godsend for driving around town
  • New IVT (K-band rejection filtering) does an exceptional job of filtering out these systems
  • Incorporates Bluetooth with Escort Live! integration
  • Most advanced GPS chipset yet in a radar detector provides excellent geolocation
  • Class-leading photo enforcement database
  • Can display frequencies of police radar
  • Awesome quick attach and release magnetic mount
  • USB Smartcord comes standard
  • Firmware and photo enforcement database can easily be updated at home
  • Sleek detector
  • High level of construction quality both externally and internally

Escort iX Cons:

  • Multi-color OLED display difficult to read in bright lighting conditions
  • Overly long trailing alerts which continue to sound even when radar or laser source is no longer detected
  • Still missing the USB to mini-D cable which is required for connecting to your computer to update it
  • Not stealth and can be detected by RDDs so it’s not an appropriate detector for Virginia drivers

Escort iX Review Summary:

This new Escort iX is the detector to drive with for both highway and city driving. It’s advanced filtering and sensitivity modes are some of the best to ever come out of Escort. This is my choice for a daily driver. Escort is calling this detector a “legend reborn.” I call it a new legend in the making, it’s that good.

Further Reading:

Recommended places to buy:

 

Escort Redline/Escort Redline XR

The Escort Redline is made in the same vein as the V1 in many ways. The Redline has more limited features, however, than a V1 and its lack of updating over the years is showing more and more and ultimately why I have dropped it in my rankings relative to my radar detector review of 2016. It remains an extremely high performance detector but it lacks the useful capabilities of other Escort products, like the Escort Max 360 and Escort iX. The Redline is best suited for driving on light to moderately traveled highways and rural driving (where interference from automotive K-band collision avoidance systems is less). It’s extreme sensitivity and limited filtering make it not suited for city, extra urban driving, or on more heavily crowded highways where interference from these vehicle nanny systems are the greatest.

The Escort Redline is unique in that incorporates two forward facing antennas (each tuned to specific frequencies). The V1 also has two as well, but one faces forward and the other faces backwards (for providing directional information) has one forward facing and one rear facing (for directional information). The Redline is also unique in that it is undetectable to radar detector detectors, used in Virginia (where detector usage remains banned, subject to fines) and also used a weigh stations to catch truckers who use radar detectors (which they are federally outlawed to do so).

The Redline posts some of longest detections ever in a windshield-mount detector and continues to offer some of the highest levels of off-axis detection (radar detected from angles) which can be especially useful for rural driving where winding roads and radar absorbing foliage makes it much harder on a detector to detect radar, especially instant-on (or I/O) radar.

The detector also provides very good laser detection perhaps a little better than its stablemate from Beltronics, the STi Magnum. It’s not at the level of the V1, but it’s sufficient for most encounters. It can also be Ka-band segmented which can improve detection to week Ka-band dramatically. Some vendors call a segmented Redline a Redline XR, but Escort doesn’t actually produce an XR (extra range), they are simply using the name to distinguish a segmented Redline from a default configured one. One vendor, charges for the custom programming while RadarBusters provides their service at no additional charge.

Escort Redline/Escort Redline XR Pros:

  • Superior sensitivity to all police radar bands (X-band, K-band, 33.8 & 34.7 & 35.5 Ka-band)
  • Very good detection of police laser
  • Exceptional quickness and ability to detect instant-on police radar
  • Can be Ka-band segmented for improved performance
  • Can display actual frequencies of police radar (good for distinguishing real police radar from non-police radar)
  • Stealth design which can not be detected by RDDs so this detector is appropriate for use in Virginia and by CDL holders
  • High level of construction quality both externally and internally

Escort Redline/Escort Redline XR Cons:

  • Does not include GPS to alert to photo enforcement locations (red light and speed cameras)
  • Alerts for too long with very long trailing alerts which continue to sound even when radar or laser source is no longer detected, reducing ability to identify instant-on police radar
  • Somewhat limited ability to filter out from K-band collision avoidance systems
  • Missing USB port precludes ability to update the firmware

Escort Redline/Escort Redline XR Review Summary:

The highest level of radar detection yet seen in a windshield-mount detector and is most suited for highway and rural driving. It is one of the more expensive windshield-mount detectors available, but it’s worth it given its extreme performance.  The primary downside is that this detector is showing its sign of age and lack of any significant updates.

Further reading:

Recommended places to buy:

 

Radenso Pro SE

Radenso Pro SE Radar Detector

Radenso Pro SE

Radenso is a relative new player in the U.S. market. This very small detector packs very solid detections to K-band and particularly 34.7 Ka-band. Like the Escort Redline, the Radenso Pro SE incorporates an LNA (low noise amplifier) to improve detection performance.

Its detection performance in range and off-axis is in the realm of the extreme Escort Redline detector, nut unlike the Redline, the Radenso Pro SE comes with GPS and a photo enforcement database, and can by updated by the user at home with a computer. The Radenso Pro SE provide very good signal rejection of K-band automotive collision avoidance systems and yet appears to still detect instant-on K-band police radar very well.

Another interesting and unique feature to this Radenso is its ability to “notch” K-band which tightens up K-and closer to the center of police K-band radar of 24.150 Ghz. By tightening K-band, it can reduce detections to K-band sources like automotive systems that still operate on K-band but do so outside the margins of genuine police radar.

The Pro SE provides a host of interesting sensitivity modes including individual changes to each band for driving around town as well as speed sensitive sensitivity. This makes the Radenso Pro SE a very good detector for combined highway and city driving.

Where the Radenso falls short, however, is its ability to detect X-band and police laser are well below those of other detectors at this price point. Radenso clearly has made it their priority to focus on the radar bands that will most likely be encountered. X-band is seen in Ohio and New Jersey and on a limited basis in North Carolina, but not many other states use X-band any more, so for many drivers, this won’t present much of an issue.

Radenso stands by their products offering a full two year warranty on their detectors compared to the typical 12-month warranties of other manufacturers.

Radenso Pro SE Pros:

  • Exceptional sensitivity to a K and Ka-band police radar bands, particularly 34.7 Ghz
  • Excellent filtering of K-band collision avoidance systems
  • Built-in GPS and photo enforcement database
  • K-band sweep can be narrowed to focus more on genuine K-band police radar
  • Many filtering options
  • Large display (for its size)
  • Very small package
  • Firmware and photo enforcement database can easily be updated at home
  • Exceptional two-year warranty
  • Manufacturer is engaged with its customers

Radenso Pro SE Cons:

  • Display difficult to read in bright lighting conditions
  • Below average sensitivity to X-band and police laser at this price point
  • Detection performance has the potential to be compromised during times of filtering out K-band CAS systems (addressable with newer firmware)
  • No rear laser sensor

Radenso Pro SE Review Summary:

Competition is a good thing and this new kid on the block is offering some compelling detectors with some new models on the way. While very popular with some in the enthusiast community, overall performance is not as well rounded as other detectors at this price point however for those seeking exceptional performance on K and K-band especially in such a small package, the Radenso Pro SE stands alone.

Recommended place to buy:

 

Escort X80

Escort Passport X70 Radar Detector

Escort Passport X80

The Escort X80 is Escort’s new “entry-level” detector which essentially replaces their legendary Passport 8500 X50. The X80 is a solid detector. It provides very good sensitivity to all police radar as well as good laser sensitivity. The X80 is built in similar theme to the Passport Max and Max II radar detectors, which candidly haven’t been my favorites in construction design. The X80 includes a dual clear suction cup mounting bracket, which I actually prefer to the larger and more intrusive “sticky cup” designs that are appearing on Escort’s other detector.

Like the Escort iX and Escort Redline, the X80 can also be Ka-band  segmented, but the performance gains are harder to notice in my opinion because the sheer sensitivity of this detector are not quite a the levels of the new iX and certainly the Redline. Still, it’s an always welcome feature.

Unlike the short-lived Escort Passport X70 which did not include Bluetooth, the Escort X80 includes Bluetooth and does not requiring Escort’s SmartCord Live cord to give it the ability to interface with Escort Live! which also provides alerts to redlight and speed camera photo enforcement locations.

Escort X80 Pros:

  • Good sensitivity to a police radar bands (X-band, K-band, 33.8 & 34.7 & 35.5 Ka-band)
  • Good detection of police laser
  • Good detection to instant-on police radar
  • Can be Ka-band segmented for improved performance
  • Integrated Bluetooth
  • Can display frequencies of police radar
  • Sleek detector
  • Nice price point

Escort X80 Cons:

  • Multi-color OLED display difficult to read in bright lighting conditions
  • Overly long trailing alerts which continue to sound even when radar or laser source is no longer detected
  • Doesn’t have the latest signal rejection technology to filter out K-band collision avoidance systems
  • Detection performance has the potential to be compromised during times of filtering out K-band CAS systems
  • Apparent construction quality not as high as other detectors from Escort

Escort X80 Review Summary:

This Escort X80 is a fine detector for those not looking to spend a lot on a radar detector and represents Escort’s entry level model. The X80 makes a good detector for those looking for an Escort branded model.

Recommended place to buy:

 

Whistler CR93/Whistler CR88

Whistler CR93

The only difference between the Whistler CR93 and the Whistler CR88 is that the CR88 lacks GPS and a photo enforcement database for about $25 less in cost. Otherwise, performance is the same.

Whistler has been one of my favorite detector manufacturers for quite some time. While not providing the highest levels of all-around performance, no other detector manufacturer offers as much value. The Whistler CR93 takes the performance of their preceding model, the Whistler CR90, to a noticeably higher level and offers some novel filtering and muting capabilities.

Driving with this new detector it became very apparent that the Whistler CR93 provides higher sensitivity to both K-band Ka-band over their previous models. Expect 2-2.5dBs improvement, which amounts to about a 25%-30% improvement in range, that’s a significant improvement.

Off-axis detections are also noticeably improved. When I shared my observations with Whistler’s engineering, they confirmed a redesigned antenna was indeed used in both the CR93 (and the non-GPS Whistler CR88 model).

Detection to police laser is also very very good. Whistlers are sold oversees and as such detection of police laser is a priority as many more difficult to detect police lasers are found abroad. Whistler is also unique in being able to display the pulse rates of police laser which is very helpful. Some Volvos and Infinitis use laser-based collision avoidance systems which transmit as very specific pulse rates. Whistler not only looks them out based on the frequency pulse counts but also allows you to mute out others that you come across.

Like other Whistlers, the CR93 is super quick at detecting instant-on radar and its alerting ramps are very good. Trailing alerts are also worth mention and are far more useful than those of Escort’s models.

Like the Pro series of detectors that have come before the CR series, Whistler’s are, in my opinion, technically similar to the V1, both in behavior and in the extensive programming that is available. The CR93 and CR88 can be very technical detectors for owners wishing to dig deep into the menu systems.

What’s new for the CR93 and CR88 is Whistler’s new filtering and muting system called FDSR (for field disturbance sensor rejection). When FDSR is enabled, the detector informs its owner that he or she is in close proximity to a vehicle that is using K-band radar as it collision avoidance system.

While many detectors can filter these systems out, the detectors can become “blind” to genuine police radar. Whistler now gives it owner the ability to be informed when this is happening. While Whistlers don’t employ digital signal processing (DSP) like the more expensive detectors from Escort, this is a pretty sophisticated accomplishment.

The photo enforcement database alerted to every redlight camera monitored intersection that I’ve encountered in my driving and like the more expensive detectors out there, also offers the ability to be updated at home. What’s even nicer is that Whistler includes a USB to mini-D cable for doing so, something that the more expensive detectors do not.

Whistler CR93/Whistler CR88 Pros:

  • Very good sensitivity to a K and Ka-band police radar bands
  • Very good detection of police laser
  • Exceptional quickness and ability to detection instant-on police radar
  • Very good alert ramp and useful trailing alerts
  • Can display frequency centers of police radar
  • Advanced FDSR filter to inform driver that K-band CAS systems are in close proximity and can impact performance
  • GPS photo enforcement database (Whistler CR93)
  • Firmware and photo enforcement database can easily be updated at home
  • Very readable OLED display

Whistler CR93/Whistler CR88 Cons:

  • Lacks DSP of higher-end detectors which can help with improving detection performance and signal rejection
  • X-band took a step backward in favor of K-band and Ka-band detection improvements
  • Detection performance has the potential to be compromised during times of filtering out K-band CAS systems

Whistler CR93/Whistler CR88 Review Summary:

The most capable Whistler yet which provides very good performance with K, Ka-band, and police laser nearly as good as detectors costing twice as much. Novel filtering and muting features. Without question the best value going in the sub-200 dollar price category and a detector that I don’t hesitate driving with.

Whistler CR88 Radar Detector

Whistler CR88

The Whistler CR88 is offers identical performance to the Whistler CR93. The only difference between the detectors is that the Whistler CR93 offers GPS and a photo enforcement database.

The new Whistler CR88 provides higher sensitivity to both K-band Ka-band over their previous models. Like the Whistler CR93, Expect 2-2.5dBs improvement, which amounts to about a 25-30% improvement in range, not an insignificant improvement over the outgoing Whistler CR85, the model that preceded the CR88.

While the performance is the same between the Whistler CR93 and the Whistler CR88, for the cost difference of about $30, my recommendation is to go with the CR93. You get a lot of value in the small increase in price as GPS capabilities in other detectors often run an additional $99. So for only $30 more, it’s a great deal.  Both are the best most well-rounded models for those on a tighter budget.

Recommended place to buy:

 

Cobra DSP-9200BT

Cobra DSP 9200 BT Radar Detector

Cobra DSP 9200 BT

Cobra has been stepping up there game lately, first with the introduction of the Cobra SPX-7800BT and now the Cobra DSP 9200BT. This new detector is Cobra’s first to offer digital signal processing (DSP). DSP does indeed raise the level of performance of this detector to good. While not as advanced as detectors from Escort or Valentine, their performance is respectable. Detection to police laser, like other Cobra’s before it, is quite good.

The Cobra doesn’t handle as well the falsing that occurs from K-band collision avoidance systems as other detectors from Valentine, Escort, Beltronics, or even Whistler, but its reduced level of K-band sensitivity offsets this to some degree.

Cobra’s provide some of the most vivid displays in the business and the DSP 9200 BT is no exception. The display is quite bright, colorful, and readable in many lighting conditions.

The Cobra DSP 9200 BT is also one of the very smallest detectors ever produced and handling it makes every other detector seem unnecessarily large by comparison. Construction quality is high and the detector’s button feel is one of the better ones in the industry.

The one thing that was initially hurting this detector was not its performance, but its pricing. I believed the Cobra was priced too high, placing it in the mid-range of Escort’s products and equal to the V1. It was simply outclassed by these other detectors at this price point. Fortunately, Cobra did make a price reduction and put it more in line with where it should be.

This Cobra also incorporates built-in bluetooth enabling the detector to pair with your smartphone. Similar to Escort, Cobra provides an app, called iRadar which provides a photo enforcement database with it as well as give you the ability to make changes to the detector’s settings.

Cobra DSP 9200 BT Pros:

  • Cobra’s highest sensitivity to date on Ka-band and respectable sensitivity to K-band
  • Very good sensitivity to police laser
  • Built-in bluetooth for use of Cobra’s iRadar photo enforcement database
  • Improved dynamic range which allows the Cobra to better alert to the severity of approaching threats
  • Fabulous colorful OLED display
  • Smallest form factor in a detector yet
  • Nicely constructed with excellent tactile feel to its menu buttons

Cobra DSP 9200 BT Cons:

  • DSP not as sophisticated at Escort’s or Valentine’s
  • Below average sensitivity to X-band
  • Filtering to K-band collision avoidance systems not as effective as other models in this ratings guide

Cobra DSP 9200 BT Review Summary:

Cobra used to be the butt of many a joke when it came to their detectors. No longer is Cobra a laughing matter; this new detector is quite respectable and their best one to date.

Further reading:

Recommended place to buy:

 

Conclusion

While this list is no means a complete list of detectors available, it is comprised of what I consider the stand-outs in the dash-mount category. Other honorable mentions include the Adaptiv TPX Pro (for motorcycles) and the Escort Solo S4 which is a battery-operated cordless detector.

To be clear, there is no “bad” detector in my rankings and the fact of the matter is that most detectors today are much better than they used to be even five years ago. As speed enforcement technology has improved, so have the detectors designed to counter them.

I have driven with all of these detectors at one point or another and at speeds that would make most drivers blush. You really can’t go wrong with any of them. It really comes down to priorities, budget, and the areas you drive.

If this is going to be your first detector, I would suggest seriously considering the Radenso XP.  It’s a great all-around detector that will minimize false alerts, which is one of the biggest complaints of new detector owners and the number one reason people stop using them.

Please support this website and these ad-free reviews by using the links provided to make you make your purchasing decision. I ask that you support the vendors that support us, those that give the most back to this community and help enable me to conduct my unbiased reviews.

I hope this article has helped you narrow down your choices. Remember links are available here for more in-depth reviews and feel free to email me with any questions you may still have.

Thanks for reading and remember to drive safely, but most most importantly, protected!

 

Other popular guides

avoid getting tickets with Veil G5.10

Back to Top