Radenso Pro SE Review – Small in Size, Big in Performance

 

Radenseo Pro SE Review: Veil Guy Reviews the Radenso Pro SE Radar Detector

Is the Radenso Pro SE really the most sensitive windshield-mount radar detector yet?

By Veil Guy
Published: 10-21-16

 

Whistler CR93 Review & Whistler CR88 Review

Radenso Pro SE Review

Introduction

It’s been nearly forty years since I have been driving with radar detectors and for the most of this time there have only been a handful of viable players in the U.S. and you’ve probably heard of all them.  These manufacturers are Beltronics, Cobra, Escort, Valentine Research, and Whistler.

All this has changed in the last couple of years, however, with the appearance of several new players in the U.S. marketplace.  For this radar detector review, we are going to examine Radenso and their small very high-performance radar detector called the Radenso Pro SE.

Radenso is the brand name of U.S. bound radar detectors that come from Genevo, a Czech-based company.

The Radenso Pro SE, the SE standing for special edition, is billed as being the most sensitive windshield-mount radar detector.  This is a very bold claim, especially coming from a newcomer.  Radenso was kind enough to send me a full production unit for a real-world review.  The Radenso is firmware updatable and they wished for me to conduct a formal review only after it came with a more recent version of the firmware, currently at version 17.

The Radenso Pro SE joins an exclusive club of radar detectors which incorporate an LNA (low-noise amplifier).  While adding to the cost of production, a properly designed detector so equipped can provide signficant improvements in both sensitivity and detection range without significantly degrading the signal-to-noise ratio.  The only radar detectors heretofore that offered LNA were from Escort and Beltronics and quite frankly, their (M3-based) detectors: the Escort Redline, Beltronics STi Magnum, Escort Passport 9500ci. and the Beltronics STiR Plus are getting long in the tooth sorely needing updates to combat the current RF challenges that we face today.

Packaging & Workmanship of the Radenso Pro SE Radar Detector

Like the Radenso Pro, the Radenso Pro SE is extremely small in size–along the lines of the Cobra 7800BT and 9200BT.

The Radenso Pro SE’s casing is a made of high gloss impact resistant plastic.  I would have preferred that Radenso utilized the low-gloss “metalized” casing on the Radenso Pro.  The menu buttons located on the top of the detector.

The GPS-enabled Radenso Pro SE comes with a USB connection (USB data cable provided) located on its right side along with a headphone jack, and volume controls which also doubles as part of the menu control.  The power connector is located on the left side and has a diminutive connector like the Whistlers and Cobras.

The mount is a conventional two-suction cup design, which is my preferred choice as opposed to Escort’s and Beltronics large sticky-cup windshield mounts.  The Radenso Pro SE also comes with a nice carrying case and small instruction manual.

Unlike of radar detectors, Radenso has chosen to exclude a rear-facing police laser sensor on the Radenso Pro SE.  While I personally prefer radar detectors which have them there is only one radar detector, the V1 which is exceptional at detecting rear laser and for the majority of rear police laser encounters the capability is largely academic.

Radenso is very confident in their products, offering an unprecedented two year warranty to those who purchase the Radenso Pro SE.

Utility & Behavior

The Radenso Pro SE OLED display is available in three colors, Blue, Red, and Yellow.  The blue display is actually closer to grayish-white similar to Uniden’s new detectors and the yellow display is slightly orange in appearance.  I found the yellow display to be much easier to see in bright conditions than the blue which tends to get washed out.

The Radenso Pro SE provides some novel features for the more advanced driver.

K-wide and K-narrow scanning modes

When properly calibrated, K-band police radar operates at a frequency centered at 24.150Ghz.  Radar detectors typically scan a greater frequency range on both sides of this frequency.  With the conventional setting of K-wide, the Pro SE scans 150Mhz on each side of the center.  The biggest challenge radar detectors face today are the K-band equipped collision avoidance systems appearing in many cars.  While these systems operate with what is called frequency modulated continuous waveform radar (for determining distance between vehicles) transmission from these systems will appear as conventional continuous waveform radar (like those used by police) for brief periods of time and therefore can appear like conventional CW radar at frequencies outside police K-band radar.

For example, Chevrolet systems often appear at frequencies greater than 24.220Ghz K-band and in all of my years of driving, I have yet to encounter K-band police radar at such a deviated frequency.  Radenso recognizes this and thus provides a reduced frequency sweep of only +/- 70Mhz with its K-narrow setting.  The only other detector that offers something similar is the V1 with its custom sweeps profiles.  Just using this setting, you are assured of reducing falses on K-band with incurring any penalty of more advanced K-band filtering without sacrificing detections to bona fide police radar.

Ka-wide and Ka-narrow scanning modes

Ka-band police radar is very wide frequency band.  However, in the U.S. only three frequencies within Ka-band matter: 33.8Ghz, 34.7Ghz, and 35.5Ghz.  Seven years ago I discovered that performance gains could be had by configuring a Beltronics STiR remote radar detector to only look at those three specific frequencies by utilizing a programming option of that detector called Ka-band segmentation coupled with reduced filtering overhead.

The impact of that discovery has had a significant impact on the radar detector industry and now the top detectors from Beltronics, Escort, and Valentine all offer some form of Ka-band segmentation.

The benefits of segmentation are that the detection range and sensitivity to I/O police radar can be improved, sometimes dramatically.  Segmentation also brings with it reduced levels of Ka-band falsing because detectors so configured don’t even look at other Ka frequencies unnecessarily so.

Radenso has joined the ranks of these manufacturers and has provided a Ka-narrow scanning mode which effectively does the same thing as band-segmenting.  This ensures that the Pro SE will potentially better detect faint Ka police radar from extreme distances.

Filtering & Signal Rejection

The Radenso Pro SE also borrows a design from Whistler and that is with their version of TFSR (traffic flow sensor rejection) which introduces slight delays in alerting times to briefly appearing K-band radar.  The Pro SE has two traffic sensor rejection modes–HIGH and LOW–the difference between the two is that the HIGH mode adds a slightly longer delay than the LOW mode.  In either setting, the delays are not unreasonably long and should have minimal adverse impact on detection to short duration instant-on police radar.

As expected, the HIGH mode tends to filter out more systems than the LOW mode.  My preferred settings are K-Narrow and TS Rej LOW, however.  While some systems can still sneak through, the vast majority of them are  filtered out.

Something that you should keep in mind and a point I have been making with my reviews is the adverse impact these automotive systems can have on a radar detector’s ability to alert to real police radar.   This is something that is overlooked by many.

While it is a virtue that a radar detector can effectively filter out K-band CAS systems, let’s be clear, it can come at a significant cost to detection to genuine radar during such times of interference and not just K-band either, detection to other bands can also be adversely impacted.

In the case of the Pro SE, when I was following a chevy vehicle, detection range to a stationery constant-on source was reduced by nearly 90%–close enough that that could put me at risk.  I have to believe the risk goes up when approaching instant-on radar.

To be fair, Radenso is not alone at exhibiting this behavior.  I’ve witnessed compromised performance with Whistlers and Escorts (including the Max series).   I once was behind an Audi with an Escort Max 360 and after I turned off to another road, the 360 completely missed a stationery 34.7 source even at point blank range.  I had to turn off the unit to have it alert.

With the new Whistler CR88 and Whistler CR93 detectors, when FDSR (field disturbance sensor rejection) is enabled and you are behind a vehicle equipped with one of these systems, the detector actually shows you that it’s being adversely affected, which is a good thing, because if a detector stays silent, there is no way to know that its performance is being impacted and that you are at greater risk of getting targeted without alert.

It’s the most challenging thing that detectors must overcome and I can only hope capabilities to filter out these spurious signals while maintaining good sensitivity to real radar will continue to improve.

Falsing

Overall, the Pro SE is pretty quiet and well filtered.  I have noticed that the detector will occasionally false to X-band at 10.525Ghz at locations where no radar is present and it seems to do this more frequently after it has been recently powered on.

Very configurable CITY and AUTOCITY sensitivity modes

The Pro SE offers three sensitivity settings, HIGHWAY, CITY, and AUTOCITY, however the detector offers a unique ability to specifically tailor alerting behavior and sensitivity on each police radar band of X, K, and Ka based upon the current speed.  This feature is even more practical than the Escort iX’s new AutoLoK mode as it affords the drive the ability to reduce effective sensitivity by as much as 90% on its individual band.

While driving around town or at slower highway speeds than 10 over the posted speed limit, just to pick a number, is there really a need to have very high sensitivity to X or K?  The answer is, no not really because for the most part, the detector will be exposed to X and K band door openers as well as K-band CAS systems.  There is nothing more annoying than to be stuck behind such vehicles at a traffic light.

Another very useful feature which makes this detector quite suitable to driving around town is the ability to set two speed thresholds.  The first setting (the lower speed) will disable alerts to all radar detections.  Why detect radar when there is no need?  The other setting (the higher speed), the detector will operate with reduced sensitivity.  Each of these capabilities makes for very a pleasant driving experience around town, which is generally not the case for a very high performance radar detector, generally most suited highway and rural driving.

Practical GPS integration

In terms of GPS capabilities, beyond highly customized sensitivity configurations, the Pro SE allows the driver to tailor the alerting distance to red light camera and other fixed camera systems.  Like the Whistlers, by decreasing the distances, false alerts when traveling on adjacent highways can safely be eliminated.

Another nice feature of GPS is the ability to manually lock out frequency specific known stationery sources of radar.  Auto locking is not possible as it is on Beltronics and Escort detectors, but I believe that to be a non-issue as I’ve never used the auto lock features, preferring to explicitly lock them out for greater peace of mind.

Performance

Very High levels of Alerting Range on K-band and K-band & Off-Axis Detections

Don’t let the small size fool you, the Pro SE provides astounding range of K-band and Ka-band, right up there with the Escort’s M3-platform of detectors like the Redline and STi Magnum.  It also offers similar levels of off-axis detections (to radar from more extreme side angles).  That ability can pay big dividends with detections to radar around curves but can also create an increased number of falses around town.  Fortunately, as indicated earlier, the configurations of CITY and AUTOCITY modes can mitigate many of these potential increases in falsing rates.

The ability of the Pro SE to alert to I/O instant-on radar is terrific and something I consider an essential feature of any serious radar detector.

Unlike the high-end detectors from Beltronics, Escort, and Valentine, the alerting performance isn’t as symmetrical.  Both X-band and police laser is noticeably reduced.  Reduced X-band won’t affect drivers in states other than New Jersey, North Carolina, and Ohio, because X-band is generally not found in other states, in fact for many drivers, X-band can be completely disabled.

Since I currently rely on Veil as my sole police laser countermeasure, the reduced sensitivity to police laser is less than optimal.  All other manufacturers offerings generally offer better performance.  In one lidar encounter, the Pro SE failed to alert completely.  For those seeking laser protection, you are better off using a laser jammer (and potentially Veil combined) where jammers are legal to use when you drive with the Pro SE.

Conclusion: small in size and big on performance

The Pro SE is not inexpensive, but at a retail price of $499, it’s price is commensurate with other high-performance radar detectors.

While not equally capable on all bands, the Pro SE is indeed one of the most sensitive windshield mount radar detectors available on both K and Ka-band–the two most important bands for the vast majority of drivers in the U.S..

It offers useful configurations for the advanced driver looking to tweak the performance of the detector even further, but performs very well out of the box.  With each subsequent software release, Radenso continues to improve upon it.

The fact that you will be entitled to updates to the GPS photo-enforcement without subscription fees is a very nice thing.

Radenso is very engaged with the enthusiast community and listens to its customers’ feedback to improve their detectors.

If you are seeking a high-performance detector and are comfortable choosing a company that’s out of the mainstream, you will be rewarded with a very good detector.  To use automotive parlance,  the Radenso is the Jaguar to the more commonly found Audis, BMWs, and Mercedes.

The Radenso Pro SE radar detector is available at RadarBusters and “VIP members” are entitled to some additional savings.

Drive Safe, Drive Smart, Drive Ticket Free

Veil Guy

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