In a world where there are increasingly more and more sources of false X, K & even Ka band radar signals, as well as red-light & speed cameras, a drivers demands are for a radar detector that emphasis selectivity but maintains good sensitivity & covers all of law enforcements arsenal. These false radar signals are not just located in cities anymore. More & more rural and highway travels are plagued by them. Constantly having to put up with these false alarms may cause you to gain distrust or in my case, have your wife demand the RD be turned off. BEL and Escort seam to have the solution with their GPS, red & speed camera radar detectors.
In radar-detection performance the BEL PRO 500 (GX65 replacement) is a mirror image of the improved Escort Passport 9500ix. If auto scan is enabled by a push of a button, sensitivity is controlled automatically on X & K band and varies depending upon your speed. Speedzones new 2012 test showed the Pro 500 to have good sensitivity on 9 mile distance on all radar bands.
The Pro 500 has an automatic audio mute. All alarms bellow 20 MPH are a double tone and then the signal strength is displayed. It also has an auto mute setting that can be enabled or disabled. After the initial alert (above 20 MPH) it will sound to the volume set and then drop down after a few seconds. The V1 does have an available one speed mute setting add-on which I do not have, but it’s all integrated in this unit.
I won’t go into the GPS lock out features or marked location. You can read about that in depth by reading the online manual available at Beltronics website. The software to download all the red-light & speed cameras as well as firmware upgrades is pretty straight forward. You do need to power the unit with a 12 volt DC supply or 12 volt DC battery while hooking up the USB cable to your PC. Or you could bring your laptop with WiFi out to your car. It is Escort live capable also.
The Pro 500 has Digital Signal Processing or DSP (Advanced digital design analyzes all incoming signals and rejects unwanted false alarms, including radar-based traffic flow sensors). You can disable TSR but not the unwanted false alarm filtering of DSP.
So how did it compare to my V1 in radar encounters (highway mode)? I ran them separately & together and low on the windshield. As far as raw sensitivity, V1 alerts first always on X band which is no surprise and a small margin on most of my K band encounters. Some encounters on K were equal. This I believe is part due to the Pro 500s DSP filtering of low X & K band thresholds. As far as KA is concerned, they were pretty darn close. The V1 seems to be more sensitive from the extreme sides, which makes it very vulnerable to false alarms but gives it an edge in picking up corner traps sooner.
Going down to Cape Cod on the NYS thruway I encountered 3 laser ambushes from NYS troopers with the new Bel unit. One I definitely picked up scatter at a distance of over 700 ft. with cars directly in front of me. The other two encounters I was targeted at very close range & the Bel unit alerted accordingly, but I had visual ID on the officer for quite some time before he pulled the trigger. I had lots of sunlight but did not encounter any laser falses that some seam to have complained about from the GX65.
As far as filtering out false alarms, the Pro 500 wins this category hands down over my V1. There simply is no comparison. Manually being able to lock out false alarms with the GPS filter is a God send & wifey likes it.
Here are additional features & alert times for the rest of law enforcements arsenal.
• Red Light Cameras = 250' or 10 seconds
• Speed Cameras = 250' or 10 seconds
• Speed Traps = .5 mile below 55 mph
or 1 mile above 55 mph
• Other = .5 mile below 55 mph
or 1 mile above 55 mph
Now for the ugly…with the Pro500 mounted low on the windshield, the suction cups work well but the unit does shake over bumpy roads. I guess all Escort and Bel units do this more or less. However, more than the V1. The larger suction cup mount they sell may help stability. This shaking was a big turn off for me so I made a bracket for the dash. I call it the wedge. Angled to be horizontal yet boosts it above the wiper blade & secured by Velcro.
Like the 12 volt adapter remote display, the hard wire version has two LEDS & a mute switch. Basic but does the job. There is no self or auto dimming of the remote LEDs. I find this to be an issue for night time driving as they are pretty darn bright. I might have to install a switch with a dropping resistor for the LEDs. It would be nice if they could address this with a firmware upgrade as the main display has different brightness settings a well as auto dim. The firmware updates are a nice access feature when available to download with the software.
Did I miss the V1 arrows when I was solo with the Pro 500? Well, not as much as I thought I would. Most of the encounters I could figure out were in front with a continuous increase in signal. The few I did encounter from the rear I figured out pretty quickly that they were from behind. There was one encounter where I could not figure out where the officer was or went to before the alert fell silent. The arrows would have come in handy here as well as with momentary radar transmissions. But the priority is to check your speed and adjust accordingly, then figure out where the cop is.
Over all I like the plethora of extra features & capabilities you get with the Pro500. It gets a big thumbs up from me. Radar Roy rates it #2 over its twin sister, the 9500ix. I believe it to be the #1 GPS detector for the money with the same performance as the 9500ix less a couple of features.