Last month I started a thread stating that I was planning on purchasing and reviewing the Cobra XRS 9960G. Over the last month I pitted the Cobra against a few police departments that use very different tactics. The Cobra was put against the Pensacola Police, who favor c/o K band and c/o 35.5 ka band, the FL State Troopers who favor using c/o 34.7 ka band and occasionally c/o 35.5 ka band. The Cobra also got to deal with the aggressive leos such as the Gulf Shores, AL leos who use mainly c/o 33.8 ka band and that also occasionally use c/o and i/o 34.7 Ka band and K band. Lastly, and the toughest test, the Gulf Breeze, FL police who favor quick triggering i/o 35.5 ka they use a variety of constant on radar as well, mainly K band, 34.7 ka band and 35.5 ka band, however, seeing any Gulf Breeze leo using c/o is very rare.
That being said, the Cobra did face a variety of real world encounters. I had many forward facing encounters and off axis encounters. Some of these encounters were very surprising and from the likes which I have never seen, even with my Whistler XTR 695. I ran the XRS 9960G as recommended in the manual. I had Spectre and VG-2 on as well. I did this to test and see how many false alerts I would get. The Cobra was mounted on the middle of my windshield to where it could see out of both the back of the front and the back of my windows. The car that it was put in is a 2004 Hyundai Elantra and was also occasionally in a 2008 Honda Civic.
During the course of this testing, I'd like to say that there are some Cobra fans on this site. During the time of my testing, I was private messaged from a variety of people asking how the testing was going and how there seems to be a good portion of this forum who believe that Cobra has finally stepped up its game to improve it's products. I stated to everyone that I would give this 9960G a fair shake.
I will divide the review into different sections discussing things about his detector that I find to be very important. Now, on to the review.
Filtering: Cobras are known to false a lot on ka band. While this model doesn't false as much as other Cobras, it does still false significantly more than my Whistler XTR-695. At times the Cobra mistakes a strong K band signal for Ka band. If you have the Spectre and VG-2 alert on, you will have more falses. I recommend having these features off. I never had a legitimate encounter with the Spectre Alert, but I haven't seen any leos with Spectre on their windshield. The VG-2 Alert and Spectre Alerts tend to occur around gas stations and certain cars. Overall, I think the filtering of this Cobra model is still sub-par. I think the filtering that this Cobra uses(The Intellishield.) is sub par and needs to be improved.
Ramp up: Not only is sensitivity important but communicating how urgent the threat is is also important. Unfortunately the Cobra needs some work on the ramp up. There are times that the ramp up never goes past one. Most of the time the ramp up doesn't go past 3. The highest the ramp up can go is 5 and that has only happened when the leos were on my side of the road. That is not the only problem either, the 9960G seems to at times have trouble hanging on to a signal. What that means is that sometimes when your detector alerts it will beep for a while then the beep will suddenly disappear. Then a few seconds later it will start again. This has been very common in my encounters. Cobra needs to work to improve this area if they want to compete with the big boys in quality of detectors.
Features:As a lot of you know, Cobra has their detectors packed with a wealth of features, some of them invalid, such as detecting 15 bands. We all hopefully know that there are only 3 radar bands used in the USA, 1 laser band. It also advertises to alert to the Spectre and VG-2. I haven't had a legit encounter with either one of these devices. The OLED display is awesome and can be seen even in bright sunlight.(Even though it's bit faded in the sunlight.) I use the display in full color. The detector can monitor your battery voltage, rpm, and it uses the GPS module to show which direction you are going with the compass. I also recommend using the intellimute feature. What it basically does is silence your detector while your car is below a certain RPM. Otherwise you will hear a constant K band alert while sitting next to a Walgreens at a stop light. Intellimute Pro will shut off all radar detection circuits while below a certain rpm to avoid being detected by the Spectre or VG-2. I recommend intellimute, it's nice to know that an officer is there, even when you are staying still. While you are driving the display will let you know whether you are above or below the required rpms for the feature to be activated. The most compelling feature of course is the ability to detect the photo cameras. From what I have seen, this database is accurate, it did alert to the photo cameras that I came across. When the detector initially alerts it shows a picture of a camera and turns yellow and then red as you get closer. At the price that you can find this detector for online, the features are a very compelling package.
Sensitivity: This is the section you all have probably been waiting for. It will be very long so I'm going to break this up into paragraphs. The sensitivity on this detector is very good on all radar frequencies, including 35.5 ka band. The range on all frequencies varied, I saw at least 3/4 mile warnings. The best warning I got was on 33.8 ka band for 1.43 miles according to my trip b on the odometer. I had a notable forward facing c/o 33.8 ka band encounter where I got a mile of warning. Not bad at all.
This detector tends to alert to K band at around 3/4 of a mile to a mile, much like it does with the other frequencies. I only faced constant on K band and had very few encounters wit K band because of how rare K band is used in this area. Overall I found the K band sensitivity to be good.
The sensitivity on stalker 34.7 ka band is also impressive. I did face forward facing instant on. The Cobra did alert a few times before seeing the threat. I was in Gulf Shores, AL and I was about to go over the bridge then I got the alert. I crossed over the bridge and the bursts of signals got a little stronger. I noticed a cop sitting behind the other side of the bridge, facing the other direction firing radar at traffic coming off the bridge. Total warning was about half a mile. For constant on 34.7 warnings typically ranged 3/4 a mile when around the curve and a little over 1 mile when it is a straight shot. I have actually had this detector alert to officers that were on another road. For instance, I had a 34.7 encounter where I was on Palafox St in Pensacola,FL. I was sitting at a stop light. I got a 34.7 ka band warning, of course, once again I got to witness the detector having trouble holding on to a signal. Well, there is a road called Pensacola Blvd(Hwy 29) that is parallel to Palafox St. that also has a stop light. 10 seconds later after the alert I see the officer pass through the intersection. Why is this impressive? That's because there are a lot of trees and buildings in this area that block the signal. I had another instance where I was at a light and I got an alert for 34.7 ka band. About 5 seconds later I saw the leo go across the bridge on the interstate in front of me.
35.5 ka band sensitivity is also good. For c/o I typically got 3/4 of a mile warning to about a mile. The Cobra does alert to instant on 35.5 ka band. I had quite a few of these encounters in Gulf Breeze, even in heavy traffic the Cobra was able to sniff it out. Typically, even though I've seen some alerts that was a mile from me, most warnings have been about 3/4 of a mile warnings. I did get a half a mile forward facing 35.5 ka band warning however.
Conclusion: Honestly, I'm glad that I gave Cobra another chance. I was pleasantly surprised with this detector. The sensitivity is very good, the fact that you can find a detector with GPS capability online for around $200 dollars is compelling. I would never recommend buying this detector for Cobra's asking price. I would look around online and I wouldn't pay less than $220 for this model. If you have patience wait for a price for about $200 dollars. This detector is a great value for around this price if you don't mind having some extra falses. This detector's sensitivity is basically on the same level as my Whistler XTR-695. Is it a better overall detector than my 695? Well, it's a matter of preference, that would depend on how much ramp up and filtering matter to you. Here is what I would suggest. I would only consider this detector if you drive in areas that have speed cameras and photo cameras. If you do not, go with another detector, there is no need to pay for a feature that you do not need. You can get detectors that have better sensitivity for around $200 dollars. The Escort 8500, The Whistler SE series, or you can opt for the Rev C detectors from Whistlers which have roughly the same sensitivity as this model, but are cheaper.
Thanks for reading my long review, I hope that all of you find this helpful. I will be posting instructions on how to update your Cobra's GPS for those of you that have one in time. If any of you have any questions about this detector, please feel free to ask. I also appreciate your comments on this review. Again, thank you for reading.