I joined the forum a few weeks ago, and after reading and reading, I pretty much understood the basics of the game. This is a great site and like many others, I am having a great time here.
I decided to get a detector after my latest encounter with the boys in blue (I will write about that one separately in the dedicated section). I allocated a $130 budget to get a starter detector, and kept reading and reading. After all the reading, I narrowed he field to 2 camps: The beltronics V895/V955 and the whistler 1793se/pro58/pro73. I PMed a member that had owned both, and asked for his advice (thanks hookem202 ) The recomendation was the Bel unit, so I went to my local RS and got a V895.
After 4 weeks with the detector, here are my impressions.
I went directly for a hardwire install (will get pictures of that one) getting power and GND from the interior maplamps in the overhead trim. I tried several spots as I wanted also discretion at the same time. I got it to the left of the RVM.
A lot has been said about the suction cups and mounting bracket, so I won't go there, but it is a nice touch having a spare set of suction cups. I like the braket design itself, but I don't like the fact that the detector has to solidly touch the windshield.
Minimalistic. Red text display. 2 dims modes, automute, some functions can be programmed. The display on work grat even at fulllight if mounted high. Voice alerts are OK, but I am not really crazy about them. I disabled voice after I got used to the tones. Volume is OK, but I don't have a really loud cabin.
Ergonomis is very good, as the interface is very very user friendly. Bel got it right!
After all the reading, I learned that falses are a part of the experience. However, in my eyes, a false is an alert that cannot be explained. Under that premise, I got zero falses as in all the cases I could find an explanation to the alert. If we consider a false a non police source, I that with the stellar performance the unit is credited with, I would get a lot of falses. And it happened, most of the stuff for door openers and similar is already K band, so the city mode doesn't hep at all with the K band falses. The automute helps, but it gets annoying at times. Bel has to fix this one. In any detector, city mode should let you pick for which bands you want reduced sensitivity (X + K)
Almost as described by the others, as I pick everything. I can pick even cops that forget the guns ON form about .2 miles away. No real encounter where I was the target, but I realized that many officers even leave the guns ON while traveling, and hopefully they will keep them ON.
Incredible range for radar, no doubt. I also pick the malls that are to the side of the highway. Radar detection is very strong in this unit.
Then, it happenned....... in my 4th week with the detector, while drivinng in the city, I was the first one at the stoplight, and the road was clean ahead. I resisted the urge to go much higher than the posted 40mph, and I tried to stay in the 43..... and it paid off despite the pissed drivers behind me. At about 400 ft, I saw him; on the right side, an officer with a gun shooting at the incoming traffic, face in the HUD of the gun. The Bel..... nothing!! I quickly realized it was laser, and being me the first one in line I was the rabbit. Fortunately, the officer didn't bother, waiting for a bigger fish. I decided to test the laser sensitivity againt this officer, and I made 3 more passes..... No alert in any of them. Getting mad, I moved the detector low, close to the windshield and I made 6 more passes. Alert in only one of them!! I tried several scenarios, being first in line or being behind another car trying to pick scatter...... no difference.
I realize that for lidar an alert is a ticket notifier, but at least I want to have the knowledge that I was the target. In this case, I escaped because I was close to the PSL and the LEO let me go.... For laser in this encounter: common sense 1, Bel 0.....
The honeymoon was over after the laser encounter. I think a detector should be balanced, and having supreme radar performance coupled with lousy laser is not being balanced. I even tried driving after a silver car trying to pick scatter, and no luck. I think the only laser detection the 895 got was a lucky shot. I don't know about the higher Bel units, but the 895 doesn't deliver for lidar.
This also proves the fact that is well spread here: a detector is a tool, not a cure, and we are still vulnerable. the driver is in the end the last line of defense. If you happen to be the rabbit (unavoidable sometimes in city conditions) exercise restrain. If I had been speeding higher in the laser encounter, the city would be making more money of me
In the detailing forums, we get the question of "what is the best wax?" a lot. The answer is "it doesn't exist, it depends on your preference and the conditions of the car paint. The secret is the process, wax is only the last step. " For radar detectors, I would say the concept is very similar "the secret is the process, the detector is just the last step" A good detector helps no doubt, but without a rabbit and restraint in some conditions it doesn't matter what detector we got, the boys in blue will get us.....
PS. As my signature says, I returned the Bel and got a whistler 1793SE, my other alternative. I will report about that one too.