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  1. #1
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    Default 1200 miles head to head, Valentine 1 vs Escort 8500

    A review I recently posted on Epinions Valentine 1 section. I thought some of you might appreciate it.

    During the Labor Day weekend of 2005 I was able to make a direct head to head 1200 mile comparison of the V1 vs the 8500. The 8500 I had owned for quite some time and had previously reviewed it on epinions. I purchased the V1 new directly from Valentine Research. Unfortunately the detector arrived with a faulty rear laser detector that so consistently and annoyingly went off that I wanted to throw it out the window. With a little bit of testing I was able to determine that the issue with with the detector and not the vehicle. I contacted Valentine and asked them to overnight me a replacement for the road trip I was about to take. Unfortunately they would not send me a replacement. They were adamant that they would only repair the detector and not replace it; the fact that I was about to take a long road trip was irrelevant. So much for their customer service, I told them I would just return the detector.

    Still I decided to take the V1 on the trip. Fortunately the rear laser detector started to burn in a bit and it did settle down enough that I no longer wanted to throw it out the window but it still had an amazingly high number false laser alerts (all to the rear).



    Before the trip started, while driving around the city, I noticed that the V1 was much more sensitive to X and K band radar than the escort. I was getting alerts to the usual door openers way sooner than I was used. On the other hand, I was getting way fewer KA band alerts. When I did get KA alerts the directional arrows were VERY useful and worked VERY well. However, its great sensitivity to X band and the inability to turn that band off, made the V1 sort of useless in the city.



    I started the road trip (Mo, through rural KY, into TN and AL then back) with just the V1 on the windshield. I was wary of its apparent lack of sensitivity to KA (more on this later) but decided to give it shot anyways. No more than a few miles down the road, A trooper going in the opposite direction hit me with instant-on KA. The V1 gave no prior warning and had I been speeding I surely would have gotten a ticket. I had never had such an issue with the Escort.



    From that instant on, I decided to run the detectors side by side on the windshield. I am aware that the manufacturers advise against this, but the only ill effects that I noted where that the escort would occasionally cause a false X band detection in the V1.



    The results of the test were very interesting. The escort gave a good number more KA band alerts than the V1. One of the reasons I wanted a V1 is because the escort would alert out in the middle of nowhere and I was never sure if the cop was to the front or rear. I had hoped that directional arrows on the V1 would helped with that. What I ended up discovering was that KA alerts the escort would kick out were actually false alarms.



    What I discovered on the open road was that the V1 is defiantly more sensitive in the X and K bands. In the KA band the sensitivity is about equal. Only in one incident did the Escort sound an alert in the presence of a deputy where the V1 did not, and I'm not sure if that deputy was running radar or not. In one other incident, the V1 sounded significantly before the Escort (Nashville officer approaching on a curve with a high concrete divider running down the median. We were both in our respective far left lanes). Other than that it was basically a back and forth tie. Every time the V1 gave a KA alert a cop was soon to be visible, the same could not be said about the escort)



    In closing, the V1 could be a great radar detector, but it does not have the user comforts of the Escort. The V1 would be great in the city if you could turn of the X band like you can on the Escort. Both brands get low marks for having quality problems. Valentine gets extra low marks for poor customer service. They did get one customer service aspect right, they very quickly refunded me my money when I returned the V1 under the 30 day guarantee.



    In summary, the V1 is overpriced for what you get, but not necessarily over valued. It has lots of the visual design/alerting flaws of a 1980's era radar detector. In terms of user controls, the V1 is the basic equivalent of buying a car with hand crank windows instead of power windows. BUT if you get one that works well out of the box, one can over look its flaws. But, If you get one with problems, return it quickly, don't risk getting stuck with a lemon.

  2. #2
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    Default

    Nice review. Just one note though - in the interest of fairness I feel that I should point out that you CAN disable X band on the Valentine 1.

    http://valentine1.com/lab/MikesLabRpt3.asp

  3. #3
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    yeah, I know that now, but its not in the manual.
    Its a "secret" feature.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by tktm
    yeah, I know that now, but its not in the manual.
    Its a "secret" feature.
    True, that's one of the major pitfalls to the old display of the V1, and one of the reasons that I went with the RX65. I want to be able to change settings quickly, with one hand, and without a manual! The V1 design is really starting to show it's age, and this is a good example.

  5. #5
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    excellent review. i must agree that the x50 offers more "comforts of home" than the v1 does. i am a personal fan of the v1 over the others, mostly because of the arrows and laser sensitivity. however, i dont own one of my own yet. i think the bogey counter on either detector would be alot nicer in city driving because you could tell if you were getting more hits than the normal amount of falses around. the arrows of the v1 would be especially nice on the highway so you would know if the leo was behind you approaching or ahead of you somewhere. theyre not perfect, but it would sure help

    i think in the future, i'd like to see a matrix display (like the escort 8500's and bel vector series and RX series have) on the V1, along with the current bogey counter, band lights and arrows. it could show the frequency of the strongest signal like the current detectors do. also, different colors for the different bands would be really nice

  6. #6
    Good Citizen
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    Default Re: 1200 miles head to head, Valentine 1 vs Escort 8500

    Quote Originally Posted by tktm
    ...No more than a few miles down the road, A trooper going in the opposite direction hit me with instant-on KA. The V1 gave no prior warning and had I been speeding I surely would have gotten a ticket. I had never had such an issue with the Escort.
    I appreciate the review but the statement above has nothing to do with performance differences between the V1 and X50. This is totally dependent on the situation and the recent use of radar in the area. It's like saying "the [your favorite detector here] gave no prior warning...I never had that issue with my RMR! Come to think of it, I never had that issue with my trusty box of Kleenex either." Irrelevant. :shock:

  7. #7
    Founder of Stealthvation
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    Personally I am excited about the STI even though the V1 is still my favorite
    RIP Duncan my BELOVED black lab son 8/7/99-3/23/11. I will miss you DEARLY.


    http://www.criminalcustomzshop.com/


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    You want to know what it is like doing something for the love and passion and not for the mighty dollar then look up GOL!










    buyradardetectors rocks!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: 1200 miles head to head, Valentine 1 vs Escort 8500

    Quote Originally Posted by time2fly
    Quote Originally Posted by tktm
    ...No more than a few miles down the road, A trooper going in the opposite direction hit me with instant-on KA. The V1 gave no prior warning and had I been speeding I surely would have gotten a ticket. I had never had such an issue with the Escort.
    I appreciate the review but the statement above has nothing to do with performance differences between the V1 and X50. This is totally dependent on the situation and the recent use of radar in the area. It's like saying "the [your favorite detector here] gave no prior warning...I never had that issue with my RMR! Come to think of it, I never had that issue with my trusty box of Kleenex either." Irrelevant. :shock:
    DATA, have your emotion chip replaced , its part of the narrative. Its what happened, Its what went through my mind. It makes for good reading. It is interesting relative to my conclusions about both detectors KA sensitivity. But is it irrelevant? Nope. I could just easily argue that the larger number of falses from the 8500 make it much less likely that you are going to see a cop without some kind of warning (false or not)

    If I had to sum it up, I might say that my 8500 keeps you from getting tickets but it also keeps you from getting up to speed. But in anycase it is relevant, because it is a tale of discovery and from a literary perspective it takes the reader from the starting point of thinking the V1 had much less KA sensitivity to the realization that the 8500 was in reality falsing much more.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: 1200 miles head to head, Valentine 1 vs Escort 8500

    Quote Originally Posted by tktm
    DATA, have your emotion chip replaced , its part of the narrative...
    When did emotion and literary prose become factors in RD comparisons? I just wanted to comment on the instant-on situation that was mentioned. Sorry I interrupted your Lifetime movie... I'm tearing up, gotta go... :cry:

  10. #10
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    Default Re: 1200 miles head to head, Valentine 1 vs Escort 8500

    Quote Originally Posted by time2fly

    When did emotion and literary prose become factors in RD comparisons? I just wanted to comment on the instant-on situation that was mentioned. Sorry I interrupted your Lifetime movie... I'm tearing up, gotta go... :cry:

    Ah, they are always factors, it is part of the medium of communication. Especially, when the test is done outside of lab conditions. Now dial that chip back a bit :wink:

 

 

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