Back when the 9500ix first came out, I took a 30 day test drive of one and decided it was not the detector for me. Now, a few years later, my circumstances have changed and I decided to give it another shot. I used to live in Metro Detroit where I commuted into Ohio where X-band was prevalent, and Michigan police tend to use a 50-50 mix of K and Ka band. Now, I live in NorCal where X-band is never used, K-band falses are everywhere, and Ka band is used by basically all the LEO's that shoot radar.
So, I went for another test drive of the 9500ix, conveniently abusing an unnamed unauthorized dealer for their ridiculously good return policy ;-)
(1) TSR rejection is AWESOME. TSR is heavily used in NorCal, and without TSR rejection I tend to ignore just about every K-band alert. Even worse, once while navigating some tricky traffic I got a TSR K-band shot that escaped my automute settings, and in the heat of the moment I failed to notice that there was a Ka band bogey that was a legit LEO. Thank goodness I wasn't speeding, or that would've been a kill shot.
(2) The speed trap database is more or less nonexistent for a drive from SF down to San Diego. There were definitely several bridges that were popular laser shooting sites that I consistently encountered both ways. So much for that feature.
(3) Sensitivity wise, this new 9500ix is way hotter on K and Ka bands (especially on Ka) compared to the last one I tried, or the 8500 X50 I own. In fact, those two in my opinion are only marginally acceptable for around-the-curves protection.
(4) For the most part, I love the quietness. After driving around with it for a while, all the falses disappeared. Even people riding in my car pointed out that this new radar detector isn't as "annoying" as the other one (V1)
(5) Ugh, not to bring this up again, and not that it's surprising, but TrueLock/AutoLearn continues to have threat confusion issues. Mainly, after AutoLearn locked out one shopping center, I drove into another one across the street and still got a spinning GPS. And I know for sure there's no way the 9500ix could've seen those door openers from the location the AutoLearn was stored. But, if you live in an area where K band is less of a threat than Ka band, this can be a worthwhile tradeoff.
(6) My area has several residential neighborhoods, as long as several streets on my company's campus, with Ka-band "Your Speed Is" signs. They just have a Stalker radar antenna zip-tied to a pole. The 9500ix still goes crazy on those, and since it's Ka band it'll mask any other alert you receive in the area, and driving really close to them ghosts so you can't even trust Expert Meter. I again beg for the ability to enable Ka-band TrueLock! Considering that it's a wider band, at least you can just lock out one of the 3 Ka-band frequencies which is better than X/K band locking (and the threats are usually single rather than clustered like door openers so hopefully that means locking out a narrower frequency range). For a detector that prides itself on "quietness", this changing landscape is a blemish to its overall reputation.
(7) Testing with abused lab equipment, the 9500ix is pretty dead to quick-trigger on 34.7 regardless of settings chosen. CHP primarily uses Stalker DSR and they lend themselves to easy quick-triggering; I'd like the ability to reduce the filtering level to make the unit more responsive to QT threats.
(8) Lack of arrows definitely posed a real issue to me, as a V1 user. I found myself wondering for much longer which direction the threat is in, and for one encounter, I was receiving a constant half-strength Ka band signal and I could not tell whether there was a cop in traffic in front or behind me until 5 miles later when he zipped past me to pull someone over.
In the end, I decided that the 9500ix has some great merits, but is not the detector for me. For the average Joe buying a radar detector, this is perfect! For the most part it's quiet (arguably one of its faults is being TOO quiet) and when it beeps, you better pay attention! For me though, I don't mind my detector being a bit chatty -- I'd rather be the one doing the filtering, not the detector.
The main reasons for me that make me go back to the V1 are:
(1) Lack of arrows
(2) Really bad QT performance, so-so around-the-curve and off-axis detection compared to the V1
The fact that the V1 added TSR was a big factor too, admittedly. I'll definitely be sending mine in for that update.
With all that said, I would not rule out getting a STi-R+ in the near future. I do appreciate the AutoLearn capabilities around this radar-polluted area, and the STI-R+ can definitely be configured for better QT performance. Between that and the added sensitivity, I think that takes care of all of my issues except the lack of arrows.