For my weekend trip from Cupertino to San Diego, I bought an Escort Redline to try out. Considering that the V1 is still by far my favorite detector, and that I'm contemplating getting a STI-R Plus setup in the near future, I figured this would be a good way of testing a similar antenna. My prior experience with Belscort units have been purely M4 based products (9500ix, 8500 x50, and Passport iQ).
I'm not gonna attempt to do a thorough review -- I just wanted to share my thoughts/observations on the product.
Note that for parts of my trip, I did run my V1 and Redline together in order to compare their reactions to various encounters. As a result, my comparative performance observations should not be taken as a scientific test.
- X band was not (consciously) tested... I turned it off in settings almost immediately.
- K band sensitivity was... incredible. The RedLine in HWY mode regularly beat my V1 in alerting to K band sources.
- Most of my Ka band encounters were 34.7 (this is CHP after all), and this is by far the closest I've seen an Escort detector compete with the V1 on 34.7 sensitivity. The V1 still beat the Redline by a few hundred feet for most encounters, the Redline is undeniably superior in sensitivity to the M4 platform detectors. While with M4 detectors, sensitivity was a big factor in my aversion to using them as my primary detector, this would not be a concern for me with the RedLine. I'm expecting, based on the various tests floating around, that the RedLine would beat the V1 on 35.5, but I had no personal experience to draw on.
- No laser encounters. The V1 did false on laser on several occasions, but the RedLine does not seem to react to Infiniti cruise control from oncoming cars.
- The V1 had a noticeable and appreciable performance advantage for forward-facing Ka band encounters. The RedLine sometimes didn't alert until I am 50 feet or less from the cop (while the V1 alerted intermittently ~500ft before). Not a threatening issue, but it does add a sense of security to have the V1 see such encounters.
- REAR DETECTION. Ugh. This is the biggest area in which I found the RedLine lacking, and my only real criticism of the product. I had one encounter with CHP creeping up behind me with radar running, and this encounter was picked up 5+ minutes before visual contact with the V1, but less than 30 seconds before the contact with the RedLine. Also, the V1 clearly read the encounter as an arrow from behind, and a slow and steady ramp-up. The RedLine instead presented the encounter as IO blasts, presumably as it caught reflections of the beam from cars ahead. Yes, it alerted before the kill zone, but the way it alerted would not have suggested to me that a cop was approaching from the rear. Without the V1 around, I would've been expecting an IO encounter.
- The RedLine's ramp-up is not as good as the V1's. The V1 has always had a fairly linear ramp-up that lends to confidence in estimating the threat level. The RedLine seems to always bring in Ka band threats at 2/3 strength (when the V1 would initially give a 1 dot alert), and then oscillate between stronger and weaker indications before pegging at full strength. The V1 for the same encounters would provide a linear ramp-up. In the end, it meant with the RedLine, whenever it went off I had to assume I was close to the kill-zone and set my cruise-control.
- ARROWS. The arrows definitely help in spotting a cop, or knowing when you've passed them and can let your guard down again. With the RedLine, whenever it's going off, I have to be on high alert. The biggest problem is when the signal inexplicably goes away without seeing the cop, you have to wonder whether this is an IO encounter, or the cop was a part of oncoming traffic. The V1 never casts any doubt in this regard.
- The RedLine has a great speaker that has more "pleasant" alert tones than the V1. The alert lamp is a nice touch too, but it only is truly effective at night. During the day, it's not as easy to see.
- The buttons on the front of the RedLine are somewhat flimsy. On my unit, volume up / down were hard to press. It'd tend to like to increase the volume even though I'm pressing the left side of that button.
Overall, I feel like the RedLine is a solid platform, and by far my favorite Belscort detector in terms of its overall performance. At the end of the day, I still prefer my V1, primarily due to rear detection, arrows, and linear ramp-up, but I do see a lot of merits in this platform. Honestly, if Escort would release a RedLine that did GPS filtering / camera detection, even if it costs $100-200 more than the 9500ix I would be willing to buy it.