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  1. #1
    Cheetah Rep
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona


    This thread is something that is long overdue.

    First I would like to thank forum member jdreynss for his recent write-up that kicked started this much needed thread.
    Hereís the link for those interested:

    The purpose of this thread is to allow each member to state his or her opinion on which detector(s) they think are best and why.
    This thread is designed to be a constructive and informative thread. The rules are simple and as followed.

    1. Only 1 post per member. ANY subsequent posts will be deleted. This is not a debate or discussion thread. This is a guide for newbies and anyone else in the market for a new detector.

    2. NO bashing others opinions. This is one thread that everyone can state what they like and dislike about detectors that they have used. Please keep it to what you have personally used, not what others have used.

    3. Be as thorough as possible. The more information the better. For example, where you drive, meaning in a large city or rural area. Include mounting locations, performance, (or lack thereof). Any problems or issues. If you have had to return it or repair it state so. The more information good or bad the better. As a whole there are users with good and bad experiences with all detectors so please share.

    4. Any bashing others opinions or thoughts WILL get your post deleted. Do not post things such as ďI had brand<> and it sucked. I now have brand<> and itís the best.Ē Or ďget a <> itís the best.Ē That is useless to everyone and tells us nothing.

    As you get new detectors or if you have issues with your current one, please update your post. Keep everyone informed. If there is a pattern developing with certain brands or models, weíll see it. Include links to other threads also. The more information we all have the better.

    Regardless of whether we agree or disagree on a certain brand or model, we can all agree that the more information we have at hand, the better informed we are in making our choice of what the best detector is for you.

  2. #2
    Speed Demon
    Join Date
    Jun 2006


    Fisrt, let me say that I have personally used EVERY detector listed in my signature. I currently have the Escort 8500 X50 blue. This is by far and away the best detector that I have used. This unit gives plenty advanced features that are useful. My favorite feature is the Expert display. In this mode, the X50 can track up to eight seperate radar signals(two K, two Ka, and four X) This is very useful to determine if the Leo that you just passed is the only Leo in the area running radar. This feature also helps to tell if a speed trap is waiting in an area where you normally get a false alert. The audio on the X50 is loud, and can easily be heard over mucic, or with the windows down. In my opinion, the filtering( the ability to filter out false alerts) on the X50 is second to none. If you are wondering about the red vs blue display, I will say this. I feel that the blue display is absolutely worth the extra money. The blue display is much easier to see, especially in sunlight, plus it just looks cool. I feel that if you decide to purchase the X50, you are making a good choice, and will be very happy.

    Another detector that I liked very much was the Beltronics V995. This is a very good detector, but the filtering is not as good as the X50. I feel that if you are considering the V995, it is very much worth it to pay a little bit more, and get the X50. ( the difference in cost is about $30-$40)

    One more thing, you can not purchase a $60 detector, and expect it to perform as well as one of the top three. This is one of those cases of "you get what you pay for"

    If you don't think that you can justify paying $300.00 plus for a top of the line radar detector, then please consider this. The average cost for a speeding ticket is $150.00 I believe, then factor in the fact of your insurance premiums going up for the next three years. If your detector saves you from ONE ticket, then it has payed for itself.

  3. #3
    Good Citizen
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Lawrenceville, GA


    I am new to this forum, but have just recently purchased my first radar detector in about 15 years. I did a good bit of research prior to purchase, and decided on the Escort Passport 8500 X50. I made my purchase based on three criteria:

    - User reviews (primarily from and
    - Test results from and
    - What I could afford (approx. $300)

    I purchased my unit from a local store. The price I paid was slightly higher than the price listed on, but I was impatient and I wanted to be able to return/exchange the unit easily if I had a problem or buyers remorse. I was glad I did as I did have a problem with the SmartCord and had to exchange the unit.

    I almost purchased one from Ebay. The seller claimed it was new in a factory sealed box. The price was good, about $260 - $270. Just before placing a bid, I came across this forum and found some interesting facts about radar detectors on Ebay. First and foremost, Escort does not honor warranties if the item was purchase from Ebay. Even if its brand new. I verified this on Escort's web page. Second, these so called "factory sealed" radar detectors are often factory refurbishments sold to dealers in Mexico. Ebay sellers buy several in Mexico for a price well below the standard retail price in the US. Then sell them for a small profit that is still below retail price. These units may work flawlessly, but could easily be faulty. This was a chance I wasn't willing to take.

    I'm not saying the Escort 8500 X50 is the best. It is a very good radar detector, but if money wasn't a factor, I would have gone with a Valentine One. The reasons: It has better laser detection, a rear radar detection antenna, directional arrows to indicate the threat direction, can be upgraded to new software versions. However, the price was too high for me. So I went with my second choice, the Passport 8500 X50 with red LEDs. I liked the blue version better, but couldn't justify spending $30 more for something that was purely cosmetic.

    I have my X50 mounted low on the windshield. Here are my reasons:

    - I read that laser detection is better with it mounted low and the loss of radar detection range when mounted low isn't that significant.
    - I couldn't mount high because my car, a 2000 Mustang GT, has a stippled Mustang horse pattern on the windshield between the headliner and the rear view mirror. I tried mounting here, but the suction cups would not stick to the glass because of the stippled pattern.
    - I didn't want to mount in the middle, below the rear view mirror, because it obstructed my view of the road. I'm 6'2", and my head is just about touching the headliner. The rear view mirror already obstructs my view and adding the detector would only make it worse.

    I have the X50 set "City NoX" Meaning that X band detection is off when in City mode. This is because the police in my area do not use X-band and there are a lot of false alerts with X turned on. Because of this, I don't get many false alerts. The ones I do get are almost always on K band from stores with automatic door openers. These usually occur when you are very close to the store, so it is easy to see what is causing the alert.

    I have only had two police radar detection encounters since my purchase a month ago. Both were Ka band and on divided highways. One was from about a mile away and over a hill. The LEO was traveling in the opposite direction with his radar constantly on. The other was about 1/4 of a mile and also over a hill. I believe this LEO was using "instant on". In both encounters I had enough time to slow down, but just barely in the latter instance. I have not had any laser encounters as of yet.

  4. #4
    Power User
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Southlake, TX


    Id say listen to the every day experiences of the people on this board, dont judge a purchas SOLELY on SML or GOL or whatever testing agency is out there since they are CONTROLLED testing environments, they can simulate real world encounters but dont really do the trick like a actual REAL WORLD encounter

    For the record, ALL The top 3/4 are about the same in performance, dont listen to the people that preach about the V1 or any other (Although there are more V1 zombies than any other unit here)solele, they just cant see past thier own unit and wont recognize other units

    The Bel and Escort units are cheaper than the Valentine (With the exception of the STi) but the V1 comes with more standard accesories, so really its all pretty balanced price wise

    General knowledge, LOW mount = Best Laser and good RADAR, HIGH mount = Best RADAR, semi-decent Laser

    DONT buy off eBay, their units suck and have no warranty to back um up AT ALL, and no return policy.............if you want a good deal PM Radarroy on this board and he'll probably give you a discount off his rates at once again NOT ON EBAY

    I hope somebody finds this useful :wink:

  5. #5
    Lead Foot
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Austin, Texas/ Greenville, South Carolina


    I have been using and 8500x50 for almost half a year now and it has served me well. Radar detection is great and despite being mounted above the RVM on my old explorer, I was still alerted to two confirmed laser traps. I absolutely love expert meter because it provides incredible situational awareness on what bands and how many of each as opposed to just a total count of radar sources. Occasionaly I use Spec meter just to see what types of guns are in use, in Texas it is nice because most contracts in the state are stalker units on 34.7, and K band guns on 24.138 so it gives extra information on alerts. I cant vouch for it in other states because I dont know the main suppliers of radar equipment there.

    I have occasionally gotten to use V1's in other cars I have borrowed fom friends. I never ran accross law enforcement in any instance but in my local areas where my x50 picks up door openers I did some testing and performance was the same. However I really liked the bogey lock tone because it allowed me to focus on the road and still have an audio alert of new sources whereas with my x50 I have to look up to moniter new sources. In the same parking lot it picked up the same number of sources as my x50 and at the same relative signal strength except for on X band being a little louder on the V1. I never got enough drive time with the V1 to determine the usefullness of the arrows, but I can see many situations where they would come in handy, namely in sniffing out crapras that wont pass you on the highway, although I am sure the J algorithm does a good job of silencing those anyway.

    But more than anything the best detector I have ever used are the two permanently mounted in my head also known as my eyes. 9 times out of 10 during daytime driving they save me as often as my x50, namely with my two laser encounters. The detector only adds great peace of mind for the 1 time out of 10 at night or over a hill where I cant see em hiding.

    **update 8/28** after my recent trek across from Texas to South Carolina (through Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, ana SC) and I am still amazed by the performance of the x50 namely on laser, V1 users dont hate you still have me beat, but 3 times now it has gone off and actually detected scatter(or the LEO targetted me twice, not sure but the alert went full blast tapered off went silent and lit up again about 3 seconds later while driving in heavy traffic, confirmed LEO shooting LTI ultralite at about 1500-1000ft) while mouted high near the RVM in my pickup(about 5inches higher in relation to the ground compared to my explorer).
    Other notes on my trip, the x50 dominated Ka band with many detections of instant on and constant on over hills near 1mile. I have logged in excess of 4000miles since I got the unit in May, and no tickets yet.

  6. #6
    Good Citizen
    Join Date
    Aug 2006


    After studying many of the posts on this forum about the Radar Detectors available to purchase and which ones were best, I came to the conclusion that I would prefer the Valentine 1 or the Escort X50.. And, in the end would probably send my money to Mike (Valentine).

    However, my budget would not allow me to spend that kind of money for something I don't really need... I don't speed very much, and the difference in time for my 18 mile journey home would hardly be worth the effort. And excessive speed would only give me less reaction time to avoid a deer strike (a far more frequent occurence around these parts than a LEO with a radar gun) and I drive home from work in the dark of night, always.

    I did however, want A radar detector... something to use as a tool to increase my situational awareness while driving, alert me to the use of radar in my travels, and generally... I just wanted one.

    I had some "free money" (a gift certificate to a local retailer) and had a choice between two RDs to make. I posted the question here

    "Cobra xrs9830
    or a
    Bel 945"
    (Unfortunately the 945 was the only Bel they carried in stock, and could not order any others)

    and I got a quick reply... Bottom line? I'd better off with no detector at all than with a Cobra.

    I have been happy with my purchase, have had 1 confirmed Ka alert (2 lane road, oncoming LEO w/ dashmounted Ka gun- over a hill - with a "rabbit" 1K ft. in front of me - LEO Detected at ~1/2 mile range, and I have detected several Cobra (radar drones) in people's cars when X is on.

    I drive rural (2 lane hiways) and in a metro area (pop. ~100K)... VASCAR is used alot around here (the metro area mentioned above had one of the largest helio fleets in the WORLD (per capita), and RD, LD and Laser Jammers do no good against VASCAR.

    So, if you're looking to spend <=> $150... I can recommend the 945... Works for me... But now I want an AL and a V1!

    Will update with more current results as they accumulate.
    Update: 8/23/06
    ~1/4-1/2 mile detection of LEO with constant Ka over 2 hills, no rabbit, no oncoming traffic. Detected long (enough) before LEO could have visibly seen me.
    Update:8/28/06 Wisconsin trip
    ~1 mile detection Ka band LEO in median ahead shootin' everybody on the hiway.
    Got a "hello" shot from Ka instant on (5 bars) (maybe POP) in a 2 lane construction zone, LEO going opposite direction in sight... might have seen my coiled wire as I don't have it hardwired yet... I was following traffic speed ~ 5 over.
    update 9/7/06
    In town, HIGHWAY mode
    ~3 block warning, oncoming LEO Ka ramping up as he went by. Then RD went nuts with X, K, bands for door openers, then Ka again... a second LEO parked in a driveway parallel to traffic facing me.
    semi-hardwiring today (long flat cord from RD to lighter socket)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2006


    I first went cheap and bought the PNI Silver Bullet off of Ebay.. It did an ok job, but I live in a banned area, so I was worried about getting caught with it.

    I then ordered the Bel STI from Roy's customer service was excellent! Received my unit in just a few days!

    I have found that the STI is alot better. I pick up all of the normal falses alot sooner than with my PNI, and it is nice to get a much earlier LEO warning!

    So I would say buy the best detector that you can the first time around! You can't go wrong with the Top 3!

  8. #8
    Cheetah Rep
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona


    Well Iíve owned detectors from each of the top 3.
    Iíve had a V1, 3.818 updated to 3.819 and I currently have an X50 Rev. 6.1 and 2 SR7ís, plus an STI.

    Most of my driving consists of highway and more rural areas, with some ďmiddle of the cityĒ driving.

    Iíll break this down into a few areas, along with likes and dislikes in no particular order.


    All these will cost you $$$, compared to cheap detectors, and when it comes to a detector, you do get what you paid for. So budget may play a factor in your decision.
    As youíll see, there are some that have gone with a lower end Bel and have had good results and a good price. I havenít personally used them, but if budget is an issue, look further into that as an option, as others have.


    Iíve been fortunate and have had very good performance out of the V1, SR7ís and STI.
    I just recently got the X50, so I will update you with its performance once Iíve used it more. I havenít noticed an appreciable difference between these. All have worked quite well.
    As of yet, I have not seen anything that shows one detector completely dominating every test every time. With all the different tests out there, Beltronics, Escort and Valentine are as you see around here, the ďTop 3Ē. Any of these are a capable detector, and basically it comes down to budget and personal preference.
    You will find tests and personal experience that shows each one performing ďaboveĒ the rest.
    I do have to say though, that from personal experience I do believe that the V1 does dominate the laser performance category. In all my testing and ďreal world ďexperiences, it has never missed a laser alert, but I have seen an STI and X50 miss them on more than one occasion.
    Donít take this as meaning you will be protected against laser threats, because you wonít.
    Your odds are better at picking up a reflection or long-range shot, but itís not going to jam the laser, so you still run the risk of a ticket.


    This would have to be my biggest issue with detector manufacturers. ALL of them have had issues and problems.
    Regardless of brand, we have members here that have had problems and have had to return them for repair. The RX-65, STI, V1 and X50 have all given some people problems, both in lack of performance, or requiring service. Some people have gone years without issues, others have walked out to the parking lot, plugged in a new unit, and had problems.
    I think part of it is quality control, and part has to do with heat. Heat kills electronics, and detectors sit on a windshield, in the sun. It seems during the summer time, we see more service issues. ALL the manufacturers need to step up to the plate and rectify this situation.

    Now to specifics:

    Bel STI:
    This is a very solid feeling detector. Other than not being able to dim the display with a push of the button, I donít really have any complaints about it. It performs very well and even with PoP turned on, it is a very quiet detector with about as minimal falsing possible. Driving around you sometimes forget itís there, it is that quiet.
    It is the priciest of the group (for a windshield mounted unit), and it is the most stealth, from a RDD standpoint.
    I havenít had any service issues as of yet.

    Escort SR7(s):
    I got these as a replacement for my V1. As you can no doubt see in my sig. Iím a bit more extreme than most when it comes to my toys.
    I decided to go a step beyond my V1 for front and rear detection. These donít have PoP detection, but that isnít an issue where I live in AZ as of yet and may never be.
    They are pricey, but at the moment I feel it is one of the best remote mount units available. It has been a solid performer without any issues so far. I do enjoy the automute feature as well. Also, these come with a remote mute button, for easy access.
    With dual units I have no problems identifying various signals from front and rear sources, along with approaching strength in relation to when I am within distance of getting locked onto.
    What can I say, I really like these. Unless you either go extreme and get duals, or just have a need for a remote mounted detector, I would suggest looking at one of the windshield mounted units though, you will get more bang for your buck, since one on one performance is on par with them.

    Escort X50 blue:
    I just recently got this, so I donít have much of an opinion on its performance. It doesnít seem bad so far, but I put it on my motorcycle and Iím still working on better alerting, since I canít hear it while Iím riding. It is enclosed in a waterproof cover, and Iím working on some different audible options. I was approaching a known k band speed sign the other day. It was over and down the bottom of a hill, facing the other way. The X50 did alert me to it as I approached the crest of the hill. Since I knew where it was, I was watching the display more closely.
    The blue display is pretty cool and even in direct sunlight I can still see the scanning dot (ď+Ē symbol) moving across the display.
    So far no issues, and as I do some more testing and get some real world input, Iíll add updates to this.
    Performance thus far is okay, but nothing special, however a recent test i did show that it can hang, so i'm feeling better about it now.
    see below for the link to the test.

    One thing I would like to add is that I donít particularly like the remote display for the Bels and Escorts.
    The flashing dot doesnít tell me much. When I had my 8500 I always ran it dark, so all I had to rely on was the audio. Without having a visual indicator to look at, it left me wondering where the signal was coming from sometimes. This was one big factor in why I choose the V1. Not only did I want the directionality, but also I like the fact that the remote display mimicked the main unit, with all the same info. This was great; I could still run dark and have all my data.
    Now having said that, I think sometimes people tend to give a bit too much credit on the arrows though.
    I have found that not running dark, I can use the display of an Escort or Bel and still determine where the signal is coming from. It takes a bit more learning off the bat, but it can be done and quite well.
    For example, if the meter is ramping up and then starts to drop, youíve passed it. If it is continuing to ramp up and no one is flying up your rearview mirror, then itís ahead of you, and vice-versa.
    This is probably the most debated point of the top 3. For quick glance ease of use, you really canít beat having instant directionality, thus my move to dual SR7ís, but I donít feel any less protected without them while using a single detector like the STI or X50.

    Valentine 1:

    I got this to replace my old 8500.
    Performance wise it worked very well. I have no complaints on that. I also never had any service issues with it.
    As for personal issues, mine had a ghosting problem especially on k band. Also, it had a ďJĒ issue, which appeared to be fixed when I updated it from 3.818 to 3.819. I was very disappointed in VR though, as they did not fix the ghost issue, even after I informed them about it many times.
    If I had a suggestion for VR, it would be to add an automute feature, similar to the Escorts, allowing even more control on that volume via the control lever.
    This detector was definitely the noisiest of the group when it comes to non-Leo alerts.
    Using the ďautomute option 7Ē functionality for k band, I was able to quite it down around town, but I wouldnít trust the Big ďLĒ mode on the highway, as it lost sensitivity to weaker k band alerts.
    Hereís a link to the testing I did on that.

    Even on the highway I thought it was fairly quiet, but after using the Sti and SR7ís they were quite a bit quieter, to the point I wondered if they were working at first.
    Now I always left PoP on, so whether this contributed to that I couldnít say for sure.

    The remote display ROCKS. What can I say; it is so much more informative than the flashing dot of the Escorts and Bels. I went with the Lifespeed upgrade to colored ledís and it was awesome.
    As for the arrows, read the above. Mine had some ghosting issues, but overall they worked well.

    Well that basically sums it up for now.
    My quick answer for anyone in the market is to weigh your driving style and area, along with your budget and personal preferences for use.
    You canít go wrong with any of these.

    Also, do some research. Read through the different areas for each detector. You will see many different reviews and opinions both good and bad. There are unfortunately lemons in EVERY batch, so donít necessarily let that dissuade you from a particular brand, but be mindful of any patterns that develop as this thread matures.
    Remember these are experiences with my units, so performance and reliability can vary from others, both good and bad.

    Happy shopping!

    EDIT: here's a link to some tests I did recently with an SR7, STI and X50.

  9. #9
    Radar Fanatic
    Join Date
    Jan 2005


    I prefer the V1 for the following reasons:

    1. V1 seems to be among the smallest if not the smallest of the current RDs.

    2.The control buttons are on the front not on the top. So mounting it high, low, or in the middle- there is always easy, visible access to the control knobs.

    3. Sturdy construction- magnesium case and not plastic.

    4. Front/rear antennas for detecting radar. The V1 offers a rear antenna for more accurate detection and does not rely on scatter to the front antenna.

    5. The arrows are a definite plus. Once you receive an alert, the directional arrow gives you the most probable direction of the alert. It saves precious seconds to slow down instead of having to look around for the source of the alert.

    6. Upgradeability- VR, IMO, offers more software/hardware upgrades than other brands on the market.

    7. No "service required" or "Self cal" messages, although some of the V1'- version 3.851 seem to display an "E" display which might require your RD to be sent in for service. I believe VR is currently working on this problem.

    8. Customer service.- VR, IMO, has the best, and fastest customer service in the industry.

    9. User programmable modes. You can customize your detector to fit just about any driving conditions and personal preferences you want.

    10. The best laser detection of any brand on sale now.

    11. If you use the windshield mount (suction cups) - it is the best designed. No using a screw driver, no bending required.

    12. VR provides just about all the accessories you could want - standard with each V1. plus there is the remote display (optional) for those who prefer not to have their V1 visible to others.

    13. Possibly the best X band, K band, very good on Ka band- although some other brands equal or excell to a small extent the V1 here. Any differences in Ka band detection are, IMO, almost negligible.

    14. Has the EURO mode built in for european drivers.

    15. Has Ku band built in should Ku ever be needed. No need to send it back to VR.

  10. #10
    Good Citizen
    Join Date
    Apr 2006


    I'm one of the few people that prefers the X50 over the V1. I'm too lazy to type why so all you newbies just go with the X50.



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