I'm a relative noob here, but a long time hoon driver who's had a fair variety of ECM equipment over the years, ranging from the Fuzzbuster (yes, I'm that old) to the most recent, a 9500CI. Our household currently is home to two V1s, a Passport 8500, and the aforementioned 9500CI.
I've long been a strong proponent of the V1, but living in suburbia, where radar sources are as plentiful as rats in a New York City KFC, I found that I was, more and more, ignoring the V1's many alerts. Not a good thing. So, I decided to install the 9500CI in my new Subaru STi. These are some fairly preliminary impressions, which I'm sure will become more refined after more time with the 9500CI.
First, I like clean cockpits. As I've gotten older, I have less and less tolerance for suction cups and power cords. The great immediate appeal of the 9500CI is the fact that it's pretty unobtrusive. I had minimized the visibility of the V1 about as much as I could--partially obscured by the rear view mirror, remote audio and remote display--but it still was pretty obvious to even the casual observer that I had a radar/lidar detector mounted in the windshield. The Subie attracts enough attention; the V1 on the windshield seemed to be just asking for it . . . whatever "it" might be. So the unobtrusiveness of the 9500CI is a great plus for me.
Second, as I alluded to above, while I do a fair amount of highway driving, most of the time I spend in my car is on suburban streets, where radar sources are abundant. I got to the point where I was ignoring my V1.
How do I feel about the switch? First, while the V1 isn't perfect, it's outstanding. My initial impression--mind you, I haven't done a side-by-side and don't intend to--is that it does provide a little more advance warning of actual radar "bogeys," but that the difference is not significant. I'm sure that a side-by-side comparison would tell me what we already know . . . both the V1 and the 9500CI provide more than adequate warning, except for instant-on attacks. In some circumstances, the V1 wins and in others, the 9500CI gives more warning.
I do miss the V1's clearly superior display. Though skeptics dismiss the V1's arrows, they give an experienced user a lot of useful information . . . it's pretty easy to distinguish the real threats from extraneous radar sources, and much easier to locate the exact location of a radar threat. With the 9500CI, I find myself having to scan 360 degrees to try to figure out what the detector is telling me. It's possible, but it's sooooo much easier with the V1. In terms of providing useful information, I give the nod to the V1 . . . it's far superior.
But, the 9500CI has some clear advantages, too. I have yet to encounter an actual Lidar threat, but its sensitivity to real radar threats is excellent . . . probably on par with the V1, and it enjoys a huge advantage in discriminating between real threats and non-threatening radar sources. Now, when I hear an alert I react immediately. With the V1, unless I got a full intensity warning, I would take a few seconds to analyze things to see whether or not it appeared to be a real threat. That conditioned skepticism was not, in my judgment, a good thing and I think it makes you somewhat more vulnerable.
So, that's where I'm at right now. I have years of experience with the V1 and only a few days of experience with the 9500CI. In terms of radar sensitivity, I'd have to give the two units equal marks, based on my very rough gut-level sense of how much warning they give. At any rate, I know that under most circumstances I'll have a fighting chance at reacting in time with either unit.
In terms of the quality of information available to the user, the V1 is the winner by a big margin. But I also recognize that the need to interpret the V1's information is in part a result of the fact that it's continually throwing alerts at the user.
The 9500CI wins, hands down, in terms of its ability to filter out extraneous alerts, and in its easy integration into your car's cockpit. We'll see how it does in terms of lidar detection and (out of state) laser shifting.
On a price-dependent basis, the clear winner, in my book, is the V1. If you live and drive in a rural area, it's a great choice. In a metro area of six million, it alerts so much that it becomes a major pain in the arse, diminishing its effectiveness. Therefore the 9500CI is, I think, a better choice if you live in a densely populated area and are susceptible to ignoring a V1's incessant bleating. However, it's hard to get past the fact that its MSRP is four times the cost of a V1.
As I see it at this point, the real winning ticket would be a 9500CI with the display of a V1. Alas, we all live in the real world, so that's not going to happen any time soon. Realistically, either of these units is top-notch. If you're trying to decide between the two, I'd urge you to ignore the partisan cheerleading you see in these forums and elsewhere, decide what your concerns and priorities are, then buy accordingly. Both are winners.