For years, I have been reading fans of the V1 and anything Escort. Always the same, "mine is better than yours". It is a foregone conclusion that the more you spend, the better the detector. Enough of the CONSTANT discussion of V1 vs Redline vs Escort 9**** vs Bel. I've come the realization that the best is not necessarily the best for everyone. Not all of us can affort $500 either.
I live in Seattle, WA. Here is what I found: Washington State and local police use POP(heavily) and Ka. Usually together or Ka by itself.
Speed signs use K for indication of your speed. Ka is used for the sign WITH a camera.
Last week, I bought on Ebay a Cobra XRS 9950 refurb for $98.98 with free shipping. Next day, I bought an Escort 8500 X50 blue on Ebay for $100 plus shipping just because It was a good price, and it seemed no one else wanted to buy it having a scratched up case.
I received the XRS 9950 first. It looked cool and being a gaget guy, had fun with the display and settings. I live in a north suburb of Seattle, where going further north on I5 I'm told, you can be hit anytime by several local and state patrols with laser, Pop, and Ka. I figured I'd give the Cobra a try and took to the highway. My 9950 did sniff out Ka and POP law enforcement very well. Later, I go to a grocery store and of course, the 9950 squawked "K", but then something interesting happened. A red "Rail" icon popped up indicating a railroad alert. I did not see tracks anywhere. While the detector was beeping, a passerby asked, "what's going on?" I told him about the alert and he said there is a rail line two blocks from the store. So, I drove over and sure enough there was a stalled loco stopped in an intersection. So, I have a theory. Perhaps the Cobra brand suffers from mass production with poor quality control. It may be possible that my refurb was worked over with greater care than a mass produced unit that is assumed will be within specs. It seems that my 9950 performs really well for where I live.
A week later, I received the 8500 X50. The Escort is mostly silent, almost having me thinking it's a defect. However, on the weekend, when legitimate radar was present in the distance, the 8500 X50 performed really well with plenty of advanced notice. I like it alot. I see many posts on the web about a number of Escort 8500 9500 models dying out after a short time and having to be sent in for recalib, reset, temp issues, etc. If my unit dies out, at least I only spent $100 and not $200 or more.
Another week later, I bought an Escort S2 on Ebay for $49.95 (again because it was inexpensive). The seller said he couldn't power on the unit with batteries. Received the unit with new batteries in it and determined the contact for one of the batteries was bent in. A quick fix and the unit works fine. I find it's range is is just as good as the Cobra (better on POP) and a welcome additon to the family.
Please no replys that I should ditch the Cobra and keep the 8500 X50 and S2. Maybe so, but the Cobra is working for me where I live and locally drive. It detects as well and points out a variety of legitimate warnings. Radar detection is as good as the Escorts with the only negative being the ramp up indication is slower, except for POP which is full on when hit. So, I learned to heed a distant threat immediately at the 2nd level indication. May get the GPS add-on for city driving and use the Escorts for the local highways.
Now saving up for my next purchase of a V1 for longer highway trips. It took about 10 years for everyone else to catch up to the V1, and that says alot to me about a product. Plus, there are fewer manufacturing complaints about V1s.