Hi folks! I've been lurking around here for a little while, thought I'd get the experts' opinions now I've had an Escort 8500 X50 Silver a few years ago but haven't had one for a few years since that one broke. I'm now considering getting new counter measures and want to get some thoughts. But first, here's some background on my unique situation:
1. I live in TX, which means laser jammers are illegal.
2. About 90% of driving I do is in the city, whether it be on a city road or highway to get from one side of the city to the other. Once every couple of months I'll get on the interstate to go to another city.
3. I'm a casual speeder. I go about 10mph over on large city streets, and about 15mph over on the highway.
4. The local LEO use radar only (K and Ka) on city streets, but do utilize laser sometimes on the highway.
Since most of my driving is in the city, I figured I need to get a GPS enabled model to be able to lock out the false sources, which are sure to drive me nuts. Based on my research, here are the likely options:
Pro: Cheapest setup. Auto-learn lockouts. Reasonably good performance.
Con: Not great at detecting Q/T. Laser detection sucks due to high mounting location and low laser dispersion.
Cost: $650 (RD + Blendmount + Direct Wiring)
Notes: I plan to get the Blendmount for stealthy/clean install. After the X50's suction cups detached itself from my windshield and slammed onto the ground and promptly broke the unit, I swore to never use suction cups to mount a RD again.
Escort 8500ci Plus
Pro: Stealthier than 9500ix. Simple single display/control unit. Receiver can be mounted below front license plate for better laser detection.
Con: No auto-learn (manual lockout only). Not great at detecting Q/T. More involved install than 9500ix.
Notes: Similar radar performance as the 9500ix, but stealthier and with better laser performance (in theory) for marginal increase in price.
Beltronics STiR Plus
Pro: Best radar detection performance. Stealthier than 9500ix. Receiver can be mounted below front license plate for better laser detection. Auto-learn lockouts. BS and RDR for great Q/T detection.
Con: Significantly more expensive than the above options. More involved install than 9500ix.
Notes: Probably the best detector out there, but you pay for the priviledge. I've read multiple veiled references (no pun intended) about being able to purchase this from a legit source (i.e. keep your warranty) for around $1k, but the best I've been able to find is 10% off at radarbusters.com ($1170). Someone want to tell me where to get it for $1k??
Pro: It's FREE!
Con: No protection
Notes: Seeing that I basically can't (legally) do anything about lasers, would the more expensive units with better laser detection be even worth it? And since I can't have a laser jammer and I'm a casual speeder, should I even spend any money at all on a RD?
Anyways, I apologize about the long post and I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts!