Craigs misleading results!!! The escort always looks better when your on their payroll craig!!
Scan the 'Net and three brands repeatedly surface as front-runners in the super-premium category: Beltronics, Escort and Valentine. Valentine loyalists tout the Valentine One's sensitivity (the range at which it can detect police radar) and its directional arrows, claimed to be able to indicate the direction of a radar signal.
Beltronics fans point out that at least one BEL model, the bel sti driver, conclusively proved in my past tests that it has better sensitivity than the V1 and quite a few more features. But the STi Driver is a specialized piece intended for use in Virginia, the only state to ban detector use, plus Washington, D.C., and similar no-detector regions elsewhere.
And while Cobra has introduced their own GPS model, the XRS R9G, my recent test of that newcomer suggests that while its GPS works fine, it's a bit short on talent as a radar detector.
This leaves Escort as the logical competitor, appropriate since the Escort Passport 9500i appears to be aimed squarely at the Valentine One. Instead of directional arrows it offers a host of new features, not least of which is the application of advanced technology: GPS. Escort ads suggest modestly that using GPS to record and identify specific radar hotspots and red-light camera locations (not to mention read your car's speed) may revolutionize the state of the art in radar detectors. Perhaps; we'd have to see.
The Escort Passport 9500i's competition, the Valentine One, better known as the V1, is base-priced at $399 plus shipping. Ordered with optional accessories to match some of the features standard on the $449 Escort 9500i, it cost $524 including shipping. (Value shoppers can look elsewhere; neither detector is sold at a discount.)
I've tested the V1 several times since its 1992 introduction against the escort passport 8500 X50 plus the Bel RX65 and the Bel STi Driver models, all of which have proven capable of matching or exceeding the Valentine One's sensitivity. (We also compared the V1's performance with two new $150 models, the cobra XRS 9930, one of which turned in sensational scores.) The trio from BEL and Escort also proved less susceptible to false alarms, but that criterion wasn't evaluated. This time it would be, since Escort claims the Passport 9500i sets a new standard for ultra-quiet, false alarm-free operation.
For that reason I conducted three tests over a period of several months to answer one key question: Can the Escort Passport 9500i with its GPS resist false alarms better than the Valentine One, but without giving up any performance in the bargain?
To find out I first ran both through the usual battery of tests at my test site outside Phoenix. This measured sensitivity. First stop was the Curve Test Site, a particularly difficult challenge. Here the radar vehicle is parked in mid-curve, its radar aimed uphill and at a 45-degree angle away from oncoming traffic. The police vehicle isn't visible until the moment the radar operator has already locked-in the speed of an approaching car, at about 650 feet. With nothing to deflect the radar beam toward the detectors' antennae, only extreme sensitivity can deliver enough warning distance.
Both detectors delivered upward of double the range of all of the sub-$250 radar detectors I've ever tested at this site.
Our next stop was the Straightaway test site, a no-brainer. It's a series of 3-mile-long and almost perfectly flat straightaways linked by plunging downhill S-curves at low-water crossings where it intersects the same river several times over the course of 10 miles. (Bridges are uncommon on secondary roads in the Southwest. Most rivers remain dry 51 weeks out of the year, leading road builders to run the pavement right through the stream beds. Wood posts marked in inches are thoughtfully provided as depth gauges.)
In past years only big-dollar radar detectors could sniff out all of our radars from the limit of this site, some 5.3 miles from the radar vehicle. That's changing, as seen in my recent tests of models in the $100 to $149 and $150 to $199 price classes.
As expected, neither the V1 nor the Escort Passport 9500i had any trouble spotting all four radars from the maximum distance.
The third test scrutinized their resistance to fixed radar sources in the city. After two weeks of effort I finally settled on an 87.4-mile-long route in metro Phoenix. It included 35.1 miles of 6-lane urban freeway into and out of the city core, zoned at 55 mph or 65 mph depending upon the location. Two more segments totaling 52.3 miles were comprised of city streets in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe and Mesa, Arizona, zoned variously from 30 mph to 45 mph.
We circled this loop three times before beginning the test. On lap one we drove with the Valentine One powered up and placed in logic mode, Valentine-speak for city mode and designed to minimize falses. Each time the unit sounded an alert, the exact location was recorded along with the frequency (or frequencies, as this unit often alerts simultaneously to X and K band in town, despite there being only one signal present). We also noted the number of "bogeys" or total number of radar sources the V1 displayed at each location.
Next we repeated the circuit with the Escort 9500i set to Auto mode. I could have shut off X band, one of its several user preferences or set it to City NoX, which dials back sensitivity while also disabling X band. Either would have given the Escort a major advantage. But since the Valentine One has no similar user preferences, to be fair, both units were run in their factory-default settings.
I made two laps with the Escort. On the first one I executed the identical routine as with the V1, recording the same details of each false alarm. Here the 9500i's Spec Display feature was invaluable in identifying the precise frequency of each alert. On the second lap I marked each location with the brief, three-tap sequence of button-pressing, to store it in memory. If Escort's claim of super-quiet operation was to be believed, it would ignore these radar sources on future laps of the route.
The next day was also a weekday. Using the same vehicle and personnel and starting at the same time, we made a fourth circuit, this with the Valentine One, and recorded its false alarms. The number and frequency of the sources were identical to those encountered the previous day - nearly all of them door openers - with the exception of one additional alert, triggered by a radar detector in a passing car while en route into town on the freeway.
Next up was the Passport 9500i, its settings unchanged. After completing an identical circuit, we had a direct comparison of their behavior in town. The scores were Valentine One: 51 total falses and 81 bogeys, Escort 9500i: 0 falses, 0 bogeys.
In the past 20 years there's been only one radar detector I've tested that was quieter in town than the Escort Passport 9500i. And that one turned out to be dead on all three bands.
Valentine uses the term "bogey to denote a single radar source. In theory, two sources would equal two bogeys. But in town, the V1's two antennas frequently disagree about the total, sometimes displaying 8 or 9 bogeys in reaction to a single source. That's because the V1's front and rear antennas frequently receive the same signal as it reflects from buildings, signs and other vehicles. Each antenna tries to calculate signal strength and direction. But since signal strength changes rapidly in reaction to moving, reflective objects, namely the surrounding traffic, the directional arrows often go nuts. At some intersections the V1 displayed 6, 7 and occasionally more bogeys, all because the signal was ricocheting among buildings and vehicles.
They bogey counter proved more accurate on the open road but in town, it's merely annoying. Unfortunately, this feature can't be shut off; you'll just have to sit there and endure the frenetic beeping, complete with light show.
The last test examined the two detectors' behavior on a freeway blast from Phoenix to Little Rock, Arkansas, all of it on major freeways. I never operate two radar detectors in a vehicle at the same time since generally they interfere with one another. But for a side-by-side comparison, on this trip it would be necessary. Frankly, I doubted it was possible. Fortunately, a cooperative microwave engineer agreed to run an instrumented test of the two inside an anechoic chamber, checking for interference. Surprisingly, it revealed that each is so well shielded that neither reacted to the other's local oscillator. I was in luck.
Buoyed by this news, I mounted the Valentine One in mid-windshield, the optimal position if its directional arrows are to work correctly. The Escort was windshield-mounted near the left A-pillar. The Escort 9500i was set to highway mode, GPS enabled, and the V1 to all-bogey mode. A 100-mile test hop confirmed that there was no evidence of cross-talk between the two. Early the following morning I was rolling eastward on I-10.
Over the next two days I encountered no fewer than 21 police radars: 10 K-band and 11 Ka-band, plus two lasers. There were some very close calls but generally both detectors gave plenty of warning, even against the ubiquitous instant-on radar.
The two exhibited very different behavior, however. In unfiltered highway mode (called All Bogey mode), the Valentine One is designed to report every signal without thoroughly scrutinizing it first to weed out non-police radar sources. As a result, during the trip it alerted to 68 X-band automatic door openers at stores adjacent to the freeway, 26 K-band openers and 17 Ka-band sources, all but two of the latter being radar detectors in other cars.
How can a Ka-band signal from a police radar gun be weeded-out from that of a nearby radar detector? Easy. With the Escort 9500i set to Spec Display mode, the exact frequency of each signal was displayed. Knowing on which segments of Ka band police radar are to found, real police radar can be readily identified. All of the rest can be safely ignored. To those who prefer not to flat-spot their tires by constant panic-braking, this is a huge advantage.
The total of 111 false alarms meant enduring one of them, on average, every 9.5 minutes for the entire two-day trip. Aside from the annoyance factor from the constant din, the frequent alerts soon led me to doubt the V1's truthfulness.
In contrast, the Escort Passport 9500i alerted to five X-band door openers, three K-band openers and one Ka-band spurious signal, probably a radar detector in a passing car, for a total of 9 falses. On every other occasion when the Escort barked an alert, it was warning of police radar, not automatic door openers or other radar detectors. Those 102 additional false alarms from the Valentine One made it a rather tedious traveling companion by comparison.
With its ultra-quiet operation, class-leading performance and unprecedented, well-mannered behavior, the Escort Passport 9500i is clearly the new gold standard in high-performance radar-detection technology.
I don't think So!
I'm sure your a great guy and tester, but the V1 has always had better sensitivity than the escort or should I say Belscorts. I think you also need to make it known that you are also on beltronics payroll. You have never had a valentineOne ever out perform any bel or escort since you have been testing on your website. Thats alittle fishy to me. GOL, speedzones, motortrend and car&driver have shown results that from the intro of the V1 in 1992, it has always outperformed Bel/escort. Look at how sensitive the V1's laser detection is compared to the escort. The V1 is the only laser detector that has proven over and over again it can give you time to slow down if a officer is shooting across traffic with lidar."better known as laser scatter" So after reading your results, i'm going to disagree that this escort 9500i is better than the V1. Here are some true testing results from independent testers. These guys are not being paid by escort to make their product look better on paper!!
Guys of LIDAR - Radar Detector Test - August 2007