I Just got a 9500i and I wanted to give you guys a little comparison against my Pro 78 which I've had for over a year. First, my main intent in buying the 9500i is because I wanted to have one of the so called "top performers". I was mainly looking to see an improvement in sensitivity. This does not mean my Pro 78 was not enough, i was just interested.
I've only had the 9500i for 2 days so this will be an on going thing. I still need to do some more formal testing but these are my first observations.
The locations I get false alerts on my Pro 78 are the same with my 9500i after one complete commute (of course ill need more days to confirm this). So it seems that its not "adding" any more false alerts to my commute. The one thing I have noticed, and this is my biggest complaint about the 9500i, is that it freaks out once it sees a signal. On my Pro 78 at my false alert locations, the strength meter would usually not go over 2. With my 9500i, it starts its alerts at 5+ (more than half way). This makes it much more noisy when passing a false. The duration of the false alerts is usually about the same, maybe a couple more seconds on the 9500i.
On top of the 9500i freaking out at the sight of a signal, the ramp up is very weak compared to the Pro 78. I never knew how important the ramp up is until i experienced poor ramp up. My Pro 78 has a perfect linear ramp up on the Ka speed sign, where as the 9500i fluctuates from max to min at least 3 or 4 times before coming to a constant full strength signal. So basically with the 9500i everything sounds like I/O. This would have to be my biggest complaint with the 9500i.
One last thing regarding alert sounds before we get to performance is the fact that it takes so long to stop alerting. Using my Pro 78 to burst Ka at my 9500i I can perfectly simulate how escort tries to improve their ramp up by slowing the beeps down before losing the signal completely. So, the 9500i will continue to be alerting a few seconds after I cut off the signal. There is also always the last beep which happens a couple more seconds after the signal is lost which makes you think yo are getting better detection than you are really getting.
I'm guessing these are thing that I will just need to get use to. With the Pro 78 I was just so comfortable with the ramp up that I could almost picture where the Leo was.
Overall I was not too impressed with the radar performance when comparing to the Pro 78. When going toward a Ka sign I usually receive a signal only a few seconds before, if not a couple. I was getting about .5 miles with my Pro 78 and i get .6 miles with my 9500i. I made a few run of this situation and a few times (about half of the times) I would get a bleep (which as i explained before is more like a freak out) at aorund .7 miles. For 3+ times the price and 3+ times the hype, I was expecting more. Coming at the sign from a forward facing situation the 9500i did exhibit pretty impressive result, almost doubling my distance in some cases. Pro 78 would get about .05miles and I got around .1 miles with the 9500i.
So detection is better which could help in those tight around the curve situation.
I still believe that my Pro 78 is much faster at processing signals. When I would go toward the Ka sign very fast (55ish where the other test where at PSL of 40) the 9500i would alert much later, one time even past the location the Pro 78 alerts. I did this only a couple times so its hard to tell. The 9500i would alerts at a different spot during each test where the Pro 78 would alert at the exact same spot. You can't really conclude anything about that, however, because of the different condition with traffic.
So overall, I'm more use to and comfortable with my Pro 78. The 9500i, however, has slightly better detection. Performance wise, I don't think that 9500i is worth any more than $100 more. Are the features included worth the other $200? That's up to you to decide.
Ill will be doing more testing this weekend and will update you guys.