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Cobra XRS-9930: Graphical Display Review

Last week we got in our first shipment of the new Cobra 9930 radar detector. The XRS-9930 has a display that is unlike any detector that is currently on the market. In this post, I am going to talk in depth about this new display and provide lots of pictures.

Cobra calls this new display a "FULL-Color Extreme Bright DataGrafix™" display, but I'm just going to call it a "graphical display" as that seems to fit and sounds less gimmicky. Anyway, the best way to describe this display is that it looks like a small television or computer screen and, like those objects, it seems to be capable of displaying any color or shape. Take a look:

As you can see, this is a little different. First off, you'll notice that there is room for several bits of information. In the image above you can see the battery voltage meter, digital compass headings, and an icon representing highway mode. On a normal text display, standard on most mid-range and high-end detectors, there would only be room for one of these fields.

The display, at 21mm x 15mm, is not nearly as wide as most detectors but is twice as tall. Because of this, I was curious about how an alert would be presented. A typical detector would show a horizontal bar graph representing the signal strength and, with such a narrow display, I wasn't sure that this approach would have been readable on the 9930.

Apparently Cobra agreed because, when an alert is received on the 9930, the display changes and the band detected is shown in a large font followed by a number 1 through 5 representing the signal strength. During the alert, the background also flashes slightly. I think this is an effective way of displaying the alert. The large font makes the band and signal strength clearly readable, and the flashing background has a decent chance of catching my attention if the volume is low or off.

Brightness / Readability
I took the Cobra 9930 on a brief road test to get an idea of how the display looked during normal driving conditions. During the day, which was moderately sunny, glare was definitely apparent on the display and this made it considerably more difficult to read, though not impossible. In the same lighting I feel like the red display of a Bel RX65, which I normally use, would have been more readable.

In the evening and at night, the display looks fantastic and is incredibly easy to read.

The settings menu is where the graphical display has a clear advantage over other types of displays. With most detectors, the settings interface is anything but user friendly. This is understandable, because with a text display only so many letters can be shown at a time. Cobra has certainly taken advantage of their graphical display by providing a very user friendly settings interface with the 9930. Here are a few pictures.

Pressing the MENU button takes you to a title menu where you can choose between User Settings or Alert Settings. Pressing the leftmost button the the detector will choose the left option, the rightmost button will choose the option to the right.
After choosing the Alert Settings option, this title screen appears briefly. Alert settings allow you to enable or disable each type of alert. The following is each option, and it's default value. Click the setting name to see an image of the setting (use your browser's back button to get back).
POP Detection - OFF
X Band Detection - ON
K Band Detection - ON
Ku Band Detection - OFF
VG-2 Detection - OFF
Spectre 1 Detection - OFF
Safety Alert - ON
After choosing the User Settings option, this title screen appears briefly. User settings allow you to enable or disable all other types of settings, or restore the factory defaults. The following is each option, and it's default value. Click the setting name to see an image of the setting (use your browser's back button to get back).
City Mode - X ONLY
Intellimute - OFF
Auto Mute - ON
Alert Type - VOICE
Show Compass - OFF
Smart Power - ON
Display - DIM
Color Theme - MULTI
Car Voltage - ON
Warn Low Car Voltage - ON
The last option under user settings is to restore factory defaults. After choosing to restore defaults, you are presented with a confirmation screen, followed by a completed screen.

Color Themes
The Cobra XRS-9930 will allow you to choose from several color themes: blue, green, orange, red, or multiple colors. The multiple colors setting is the default. Here is the default display (with the compass enabled) in each color theme.

Wondering what alerts look like in a different color theme? Here is the same band alert from above, in the blue color theme. The background flashes from a dark to a light blue during the alert.

I am impressed with the graphical display. I think it is more attractive and more user friendly than other types of displays. The glare problem is a concern. It did not make the display unreadable, but a longer test on a brighter day will be needed. Overall, I would consider the graphical display a nice-to-have feature, certainly not a must-have.

That being said, I feel the need to paraphrase something I said previously: Buy a detector based on range and false alert filtering, not the display!

These models are still very new, and none of the testing web sites have tested these models yet. However, I have no reason to believe that they will perform any better than last years Cobra models -- which didn't perform nearly as well as the Bel and Escort detectors. If you have decided that a Cobra model is right for you and you think this display would look great in your car, then go for it. Do not, however, take the 9930 over a better performing detector simply because of the display.

37 thoughts on “Cobra XRS-9930: Graphical Display Review”

  • danny

    I want to now if the xrs9985 is better than the xrs9930 and wish one is newer.(thank you)

  • Danny

    The XRS 9985 is identical to the XRS 9930. I believe the 9985 is a model that created specifically for Radio Shack, but there is no difference in the products.

  • Darren

    I have used it on many long Canadian highways, and it kicks my Bel X65 anytime and it does not false as much as the Bel X65 either!
    Very happy,

  • jerry

    Hi. would like to know, im in australia have u sold this prod to any one down under and dose it work good here.
    All so dose it work on speed cams & red light cams to.
    and wat will it cost to get it down here per unit?
    Thank You

  • Dear Jerry,
    Used in South Africa on the N3 and I guess in Australia POP Laser is used as well. It works well, but purchased here in Canada first.


    good morning from Greece
    ihave just one question
    wich is the distance aprox for the cobra xrs 9930 to read a pop gun in front ???
    thank you in advence

  • Tuki Medaber

    thank you very much for your help. You guys 64745 rock, thanks again.

  • ahmed

    i would like if this type of cobra xrs 9930 radar detector can be used in midleast ?
    and if its usefull how can i get it ?

  • ahmed

    what is the best radar detector i can used it in the midleast ( gulf country) ?

  • Dailami

    hi, I would like to have of one radar detector for road radar scan with cameera to be used in Kindom of Bahrain, Arabian Gulf and any on thses items like radar will be conficate in the custom in air port or border. But is there any chane that can be sent to via america navy if possible.
    please let me know and than you.

  • kashif

    i want to buy cobra radar from ur site .i am in newyork my question is that is there any differencein funtions and quality in model xrs 9930 and model xrs 9330 shown on ur website.plz reply as i want to buy as soon ...

  • Greg

    Gday'mate do you sell
    out of the USA to Australia and will thay work in Aus.
    If so how much in total to send it to us.
    Thanks Greg.

  • Jack

    why is my bel rx65 REQUIRED SERVICES, only been using for 1-2 days?

  • Bob Junoir

    im from canada and i and about to purchase this item...would this item be undetectable to police in cities and on highways?

  • Louis R.

    I love it! The display is beautiful, and yes the the sun glare can be a problem, but also with the voice I don't have to take my eyes off the road. I tested it against the Escort Solo 2 and it has a further range of at least 500 feet, when the police passed me the cobra detected the radar for a lot longer after the the escort didn't. Where areas where the escort would give false readings, the cobra 9930 didn't. I did notice that you can't operate the Solo S2 and the 9930 together, the Solo S2 will make the 9930 give a lot of false warnings (not really a problem since no one will run 2 detectors side by side). Highly programable. I ordered the straight cords for it for a more permanents install on my vehicles. I highly recommended, it has everything, the VG2, Spectre detection, and undetectability. It would be nice if it had the arrows of the Valentine 1, but not necessary, if you get a warning from no matter where, you should just slow down.

  • i have the 9930, and it has saved me close to 20 times by now. the only false alerts i have are on the x-band. but this is also because i have it always set to highway mode. i am a big fan.

  • Hi, does anyone know if the XRS 9930 can run on battery power alone, or does it always have to be connected to a cigarette lighter for power? Thanks

  • Carlos L

    hi does anyone know if the xrs9930 why it doenst identify the police in the streets

  • The only reasons any detector shouldn't detect police is that the police either aren't running radar, you have that band of radar turned off, or you have a faulty radar detector.

  • Ljubisav

    After 12 days display is black.Only tone work.Nice.Recomend 9930 for blind.

  • sahid

    i only want to know if it is operated be batteries im sure it says so on the website but i cant find it.

  • The XRS9930 is a corded detector, and doesn't have a battery-powered option.

  • Marcel

    Hi i just have tested cobra 9930,the only thing i like is display.Sensitivity way too bad.I had before K40 rd850,it would pick all signals from radars around K,Ka,X laser no only once when the police officer had too many drinks.Same cobra wouldnt pick laser.The police officer was taking speed under hill the unit stayed quiet.Unit also wont pick K,Ka,X frequencies from rear.I tested this unit from NYC to Kingston,Canada and back.Not happy with that.I'm going to return it. Nothing come close to Cobra,of cource unit won't register it!!!

  • joao gonçalo

    it liked to know if this radar 9930 functions in Portugal tambem

  • Adel Baqer

    please tell me wich one the best radar detector to use in United Arab Emirates Dubai I bought cobra xrs 9930 not detected mobile radar and some other radar
    thanks alot for help

  • Abdurrahman Issmail
    Abdurrahman Issmail March 23, 2008 at 8:40 am

    Hi im wandring if u know that what caind of bands in KSA police r useing so what copra will help me

  • Dragos

    Hi,i'm from Romania,here only K-band is used by Police.I had a 9930 and was very pleased.In straight line,it picks up the Police car from at least 500 Metres,also with cars in front,and along slight curve.I sold it,as i plan to buy a 9940 or 9950.I travelled with a friend that owns Bel rx65,they give SAME falses... Bel is slightly better in range i know,but to much advertised.Can anyone tell me if Cobra 9940/9950 is same as 9930 inside?? It's just the plastic case changed? Thx in advance

  • KB

    Hi am in the UK, i want to know if this will work on our speed cams & red light cams here?

  • Attila

    Dear All,
    4 weeks ago I bought a Cobar XRS 9930 Radar Detector device.
    The OLED display is not working properly because the contrast is not strong enough.
    I can see all information perfectly at night, but during the day when the sun is rising i can see nothing.
    I have red some information abought this "wide spread problem" this model.
    Can I purchase the OLED display to my Cobra XRS 9930.
    Or this problem is caused by a driver IC on the motherboard?
    Does anyone know what could be the solution?
    I need your help
    Thank you in advance for your answer.

  • Jeff

    If you bought the detector from us, please give us call (800) 584-1445. You can also try getting in touch with Cobra at: http://www.cobra.com/support/ask

  • Attila

    Thank you Jeff to answer me so quickly.
    This was the first thing that came in contact with them.
    2 days there has been no reply to anything.
    I bought it in eBay and get 1 week replacement warranty.
    I think the money failed.
    Thank you for your help

  • Jeff

    They sound like they are defective. You should contact the seller. If that does not work, Cobra may be able to help. http://www.cobra.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=category.display&category_ID=3

  • Attil

    I'll try it.
    Thanks for all help!

  • Doug S.

    I have 2 ?'s. One, A seller told me that a
    Cobra XRS 969 is exactly the same as a XRS 9840, is this true? Second, is the XRS 9840 & the XRS 9930 the same except one has multi color (9930) and the other just the blue (9840)?? Thanks so much for your help...Respectively Doug

  • Jeff

    What they are telling you is more or less correct. There are some minor differences in the features, but the detectors are very similar. One thing though is they are all older models. We do not recommend buying used detectors because you will have no warranty and they cannot be software updated. Also, older detectors are not going to have current software/hardware which can severely hurt performance. I would give the http://www.buyradardetectors.com/products/cobra/cobra-xrs-9940.aspx a look. It is about the same price as the above models, and it is new. We are also a licensed dealer so it will be fully warrantied.

  • Paul

    I have had the xrs 9930 for a few years now. Last year the screen went into dim mode and won't come out of it. When I press the Dim button it says Bright but there is no change. Is anyone else having this problem? It is nearly impossible to see even at night.

  • Jeff

    You should contact Cobra direct at: http://www.cobra.com/support/ask They should be able to help you out.

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