In less than two weeks, at the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Whistler will announce the new XTR-690 radar detector. This new detector will sport a re-engineered antenna which, according to Whistler, will deliver range very similar to that of a high-end Bel or Escort model. The best news is that this new model will sell for around half the price of a Bel / Escort! This kind of performance has been simply unheard of in this price range, making this a potentially far-reaching announcement.
Obviously we have to remain somewhat skeptical until the performance can be independently verified, but the Whistler technician that I have spoken with seems very confident. They have tested prototypes of the new engine against Bel / Escort models, and found the performance to be similar.
Performance aside, the XTR-690 will also differ physically from previous XTR series models. Take a look at the following drawing:
No, those are not dual rear "laser eyes" near the back of the detector. The second "eye" is a "periscope" alert LED, an interesting new attempt to grab your attention when you get an alert. The buttons will be laser etched, which is a nice touch. The 690 will not support the colored "trim rings" that could be used with some other models. The display will be blue backlit with black text like is currently found on the XTR-425, XTR-560, and 1788:
Other new features include a battery voltage meter, and true VG-2 immunity (instead of cloaking).
The expected availability date for the XTR-690 will be April 2. We have an arrangement with Whistler, and will begin accepting pre-orders for this model very soon. More on that in the coming days.
UPDATE (12.28.06): Yesterday, I mentioned that the XTR-690 would have one "periscope" alert LED opposite the rear laser sensor. This is correct but, in addition, the rear laser sensor will also function as an alert LED, giving the 690 dual "periscope" alert LEDs.
We have also received several questions asking if false alerts would be reduced. A Whistler technician has confirmed that we will see fewer falses with the XTR-690.