There are many different makes and models of radar detectors out there, all of which do essentially the same thing. While their primary directive is to detect and alert a driver to police radar (and, in most cases today, laser as well), the accuracy with which each model accomplishes this task can vary greatly. When it comes to fast and accurate detection, a lot depends not just on the features included in a particular model, but on the brand of radar detector used or even a specific line of products.
Take Beltronics, for instance. Many ardent fans of radar detectors will tell you there are noticeable differences in performance between a Cobra branded detector and one manufactured by Beltronics. But performance shifts can also exist between different series of Beltronics detectors. New product series are often built on the previous series that are being replaced. So when Beltronics launches a new line of radar detectors, it's helpful to know what specific series it is replacing in order to better understand the range of features and performance one can expect from it and whether it fits your needs.
Such is the Beltronics Professional Series. The line itself is really not new, it's just been given a complete makeover. The Beltronics Pro 300 is a prime example. A higher end model in the series, the Pro 300 is essentially the RX65 with a few tweaks to improve sensitivity and wrapped in a darker package with a hard, rubberized coating that makes it easy to grip and a little easier on the eyes. Not that the RX65 was homely to look at, of course, because it was attractive in its own right (as radar detectors go) but the Pro 300 looks, well, newer.
Although the Pro 300 has a new shell, ergonomically, it's essentially the same as its predecessor. And why not? The buttons are already in the right places. VOL/MUTE spans across the top front, just above the LED display, within easy reach and with three raised dots on the surface so you can find the correct button easily in the dark and without taking your eyes off the road. The PWR, REW/CITY and CHG/BRT buttons are above it, evenly spaced with a ridged surface so you can ID them easily without looking, as well. The QuickMount Button, as always, is in the center, for quick release from the mount on your windshield. Everything is where it's supposed to be, and exactly where you would expect for a Beltronics Professional Series radar detector.
Of course, looks aren't everything and a nice looking radar detector won't keep you from getting a ticket, so the real question is, does it have anything new, or anything improved, that helps it perform better?
Beltronics touts the Pro 300 as "the next generation of the most advanced Radar/Laser/Safety Detectors ever designed by Beltronics". That statement alone promises that it should be everything its predecessor was, and more. But is it? For starters, it does have all the standard features of the Beltronics Professional Series, including full radar detection on X, K, Superwide Ka bands, as well as instant-on (Pulse) detection and POP mode. That hasn't changed. It still sports the rear laser periscope, designed to pick up laser from the rear of the vehicle for instant front and rear detection, which the RX65 also had. No change there.
The ultra-bright, 280 LED, alphanumeric multiple threat display has three brightness settings plus Dark Mode and is visible from almost any angle (unless you are looking at directly from the side or from the rear). It can display in three different modes. The Standard Signal Strength Meter with a bar graph and text messages is the type most users are familiar with and the mode recommended for new users. Expert Meter Mode is essentially a miniature spectrum analyzer intended for more experienced users. Tech Display mode gives you the actual numeric frequency of the signal received and is also for experienced users. All standard features.
The other features? AutoScan™ Mode, VG-2 Undetectability, TSR Filter, Selectable Bands, Over 60 Digital Voice Messages, Detailed SWS™ Alerts, Auto Memory Retention, Audio Alert Only Mode, Visual Alert Only Mode, Auto and Manual Muting, and Fully Adjustable Audio Levels, check, check and double check. It even has an Earphone Jack, just like the old RX65.
Oh, yes, and the Pro 300 is SmartCord™ power cord compatible as well, and even includes one in the package. Nice, to be sure, but not new.
So, if the Pro 300 has everything the previous model had, what does it have that's different? What, besides the outer shell, is new and improved? What makes it better?
I'm glad you asked.
Before I answer your question, let me just emphasize that having all the features of an RX65 is not a bad thing at all. In fact, the RX65 is well respected as a great quality, high performance radar detector. I have one and am very happy with it. But as good as it is, there is always room from improvement. And Beltronics did just that with the Pro 300.
First, Beltronics increased sensitivity on the Pro300 to give it greater range. According to Beltronics, the Pro 300 has up to ten times the range of other radar detectors in its class. The lens on the rear of the unit is also different, curved outward as opposed to recessed on the RX65. However, another improvement, and one that can potentially be a game changer, brings radar detection technology into a whole new era.
The Pro 300 is fully compatible with the new Escort Live!
For those not familiar with Escort Live! Real-Time Ticket Protection, it's a system that allows you to connect your Beltronics or Escort radar detector to a network and database of radar detector users nationwide, in real time. A special Escort Live! SmartCord or DirectWire plugs into your radar detector and interfaces it with your iPhone or Android smartphone via BluetoothÂ® technology. An app on your smartphone connects you to the Escort Live! Real-time ticket protection network and DEFENDER Database, and voila! Your radar detector is connected to a million other radar detectors on the road, alerting you to radar and laser threats before you reach them. And it's fully compatible with the Beltronics Pro 300.
Now, some later versions of the RX65 may also be compatible with Escort Live!, but many are not. The only way to know is to call Beltronics and find out. But the Pro 300 is designed with compatibility in mind. It is 100% compatible with Escort Live! That gives the Pro300 an edge.
The Pro 300 comes ready to roll with a quick-release windshield mount, coiled SmartCord™ power cord, quick reference card and a one year manufacturer warranty. The Escort Live! system is an add-on, but when you do add it, the 300 is ready for it.
The Beltronics Pro 300 Radar Detector may not necessarily be an original, but with a nicer skin, increased sensitivity and complete compatibility with this new Escort Live technology, it's way better. In fact, after checking my old radar detector, I think it's time for an upgrade.