Radar detectors are not created equal. Some makes and models perform better than others and some have more or better features. Of course, higher end features and performance across all brands usually commands a higher price. The old saying that you get what you pay for is generally true. However, there is a difference between what a radar detector has inside the box, how it is used, and what its ratio of value to performance is actually worth. Just because a radar detector can do it, doesn't mean that it does it better for what it costs. This is why it is important not to choose your radar detector based only on features, performance or price, but in the right the combination of all three. It's called value.
There are many radar and laser detectors on the market. They range from very basic, dashboard models below fifty dollars to fully loaded, installed systems for a couple of thousand. You can find comparisons between brands and models all over the web, along with plenty of reviews, talking about which models are the worst, which are the best, and how they are all priced. But which one delivers the most return on the investment? Which radar detector is the overall best value for the cost?
Given all the criteria, there is a detector that stands out from the rest. Actually, there are two, and both are made by Whistler.
The first model is the Whistler CR85. This is one of Whistler's higher end radar detectors and has most of the features Whistler offers in its entire line. What really sets the CR85 apart from Whistler's other models is the antenna. It has a different antenna that is more sensitive, thus improving overall detection range. Considering this performance enhancement, feature for feature, the CR85 is comparable to the Beltronics Pro 300 and the Escort 8500 X50 Black, both full-featured, well-liked detectors that perform well on the road, but for about $300 each. The Whistler CR85 can offer equivalent performance with equivalent features for about half the price.
The second model, and a prime example of real value, is the Whistler CR90. It adds GPS to the mix, which takes it up a notch to compete with the Beltronics Pro 500. While the GPS enabled features of the Pro 500 are considerably enhanced when used with Escort Live!, the database in the CR90 is also updatable, albeit manually, which keeps this detector on par with the Pro 500, and, like the CR85, at about half the price of its counterpart from Beltronics.
Obviously, when comparing dash mount units, nothing beats a top-of-the-line radar detector such as the Escort Passport 9500ix, Passport Max or a Valentine One. In a features to performance ratio, these are the cream of the crop. They also have the price tags to match. If you need or want the very best detection and cost is not an issue, a high end radar detector will certainly pay for itself in the long run. However, if you are on a budget and want a detector that has the highest ratio of features to performance for the price, The Whistler CR85 and CR90 hit the sweet spot for value.