(800) 584-1445CONTACT US
0Item(s)

You have no items in your shopping cart.

Product was successfully added to your shopping cart.

GPS

  • Choosing the right radar detector

    Radar Detector PuzzleSo, you want to buy a radar detector, but you don't know where to begin. You're not alone. It's a common dilemma faced by many drivers, usually after they've received an unexpected and very expensive speeding ticket. Indeed, choosing the right radar detector is very important, as it can mean the difference between getting a ticket protector, and ticket collector.

    There are many radar detectors on the market, and they vary greatly in form, features, and function. There are some good detectors, and some great detectors. There are also some marginal models, and some very poor performers. Not surprisingly, there is also a wide variance in price. There are premium priced radar detectors with premium features, and low priced models with few or no frills.

    But don't let the prices fool you. There may be more value in that discount detector than detectable by the lower price. Conversely, there are a lot of bells and whistles (pun intended) on current high priced models, some of which are important and some of which are not worth your money or your time. Just because it costs more doesn't necessarily mean it's the best radar detector, or even a good detector for you.

    So, how do you choose? Before you plunk down some serious dough for a detector, it's important to know how to choose the right detector for your situation or your needs. When choosing a radar detector, here are the key differentiators to consider.

    Performance / Range
    We're going to start with the hard one: range. The range, or what some manufacturers term the performance of your detector, directly determines how much time you have to react to a radar alert. Range refers to the distance a radar detector can detect a potential radar threat. The farther away it can detect the radar, the greater the range. The greater the range, the more time you have to react. You need to know that there is a police officer ahead before he has a chance to get your speed, and a half mile of warning is much better than 500 feet.

    Okay, so what is so hard about range? It's not an easy thing to measure, so most people aren't going to be able to figure out for themselves if one radar detector has better range than another. If you search around for performance information online, you'll find that most of the published results are performed by companies paid by detector manufacturers, radar detector dealers, or affiliates of dealers. How can you trust results when there is possibly a big incentive for a reviewer to be dishonest? You're starting to see the problem.

    So, what do we recommend? Don't simply rely on the words "high performance" printed on the box. We think the best route is to study the results of several tests and look for consistent performers and outliers.

    Filtering
    This one may be listed second, but it's just as important as range. Police radar guns use X, K, and Ka band radar, but they're not the only devices that use these radar bands. Automatic doors, traffic sensors and driver assist features on other vehicles are just a few possible sources of radar detector interference. If your detector isn't properly filtering out this interference, you're going to hear dreaded false alerts. What happens when your detector gives you lots of false alerts? That's right, you'll train yourself to ignore them all. This is a bad habit, and a potentially dangerous one, because the next alert you ignore could be your next ticket!

    If you're going to buy a radar detector, get one that you can trust. You'll thank us later.

    GPS
    GPS is not an absolutely essential feature, but if you have room in your budget then we would recommend it. The following are several nice features that are enabled by GPS, but please note that not all GPS enabled radar detectors support all of these features.

    • Camera Database - A built-in, updateable list of the locations of fixed red light and speed cameras in the country. Red light cameras don't use radar or laser, so keep in mind a radar detector alone will not detect or alert you to them.
    • Marking False Alert Locations - A false alert can be blocked based upon the location and the band. If you drive the same route often, this can seriously cut down on noise.
    • Speed Based Alerts - GPS enabled detectors know your speed, so they can lower sensitivity or mute themselves when you're stopped or driving slowly.

    Smartphone Connectivity
    The ability to connect to a smartphone gives a detector access to the internet. From there, it can share your alerts to the cloud and bring down alerts from other drivers. This has the effect of extending the range of your detector.

    Some radar detectors use the phone to provide GPS data. This allows them to offer GPS features without the need for a built-in GPS chip, which can save you money.

    Display
    You'll see some detectors with fancy, large, full color screens. While those are certainly nice and easy on the eyes, we wouldn't classify the display as a critical feature. Remember, you're driving. Your eyes should naturally be focused on watching the road, not your radar detector. As the responsible driver you are, you'll be listening much more than watching. More important than general screen fanciness is its visibility and how it handles glare.

    Directional Arrows
    This is not a critical feature. Radar detectors with directional arrows will show you which direction that the radar detector signal is coming from. It is nice to know if the officer is behind you or ahead of you, but only the most expensive models currently have this feature, so for many it might not be worth the added expense. Bonus tip: in order for a radar detector to know which direction the signal is coming from, it has to have both a front and a rear facing antenna. Most detectors only have a front facing antenna, so getting a model with directional arrows should also mean you're getting great rear range!

    Compass
    Don't choose a radar detector model just because it also has a compass. While it can be a useful feature for general navigation, it isn't needed for a radar detector to operate effectively, and it won't help you avoid a speeding ticket. If you want a compass that badly, just buy one. They're cheap.

    Choosing the right radar detector isn't rocket science, but it does require more effort than referencing a simple comparison chart or a list of prices. You need to consider range, filtering and other key functions, decide which features you really need, and work within your budget from there. By extending your range with research and filtering through the hype, you can choose the right radar detector that will be your ticket protector.

  • The Cobra XRS 9970G radar detector video

    If you want a radar/laser detector with a built-in camera warning system, take a look at this video overview of the Cobra XRS 9970G. This and other Cobra radar detectors are available to ship from our warehouse at Buy Radar Detectors. Presented by Danny Feemster.

  • Clearing Up Some Cobra XRS-9970G / XRS-9965 Confusion

    9970G7_2.jpgWe've had several customers who purchased a Cobra XRS-9970G radar detector call or write us, a little confused once they received their order. The problem? They thought that they were shipped a Cobra XRS-9965 by mistake. The confusion is due to the way Cobra is labeling the products. The Cobra XRS-9970G radar detector is packaged in a nice box that is clearly labeled "XRS-9970G", but the radar detector itself is actually an XRS-9965. The only difference between a Cobra 9965 and a Cobra 9970G is that the 9970G also includes a GPS attachment. This GPS plugs into the side of the detector and enables quite a bit of additional functionality, such as alerts for red light and speed cameras.

    9970G_38_inset.jpgTo recap, don't be alarmed when you open your XRS-9970G box and find an XRS-9965. This is certainly confusing, but is normal. You're paying the additional $90 or so for the included GPS accessory and the functionality that it provides. If you don't need the GPS functions and just want a detector with a nice touch screen display, save some money and just purchase the Cobra XRS-9965 instead.

  • Cobra to launch new Vedetta series of Radar Detectors in 2012

    Cobra unveiled a new series of radar detectors during the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show, held January 10-13, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Called The Cobra Vedetta™ Series, the new system promises up to a 30 percent increase in radar and laser detection over Cobra's current models, claiming a new benchmark for both range and reaction time.

    In addition to a touted increase in performance, Cobra claimed improvements to both form factor and ergonomics to increase driver comfort, safety and convenience. The new Vedetta features a 2.4-inch TFT color LCD display mounted on a multi-axis hinge with a ball-socket type suction cup mounting bracket for 270 degrees vertical and 60 degrees horizontal rotation. Traditionally, radar detectors need to be mounted in a central zone on the windshield for optimal performance and detection of radar and laser signals. However, the Vedetta allows you to mount the detector almost anywhere on the windshield or dash of your vehicle and still be effective, according to Cobra.

    The Cobra Vedetta also offers an integrated GPS receiver and free, lifetime access to its AURA™ national database of known speed/red-light cameras and speed traps. Other features of the Vendetta radar detectors include backlit touch-sensor controls, IntelliMute™ speed-sensitive muting system, Voice Alert, SmartPower (auto shut off when vehicle ignition is turned off), Signal Strength Meter, 8-Point GPS Compass (available on SLR 600 and SLR 650G), User-selectable Speed Alert, storage for up to 1,000 User-marked locations and IntelliShield™ quad-level False Signal Rejection System.

    Cobra calls the Vedetta™ Series "The New Standard in Radar/Laser Detection" and said the new series will be available in the US sometime in the second quarter of 2012. Whether it actually sets such a new standard or not remains to be seen, but when it does arrive we will perform our own benchmarks and post the results right here, on our blog. The suggested retail price is expected to range from $199.95 to $299.95.

  • Escort Passport iQ Radar Detector Review

    passport_iq.jpgThere are numerous devices on the market today that are designed to detect various types and methods of traffic enforcement. Some detect radar signals, others detect laser beams, still others track locations of red light cameras and speed cameras, and a few of them detect a combination these. Some detectors even have GPS capabilities, expanding the scope of the detector as a multi-functional device.

    But no matter what features they offer on the inside, from the outside they are all universally recognizable from inside and outside a vehicle as a specific type of device - a detector. No matter how you install or mount it, no matter where you hide it, a radar detector still looks, acts and feels like, well, like a radar detector.

    Until now.

    Recently, Escort introduced the PASSPORT iQ.™ Yes, it's a radar detector, and Escort takes it to the max, integrating the latest radar/laser detection, speed camera and speed limit information and 3D GPS navigation technology and rolling it all up into one compact device that mounts on your windshield. But it doesn't look like one.

    It looks and feels like a GPS.

    iQ-8-l.jpgThe Passport iQ is reminiscent of your typical TomTom or other GPS navigator, complete with a 5" touch-sensitive LCD display for access to all of its radar/laser/red light camera detection/GPS navigation features. It's a bit larger than a typical GPS unit and about twice as thick, which is understandable given what is inside the shell. In fact, it's an all-inclusive, all-in-one unit, with the radar and laser detection lenses built in so discreetly you may not recognize what they are at first glance.

    iQ-7-l.jpg Given that, it's actually kind of amazing it is that small. Unless you're looking at it up close, it is difficult to tell it's a radar detector. From inside and outside the vehicle, and at just about any angle, one would think it was a GPS device. And it is, yet it's more.

    Once you actually turn on the Passport iQ and begin to study the screen, you will begin to notice that it isn't your typical GPS device. Sure, it has GPS capability and can help you find The Way to San Jose, or anywhere else in the country. But that's only the beginning.

    The PASSPORT iQ monitors all radar bands, including X, K, Superwide Ka, Ku, and instant-on POP modes with long range warning. Built-in front and rear laser sensors on the Passport IQ offer wide view 360-degree laser protection.

    If all these features aren't enough, there are more. Escort added a Micro SD Card slot, a standard 3.5mm audio jack, and a USB port to connect the unit to your computer, making the Passport iQ easy to update. It even has a reset button to clear the device from a lockup if necessary.

    All of these features sound great on paper, but does the Passport iQ really deliver them according to expectation? To find out, I set one up and put it to the test.

    First, I mounted it in my car. Escort calls their windshield mount an "Easy Mount bracket", and it was. It stuck instantly to windshield the moment it was in contact with the glass and did not let go, even before I engaged the locking clamp. The Passport iQ slid onto the bracket and locked into place easily. I plugged in the power cord, and that was it. All the features and sensors are discreetly embedded into one single device, so there was nothing else to install. The entire installation took less than thirty seconds.

    The first time the Passport iQ was turned on it took about thirty seconds to boot to the initial setup screen. I was prompted to choose my preferred language and one of three voices for prompts and alerts. Once those settings were chosen and saved, it presented me with a safety warning.

    The touch screen did not seem very touchy at first. It required more of a tap. It took a few taps to get used to it, but within a few moments I was moving from screen to screen with relative ease.

    passport_iq_main_menu.jpgOnce the initial configuration was complete, the Passport iQ went to the main menu, which consists of three primary options: Detector takes you to the radar detector mode, Map goes to the GPS display and Goto... provides options for GPS navigation, such as address entry, recent destinations and favorite locations.

    passport_iq_settings_menu.jpgThe user interface itself is interesting. The button graphics and interactive icons are generally distinct, self-explanatory and easy to understand. The screens are simple, uncluttered and easy to navigate. This is especially important while on the road, as this simple layout allows you to keep up with the display on a given screen with a quick glance. Escort clearly designed the screens with this in mind.

    screens3.jpgEscort touts the ability to select multiple screen options. This is true. However, this ability is limited to use of the screen in Detector Mode only. You can choose from two different styles, Classic and Digital, each in two different layouts. There are also options to choose between three colors: red, blue and yellow. The color changes are rather subtle. The only items I could tell that actually changed color were the speedometer readout and portions of the background. Everything else, including buttons and other graphics, stayed the same.

    You also can change the wallpaper on the main menu. There are eight different backgrounds to choose from, some of them quite scenic. Between the Detector Mode screen options and the wallpaper, I could make customization of the iQ somewhat more personal than the average radar detector, which is a plus.

    iq_ultimate-guidance.gifOperation of the iQ GPS is not much different from a typical GPS device such as a Garmin or TomTom. If you are already familiar with such devices , the procedure for entering an address and calculating the quickest or shortest route to get there is about the same on the Escort.

    Most of the other standard GPS features are included in the iQ as well, such as stored favorites, recent destinations, the ability to browse for restaurants, ATMs, airports and other points of interest and other popular bells and whistles.

    However, unlike a dedicated GPS such as a TomTom, the GPS capabilities of the iQ seem a bit rough around the edges. The 3D graphic maps were okay, but did not look quite as polished as my dedicated GPS. During the test drive on a clear day without a cloud in site, the response on the GPS side seemed somewhat sluggish. It also seemed to have some trouble finding and staying locked on GPS signals in some areas, although that could have been due to interference and other factors within the area in which I was driving.

    Still, the NAVTEQ powered 3D maps are easy to read and the clear, voice guided directions with lane assist help keep you on route without having to constantly refer to the screen. In addition, the current location and route, safety cameras and speed traps can all be marked and tracked on the map and managed for future reference. Polished or not, the Passport iQ GPS is quite functional.

    Where Escort shines is in their specialty: radar and laser detection. The Passport iQ is no exception. Escort's feature packed, award-winning all-band radar detection is all there, on display and instantly accessible. It has the technology and performance of the highly rated Escort 9500ix, just stuffed in a different package. For all intents and purposes, it is a 9500ix, only instead of an LED readout, it has a full graphic user interface. It is also quite configurable.

    With Detector View I could track up to four different radar signals on multiple screens. I could also mark locations of safety cameras and speed traps and manage alerts along commonly traveled routes. The Passport iQ also uses Escort's Defender Database to provide both audible and visual alerts for red light cameras, speed cameras and known speed traps throughout North America with pre-loaded data.

    The Detector Settings allowed me to adjust sensitivity, enable or disable detection of specific bands, change alert tones, set cruise alerts and enable or disable alerts when entering states where radar detectors are illegal. You can even turn radar detection off in the Sensitivity Settings when driving in such a state (cough cough - Virginia - cough cough).

    Then there is the Meter Setting. Change this setting from the Standard Bar Graph to SpecDisplay and the Passport iQ displays the numeric frequencies of detected radar and laser signals onscreen. If you like to get techie with detectors, this is very cool.

    As a top-of-the-line radar detector, the Passport iQ worked as expected. Overall it performed very well in my tests, accurately detecting radar signals from all directions.

    To turn off the iQ, there are a couple options. Sliding the power button to the right puts the Passport iQ in suspend mode for approximately two hours, so subsequent startups within that time are nearly instantaneous. Holding the power button for two seconds shuts the iQ down completely.

    iQ-12-l.jpgAs far as the total package, Escort didn't leave anything out of the Passport iQ. The complete package includes everything you need to set it up and go: the 5" GPS/radar/laser detection device, a SmartCord, USB cable, mounting bracket, owner's manual on CD, and a Quick Reference Guide. Escort even throws in a 90 day trial of Defender® Database to get you started.

    The concept of combining GPS with radar detection and disguising it as a GPS navigator may not be new, but the fact that someone actually did it is novel, indeed. Best of all, it actually works. Minor points about the GPS aside, it's a good combination, and I would trade up a Beltronics RX65 and TomTom for one that does the work of both without hesitation.

    Escort calls the Passport iQ the "Ultimate Driving Companion." While I think that claim is a bit presumptuous (my wife claims that title but I'm not going there), the iQ does offer enough bang for the buck to be considered, in my opinion, a fairly close second.

5 Item(s)