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  • The Cobra iRadar S-Series unveiled!

    In a previous article we took a look at a brand new model in the Cobra iRadar system to be released in May of this year, the iRadar Atom. There is, however, another iteration of iRadar coming right on its heels, one that places the iRadar system in a different category of radar detectors altogether. It's the iRadar S-Series, and it adds another dimension to the product line. Let's take a quick look at it now.

    Cobra_iRadar_S_Series.jpgThe iRadar S200R
    The iRadar S-Series takes the entire iRadar detection concept to the next level - concealed radar detectors. The S-Series (S meaning "Stealth"?) is the first concealed series of detectors utilizing the Cobra iRadar detection system. The first model in the series, the iRadar S200R, is designed to install directly into your vehicle, under the hood, sight unseen.

    Of course, that by itself is nothing new; companies such as Beltronics, Escort and Whistler have been manufacturing internally wired, concealed radar detectors for years. Detection systems such as the Beltronics RX45, the Escort 9500ci and the Whistler Pro 3600 are all well known examples. There's nothing innovative there. Or is there?

    There is. Indeed, there is one thing that sets the new S-Series apart from the rest of them. The iRadar S200R is the first under-the-hood, concealed radar detector to use Bluetooth® technology to connect directly with your smartphone and access an Internet database to exchange information with a million other radar detectors on the road.

    Okay, let's rewind a bit. iRadar? What is it? In a nutshell, it's a web-based network that shares updates and real-time information on known speed traps, red light cameras, speed cameras and other traffic alerts in your area with every driver and radar detector actively connected to it. It sounds a lot like the Escort Live! system, and it is. For details, read our article on the new iRadar Atom.

    Now back to the program. According to Cobra, the new iRadar S200R becomes completely invisible when it's installed under the hood of a vehicle. Now, to me, invisible means that it can't be seen with the naked eye, and if it is installed under the hood of a vehicle, more than likely it won't be visible, literally. However, it doesn't necessarily mean the S200R is undetectable, especially if someone is specifically trying to sense it with a radar detector detector. In fact, Cobra doesn't say that it uses any actual stealth technology at all to avoid detection, it only claims that you can't see it when installed. In other words, don't expect it to be an STi Magnum, because it isn't one. It's just hiding itself from an ocular view.

    With that in mind, it still sounds like a cool device. A concealed radar detector that connects wirelessly to your iPhone or Android smartphone, interfaces with an app and networks in real-time with a million other radar detectors on the road does take radar detection technology up a notch. Whether it lives up to the classic Cobra hype, time will tell. But it does sound cool and it's worth checking out when it arrives, which is supposed to be sometime in August, 2013. Manufacturer suggested retail price: $299.95.

    Subscribe to this blog for the arrival of the new Cobra iRadar S200R at Buy Radar Detectors!

  • Cobra to launch the iRadar Atom in May 2013

    Cobra_iRadar_ATOM.jpgAs we reported earlier, Cobra made several new product announcements for 2013 at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. One of these was the unveiling of a new addition to the Cobra iRadar series of radar detectors, the iRadar Atom. The company previewed the new device along with other entries in its new product line-up, including the soon-to-be-launched Cobra SPX Radar Detectors, due out this April.

    The Atom is based on Cobra's iRadar system, which combines a radar detector with a smartphone app to allow users to share detection alerts with one another in real time. It is essentially the same basic concept as the Escort Live! system. Both systems work by connecting a radar detector to either an iPhone or Android smartphone running a specialized app to communicate with an Internet database to report and receive data on traffic enforcement activities and threats in the area. This data is shared with other drivers also connected with the system, creating a virtual network of real-time radar and laser detection across the continent.

    Both systems do essentially the same thing, with one difference. The Escort Live! system relies on an external, modular type of connection to create an interface between the detector and the smartphone, while the iRadar integrates the wireless interface internally into the detector itself. There are advantages to each design, however when it comes to installation and portability, the iRadar has a slight edge.

    There have been a couple of iterations of the Cobra iRadar, each improving on the last. The original iRadar was launched in 2010, beating Escort to the punch by roughly a year, and was fairly well received. After Escort Live! was launched, Cobra updated their own system with the iRadar 200, which according to Cobra, became wildly popular.

    iRadar-Hardware.pngThe iRadar Atom
    Now Cobra is about to introduce its latest version, the iRadar Atom. Cobra is touting it as the smallest and most powerful radar/laser/camera detection system they have ever developed, and the most compact radar detector on the market. Cobra claims the new Atom is 35% smaller in size than their other models in the iRadar series. The first model in the series came in two versions: the iRadar 100 (iPhone) and the iRadar 105 (Android). Each was a sleek, slim device measuring 1.15 in. x 2.92 in. x 4.22 in. According to dimensions provided by Cobra, the Atom measures 1.15 in. x 2.25in. x 3.30in. If these measurements are correct, it would indeed be one of the smallest, if not the smallest working radar detectors available today.

    Of course, size may be relevant, but it is what is inside the package that really counts. So let's check the feature set.

    Detects all radar and laser guns. Check. This is the most basic function of a radar detector, is it not? How well it detects them remains to be seen, but at least, to some degree, Cobra has this one covered.

    Provides 360 degree detection. Check. Okay, wait. 360 degree detection of what? Radar, laser or both? We are assuming it's laser here, but it isn't specifically defined on Cobra's web site, so who knows. Just to be safe, we're going with laser only.

    4 City/Highway Modes. Check. These modes allow you to customize the sensitivity levels to help reduce false alerts. Another important, but standard feature that is all but expected from nearly all radar detectors worth their cost these days.

    Well, those are all really basic features. That's not much to write home about at all, as radar detectors go. But that's only a third of the entire system.

    Cobra_iRadar_App_3.1 - Tools.jpgThe Cobra iRadar App
    This brings us to the iRadar app. This is a free app that is downloaded to the second device in the system, your iPhone or Android™ smartphone. Once the app is downloaded, it connects and communicates with the iRadar detector via Bluetooth from the smartphone. Your phone becomes part of the iRadar Atom, serving as both display and control center. Cobra recently announced plans to release version 3.1, with tweaks and new features to further improve the overall iRadar experience. The feature set provided by this app enhances the basic features of the hardware and makes the iRadar Atom - and your phone - a lot more powerful.

    The iRadar app provides visual alerts from the Cobra iRadar detector itself, effectively serving as a graphic interface for your radar detector, complete with a tools menu, map view, live traffic view and a car finder function. The app adds GPS capability provided by the smartphone to monitor vehicle speed, direction and location. It even monitors vehicle battery voltage. It also displays live radar and laser alerts, information and locations of red light cameras, speed cameras and speed traps. It does this utilizing the third piece of the iRadar system, Cobra's AURA™ database.

    The AURA™ Database
    To complete the iRadar system, Cobra created the AURA™ database, a repository of speed and red light camera notifications, live police locations and other alerts reported by users connected to the network. Access to the database allows users to exchange locations of live police speed traps, speed cameras, red light cameras, and "caution" areas such as dangerous intersections with other members of the iRadar community. According to Cobra, this online iRadar Community boasts nearly one million users, generating 40,000 reports per day.

    These components don't offer much protection on their own. However, when connected together, the iRadar Atom, the app and the AURA™ database combine to become one very powerful radar detection system. All things considered, the iRadar Atom may be small, but when used as intended, it can be a potentially powerful radar/laser/red light camera detector for any driver.

    The iRadar Atom is expected to be available May 2013 at the manufacturer's suggested retail price of $199. Stay tuned to the Buy Radar Detectors blog for its official release.

  • Whistler XTR-540 Special Promotion

    Looking for a great deal on a new cordless radar detector? Well, here it is. We are currently offering a special on the Whistler XTR-540. We're really excited about this special deal, so excited, in fact, that we produced a video to give you an up close and personal look at what this radar detector has to offer. Need more information or want to order one now? Just give us a call at 1-800-584-1445 or enter our live chat.

  • 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.

  • 2011-2012 Escort Radar Detector Comparison

    Escort is one of the most popular and respected manufacturers of radar detectors in the industry. As an Authorized Escort Dealer we are proud to carry their full line of feature packed radar detectors at competitive prices. Of course, with all the options available, it can be difficult to choose one over the other, however we created this 2011-2012 Escort Radar Detector Comparison Chart to make the decision a whole lot easier for you.

    Our handy comparison chart includes all the current Escort radar detectors we currently offer, from the high performance, cordless Solo S3 and the in-dash, undetectable 9500ci to the state-of-the-art, compact Passport iQ that looks and feels like a typical GPS device. We organized all models and their features into an easy to read grid for quick and simple comparison between each one.

    Whether you need an Escort radar detector with GPS that installs discreetly in your vehicle or one that you can move from one vehicle to another with ease, the Escort Comparison Chart will help you decide which model to choose without having to hunt around the net to find out.

    The 2011-2012 Escort Radar Detector Comparison Chart is FREE to download and print at your discretion.

    For an even quicker comparison here is a glance at a few selected features of the Escort radar detectors:

    Escort Radar Detectors GPS Voice Alerts Display Undetectable
    9500ci Text
    Passport iQ Graphical
    Passport Qi45 Text
    Redline Text/Graphic
    Passport 9500ix Text
    Solo S3 Text
    Passport 8500 X50 Black (Blue Display) Text
    Passport 8500 X50 Black (Red Display) Text
  • 2011-2012 Beltronics Radar Detector Comparison

    Beltronics radar detectors are highly regarded for their quality and performance. As an Authorized Beltronics Dealer we carry their full line of radar detectors, each with an wide range of features. To make it easier for you to compare them all, we created a handy dandy 2011-2012 Beltronics Radar Detector Comparison Chart.

    Our Beltronics comparison chart lists all the current models we offer, from the value-priced, high quality Vector 940 and the median priced, high performance RX65 to the high-end, feature packed STiR Plus. All models and their features are organized into a grid to make the overall comparison from one model to the next quick an simple. Now you can compare all the Beltronics models at a glance to determine which model is right for you.

    Whether you need a Beltronics radar detector with GPS that sits on the dash or one with stealth capabilities that installs in the dash, the Beltronics Comparison Chart will tell you which model will deliver what you need just the way you want it, so you won't have to search around yourself.

    The 2011-2012 Beltronics Radar Detector Comparison Chart is FREE to download print at your discretion.

    Here is a quick glance at a few key features of the Beltronics radar detectors:

    Beltronics Radar Detectors GPS Voice Alerts Display Undetectable
    RX45 Text
    STi Driver Text
    GX65 Text
    RX65 (Blue Display) Text
    RX65 (Red Display) Text
    Vector 975E LED
    Vector 995 Text
    Vector 955c Text
    Vector 955 Text
    Vector 940 Text
    STiR Plus Text
  • 2011-2012 Whistler Radar Detector Comparison

    Whistler offers a large selection of radar detectors. There are so many to choose from with so many features that comparing them all can be quite time consuming, especially when there isn't much time for shopping around. No worries, because we did all the research for you and created a handy 2011-2012 Whistler Radar Detector Comparison Chart.

    The Whistler comparison chart includes all the models we offer as an authorized Whistler dealer, from the low-cost, entry level XTR 130 to the full-featured, modular Pro 3600. The radar detectors and their features are compiled into a simple grid listing to make comparison shopping fast and easy. Now you can compare all the Whistler models at once and see the primary differences from one model to another at a glance.

    Searching for a Whistler radar detector with Ka MAX Mode that's undetectable? The Comparison Chart will tell you which model will give you what you need. Want a cordless model with Auto Shut-Off and Memory Retention? Find out which models have that specific combination of features, without searching all over the web.

    The 2011-2012 Whistler Radar Detector Comparison Chart is FREE for download and ready when you need it.

    Here is a quick guide to some of the features of these Whistler radar detectors.

    Whistler Radar Detectors GPS Voice Alerts Display Compass
    Pro 3600 (GPS Optional) Remote
    Pro 3450 Text
    XTR 695 SE Text
    Pro 78 SE Text
    XTR 690 SE Text
    Cruisader Text
    XTR 540 Text
    Pro 68 SE LED
    XTR 555 Text
    XTR 520 Text
    XTR 440 Text
    XTR 420 Text
    XTR 500 Text
    XTR 430 Text
    XTR 335 LED
    XTR 265 LED
    XTR 145 LED
    XTR 130 LED
  • 2011-2012 Cobra Radar Detector Feature Comparison

    Cobra is well known for its radar detectors, and they have a lot of models to choose from. In fact, there are so many models available with so many features that reviewing them all individually can be a bit daunting, especially when there isn't much time for shopping around.

    But, not anymore. The 2011-2012 Cobra Radar Detector Comparison Chart has arrived!

    This comparison chart includes all the models we offer as an authorized Cobra dealer, from the economical, easy to mount ESD 7000 to the modular XRS R10G with wireless display. The radar detectors and their features are compiled into a simple grid listing to make comparison shopping fast and easy. Now you can compare all the Cobra models at once and see the primary differences from one model to another at a glance.

    Need a radar detector with Ku Band Detection and a compass but want a graphic display? The Comparison Chart will tell you which models to choose from right away. Need one with Display Dimming, Low Voltage Alert and an audio jack? Find out which models offer them and which ones don't, without having to Google around.

    The 2011-2012 Cobra Radar Detector Comparison Chart is FREE and available now.

    Below is a quick overview of some of the key features of these Cobra models.

    Cobra Radar Detectors GPS Voice Alerts Display Compass Smartphone Integration
    XRS R10G Graphical
    XRS 9970G Graphical
    XRS 9960G Graphical
    XRS R8 (GPS Optional) Graphical
    XRS R9G Graphical
    XRS 9965 (GPS Optional) Graphical
    iRADAR iRAD 100 (iPhone) Graphical
    iRADAR iRAD 105 (Android) Graphical
    XRS 9550G Text
    XRS 9945 Graphical
    XRS 9845 Graphical
    XRS 9745 Text
    XRS 9645 Text
    XRS 9545 Text
    XRS 9445 LED
    XRS 9345 LED
    XRS 9930 Graphical
    ESD 7000 LED
  • 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.

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