Updated: May 27, 2015
Newest GPS Escort Passport Radar Detector - the 9500ixThe battle between police and motorists has been like an arms race, as radar and laser speed measuring technologies have battled with radar and laser detectors -- both trying to outwit the other, either to ticket or to evade. For police, they are just doing their job -- monitoring who is traveling faster than the speed limit. For drivers, they are looking to avoid unfair speedtraps and open stretches of highway where they might "slightly" exceed the posted speed limit. However you look at it, it comes down to a battle of technology. For most of us, that means consumer/driver technology to help avoid getting a speeding ticket. Early radar detectors simply gave off a beeping sound whenever they detected radar radio waves -- from a police car, from a garage door opener, from a retail automatic door opener, etc. If a cop had a newer laser gun, you were out of luck. Over time, laser detection was added, along with a variety of sensitivity settings. But GPS is what really opens the door to new and better radar detectors. If you drive past the same Home Depot with the automatic doors each day, only a GPS based radar system can identify that location and silence it as a false alarm. And it can alert you when you are in an area known for speed traps or red light cameras.
GPS really allows you to use radar detectors to your advantage with a minimum of false alarms. Between the price of a moving violation fine and the effect on your insurance rates, keeping speeding tickets off your record can pretty much balance out the cost of a radar detector for most of us. Depending on your driving habits, a radar/laser detector can be either a necessity or a luxury. In either case, it pays to get the best radar detector money can buy. Some of the big names in radar detectors include Escort radar detectors, Beltronics (part of Escort), Whistler laser detectors, and Cobra. Other companies make them, but these are the market and technology leaders, and there is really no reason to shop beyond these big 4. Escort is the biggest name in radar detectors, with more than 75% of all patents related to laser and radar detectors, so when in doubt, go for the Escort model. In fact, for general information about how radar and laser detectors work, radar detector laws, fighting speeding tickets, and more (including of course product information!) stop by the Escort website at EscortRadar.com. One common question they answer is: Are radar detectors legal? The answer is yes, they are legal in non-commercial vehicles except in Virginia and Washington DC where they are banned. Watch out in Canada as well, as they are illegal almost everywhere. Be sure to read up on their articles on how radar detectors and laser detectors works - once you understand concepts like "instant-on" and how laser-beam scatted is picked up by detectors, you'll be a lot smarter when it comes to buying a radar detector. Laser is different from radar in that it must be used from a stationary position -- those are usually the patrol cars you see parked on top of overpasses or looking backward out their car door on the side of the road. Lasers also really work best only in pretty good weather -- rain and fog make them difficult to use reliably. Browse the best selling radar detectors here.
Escort Passport 9500ix Radar and Laser DetectorEscort's latest radar detector is the Passport 9500ix, which retails for about $499. The 9500i build on the success of the Passport 8500 X50. GPS is the main addition on the 9500, but it still covers you on X-band (10.525 GHz), K-band (24.150 GHz), Ka-band (33.4 - 36.0 GHz), Ku-band, and Laser. How big is the Escort 9500ix? The dimensions are just 1.4" H x 2.90" W x 5.35" L, which means it's pretty small, but still bigger than a pack of cigarettes (it weighs 8 ounces). The 9500i is meant to be mounted in the lower, center portion of your windshield. A suction cup attached to the glass, and a metal pin connector slides into the Passport to hold it in to place. This also makes it easy to remove your radar detector and take it with you or hide it out of site. The power cord attaches from the unit to your cigarette or power outlet. If you plan on using the 9500i or 9500ix in multiple cars, you will be happy to learn that additional suction cup mounting kits cost just $4 -- so you can put a suction cup and mounting pin in several cars, then just carry the Passport 9500 and power cord with you if you switch cars during the week. The smart cords than connect the 9500 to the cigarette lighter are $30 if you choose to have one in each car (these are the smart cords than have color coded lights - regular power cords are half the cost, $15). If you are not into cords, Escort also makes some battery powered, cordless radar detectors like the Solo S2 which runs about $350.
The TrueLock feature is the one that lets you block out known false radar warnings. In the 9500i model you can selectively block false signals by pressing the mute button -- it will record the location and frequency of the signal and ignore it in the future. The 9500ix model handles this automatically if it encounters the same signal in the exact same location over several periods (see how GPS makes these things really powerful?). You can also manually mark locations that can be problems, like areas you KNOW a cop always sits, or areas where the speed limit suddenly drops suddenly catching you unaware -- then in the future, you will get a warning when you approach these areas. Another nice feature GPS offers is the ability of the radar detector to know what speed you are moving at -- in places like parking lots or while driving 10MPH down a busy city street, sensitivity is automatically set very low so you don't get so many false alarm beeps. When cruising at highway speeds, the GPS module automatically knows that and turns sensitivity way up so you are ready for real radar or laser threats -- pretty good trick. You can read about the Escort 9500ix radar detector online - Escort posts the owners manual in PDF format for easy viewing. But if you are looking for the best radar detector out there, the Passport 9500ix just might be it. It has won numerous awards and accolades, and we'd like to add ours to the list.