2014 Car Radar Comparison: Is Escort Passport Max The Market Leader?
What Is the Best Bang For Buck Car Radar Detector?
Two months after I bought my new car, I was still very much a big boy with a big toy. Time and again I found myself pushing the pedal to the floor which needless to say brought me a torrent of speeding tickets.
Needless to say the wife was not best pleased with us squandering our hard earned cash on speeding tickets and suggested I read up on car radar detectors.
So coffee in hand, Google search fired up I suddenly realized I knew s*%t all about radar detectors nor the myriad of features on each model.
2014 Radar Comparison Checklist
The 6 main radar detectors players I considered where: Whistler CR60, Escort Passport Max, Beltronics Pro500, Cobra SPX 7800 BT, Passport 9500IX and Beltronics STi Magnum. Not knowing much about radar detectors at the time, I shortlisted all these models and compiled my own comparison chart. So did it live up to all the hype?
SPOILER ALERT: If you want to read the full review skip the next paragraph.
In the end I opted for the gold award winner: radar detector. But make sure to read the rest of the review to find out about my personal experiences with this gadget.
Are Radar Detectors Illegal and In What States?
The FCC doesn’t regulate car radar detectors only emissions. However, radar detectors are deemed illegal in the states of Virginia, Washington D.C., in all commercial motor vehicles and motors over ten thousand pounds as well as in all U.S. military installations.
What are the Best Radar Detector Features to Look out for?
- Safety Warning System
- Red Light Camera Database
- City/Highway Modes
Safety Warning System
Otherwise known as SWS, the Safety Warning System is a distinctive audible warning that a radar detector will make to portend a radar source or a myriad of road safety issues such as accidents, hazardous roads, highway construction or railroad crossings.
Basically, the closer you get to the radar source the faster the chirp produced by the Passport Max which ultimately converts to a continuous tone when you get really close to the police radar.
In addition to the distinctive audible sound, the Passport Max HD Radar has a blue LED display that acts as a visual alert anytime you get close to a police radar gun.
Laser Alert Feature
The Laser alert on ESCORT radar detectors refers to the laser signal being emitted from a police Laser speed measurement gun.
This laser alert is very serious and should be heeded as soon as you see it displayed!
This means when your Escort detector is alerting Laser, you should adjust your speed accordingly as quickly as possible.
What most people do with the NAV01 and NAV01c is install IGO8 or Primo and use the and use the .fbl maps that are published by TomTom and/or Navteq.
The installation is simlar to NAV01c, you would copy the IG-O8 / Primo directory to your sd card, then rename the IGO/Primo directory to WLNANavi480_272, and then name the executable file to WLNA_Navi.exe.
Then the IGO software should start like the original installation started. We do not condone this as it may brick your device.
How Accurate is this Radar Detector?
The Escort Passport Radar Detector is a very accurate device which holds very long range warning on all radar bands, such as X, K, and so on.
It has a 360 degree laser protection also has customizing features for you to make it fit to your liking.
Red Light Camera Database
Also known as a Safety Camera Database, the Red Light Camera Database, uses the GPS location of red light cameras throughout the United States and Canada to warn the driver of any camera’s present at an intersection.
The Passport Max comes with three months of database updates all at no cost to you.
The database will alert you of not just the presence of red light cameras but also speed cameras and other speed traps endemic to North America.
The database is an important feature in any useful radar detector as red light cameras don’t emit any radar but instead are activated by sensors that are built into the road.
By keeping the Passport Max database frequently updated you won’t be running into any trouble with the cops.
These features are of particular importance as far as triggering false alarms is concerned.
When driving at highway speeds, the Passport Max similar technology to the 9500IX will use the in-built GPS tracking feature to determine your speed and trigger more radar sensitivity, while when you slow down to city speeds the MAX and 9500IX will reduce radar sensitivity.
What Are X, K, and KA Bands On Radar Detectors?
This is because different types of radar will use different types of frequency bands; X, K, Ka and Ku.
The X and K bands are used by law enforcement and for other commercial purposes while the Ku and Ka frequency bands are mostly used by law enforcement.
Imagine a situation where a grocery store uses the X band frequency for its automatic doors while on the same street a police officer has a Ku radar gun.
When in City mode due to the reduced sensitivity of the X band frequency, the Escort Max will first detect the police Ku-based radar gun and alert you.
When on Highway Mode, due to increased sensitivity to radar signals the Passport Max will give priority to X band frequency.
In doing so the possibility of false alarms is significantly reduced.
Different Bands Summary
X Band | 10.500 – 10.550 GHz
K Band | 24.050 24.250 GHz
Ka Band | 33.400 36.000 GHz SuperWideBand
Do Radar Detectors Work 100% All Of The Time?
Simple answer is not 100%. But the more expensive models have a very high % success rate of detection like most things the more money you spend the more technology you are buying into.
A wide range of band coverage gives you the option to scan more frequencies and there are other factors to maximise success rate like placement in your vehicle and other variables discussed in this review comparison.
Obvious weaknesses like severe bends in the road can lead to a poorer detection rate
With the TrueLock feature you’ll effectively eliminate false alarms.
With this ingenious feature, Escort Max allows you to record the GPS location and even the exact frequency that triggered the false alarm by pressing the “mute” button thrice.
All future alerts emanating from that location will be ignored.
But here’s the really exciting part, if ever a real speed enforcement threat is detected in the vicinity, the radar Passport Max will be smart enough to identify the new frequency and alert you. Pretty smart, huh!
Jam Packed with Other Features
Other included features are:
- AutoLearn Feature
- Variable Speed Performance
- Safety Camera Database
- 360-Degree Radar and Laser Detection
- All-Band Protection
What’s Included in Your Car Radar Kit
- Windshield Suction Cup System
- SmartCord Power Adapter
- User Guide
Does it Include a Warranty?
Yes, the Escort Inc. Passport Max Radar Detector – Red Display comes with a 1-year warranty.
Conclusions: Ratings and Reviews
With over 350 reviews and a 4.2 star rating out of a possible 5 on Amazon, the Escort Inc. Passport Max Radar Detector – Red Display proves to be the real thing.
Here are some of the things that people said on Amazon;
The one thing that Escort; the Passport Max manufacturer could do to give this radar detector a solid 5-star rating is to probably offer a more driver-friendly user interface, say for instance, a remote control to switch off the false alarms as this may be difficult to do at times while driving.
Where Can I Get The Best Price: Passport Max?
For the best selection of prices you can visit Amazon.com and pick up free delivery. Check the latest prices and 1 day shipping and save some money!