PROS / It has the Defender database, which provides red-light camera and speed camera locations.
CONS / It lacks an over-speed alert feature, which keeps you alert to your driving habits.
VERDICT / When it comes to avoiding traffic fines and driving safely, few radar detectors compare to the Escort Passport 9500ix.
Nearly every radar detector manufacturer markets each device it sells as the most technologically advanced radar detector on the road. The Escort Passport 9500ix is one of the few radar detectors that comes close to backing that claim up. It offers exceptional range and accuracy with very few false alerts. The internal GPS provides comprehensive alert features, and the compatibility with the Escort Live app connects you to a community of radar detectors for alerts in real time. For these reasons, it has won the Top Ten Reviews Silver Award for best radar detector.
The Passport 9500ix received a 95 percent performance score in our review, which means that it has excellent range and accuracy that most radar detectors can't match. The sensitivity of the sensors is in an elite group. It detects the X-band, K-band and Ka-band radar frequencies at the same time or separately, depending on your needs. It can detect radar guns using instant-on or POP modes, which are quick-action modes on radar guns designed to beat radar detectors.
It also acts as a laser radar detector, or LIDAR detector. However, it's important to know that laser detection doesn't offer the same type of protection as radar detection. Where a radar alert usually comes with plenty of time to adjust your speed before an officer sees you, a laser alert means that the laser has been aimed directly at your car. In other words, it's more of a notification that law enforcement has recorded your speed.
In addition to alerting you to radar and lasers used by police, the Passport 9500ix comes preloaded with the Defender database, which includes locations for thousands of potential threats that don't emit detectable signals – speed cameras, red-light cameras, common speed trap areas. When you receive one of these alerts, it says the type of alert on the display, followed by the distance so that you can adjust your driving accordingly. Escort updates the database constantly with new locations so that you can stay current. However, the Defender database updates require a subscription after the initial 90-day trial period.
The only alert feature that it's lacking is an over-speed alert – a feature that alerts you when you've exceeded a predetermined speed. This is not a common feature for radar detectors because most users want to avoid detection so that they can speed. This is an important feature because it keeps you safe. Most speeding violations occur when you're not paying attention. You're thinking about work or singing to the radio and next thing you know, a cop is pulling you over for going 60 mph in a 45-mph zone.
The most important control feature is the built-in GPS system. This provides the eyes to your alerts, allowing you to know where potential threats are coming from. It also works with an AutoLearn feature that provides advanced analysis of frequency signals for better false alert filtering. Escort refers to this as artificial intelligence protection. The result is impressive. As with all radar detectors, you'll receive false alerts caused by things like garage door openers. However, after a week or two, the AutoLearn eliminates nearly all the false alerts.
By using the Bluetooth-enabled SmartCord, you can connect the 9500ix to your smartphone to use the Escort Live app. This connects you to a community of users who are reporting live information of potential threats. For example, you could receive an alert of a user who receives a laser alert ahead of you. It also provides a more detailed display of your GPS alerts, allowing you to see if a threat is to your left or right. The only downside to the app is that it requires a subscription.
Help & Support
Escort is known as one of the best radar detector manufacturers on the market, and the help and support is representative of this reputation. The Passport 9500ix comes with a one-year warranty. The website has a section devoted to radar detector education. Using complicated technology with loads of features and controls can be intimidating, but Escort provides an extensive amount of tutorials, articles, comparison charts and videos to help you go from novice to expert. If you ever need help, you can also contact the support through phone, email and live chat.
With comprehensive GPS features that include a database of red-light camera and speed camera locations, the Escort 9500ix is truly one of the most technologically advanced radar detectors available. It has the range and accuracy to keep you safe and alert to potential traffic violations.