Radar detectors today are much more reliable and sophisticated than the detectors available in earlier years. They can detect multiple radar bands and filter out false alerts. Some detectors, such as the Escort Passport 9500ix even use GPS to help you mark the location of speed cameras, red light cameras and to identify from where false alerts are emitted making this our TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award winner.
This device offers some of the best features we could find when reviewing radar detectors. The first thing we liked is that it detects multiple threats at one time. You also have the ability to turn off detection of the X band, which is rarely used today. This will limit the number of false alerts that you receive.
In earlier years, law enforcement mostly used radar guns that emitted signals in the X band radio frequency. Early radar detectors easily detected the X band frequency. However, radar guns were not and are still not the only devices that emit X band waves. This meant that many of the alerts were coming from devices such as automatic door openers and motion sensors.
Law enforcement rarely uses X band these days so radar detectors need to be able to detect a variety of radar bands. In addition, these detectors also need to detect laser as police are adopting laser technology to determine vehicle speed.
The Passport 9500ix radar detectors are able to detect the most commonly used radar bands including X, K, and Ka. In addition, this radar detector can detect the Ku band, which is used in some European countries. This Escort radar detector also has a nice feature called AutoSensitivity that automatically adjusts its sensitivity to the X and K bands depending on where you are driving. Whether you drive in populated areas or in wide-open spaces, AutoScan automatically rejects false alerts from signals that are shared on the X and K bands – such as door openers or security systems.
The Passport 9500ix can also identify laser guns. Laser technology is becoming more popular with law enforcement because it sends a signal out on a narrow beam as opposed to the wide beam sent by radar. The narrow beam makes it harder for radar detectors to identify when lasers are being used. The Escort radar detector can detect a variety of laser guns in use today such as Pro Laser, LTI 20-20, Ultra Lyte, Stalker LZ-1 and Laser Atlanta L-1.
These radar detectors also include a feature that allows you to disable more than one radar band. Because law enforcement rarely uses the X band and it is the most common source of false alerts, you have the option to disable the X band detection.
Escort radar detectors have a multiple threat feature, which detects signals from multiple bands at the same time. This means that if it detects signals from the K and Ka bands at the same time, the display shows both threats.
Visual alerts that require you to take your eyes of the road can be distracting and dangerous. The Passport 9500ix radar detectors include a voice alert feature so you do not have to look at the display. When a radar or laser signal is detected, you will hear the alert spoken in plain English so you can keep your eyes on the road and take your foot off the accelerator. You can also use voice alerts to inform you of multiple threats.
This unit uses GPS to help you filter out false alerts and speed traps. The built-in GPS unit does not help you get to your position, but it will let you know where hotspots are located. It also maintains a database with the locations of fixed speed and red light cameras. You will receive alerts in advance as you approach a camera, allowing you to adjust your speed and be cautious as you approach a stop light. You can keep your database current by downloading updates from the Escort website to your Passport 9500ix radar detector using a USB connection.
These detectors also include an AutoLearn feature that works with the GPS unit to cross-reference your current location with the frequency of detected signals. After detecting the same signal in the same location three times, it stores the location and blocks it out the next time you drive by. This helps to filter out false signals.
We found that the Passport 9500ix excels at detecting speed and red light cameras, and it does a better job of finding radar guns while on the move than the other products we reviewed. We also really like the AutoLearn feature that identifies and eliminates false alerts.
If you do not want to wait for the AutoLearn feature to filter out false alerts, you can lock them out manually. When you encounter a false signal, simply press the Mute button three times to block the location. If you want to unblock an alert, press the mute button three times in the same location.
The Passport 9500ix comes with a windshield mount with suction cups and with a coiled power cord. The windshield mount also includes a quick release bracket so you can quickly remove it when you need to. Radar detectors are legal in most states, so you should not need to remove the 9500ix to hide it from the police. However, having a mounted radar detector can draw unwanted attention to you from law enforcement officials. In addition, mounted detectors in a parking lot can become a target for thieves.
The Passport 9500ix comes with a unique coiled power cord, or SmartCord, and offers the ability to operate some functions such as muting the volume. The buttons and controls are located on the back of the plug that you insert into the cigarette lighter. This makes it convenient to turn the unit on or off without having to reach up to the windshield while you are driving.
The Passport 9500ix radar detectors also include a durable aluminum travel case to protect it during transport. There is also a comprehensive owner's manual to help you correctly set up and operate the detector.
Escort offers a one-year warranty that covers the Passport 9500ix against defects in materials and workmanship. If there is a problem with the radar detector, Escort will either repair it or replace it free of charge.
If you have questions, you can use the company's toll-free number to talk to a customer support representative between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. eastern time. The website also includes FAQs pages and a forum where you can discuss and troubleshoot problems with other users. The company also provides email support if you do not mind waiting a day or two to receive your answers.
While all of the radar detectors we reviewed do a good job of detecting radar guns, Escort's Passport 9500ix is the top performer because it can detect them and warn you faster than the others. In addition, its excellent AutoLearn feature does a great job of locating and locking out false alerts. No other radar detector in this class has a similar AutoLearn feature. Most of the others require you to manually lock out false signals when you find them so they do not alert you the next time you drive by them.
The Escort Passport 9500ix radar detector will outperform all other contenders with GPS functions and the ability to warn you about upcoming speed and red light cameras. You can purchase an optional database subscription to ensure that the locations of speed and red light cameras are always up to date. The database downloads and updates to the radar detector require a USB connection to a computer with a Windows operating system. You can also manually add camera and speed trap locations to the database as you find them.
The Escort Passport 9500ix has good false alarm filters and long range detection.
In order to use the red light database, you have to subscribe.
This is a great radar detector for anyone looking for excellent protection.