Looking for the world's best radar detector? For those to whom the term best means the longest radar-warning range, the Escort Redline holds that distinction. In ideal conditions we saw the Redline deliver a staggering 14.17 miles of range, several miles more than the runner-up's average range. It performed equally well against every type of radar, X-, K- and Ka-band, including photo radar.
What gives the Escort Redline the world's longest radar-detection range is advanced technology, a clever design and premium components. This includes dual radar antennae, both forward-facing. (A rear antenna is unnecessary to detect radar coming from behind; the Redline, for example, spotted one Ka-band radar 4.1 miles behind us.)
Twin antennae allowed Escort engineers to ease the microprocessor's workload, allowing it to do a more efficient job at spotting radar, a task at which the Redline is without peer. In an interview with MSN.com's Eric Sofge, I mentioned that performance like this pays a big dividend when you're facing the rolling radars common everywhere west of the Alleghenies..
The Redline does not have GPS and its mission statement is entirely different from that of the Escort Passport 9500ix or its electronic twin, the BEL (Beltronics) Pro 500. Those two are the best in the business at eliminating nuisance signals that cause false alarms; they're equally adept at warning of red light and speed cameras.
Although highly sensitive, the Escort Redline showed good resistance to false alarms. Only two of the GPS-enabled models did better.|
Escort targets the sophisticated road warrior with the Redline. To illustrate that mission, note the matte-black hue of its housing, the lack of brightwork and a near absence of graphics on top. It won't catch the eye on a store shelf like some detectors, but neither will it annoy the driver from reflections cast onto the windshield during sunny days.
The Escort Redline has a high-visibility 280-LED display in the same red hue found in upscale performance cars such as the BMW M3. This is inset into the case, shielded from the sun and easily read even at high noon in the Sonoran Desert. To make visual warnings even more compelling, a trio of bright red LEDs in the lower front case also lights up during alerts.
The display can be reduced to a tiny, pulsing red dot for stealthy nighttime running. Power-on indication and alerts also are displayed on the coiled Smart Cord's power plug. This has a button to mute audible alerts without having to reach for the detector.
Controls are minimalist: three flush-mounted switches for power, operating mode, audio volume and manual-muting (auto-muting is standard). Depressing the latter two switches simultaneously produces a menu of user preferences. One is called Spec Display. This displays a radar signal's digital frequency.
Average drivers greet this news with yawns but to the savvy, it offers a significant advantage. Ka-band signals often are non-police radar, unworthy even of a tap at the brakes. But conventional detectors can't tell the difference and merely display a generic Ka-band alert.
In contrast, Spec Display reports the frequency numerically, letting the driver know at a glance whether it's alerting to a passing Cobra radar detector—or a motorcycle officer hiding behind a bridge abutment up ahead, readying his radar gun. With Spec Display—and the free Escort Redline Performance Tips guide that accompanies every Redline we sell—it's possible to tell at a glance if a Ka-band alert is really police radar.
The Redline's utility is further enhanced by a unique user preference called Ka Superwide, or Ka-band segmentation. This divides Ka band into 10 discreet slices, any or all of which can be deactivated. Ka bandwidth is 52 times wider than X band and it's home to a plentiful number of non-police radar signals that set off detectors. But with Ka band correctly configured, most of these false alarms disappear. This service is provided at no cost to our customers.
The Escort Redline is non-GPS, same as its electronic twin, the BEL (Beltronics) STi Magnum, not to mention other high-performance BEl/Escort (same company) models like the Escort Passport 8500 X50 and its BEL clone, the BEL Pro 300. This means it can't warn of red light and speed cameras, standard features found on Escort and BEL GPS-enabled models, the popular Escort Passport 9500ix and its clone, the BEL Pro 500.
There's a fix for this, a system called Escort Live. The package includes a special Escort Live coiled Smart Cord with built-in Bluetooth that replaces the standard SmartCord. The other key component is an iPhone or Android smartphone loaded with the free Escort Live app.
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The system uses the smartphone's GPS and also allows the phone to control the detector and display its alerts, along with Escort Live real-time alerts of police enforcement threats reported by other drivers.
The Escort Redline is all about long-range warning of radar and this includes photo radar vans. In several tests against the most common models of these photo cameras—one from Redflex Systems, the other from American Traffic Solutions (ATS)—it led the pack each time.
We also tested against conventional radar at a new desert site where the Escort Redline delivered that world-record 14.17-mile radar-warning range against every type of radar. In comparison, the flagship Cobra XRS 9970G managed barely half of that range on K and Ka bands and 20 percent of the Redline's X-band radar performance.
The best-performing windshield-mount model we've tested, the Escort Redline sets the standard in sophistication and long-range radar detection.