- Red light camera protection
- Superior radar range
- Locks out nuisance alerts
- Least expensive in this class
- No AutoLearn feature
One of the best-kept secrets in the radar detector industry is the Beltronics Pro 500. Overshadowed by its heavily-hyped corporate siblings, few know that the Pro 500 is a cloned Escort.
Its housing is of a unique matte-black, soft-touch material rather than the glossy polycarbonate used by many Escorts. The rubber-like texture makes the Pro 500 feel like upscale hardware and more important, it doesn't reflect a mirror image of itself onto the windshield during daylight hours.
BEL added GPS to this high-performance detector to reduce false alarms generated by roadside sources, many of them radar-controlled automatic door openers. These operate on the same X- and K-band frequencies used by police radar and set off conventional detectors whenever they're encountered.
The Pro 500 will lock out these nuisance signals if the driver taps the Smart Cord mute button three times. Escorts do this automatically, a feature called AutoLearn.
Threat Display mode tracks up to nine separate radar signals simultaneously, displaying the band and relative signal strength of each. While doing so it warns audibly of the menace, saying "Multiple signals detected" and inviting the driver to take action while there's still time.
The Pro 500 displayed better range at our Hill/Curve test site than Cobra and Whistler models. But its K-band range in particular paled in comparison to that of its Escort iX successor.
Although it was roughly comparable to the previous generation of Escort and BEL GPS-enabled models, its lack of features like AutoLearn and lower performance make one of the Escorts a better choice, particularly now that Pro 500 production has ended.