When the Escort Redline was rolled out in 2007 it claimed our record for the longest radar range—14-plus miles under perfect conditions. Not surprisingly, it quickly found a following among performance-minded drivers. Then, after a 10-year run it was replaced by the Redline EX.
Not to worry, Escort promised legions of anguished fans, the replacement is even better. To verify that claim we gathered up both models for a comparison. Here's what we found.
Like its forebear, the Redline EX is a large, heavy detector, a legacy of its twin cast-aluminum radar antennae. Although it looks wider—the original Redline's housing was tapered at the front while the Redline EX's is squared-off and rectangular—width increases by only by 0.125 inch and length increases by 0.5 inch. At 13 ounces, the Redline EX is heavier by 1.4 ounces.
Among the biggest changes is the addition of GPS, allowing the latest Redline to lock out nuisance radar signals and mark GPS locations. With satellite technology it can also display your speed and warn of red light and speed cameras.
Like its predecessor, the EX has a matte-black case adorned on top with only a discreet Redline EX logo, making it much more resistant to annoying windshield reflections than many detectors. A mini-USB jack on the side of the case links the detector to a PC for Internet access and updates to its camera database and firmware.
The Redline EX windshield bracket has a large suction cup and attaches to the detector magnetically. Once installed, it grips the detector securely. This is the only mounting option—brackets and mounts from the earlier Escort do not fit.
Once it's powered-up, the most noticeable difference is the new OLED display that replaces the earlier Redline's LED display. At the far left is the Overspeed Alert speed, factory-set at 70 mph. When paired to a smartphone and the Escort Live app, a Bluetooth icon lights up.
Shown to its right is your speed or alternatively, battery voltage. Next to that is the sensitivity mode and during alerts, radar frequency, a signal-strength bargraph or the digital frequency. The two Redline displays are identical in size but the EX screen is required to display four times as much data. To make it fit the limited real estate, fonts were downsized and spacing reduced.
Most manufacturers have hopped aboard the OLED bandwagon because it looks sexy in photos and helps to sell product. The fashion statement isn't without drawbacks, however. We've yet to see one that doesn't wash out in sunlight. Also, any attempt to read one while wearing sunglasses is a waste of time. Learn more.
Most of the EX feature set likewise is borrowed from the Max 360 and Passport iX. Included is the Auto Learn feature that automatically locks out nuisance signals like radar-controlled automatic door openers. Drive past one a few times and it's automatically added to the memory. Next time you drive past, there's no alert.
Also inherited from the Passport iX and Max 360 is the Overspeed Alert. Factory-set at 70 mph, every trip north of that speed elicits a verbal warning—Overspeed!—and the speed display turns red.
An IVT filter helps somewhat to recognize Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) radar and ignore it. Auto LoK chops K-band sensitivity by 65 percent and we found it more effective in reducing false alarms from BSM radar, also those from door openers.
The Redline EX retains Ka-band segmentation, allowing the user to choose which segments are to be scanned. New is K-band segmentation which offers four segments. By default the feature is disabled and the detector scans from 23.950 to 24.250 GHz. This slightly exceeds the span of K-band frequencies used internationally, making the Redline EX suitable for use abroad. The default setting also is optimal for operation Stateside as only one of the four segments can be disabled without risk.
Also new is the claimed detection of four models of international K-band radar—Strelka, Multaradar CD/CT and Gatso. Used in photo enforcement systems (red light and speed cameras), aside from the Strelka the others are FCC-approved for use in the U.S.
These radar units pose something less than a universal headache for drivers, however. When we checked recently there were no Multaradar installations in the nation and only a few in Canada. The Gatso RT3 is nearly as rare with only a handful installed in red light cameras in Alabama, Florida, Illinois, Iowa and Rhode Island.
Apparently Escort isn't unduly concerned about this type of radar—the detector is shipped with these radar options shut off.
The Redline EX demonstrated uneven radar performance. In a recent test, for instance, the EX ranked last on K band, well behind the $229 fifth-place finisher. Compared to the original Redline it had 21 percent less range on both K band and 34.7 GHz Ka band. It compared poorly on 35.5 GHz Ka as well, with 64 percent shorter range. Unfortunately, this frequency is used by a considerable number of police radar units. See the test.
The original Redline was rightly considered the enthusiast driver's tool of choice, blessed with the world's best range and a terrific information-delivery system. Neither attribute is shared by the Redline EX, however.
The Escort Redline EX has some advantages over its predecessor—fewer false alarms and warnings of red light cameras chief among them. But although the EX retains most of the features that endeared the original Redline to enthusiasts, with its annoying Overspeed Alert, less-effective display and disappointing performance, it's less capable than its predecessor at protecting from tickets