The Beltronics Vector 995 was the Rodney Dangerfield of radar detectors. Although one of the perennial top-rated detectors in our tests, it languished in the shadow of its corporate sibling, the Escort Passport 8500 X50 (also discontinued).
A pity that the BEL got no respect: what many didn't realize is that both used the same Escort platform and under the skin, the two were identical.
Unlike the Escort 8500 X50, the Vector 995 offers voice alerts. This frees the driver from having to study the display for information.
The Vector 995 offers Ku band detection, making it suitable for international travel. The unit ships with this band deactivated, prudent since no Ku-band radar exists in this country, despite some misleading claims to the contrary.
The Vector 995 detects POP mode radar, although it ships with POP Mode turned off. There's a reason for this: with POP on, signal-processing time is dramatically shortened, leading to frequent false alarms. Even if you live where POP-mode radar is common, you'll probably want to leave the feature deactivated.
Like nearly all radar detectors, the lethal Spectre RDD radar detector detector can spot the BEL Vector 995 and from up to 1,163 away, according to our tests.
The BEL Vector 995 proved to be very quiet in town, particularly when set to City NoX, which shuts off X band and eliminates false alarms generated by the ubiquitous automatic door openers.
If there was ever a question that the BEL Vector 995 is an Escort 8500 X50 in drag, our field test removed any doubts. The trio first squared off at our 8-mile-long desert Straightaway Site and turned in identical scores. In two more tests, one at our 5.4-mile-long site, the other at our short-range Hill/Curve site, they delivered similar results
This news isn't likely to spark a wholesale shift in consumer demand. Escort lavishes much of its advertising budget on the Escort brand, probably relegating BEL models like this to second-banana status.