Note: Discontinued. See reviews of the latest models.
After the departure of the Whistler XTR-540 only one cordless model remains, the Escort Passport Solo S3. Successor to the discontinued Escort Solo S2, the Escort battery-powered model retains the latter's feature set and looks almost identical.
One difference is a new black housing that stills our complaint about the S2's platinum-hued case with its attendant windshield glare in sunlight. Gone is the LCD display, replaced by a stylish yellow OLED display that contrasts nicely with the black case. The new display is less readable than an LED display, an observation we've made about other Escorts with OLED displays.
The large mute button—front and center on the case top—doubles as a battery-level indicator. To check remaining battery life, press the button and an icon is displayed. A pair of alkaline AA batteries is generally good for 30 to 40 hours of driving.
To save power, the display is momentarily backlit only when a function button has been pressed or during an alert. When the optional power cord is attached and the volts are free the display stays lit, as do the status LEDs.
Be aware that cordless convenience comes at a price. The Solo S3 has a fraction of the range offered by similarly priced Escort corded models, particularly on Ka band, the frequency used by nearly every state police agency.
The range penalty imposed by battery power may not be a deal-breaker for frequent flyers who live in rental cars and place a premium on cordless operation. But those merely looking to eliminate a dangling power cord may want to consider a good corded model instead.