Note: discontinued model
The Whistler CR90 marks the company's first offering in the windshield-mount, GPS-enabled class of radar detector and occupies the top spot in the CR-Series. Those uninterested in the GPS feature might opt for the considerably less expensive Whistler CR85 instead. Other than GPS—and price—the two are identical.
The Whistler CR90 sports an all-black housing, its upper section mercifully devoid of the chromed buttons and other brightwork that adorns too many competing models. Those may look fabulous on the store shelf, but try living with the reflected glare cast onto the windshield during a day-long drive.
The front of the Whistler CR90 case is dominated by a blue OLED text display that’s far brighter and higher-contrast than many such designs. Unlike some, it can be read without binoculars and stays legible in sunlight. Learn more...
A visual user interface assumes added significance on GPS-enabled radar detectors like the Whistler CR90. It provides real-time vehicle speed, location and direction of travel, opening up a host of advanced functions. Included are warnings of nearby red light cameras and speed cameras, courtesy of coordinates programmed into its memory. A USB port on the right side of the case allows updates of the red light camera database to keep it current.
The Whistler CR90 is designed for plug-and-play operation. But it has an unusually broad array of user settings—we counted 21 primary menu items but probably missed a few—that allows extensive fine-tuning of the CR90’s operation and behavior.
There’s a veritable buffet of features intended to reduce annoying false alarms but without hobbling performance. Three City modes progressively lower X-band sensitivity or disable it. There are six filter modes for the trio of radar bands, allowing a separate level of filtering for each. Audible alerts can be speed-based, keeping mum below a threshold velocity.
Against radar threats the Whistler CR90 delivered nearly identical performance to its forebears, the Whistler Pro 78SE, Whistler XTR-690SE and Whistler XTR-695SE. (Not surprising since they all share the same well-sorted electronic platform.)
At our Curve/Hill test site the Whistler CR90 and CR85 stayed very close to class-leading BEL (Beltronics) Pro 100. Against its Cobra competition the Whistler CR90 (and the CR85 we also tested) proved significantly hotter on the X-band radar frequency.
That gap shrank on K band but widened again on the two most widely used Ka-band radar band frequencies, 34.7 and 35.5 GHz. This is worth noting since Ka band is the radar frequency of choice for nearly all state highway patrol divisions and state police agencies across North America.
The Whistler CR90 stands out for its elegant, intelligently-engineered and sophisticated design, not to mention its effectiveness in countering radar, lidar and red light cameras.