The Escort Passport iX is the entry-level Escort with GPS technology, used by high-end radar detectors to reduce false alarms.
Its windshield mount attaches to the detector magnetically, an effortless process.
It receives the corporate OLED display, which has drawbacks we've noted before. Among them: too much data crammed into too little space, tiny fonts and low contrast. The last point is noteworthy as the display washes out badly in sunlight and can't be read through sunglasses.
Most of the iX feature set comes from the Max family (Max 2, Max 360/360c). This includes the ability to lock out nuisance signals like radar-controlled automatic door openers. It will do this automatically after passing them on multiple occasions.
It also inherits software that varies sensitivity according to speed, dialing it back automatically at low speeds to help limit false alarms.
Also from the Max family is the annoying Overspeed Alert. Factory-set at 70 mph, every trip north of that speed elicits a verbal admonishment—"Overspeed!"—and the speed display ominously turns red.
The speed nanny can be disabled by those willing to change the user mode to Advanced and navigate through the Preferences menu.
The iX is controlled by six top-mounted buttons with hardly any space in between. An average-sized finger can easily depress four of the six simultaneously. Except when using the oversized Mute button, the safest time to adjust the iX is probably while the vehicle is parked.
An Auto LoK setting chops K-band sensitivity by 65 percent to help reduce false alarms. A new IVT filter helps it to identify and ignore vehicular Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) systems. These operate on the same K-band frequency as police radar and have become a huge headache for detectors.
Auto NoX shuts off X band to cut false alarms, a worthwhile move except in Ohio, whose highway patrol is the only one that still uses this ancient radar band.
The two features can't be used simultaneously, however. This gives drivers a choice between fewer X-band false alarms or fewer K-band false alarms, but not both.
The competition has a wider array of anti-false-alarm measures. For instance, the Radenso XP and Radenso Pro M allow users to set speed thresholds for the onset of audible alerts. Both also offer narrow-K-band settings to further cut down on false alarms.
The performance of the Passport iX was measured at our Hill/Curve test site. Although it showed balanced radar performance, the Escort Passport iX trailed the competing Radenso XP in two of the three tests. On K band it lagged behind by 7 percent and on 34.7 GHz Ka band by 8 percent. Against 35.5 GHz radar the two were equal.
The Escort Passport iX benefits from software that automatically recognizes and ignores non-police radar. On the downside, cramped controls, a dim display and some annoying features make it a less enjoyable traveling companion than some.
The iX is probably best suited to drivers who prefer set-and-forget operation and minimal involvement with a radar detector. But even after its price dropped by a hundred bucks recently, to $399, it's hardly a bargain. The Escort is bracketed in price by two Radensos, the Radenso Pro M ($449) and Radenso XP ($349), and each has equal or better performance. Both also have superior displays and additional radar filtering strategies, making them quieter and ultimately, more effective at dodging tickets.