- Extensive feature set
- Superb windshield mount
- Good audible alerts
- Hot K-band performance
- Dim display
- False alarms
The Passport Max 360c ($649 MSRP) is a high-end Escort with a rear radar antenna and Wi-Fi. It replaces the Max 360 which used the same platform and had similar features save for the Wi-Fi.
The Max 360c has a large footprint and with two metal antennae, it's also heavy. Housed in a two-tone case, it's controlled by six top-mounted buttons.
The large GPS-style windshield mount attaches to the detector magnetically, an effortless process. Adjustment takes two hands but once in place, it stays put.
With the addition of a rear radar antenna, the Escort Passport Max 360c illuminates an arrow to indicate the direction of a threat.
A USB port is provided for updates and a 3.5mm audio jack for stereo output.
Delivery of this and other visual information, however, is compromised by the display. The small screen is densely packed with images and tiny text, much of the data being of uncertain value.
The display uses OLED technology. Although colorful and able to display graphics, the OLED lacks the visual punch of an LED. As a consequence, the LED directional arrows can be seen but the display is frequently washed out by the sun.
Drivers in areas that are routinely overcast probably won't notice, especially those who prefer set-and-forget operation and rely solely on voice alerts for information.
The directional arrows are generally accurate; passing a radar signal usually results in the rear arrow lighting up as the rear antenna spots it. In comparison to a competing detector with a rear antenna, the Valentine One, we found that the Max 360c is more accurate in its reporting. Particularly in town, a single radar signal is generally reported as one threat. In contrast, the V1 not infrequently shrieks alerts of up to nine simultaneous threats, all generated by the same radar source.
Like its GPS-enabled siblings, the Max 360c automatically locks out most nuisance signals—automatic door openers in particular—after passing them on multiple occasions. Only Escorts automate this task; to avoid patent infringement, competing models require the user to press a button to lock out a signal. The number of locked-out locations is limited as well: 200 for Radensos, 100 for Unidens, for example.
Tested at our Hill/Curve site, the Escort Max 360c exhibited above-average range on X band and had outstanding K-band range, trouncing even the hotrod Redline by a remarkable 23 percent
Performance on Ka band, the overwhelming favorite of state highway patrols, was somewhat less impressive. Although it only narrowly trailed three other Escorts tested at the time, some were considerably less expensive.
We also found that its stellar K-band sensitivity can work against the Max 360c, making it hypersensitive to Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) systems on nearby cars. These operate on the same K-band frequency used by police radar and have become a huge headache for detectors.
We also found that the most noticeable effect of the rear radar antenna was a doubling in the number of false alarms. It would alert, say, to K-band radar on the front antenna which, after an interminable wait, would stop as we passed the source. Then a new alert would sound, this time when the rear antenna spotted the same radar.
To control K-band false alarms some competing models—the Radenso XP, Pro M and many Unidens, for example—allow the user to set speed thresholds for the onset of audible alerts. In contrast, Escorts do this job with software that doesn't allow changes.
Judged solely by its commendable array of features, the Escort Max 360c would seem to be unbeatable. But an inferior display, disappointing Ka-band performance and plentiful false alarms served to temper our enthusiasm. Although fairly dripping with potential, much of that remains unrealized by unfortunate design choices and iffy execution.