The Escort Passport X80 ($299 MSRP) fills the slot vacated by the discontinued X70 and is identical save for built-in Bluetooth. This allows it to link quickly with the optional Escort Live app.
The X80 uses the same OLED display as the Max 360c and Redline EX and has the same drawbacks we've noted before. Aside from low contrast, it has tiny fonts and too much data crammed into too little space. It looks great in photographs but washes out badly in sunlight and can't be read through sunglasses.
Control is by an array of four buttons on the upper housing. The center button is assigned three functions—volume up, down and mute—a space-saving but slow way of handling these tasks. The buttons are recessed into the case, making them elusive and slow to operate. And there's no chance the power button will be pressed by accident; it's buried so deep that a Q-Tip can prove useful for operating it.
The X80 platform is getting a bit dated, shown by its willingness to bark false alarms. Much of the blame can be placed on Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) radar systems which can make even a $299 detector false-alarm hysterically.
BSM systems use radar to spot adjacent vehicles and warn when a lane-change maneuver is dangerous. They transmit continuously, setting off every detector in the vicinity.
Unfortunately, BSM radar shares the K-band frequency with police radar, making it impossible for detectors like the X80 to tell them apart.
The noise problem gets worse around town where radar-controlled automatic door openers similarly pollute K band. Drive within a quarter-mile of a Walmart and expect an alert.
Some newer detectors have software to combat these false alarms. A few also have GPS, which enables a user to lock out door-opener radar. Learn more.
The downside is that many are pricier than the Escort X80, giving shoppers two options: hold the line on price—and expect to be bombarded with incessant false alarms—or aim higher for a model with more civilized behavior.
There were no complaints about the X80's performance. At our Hill/Curve test site it trailed the front-running Max 360 by 25 percent on K band, but on the all-important Ka band, we were surprised when the X80 had similar range.
We were disappointed by the X80's dearth of software to control false alarms, technology now commonly found in many competing models. The dim display and fussy controls were also noted by our testers.
The X80's price segment has grown substantially in recent years, with notable competition from Radenso and Uniden. Despite its attributes, many will likely be tempted to skip the X80 and look elsewhere for a model with a superior user interface and more sophisticated technology. See the latest review of the best radar detectors.