Note: Discontinued. See reviews of the latest models.
The Whistler CR90 marks the company's first offering in the windshield-mount, GPS-enabled radar detector and occupies the top spot in the CR-Series. Those uninterested in the GPS feature might opt for the 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 many competing models. Those may look fabulous on the store shelf, but try living with the reflected glare cast onto the windshield on sunny days.
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.
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. Also: warnings of nearby red light and speed cameras. A USB port allows updates of the red light camera database.
The Whistler CR90 is designed for plug-and-play operation but has user settings that allow fine-tuning.
There’s also a variety of features to reduce false alarms. 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 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 patrols.
The Whistler CR90 stands out for its sophisticated design and effectiveness in countering radar and red light cameras.