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Not Enough!
Summary (Abridged) Report

1. Introduction
2. The Equipment
3. The Drive/Ride
4. Conclusions
5. Credits
6. Useful Links

Full (Unabridged) Report

1. Introduction
2. What's Included
3. Costs
4. Build Quality
5. Display (Video)
6. Alert Volume (Video)
7. Alert Tones (Video)
8. Alert Gradient
9. Alert Muting
10. Size
11. Adhesion
12. Programming (Video)
13. The Drive/Ride
14. Test Day #1
15. Test Day #2
16. Test Day #3
17. Respite
18. Test Day #4
19. Test Day #5
20. Test Day #6
21. Conclusions
22. Epilogue I
23. Epilogue II
24. Credits
25. Useful Links

Radar Detector Review '05
Abridged Version
Updated:12 JUN 07


Valentine One Escort 8500 X50 Beltronics RX65


Placing your trust into a radar detector takes time and requires a lot of driving time behind the wheel and a proven historical track-record with a variety of different speed trap encounters.

nj rear speedtrap
Low-power pulsed X-band K-55 from rear - 20+ yrs old technology!
Concerned about POP RADAR?  No need.  Plenty of other lethal speedtraps lurking about.

For this test, we drove almost 2300 miles in five states (AZ, NV, PA, NJ, NY), encountered, without incident, all forms of pulsed/steady radar currently utilized in North America and even unexpectedly encroached upon a laser speed trap in which VEIL allowed us to avoid a laser speeding ticket

You can read, in detail, about all of our actual driving experiences in the unabridged version of this review.

Until we publish our next comprehensive real-world review, you can continue keep-up with the latest info about our continuing long-term comparisons and driving experiences (frequently updated) by visiting the VeilGuy blog. Be sure to opt-into our mailing list, so you don't miss the action!

laser pull over
Another hapless motorist who has not, as yet, heard of Veil.

Bottom line - all three of these radar detectors are truly stellar performers and we have yet to encounter a real speed trap that any of these detectors weren’t up to the task of providing the maximum level of protection that a detector is capable of providing today.

This is not to say that we didn’t have our preferences.  We did, though, these preferences were more tied to an individual radar detector "personality" than merely performance differences.

Beltronics RX65 Pro, Rev 3.6

Ergonomically, it was superior.  We loved the quick re-programming ability, the volume levels obtainable, band audio clarity, its smaller size, the overall quietness of operation [lack of falsing] even on highway mode, that it can be operated in Dark Mode, provided remote volume adjustment with audio assistance -at a touch of a button [on the lighter plug] and that changes to operation are accompanied by textual/tonal confirmation.  Most importantly, though, it was consistently quick at alerting to approaching ALL radar threats encountered

Along with this quickness came a somewhat higher "false" rate -including POP -relative to the Escort and therefore required a modest level of involvement from its owner to properly interpret what the alarms meant.

The fact that is has the added capability to detect Ku radar - which has been in use in Europe for quite some time and may soon be making its appearance stateside, is a nice bonus.

Think of the Bel as a high-performance sports car that can act as daily driver.  Vehicles such as a late model Corvette or Porsche 911 with SMG come to mind.

Escort 8500 X50 (Red), Rev 5

Overall, the Escort 8500 X50 (Red) was the easiest with which to get along.  It was the most quiet in terms falsing, provided exceptional sensitivity to both K and Ka radar, and ease of programming and/or setting changes while driving.

We did not specifically encounter a laser trap with the X50 in operation, but given the nature of the one we did stumble upon, we are certain it would have behaved similarly.  Its X-band performance did appear to diminish*, somewhat, when operating with Ka band enabled.    This fact is purely academic, though, if you don't live or drive in New Jersey or any other area where X-band radar is known to be in operation.

*UPDATE: 19 NOV 05 We have lived with a later model of the 8500 X50 for several months now and have found that its X-band performance appears to be more in-line now with the RX-65. Furthermore the detector appears to be quite a bit more sensative to Laser than its cousin the RX65. Based-upon our updated experiences, we would tend to favor the 8500 X50 [over the RX65] if laser was our primary concern. *More on this subject in the near future.

Think of Escort as a nice Grand Tourer (GT) of the three - an E-class from Mercedes-Benz or a 5 Series from Bayerische Motoren Werke, if you will.

It should be considered when one desires a very high-level of protection without requiring a lot of driver involvement.  In other words, its low maintenance.

Valentine One, v1.8 /w POP2

The Valentine, as expected, was quick at alerting to ALL radar/laser traps encountered and may provide ultimate performance [particularly with laser], but our venerable V1’s stellar performance was somewhat diminished by a greater propensity* to “falsing” on K band and required the most involvement of the driver to properly interpret its alerts.   We would prefer it to be quieter [even at the risk of some advanced warning time to a real trap] because, after awhile, we found ourselves ignoring its K-alert anyway which can be just, if not more so, as risky.

This increased falsing was noticeable even in rural [remote] areas of our driving route.  The Valentine falsed the least on Ka-band relative to the other two detectors and in the summer season - its been suggested - that this may become more pronounced as there will tend to be an increase of "cheap" radar detectors on the road as people do more vacation traveling.  We'll have to wait and see...

*UPDATE: 19 NOV 05 This issue has now been resolved with an updated version (v3.25) and the detector now is now one of the quieter ones! In addition, the newer Valentines have a "J" [for Junk] feature which will automatically identify some Ka-falses as bogus LO leakage and auto-mute them out - a very nice touch, indeed. We will address the additional capabilities and features of our updated model when we release a follow-on to our report.

We still love the arrows, that immediately identify the location of a “threat” and have been accustomed to them for well over a decade!  But, we did not specifically encounter a speed trap, during this test, where they would have made a substantive difference - which is not to say that there aren’t specific conditions, where they may have.   And - as evidenced on our driving route of day six - they may occasionally be misleading, requiring proper interpretation from its owner.

Additionally, the Valentine was somewhat ergonomically challenged as compared to the other detectors from Bel and Escort.

nj traffic stop
An all too familiar site on this stretch of highway.

Think of the Valentine as the pure race-car of the bunch - such as a Ferrari F40. It has awesome capability.

Valentine One, v1.7

The older model has aged especially well and continues to dazzle us with reliable top-shelf performance.  Other than not having the newer POP nor Ku capabilities, this detector is still an incredible performer and we really wouldn't feel any less protected driving with it [in the States] as compared to the newer detectors.  "No POP," you say?  "So what," we say - troopers should be using the standard operational mode of the BEE III anyway so that they can legally issue tickets and until the day that POP can be used in that manner (we doubt that'll ever happen) its more marketing hype than a real threat.  Is POP capability nice?  Sure, but this detector still remains a benchmark by which [all] other radar detectors (including the V1 v1.8) are judged.

*UPDATE: 19 NOV 05 We have now lived with an updated version (v3.825) for several months and believe that despite some small glitches in the "J" programming, that this detector has become our new reference.

**UPDATE: 17 DEC 05 VR has recently informed us of an updated model (v3.826) that is now shipping which has had some programming updates to address the aforementioned glitch. Existing owners may contact them for an update/upgrade.

This older model only slightly lagged in Ka-band sensitivity to its younger brother, the V1.8 and appeared just slightly quicker with X & K-band radar, and provides superior laser detection [even compared to the newer models of Bel & Escort] - an incredible accomplishment given that it's on more than a decade old!  No doubt, that's why they continue to fetch a premium on E-bay.  For its time (come to think of it, for all time), it truly is an engineering marvel!

Thinking of this one as a Lamborghini Diablo VT,  Lotus Esprit, or perhaps (it's been suggested) a supercharged Hummer.

Our Overall Preference

Throughout these tests, we found ourselves favoring the comparison of both the RX65 Pro and V1.

And, in fact, although it’s not practical for most, we enjoyed driving with both detectors in operation – they appeared to get along quite nicely.  If one alerted while the other remained silent, we would feel more assured that we could disregard the alert.  If both alerted, we were more inclined to react immediately.

Taking everything into consideration- if we had only to pick one radar detector to take with us on our trip, it would be the Beltronics RX65 Pro.

If laser was our primary concern, then we would opt for either the Valentine V1 or the Escort 8500 X50. 

Now, what's your preference? Purchase These and Other Radar Detectors with Confidence at these Trustworthy Purchasing Sources:

Now that you are considering arming yourself with a good detector, learn how you to use it to safely avoid speeding tickets!

When paired with a good detector, VEIL provides you with precious additional reaction time - time you wouldn't otherwise have - and enables you to avoid speeding tickets.

See how VEIL improves all detector performance in these cool videos!

Hear what VEIL drivers are saying about how VEIL helped their detector beat a speeding ticket!

Related Reading:

Beltronics STi Driver Review
Escort Passport 9500i
Valentine One
How to Avoid Speeding Tickets with your Radar Detector
The Ultimate Laser Detector Review
Summary Radar Detectors Buyers Guide

Latest News:

Beyond viewing this site, you can continue keep-up with the latest info about our continuing long-term comparisons of the top performing models and our real-world driving experiences (frequently updated) by visiting the VeilGuy blog. Be sure to opt-into our mailing list, so you don't miss any of the action!

We have invited each of the manufacturers to provide commentary in response to this article and will include them in our review as we receive them.

We will discuss our findings, with our readers, on the radardetector.net forum.  Your participation is welcomed and we’ll provide updates when deemed appropriate.

We wish you safe motoring!

Bob & Lisa (aka: The Veil Guy & Veil Gal)

 veil guy's/gal's wedding day
Veil Guy & Veil Gal Renew Wedding Vows in Vegas - 08 JAN 05

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