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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

Valentine One Escort 8500 X50 Beltronics RX65

How they look together. Note: Detectors not tested this way.

Beltronics RX65 Pro

The packaging includes the detector; detachable power cord; lighter adapter with power and alert LEDs and single push button mute and remote volume level adjustment; windshield mount; aluminum travel case; replacement suction cups; manual; and quick reference/programming card.

Escort 8500 X50 (Red)

The packaging includes the detector; detachable power cord; lighter adapter with power and alert LEDs and single push button mute; European power adapter; windshield mount; nice travel case; replacement suction cups; manual; and quick reference/programming card.

Valentine One v1.8 /w POP2

The packaging includes the detector; two detachable power cords (one coiled and one straight); somewhat bulky/pivoting lighter adaptor that comes with user-replaceable modular fuse (nice touch) which can also power the optional remote display head-unit; permanent wiring kit; windshield & visor mount; replacement suction cups; manual; and spare fuse.

Build Quality

The build quality of each of these detectors is impressive - the Valentine One being the most so.  It appears to be the “tank” of the bunch with its “box-like” magnesium case.  Both the RX65 and 8500 X50 are also well built and the controls of all three brands are of the highest quality in feel.

The V1 appeared to be most resistant to scuffs and minor dings and its metal case serves to further isolate/shield its electronics.


Bel RX65, Escort X50 (Red), Valentine V1 at Night

Tthe Bel RX65 Pro easily had the most readable display at its maximum bright settings, followed by both Valentines, and then the 8500 X50.  The display brightness differences only became apparent in a direct comparison and all were more than adequate.

Both the Escort and the Bel had additional brightness levels and an ability to run in "Dark Mode" which minimized unwanted attention during evening drives.   The Valentine offers a dark-mode operation when paired with the (optional) remote display head-unit.

The Bel unit - with its flat frontal face - allows for operation in either right or left-hand driving scenarios where the Escort and both Valentines - with their left-facing fronts - are more suited to left-hand driving situations.



The Bel had the loudest maximum volume followed closely by the V1, v1.8.  The Escort and the older Valentine were somewhat muted by comparison requiring a bit more attentiveness when driving to music.

Tone Distinction (Radar/Laser Band Identification)

We believe both the V1 and the RX65 really excel in this regard followed by the 8500 X50.  The Bel has the additional ability to augment its alert with voice band-id - which we warmed up to.

The tonal qualities and volume levels obtainable with either the Beltronics or the newest Valentine allow for rapid communication to the driver - an essential ability.

Perhaps it’s due, in part, to the history I have with the V1 over the years (almost 15 years), but I feel that the distinct tones are one of the more appealing qualities of the V1 - they're instantly discernable.

After we got used to the RX65's alerts, we actually found that they may be more consistently identifiable - especially at mid-low volumes and/or when accompanied by music.  In these situations, the Valentine's X and K alerts can be confused with one another - particularly when they are brief in nature.  The Bel's tone's remained distinctive even at lower volume levels.

Audio Signal Strength Meter ("Gradient")

Both the Valentines and the Escort had excellent "gradients" followed by the Bel requiring review of the display to confirm the strongest (i.e.; most threatening) encounters.

Audio Muting

Both the Beltronics and the Escort >b?radar detectors provided auto-muting capability which reduced volume levels after the initial alert.

Chassis Size

The Bel is the smallest of the group and has a nice stream-lined chassis.  The Escort is similar in width (to its Beltronics' cousin) but a bit longer.  The Valentine v1.8 (although smaller than its older brother) felt the bulkiest although its somewhat larger size allows for what appears to be larger antennae which may enhance the ability of the V1 to see very weak and distant radar sources (more about this later.)  Ultimately, though, we're not talking huge disparities here.

Windshield Mounting

Both the RX65 Pro and the Escort 8500 X50 have dual-suction cup windshield mounting brackets that really adhere to the windshield in a variety of temperature conditions and allows for ultra-quick detector mounting/dismounting.

The Valentine's mounting bracket had occasional difficulty in keeping its adhesion to the windshield and required a little more effort with mounting/dismounting of the detector, itself.  It was the only detector, though, that was supplied with a additional visor mounting clip.

Programming Ease

Both the Bel and the Escort excel in this area.  Given their ease of use, either of these detectors is easily programmed in the field without requiring reference to a manual or to the little programming card that is provided.  Another nice feature of both the Bel and the Escort units was the ability to perform a quick factory reset with a power-up push-button sequence.

It essential to note that both the Escort 8500 X50 and the Bel RX65 Pro default settings have POP reception disabled. 

The Valentine One, in comparison, feels a little like something from the 70s when it comes to programming.  The single LED display and single push-button knob serve as the limiting factors here.  We would not recommend programming this unit without reference to the programming manual, which can be inconvenient if one is on the road.  To our knowledge, there is no quick reset mechanism available on the V1.  Unlike the other two detectors, the default settings have POP reception enabled.

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