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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

Ultimate
Radar Detector Review '05
Unabridged Version 

Valentine One Escort 8500 X50 Beltronics RX65

Display

Brightness Levels

Of the three radar detectors tested, the 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.

The Bel Rx65 Pro and Escort 8500 X50 each had three brightness levels (min,med,max) in addition to a dark mode which proved to be very convenient when we intended to reduce unwanted attention to ourselves at night.  The X50s display has the additional ability [programmatically] to be completely turned off during operation.


Bel RX65, Escort 8500 X50 (Red), V1 v1.8 /w POP2, K40 On Steering Column


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

Both the X50s and RX65 lighter adapters have an alert lamp built-in that illuminates during an encounter regardless of the display settings.

The Valentine One only offers a "dark" mode when used in combination with its accessory remote display unit which is not included although this radar detector has an auto-dimming function on the primary LED which varies brightness in different lighting conditions.

Information Conveyed

The Valentine One is limited in its display (relative to the other two) because of the utilization of a single LED, whose primary purpose is to display the number of "bogeys" (concurrent radar sources) that one encounters.  Band identification is performed by four single LEDs that alert to four bands, X, K, Ka, and Laser.  Personally we think the band identifiers are somewhat superfluous given the superior audio tone quality and that clear visual identification is only possible during the day and only after close scrutiny.

Both the RX65 and X50 allow for three different display modes - two of which are virtually identical in nature radar band id, followed with signal strength bar meter in standard mode and radar band id, followed by actual frequency (although we' re not completely sure of their absolute accuracy, as they never agreed).

The third display mode approximates the behavior of the V1 in that the radar detectors can display multiple radar sources concurrently along with their relative strength levels.  As we got comfortable with the operation of both the RX65 and X50, we preferred using this mode as multiple radar sources are easily identified at a glance.

Utility

The displays of both the RX65 and the X50 allow for very easy programming without reference to a manual.

The RX65 has the additional capability to quickly familiarize its user with the majority of alerts and signal gradients both with audio and visual demonstration - a very nice touch, indeed - through the use of a tutorial mode that is entered during the power-up sequence.

We believe both the Escort 8500 X50 and the Valentine One do not lend themselves as well to right-hand drive usage as the display is angled somewhat to face the left requiring proper placement to be to the right of the driver (center windshield) for easiest viewing.

In right-handed drive scenarios, if the radar detector were mounted at this location, the display would face away from the driver making it harder to view at a glance (more so with the X50).  If one were to place the radar detector to the right of the driver, it would have to be mounted on the extreme right side of the vehicle which would likely undermine rear sensitivity to both radar and laser given the likelihood of an obstructed line-of-sight to the rear.

As the Bel RX65 Pro has a flat face, it would work equally well in either a left or right-hand drive scenario.

Video/Audio Clips (DivX Codec):

Tutorial Mode of Beltronics RX65 Pro (Hi Bandwidth)
Tutorial Mode of Beltronics RX65 Pro (Med Bandwidth)

Update 20 SEP 08: Read about the new Beltronics GX65 Pro

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