V1 8500 X50r STi RX-65
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Laser Detector Performance versus Close-Range Police Laser


These tests confirm what we have suspected for some time, that the majority of these radar/laser detectors vary markedly in their sensitivity to each of these different police laser guns as each manufacturer employs a different dispersion pattern (ie; not all are circular) and pulse-modulation to their laser.

Unlike RADAR, laser detectors have a harder time alerting to laser the closer one gets to the police laser gun. Additionally, placement location of the laser detector may have an impact on the sensitivity to police laser which oftentimes affects the ability of these detectors to see close-range laser.

When we positioned the detectors on high side of the windshield, we did notice a slight reduction of laser detection performance in certain close-range targeting positions. The Valentine V1 demonstrated to be the most resistant to performance variation due to placement and appeared to perform equally well in either location.

radar detector profiles Valentine V1, Cobra XRS-9700, Bel STi Driver, Whistler Pro 73, Bel RX65 Pro, Escort 8500 X50

Furthermore, close-range laser detector performance appeared to vary in different vehicles. For example, any given laser detector may have a harder time alerting to close-range laser when mounted on a windshield of a van, SUV, or truck than when mounted in a conventional vehicle. The reason for this variation in performance is due several factors, such as proximity of the detector to the front bumper area (the farther away, the harder it is to see the laser) and the slope/rake of the front hood (the more rake, the greater likelihood of seeing laser reflections from the hood's surface).

We believe one can maximize the performance potential of the laser detectors by slightly pitching the detector forward on its mounting bracket on the windshield, being mindful not to obstruct the rear laser detection sensor that is mounted atop of the Bel, Cobra, Escort, or Whistler models. We think improvements are realized because of the increased likelihood of the front laser detection sensors spotting reflection/scatter off the surface of the hood.

It's important to note that during a typical laser encounter, the conditions are going to favor the detector more because the target vehicle will be moving and the officer will introduce movement during targeting increasing the likelihood of generating a laser alert.

In other words, these numbers represent the worst case scenarios and in the real world of driving, the performance of each of these detectors at these distances will most certainly improve.

As distances increase or panning/movement is introduced - as it most certainly will be - in typical targeting situations, these differences become less distinguishable.

Therefore, these results should only be interpreted as a suggestion of relative laser detection performance, particularly, in a variety of very close-range targeting scenarios.

To put these results into their proper perspective, at speed, targeting distances under 500 feet equate to essentially point-blank range!

It's also important to note that these tests did not take into account any model-to-model production/performance variances, which may exist.

That being stated, these results suggest that, especially in close-range laser encounters, the Valentine 1 is the top performing laser detector, by a wide-margin, followed by the Escort 8500 X50 and more closely, the STi Driver, and the Beltronics RX65 Pro.

As one would expect of detectors costing half as much as the top four, both the Cobra and Whistler trailed the first group, with the edge going to the Cobra. We were pleased to see that both handled themselves respectably against the Kustom Pro III and the Stalker LZ1 (two of the more popular laser guns), however they had a much tougher time with the LTI Ultralyte and the Laser Atlanta police lasers.

We also were able to draw general conclusions about the ability to detect police laser itself. The most difficult lasers to "see" appear to be the Laser Atlanta (stealth), Laser Technology Ultralyte 100LR, Laser Atlanta (non-stealth), Kustom Signals Pro Laser III, and the Stalker LZ1 in order of decreasing difficulty.

The good news is, you're more likely to encounter an LZ1 or Pro III in your everyday driving, because of their ease of use, handling characteristics (more like a radar gun), and relative popularity among traffic safety departments.

As suggested by these results, these detectors perform the best when confronted with these two popular police lasers. Also, the likelihood of actually being targeted with a Laser Atlanta operating in stealth mode is quite slim. Furthermore, laser countermeasures like Veil and Blinder do quite well against this particularly furtive form of police laser.

We did an abbreviated comparison of laser shots from the rear with our four leading models from Bel, Escort, and Valentine, making certain that each of the detectors had a rear line-of-sight, and found that while distances increased somewhat across the board before all of the detectors began alerting to close-range rear laser shots, their relative performances remained similar with the exception that the STi driver appeared a bit more sensitive than the X50.

As good as the other three leading detectors are in their ability to see laser, Valentine Research has really achieved a level of performance that is simply remarkable.

Happy and Safe Motoring!

The Veil Guy

Related Topics:

Laser detection ability is just one important aspect of radar detector performance. Read how these radar detectors perform when faced with police RADAR:

The Ultimate Radar Detector Review
The Undetectable Beltronics STi Driver
GPS-Enabled Escort Passport 9500i
Summary Radar Detectors Buyers Guide

To learn more about how police laser works and how to minimize your vulnerability to it, read our guide to police laser and how to avoid it.

Now that you are considering the capabilities each of these radar detectors, read how to avoid speeding tickets with your radar detector.

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

Hear what VEIL drivers are saying about how VEIL helped their radar detector avoid speeding tickets!

Trustworthy purchasing sources are here.

------- Article Index:

Laser Detection Performance Introduction

Performance Charts Grouped by Laser Detector
Performance Charts Grouped by Police Laser Gun

Performance Tables Grouped by Laser Detector
Performance Tables Grouped by Police Laser Gun

I would like to express my heart-felt thanks to Radarbusters.com, Blinder USA, and the forum members of radardetector.net in helping making this unique comparison test possible - Veil Guy.

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