More than three years have elapsed since we conducted our pioneering thorough laser detectors review and comparison test. A number of fans of that review have
asked that we conduct another one. We believe enough new radar and laser detectors have since been introduced into the marketplace to warrant another look.
The test results which follow are a result of about eight days of total testing against as many police lasers with which we could get our hands on. This laser crop of police lidar guns consisted of the new LTi TruSpeed (a lethal and diminutive new
police laser gun from LTI), an LTI Ultralyte 100LRB, the latest version of the Stalker LZ1, the new binocular-styled Kutom Prolite+ (in place of the Kutom Pro III) and the Laser Atlanta S (small) which includes Stealth Mode (in place of the original built-like-a-tank Laser Atlanta R).
During this laser detector comparison test and review, a number of notable developments were observed.
When we originally tested some of these laser detectors three years ago, there was a decided performance difference between Escort radar/laser detectors and Beltronics laser detectors.
Even though Beltronics and Escort radar/laser detector models often share components, it was very clear that Escort laser detectors performed noticeably better than their Beltronics counterparts.
Since our first laser detector test's findings, it is obvious that Beltronics has received the benefit of Escort's technology (which is a very good thing) because other than the Beltronics STi Driver,
all other Beltronics laser detectors perform more on par with Escort. (Note: We tried two Beltronics STi Drivers and both performed similarly. We attributed this variance from other models to the potentially
lower levels of production numbers of the specialized radar/laser detector and even though one STi Driver was acquired from the retail channel recently, perhaps an even fresher unit would also show improvements. Time will ultimately tell).
Perhaps as a result of the lessons learned by Escort (Passport 9500ci) and Cincinnati Microwave (ZR4 Shifter), most Escort and Beltronics detectors (including the "budget" Vector series line) can now detect the Stealth Mode of the mighty Laser Atlanta.
Another pleasant surprise was the showing turned in by the Cobra models. We think the performance of the XRS-9550 was quite good and the R9G very good (considering that is was mounted near the top of our vehicle's windscreen).
We found continued improvement to Cobra's laser detection with the XRS-9955 and XRS-9960G detectors and would characterize their laser performance as one of the best
attributes of their models. Well done, Cobra!
Whistler too has made substantial improvement to their new line of SE models, the XTR-695SE, XTR-690SE, and Pro-78SE. Although appearing very slightly lethargic to alerting (relative to the others) their detection ranges were
noticeably improved over the Whistler's preceding XTR-695 model that we tested.
Although somewhat shamelessly copied by another manufacturer, the Laser Signature ID (LSID) feature first introduced with the Whistler XTR-695, appears with each of the new Whistler SE models (the Whistler XTR-690SE/XTR-695SE, and Pro078SE).
Of course, the Valentine remains the champ in laser detection by far and even though the Beltronics STi-R and Escort Passport 9500ci/ZR4 (a laser jammer also) turned in similar detection results, they did it with
either multiple heads/transponders or were located more closely to the preferred targeting areas, as they are custom-installed remotes.
For our test we conducted multiple trigger pulls (of each laser) at the stationery targets of the passenger-side headlight, the center license plate, and the driver's-side headlight. If no alert was obtained under
any targeting scenario from a particular distance, our charts indicate RED (meaning no alert was obtained). If we received an alert on any the targets (but not all), our charts indicate YELLOW (meaning possible/occasional alerts were obtained). If we received
consistent alerts from all targeting points from a particular distance, then our charts indicate GREEN (meaning alerts were obtained in every targeting instance from a particular distance).
Since the Escort Passport 9500ci & Laser Shifter ZR4 are also jammers, we disabled the laser jamming function and allowed them to only operate in laser detection mode, so distance readings could
As was with our previous test, the vehicle was the same, a Metallic Silver BMW 540i Sedan. Other than the custom remotes and the Cobra R9G, each laser detector was mounted towards the lower center portion of our vehicle's windshield. The
tests were conducted at a time of day where the sun was not low into the sky (because some laser detectors can go somewhat "blind" at such instances) and lighting conditions were similar to minimize one possible variation.
I believe it is important to also note, that these results reflect what we believe to be worst case targeting scenarios. In a typical
targeting environment the targeted vehicle will be moving and the officer will have to aim (ie; hand-hold). Slight panning errors will tend to favor the detector (or countermeasure), so please keep this in mind
when reviewing/comparing performance results.
Also these reviews/tests are a snapshot in time, your "mileage" may vary and slight variances in performance between the dash-mount models are inevitable due to even the slightest variances in mounting on the windshield, so please consider these results in that context and use them merely a guide to the relative/comparitive performance of each detector.
As already seen, even existing models do receive improvements, so it is only logical to conclude that laser detection performance will continue to improve with any/all of these models.