April, 2015

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Escort Passport Max2 Review

 rdforum_max2_review

 

Introduction

On September 2014, Escort Incorporated introduced a new addition to their radar detector lineup.  Rather than create an entirely new detector, Escort decided to upgrade the Passport Max while still maintaining its same size and appearance.  Besides being $50 more than the Passport Max, the Escort Passport Max2 differed from the Passport Max in two areas: it has Bluetooth capability built-in for iPhone and Android smartphones, and has database entries for VASCAR speed traps (Air Patrol).  In terms of radar detection performance metrics like sensitivity and rejection of false alerts, the Max2 carries the same Digital Signal Processing (DSP) radar filtering technology as its predecessor.  This new method of scanning radar signals in the environment allows the detector to react more accurately than other Escort windshield mounted detectors against false alerts.  Although the K-band detection range of the Max2 is not as high as the Escort STi-R Plus or Redline, measurements from our senior members of the forum show the range to be sufficiently high enough for most drivers to confidently alert them ahead of time of a threat like a speed trap.  With respect to Ka-band detection, the Max2 also shows impressive detection ranges against the popular radar guns that use 34.7 GHz and 33.8 GHz.  As you will see in the following review, the Passport Max2 is a great detector harnessing an array of technology to keep drivers well informed of their surroundings, as well as improving the ease of installation and user interaction.

 


 

Specifications

Radar and LIDAR (laser) Detection

    • X-band : 10.525 GHz ± 25 MHz
    • K-band : 24.150 GHz ± 100 MHz
    • Ka-band : 34.700 GHz ± 1300 MHz
    • Laser : 904 nm, 33 MHz bandwidth

Radar Receiver Type : Superheterodyne, Varactor-tuned VCO, Digital Signal Processing (DSP)

LIDAR Infrared Receiver Type : Quantum Limited Video Receiver, Multiple Laser Sensor Diodes

Global Positioning System (GPS) Receiver : SiRFstar III

Dimensions

    • Length : 5.3″
    • Width : 3.2″
    • Height : 1.3″

Power Requirement

    • Hardwire (ie. connecting the detector to the fusebox) : 12V DC with a negative (-) ground
    • Dash accessory outlet : Escort SmartCord® (included)

 

Features

Display : Multi-color Organic Light-emitting diode (OLED)

    • Bar Graph – traditional bar meter display that ramps up or down depending on signal strength
    • ExpertMeter™ – display shows type of threat, quantity, and strength
    • SpecDisplay™ – display shows the actual measured signal received like 34.7 GHz and its strength
    • CruiseAlert™
    • 5 levels of brightness including Full Dark mode

User Preference Settings

    • Language : English / Spanish
    • 4 Display Colors : blue, green, red, amber
    • 3 Alert Tones : Standard, Mild, CruiseAlert™
    • CruiseAlert™
    • Speed display
    • Over speed
    • Meter
    • AutoMute (on/off)
    • AutoLearn (on/off)
    • Units (English / Metric)
    • Voice (on/off)
    • GPS (on/off)
    • Auto Power
    • Sensitivity Control : Highway, Auto, Auto No X
    • Bands (selectable)
    • Markers (selectable)
    • Clear locations

 

Included Accessories

Escort StickyCup windshield mount

Escort StickyCup windshield mount

Escort SmartRadar cord

Escort SmartRadar cord

Escort zippered travel case that holds detector, mount, and cord

Escort case holds detector, mount, and cord

 

Basic Comparison Between Max2 and Max

Features Max2 Max
Built-in Bluetooth module
Escort Live Smartphone App Compatible
DSP Filtering Technology
POP technology
M4 Radar Antenna
GPS SiRFstar III receiver
Escort Defender database
Undetectable by the Spectre IV

The main fundamental difference between the two detectors is the absence of the Bluetooth module in the Passport Max.  The detection range and sensitivity of the detectors is unchanged, since the two detectors share the same radar horn (M4) and use the same onboard, advanced DSP circuitry for analyzing the incoming radar signals.  Both detectors also make use of their built-in GPS receivers to lockout false alerts automatically or manually by the user.

 

Overview Of The Max2

The Escort Passport Max2 is a solid performer in the radar detector arena.  It was designed as a true Plug-N-Play detector capable of integrating the latest technology for radar detection and utilizing GPS based information as well as information from the Escort Live app in order to accurately alert to threats and minimize false alerts.  Its detection range and sensitivity to radar scores highly, as you will see later in this review; however, the Max2’s LIDAR detection is fairly below average.  Our forum Moderator, Vortex, evaluated the Passport Max2 with regard to the detector’s functionality and performance.  As shown in his video below, prospective buyers can see for themselves whether the features and performance of the Max2 meet their needs. In order to recap the video, the main highlights in the video are briefly annotated below as well.

Plug-N-Play Detector  ★★★★★

The Escort Passport Max2 was designed to integrate the latest technology in radar detection and provide the most accurate alerts its users on the road. Unlike other detectors which allow users to finely tune them for certain frequencies for better range and false alert rejection, this detector makes use of a new digital processing method for scanning incoming radar frequencies and filtering out the “noise.” Additionally, the detector uses its built-in GPS receiver along with its DSP circuitry to automatically filter false radar signals based on the driver’s location.  For instance, after three times, when a driver passes a store that has a door sensor emitting K-band, the Max2 will automatically lockout this false signal source. When the driver passes the store a fourth time, the detector will silently alert to the door. In the event that a real K-band source, like a cop parked in the parking lot and using the location as a speed trap, the Max2 will make the distinction between the real threat and the door and alert the driver. The Max2 scores high in alerting to real sources without requiring the user to make any adjustments to the detector.  Secondly, the new Max2 is iPhone and Android friendly, so unlike the Max which required a separate Bluetooth module for one or the other of the two phone platforms, users do not have to worry about that inconvenience. The Escort Live app that is used for the Max2 easily allows users to adjust all the specific preference settings like OLED color, volume, and band settings.

Radar Detection Performance ★★★★

The Max2 scores highly in its detection performance against radar. This radar detector was given 4 of 5 stars mainly because it lacks long range detection; however, the detector makes up for this shortfall with its ability to filter out false radar sources and its ability to track and prioritize several threats. In the video, the Max2 was subjected to four threats, X-band, K-band, and Ka-band. The detector tracked all the three threats, and when it detected the POP signal (a very short Ka-band burst lasting 0.067 seconds), the detector immediately alerted to it with a “P” in the display window.  This reactivity to the short burst demonstrated the Max2’s ability to scan and track multiple sources and quickly identify the faintest threat in the environment. Radar detector manufacturers view false alert rejection algorithms as a holy grail. This task is not trivial, and despite the innovative breakthroughs that DSP has made for the Max2, the detector is still vulnerable to false sources like those emitted by Blind-Spot Monitoring (BSM) systems found in certain vehicles. This system presents a problem to the Max2 and all other detectors on the market because its radar frequency (K-band) falls within the same zone as a radar gun, and because the occurrence of these are non-stationary, which renders GPS based AutoLockOuts from working.  The following radar detector test shows how the Escort Passport Max2 performed amongst other radar detectors against different radar bands.

Laser Detection Performance ★

The Max2 scores 1 of 5 stars in this area because it has one of the worst laser receivers found among the highest to lowest priced detectors on the market. Although drivers should not rely on passive laser detection for the purpose of evading a speed measurement from a laser gun, some users may want to have situational awareness of laser usage in their area. In this case, the Max2 may not be suitable despite its two laser receivers found on the front and top of the detector. For drivers interested in neutralizing laser threats used in speed traps, they should invest in products like the AntiLaser Priority (ALP), Laser Interceptor (LI), or Escort LaserShifter Pro, which are active countermeasures against lasers.

GPS and Escort Live ★★★★

The Max2 gets 4 of 5 stars in this area related to its GPS and Escort Live integration. The detector makes use of the GPS receiver to analyze threats in its surroundings, and based on the occurrence and type of signals received in that location, will automatically lockout the source from future alerts. The performance of this system working in conjunction with or without Escort Live was impressive and reliable. In addition to providing location-based threat awareness, the GPS also serves the purpose of providing its users the speed limit of the road they are driving. This speed limit is shown on the detector’s display, and when the driver exceeds the limit, the detector will alert the driver. During the evaluation, our Moderator noted that the detector did not always show the speed limit, such as the limit on small country roads, and the detector, on rare occasions, displayed the incorrect speed limit.

Summary

Overall, as mentioned in the video, the Escort Passport Max2 is a formidable radar detector among the growing lineup of older radar detectors. Its Plug-N-Play design offers users great performance against radar threats without requiring users to know much about how radar works or is used by law enforcement. The Max2 uses advanced Digital Signal Processing (DSP) to quickly scan the entire radar band spectrum and pick out the real threats. To make this filtering more effective and productive to users, the Max2 uses a built-in GPS receiver to automatically perform this repetitive task and lockout these false alerts when a user is driving around town. The built-in Bluetooth module in the the Max2 is a great improvement over its predecessor.  This improvement is more cost effective and does away with further installation complications like having to install an extra module in the car that is either for an iPhone or Android phone. Like the narrator in the video commented a few times, prospective buyers should ask themselves what radar detector is best for their needs, rather than ask themselves which detector is best. One good example of this is having a user buy an Escort Redline over an Escort Passport Max2 because the Redline is the best detector in terms of detection range.  This user may do most of their driving in a busy town like Las Vegas, and in this case, the user would get extremely annoyed at the Redline’s false alerts to K-band and not want to take the time to lockout the sources manually.  However, if the same user bought the Max2, they would enjoy peace-of-mind driving daily knowing that the only real alerts heard during their commute are those from the Las Vegas Police Department hiding alongside the road.

 


 

Notes

– Special thanks go to our forum Moderator, Vortex, for taking the time to do a great review of the Escort Passport Max2.

– Additional discussion on the Escort Passport Max2 can be found here:

– Forum members may purchase the Escort Passport Max2 from the following trusted sources: