Escort Max 360 Review
For at least the past two decades, the Valentine One radar detector was the only radar detector that stood in a class of its own due to its unique feature – directional arrows indicating the source of the radar threats. On October 2015, Escort Incorporated, the maker of some of the best radar detectors, introduced a new radar detector with its own directional arrows, along with other key features like a built-in GPS and Bluetooth receiver. The following Escort Max 360 review was compiled based on “Vortex’s” testing and experience over a period of about three weeks along with some testing by some forum members in Texas. This review provides readers and potential buyers with important information about the Max 360’s features, its performance based on real-world testing, and an overall recommendation. Many enthusiasts from this radar detector community will find this article interesting because it also highlights comparisons between the Max 360 and the Valentine One and the Max2, and discusses other technical details like its revised Traffic Sensor Rejection (TSR) feature and the built-in Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) / Collision Avoidance System (CAS) filter.
Radar and LIDAR (laser) Detection
- Laser (LIDAR)
Radar Receiver Type : Superheterodyne, Varactor-Tuned VCO antenna
Detector Type : Digital Signal Processing (DSP)
LIDAR Infrared Receiver Type : Quantum Limited Video signal receiver at 904 nm, 33 MHz Bandwidth LIDAR receiver
Global Positioning System (GPS) Receiver : Built-in GPS receiver (SiRFstar III)
Spectre Undetectable : No (this detector does not have “Stealth” technology, and Spectre units can detect its usage)
- Length : 5.43″ (137.92 mm)
- Width : 3.60″ (91.44 mm)
- Height : 1.36″ (34.54 mm)
- Weight: 0.7 lbs.
- Dash accessory outlet : 12V DC coiled power cord (“Escort SmartCord“)
Cloud Requirement (for Escort Live)
Firmware & Red Light Camera Updates
- Standard USB cord (not included – available for purchase on the manufacturer’s site)
- Escort Detector Tools program : software downloaded from the official Escort Inc website
- The software is compatible on Apple and Windows operating systems
Display : Graphic Multi-Color Organic Light-emitting diode (OLED) alphanumeric in 4 colors (Amber, Blue, Green, Gold)
- Alert Screen – 7 ways to view alerts
- Standard : Band, Signal Strength, and Arrows
- Standard FR1 : Standard for 1 signal (display will use both meters for the same signal) + Arrows
- Standard FR2 : Standard for 2 signals (display will show Standard information in each meter) + Arrows
- Spec FR1 : Frequency information for 1 signal (display will use both meters for the same signal) + Arrows
- Spec FR2 : Frequency information for 2 signals (each meter in the split display is independent) + Arrows
- Expert FR : Detector will display a maximum of 4 signals (each signal is represented by two, segmented bars displaying signal strength) + Arrows
- Simple : Very basic alert screen (shows no band, frequency, or signal strength); alerts will simply show “SLOW DOWN” + Arrows
- Arrow Customization
- Single : Only shows arrow LED for primary threat (ie if you are driving and encounter a K-Band in front of you, and then encounter a Ka-Band behind you, the BACK arrow LED will flash, overriding the FRONT K-Band arrow)
- Multiple : Shows arrow LED for multiple threats, and the color of any of the opposing arrow will be different (ie if the front is RED, then the rear will be GREEN); these colors can be changed in the settings menu
- Band : X-band (GREEN), K-Band (BLUE), Ka-Band and Laser (RED) – arrow colors are fixed in this mode
- Additional Information
- Vehicle Speed (mph or kmh), Vehicle Voltage
- Red Light Camera, Speed Light Camera, Speed Trap, Aircraft Patrol
User Preference Settings
- 3 Radar Detection Sensitivity Settings : Highway, Auto, Auto No X
- Auto No X – disables X-band detection
- Auto – automatically adjusts all incoming sources and alerts to the threats with the greatest probability of being speed enforcement related; setting is used for false alert mitigation
- Highway – greatest sensitivity to all radar sources
- Selectable radar bands
- K-band – Traffic Signal Rejection (TSR)
- Ka-band : POP detection
- Units of Measurement
- English or Metric
- Language for Voice Alerts
- English or Spanish
- False Threat Filtering
- Traffic Sensor Rejection (TSR) : mode filters K-Band noise emitted from traffic monitoring sensors on highways
- Tone / Voice
- Voice alerts state the band
- 2 Tone Settings : Standard, Mild (door chime alerts), Standard Plus
- Standard Plus : Detector will chime with a “beep-beep” during a current alert when there is another alert received by the detector
- Auto Mute : reduces volume of alert to either OFF, LOW, MED, or HIGH
- Display Settings
- 5 Settings : Auto (automatically adjusts brightness), Dark (audible alerts only), Minimum, Medium, Maximum
- Factory Default
Escort Max 360 Feature Comparison
|Escort Max 360, Valentine One, and Escort Passport Max2 Comparison Chart|
|Feature||Escort Max 360 ($649.95)||Valentine One ($399.00)||Escort Passport Max2 ($599.95)|
|Radar and Laser Detection||✓||✓||✓|
|Band Segmentation||✓ (Need V1Connection)|
|Live App Compatible with Defender Database||✓||✓|
|YaV1 App / V1Connection App Compatible||✓ (Need V1Connection)|
|Directional Arrows||✓ (Multi-Color)||✓ (Single Color)|
|GPS Lockout Feature||✓||✓ (Need YaV1)||✓|
|Traffic Sensor Rejection (TSR) /Traffic Monitor Filter (TMF)||✓ TSR||✓ TMF||✓ TSR|
|Multi-Color OLED Display||✓ + Arrow Color||✓|
|StickyCup Mount / Windshield Mount||✓ (StickyCup)||✓||✓ (StickyCup)|
|Voice Alerts||✓ (Female Voice)||✓ (Female Voice)|
From the chart above, readers can conclude how the Escort Max 360 is a radar detector designed with features found on the Valentine One (V1) detector and the Escort Max 360. The biggest discriminator between these three detectors is the price. The $649.95 price for the Escort Max 360 establishes it as the most expensive windshield mounted radar detector currently in production. There are over a handful of features found on the Max 360 that are unavailable on the V1, unless the V1 is used in conjunction with the V1Connection app or the YaV1 app. Similarly, some features on the Max 360 and Passport Max2 have the same name, like AutoMute and the internal Radar Detector Rejection (RDR) capability, however these Max 360 versions are more refined than the Max2 and allow users more flexibility in terms of customization, and better detection performance.
Overview of the Escort Max 360
The new Escort Max 360 is probably one of the most anticipated radar detectors to enter the market in the past two decades. Previously, the V1 was the only radar detector with true front and rear radar detector receivers allowing for a display with arrows to show the direction of the received radar sources. During this time, all other radar detectors would just “beep” and alert to received threats, which to many users, did not provide adequate situational awareness of their area and caused users to guess the direction of the threats. Now, users have an alternative to the V1 radar detector, and can take advantage of the Max 360’s directional arrows, and take improve the the alert notifications to a higher level with three, built-in customizable modes for the LED arrows, seven display modes, and voice commands. Although readers may find information showing how the V1 radar detector is “better” than many other higher-priced detectors, they should understand that these improvements are not available to a V1 detector in its basic form. In other words, as an example, although the V1 can lockout false sources, the detector needs to be connected to a V1Connection dongle, and used in combination with the YaV1 app on an Android smartphone / tablet, with a GPS receiver and equipped with Bluetooth capability. Additionally, users must be familiar with the YaV1 app and understand how it works. Taking this information into account, a factory V1 radar detector in its out-of-box form is not “better” than a Max 360. The Max 360 has radar and laser detection performance equivalent to the Max2. In terms of radar detection performance, it will alert to K-Band and Ka-Band sources at approximately 1.0 mile in Highway Mode, which is the most sensitive setting. As far as laser detection performance, which we do not weigh heavily in regards to an overall rating, the Max360 exhibits the same below-average detection performance as the Max2. Lastly, we were pleased with the speed of this new detector’s front and rear detection alerts. Initially in firmware version 1.1 for the Max 360, the detector would latch onto a radar source and continue to alert to the initial direction too long before switching to a new direction once the source had moved. Firmware version 1.2 improved this switching process and thus allowed the alerts from the LED arrows to follow the source in real-time better than version 1.1. Overall, the Max 360 is a great radar detector offering some of the best features for a premium plug-n-play detector out of the box.
Display and Aesthetics / Size Stuff J
Display – 7 Alert Screens
The seven different screens for alert notifications available on the new Escort Max 360 are intuitive and appeal to the novice and advanced radar detector users. This new display coupled with the side arrow LEDs is much more informative than the V1 radar detector. The Escort Max 360 can display the number of incoming threats, their band and frequency, and illuminate the arrows in varying colors respectively to each of those threats. As mentioned earlier, users can either choose the default color coding system for threats (X-Band GREEN, K-Band BLUE, Ka-Band and LASER RED) or modify the colors. This customization is not available on the V1 detecting, therefore, users must listen and look carefully to alerts on the V1 display since all alerts appear as RED LEDs, including the lighted arrows.
The pictures clearly illustrate how the Escort Max 360 is a large detector in size and weight. The size, according to “Vortex,” presented a few minor problems when mounted near the visor area of his small Mazda Miata. Given this is a small car, users in larger cars, pickups, or SUVs may not have the same problem. Based on “Vortex’s” experience with this in his car, the detector’s mount along with the detector took necessary space away from a flush-installation near the top of the windshield.
Although the Escort Max 360’s weight is heavier than any of the other windshield mounted detectors, the new StickyCup from Escort provides sufficient holding power and keeps the radar detector firmly mounted. Additionally, this new StickyCup, which we announced earlier this month with the Beltronics GT-7, has also reduced the bounciness of the mounted detector. The revised StickyCup is designed to “click” onto the detector magnetically, unlike the past model that required a manual-release clasp activated with a button on top of the detector.
Radar Detection Performance J
Knowing that the Max 360 is essentially a Max2 with an added rear antenna and some upgraded firmware is essential to understanding why the detected measurements against K-Band and Ka-Band are nearly equivalent, and why we show the detection performance of a Max2 from a test in July 2015 to further support our conclusions about the Max 360. Additionally, we would like to preface this section by stating that the Escort Max 360 is not designed to be an extreme, long-range radar detector. Instead, the Escort Max 360 is designed for above average radar detection and anti-false alert mitigation with little to no input from the driver. In other words, it was designed to be a “plug-n-play” radar detector out of the box, and from our observations, the Escort Max 360 does a very good job, given the fact that it is a very new product.
Our most recent Escort Max 360 test conducted on 14 November 2015 by our veteran forum member “Pointercone” demonstrated the detector’s ability to detect Ka-band at distances comparable to a band-segmented Valentine One detector. Against K-Band radar, however, the Max 360 showed difficulty detecting it at distances of barely 1.0 mile, and in some cases detection at 0.8 mile.
The data shown in these three charts illustrate the Max 360’s ability to alert to Ka-Band sources at distances between 2.0 and 2.7 miles. Comparatively speaking, other premium radar detectors, like the Escort Redline configured for the highest sensitivity (band segmented), can detect the same radar guns at distances of 3.0 to 3.5 miles, and in some cases, up to 4.0 miles when facing the threat. The excellent detection range of the 34.7 GHz is commendable with regards to how prevalent this radar gun is used throughout the United States.
In the following video, “Vortex” provides us some real-world footage of the Escort Max 360 against some Ka-Band sources in Seattle, WA. The directional arrows, relative to the received threats, make the identification and direction of each band very easy. Secondly, the RED arrow shows how the radar detector prioritizes the Ka-Band threat above the K-Band threat (BLUE arrow).
This next video shows the Escort Max 360’s detection performance against Instant On (I/O) Ka-Band radar. I/O is a radar gun mode where the operator turns ON the radar gun to ambush incoming drivers, as opposed to keeping the radar gun ON constantly. The I/O tactic is meant to reduce the amount of radar gun “noise” in an area in order to minimize the detection ability from drivers with radar detectors. Therefore, sensitivity performance is paramount to a radar detector, and provides drivers plenty of warning with the smallest amount of radar spilling into the air from pesky cops using I/O attempting to ambush peaceful drivers. This is one of the best videos on the forum showing a classic case of I/O and how the Escort Max 360 provided great detection and directional awareness of the threat.
The Escort Max 360’s K-Band detection performance was above average, based on the latest test conducted by “Pointercone” on the same course used for the Ka-Band shown earlier. Since this course was flat, the detection distances were on the high-side. On a shorter course with some hills and the radar source at the bottom of a hill, the measured distances, compared with the long course, were halved. These distances are still better than other detectors like those from Cobra and Whistler. For the purpose of drawing conclusions about a safe detection range, the danger zone is generally about 0.1 to 0.2 miles.
Although following video from “Vortex” shows the Escort Max 360 detecting a speed-sign, it demonstrates the 0.9 mile detection range. These types of signs are generally not favored for detection testing because they exhibit signal patterns that are repetitive and thus seen as potential false sources by detectors such as the Escort Max 360. In any case, the 0.9 mile detection range against this K-Band source, despite the roving terrain, shows very good detection performance.
False Alert Mitigation J (Close to a K Rating)
The Escort Max 360 has four false alert mitigating features: Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) / Collision Avoidance System (CAS) filter, TSR filter, Cruise Alert, and GPS-based Location Lockouts. All these features, with the exception of the Cruise Alert, performed as intended. We gave a 4.5 of 5 score to the detector in this category because the Cruise Alert, when paired with Escort Live, will not work properly. On the other hand, we observed an improvement in the TSR feature on the Max 360 that varies on the other Max models. Overall, in this category, the Escort Max 360 performed very well at reducing false alerts with these included features and the new directional arrows to provide situational awareness of the threats. The detector will simply ignore the user’s settings and stay silent to all alerts below the speed limit on the driven road.
BSM / CAS / TSR Filters
Although the Max 360 is a lot like the Max2 model, its BSM/CAS filters are different on the Max 360, while the TSR remains the same on the Max 360 and the other Max models. In testing, “Vortex” observed an improvement in the Max 360’s BSM/CAS filtering against K-Band sources. This built-in filtering, which cannot be turned ON or OFF, now allows users who are focusing heavily on detection K-Band sensitivity to disable TSR and still maintain a high-degree of filtering false sources such as those found on cars with BSM/CAS systems. Lastly, “Vortex” noticed how the TSR on the Max 360 performed much better than the Max2. The TSR on the Max 360 no longer produces a long delay to K-Band alerts, which was found to be a problem on Max2 models in previous tests this past summer.
The Escort Max 360 is equipped with a GPS receiver that allows the detector to either automatically or manually lockout a false signal source (X-Band, K-Band, or Laser). When AutoLock is enabled, the detector automatically remembers the location of a false threat, based on internal pattern analysis, and silences the audible alert. In order to prevent the detector from locking-out a real threat that may be present in the same area, the Escort Max 360 constantly analyzes the radar sources in the area and will alert the driver if another radar source, perceived to be a threat, is received. For the past five years, beginning with the remote mounted detectors like the Beltronics STi-R Plus and Escort 9500ci, this feature has undergone refinement to improve its reliability and accuracy. Consequently, this is a great feature for the detector, and it can be used in a manual mode to allow users further customizations based on road conditions.
The Escort Max 360, like the other Max models, has the Cruise Alert feature that mutes alerts received depending on the speed set by the user. For instance, if a user has set the Cruise Alert setting to 20 mph, then audio alerts at that speed and lower will be sounded as a single double-beep. This is a very handy feature and can quiet a chatty detector in the busy urban plaza areas. In testing with Escort Live paired to the Max 360, “Vortex” discovered that the Cruise Alert feature was not working properly. When the Max 360 is paired with Escort Live, the app appears to override the Cruise Alert settings on the detector and will cause the detector to stay silent on all received alerts. This is a problem if a user who is driving at 68 mph on a highway with a posted speed limit of 70 mph and feels a bit spirited soon afterwards because they may not see an alert on their detector to a threat ahead of them.
Laser Detection J
The Escort Max 360’s laser receiving system is above average in comparison to other detectors like the ValentineOne or the Uniden LRD950. Unlike the Max2 and Max models, the Escort Max 360’s laser detection is significantly better. Initially we thought the detection would be the same, but it appears Escort Inc. did some refinement to their laser receivers. In a recent laser gun test by our forum members in Georgia, our assumption that the Max 360 would perform the same as the Max2 was disproven. For enthusiasts in this community, we discovered that the Escort Max 360, along with the other Max models, will alert to variable-pulse rate (VPR) laser guns, which is really impressive. Other than this technicality, the following video shows the laser gun test we did on the Escort Max 360.
Caveat – Although the Escort Max 360 received our Thumbs Up, readers should not place too much emphasis on this rating as a major deciding factor for purchasing this detector or recommending it to someone. This category is strictly related the sensitivity of the detector’s laser receivers at identifying incoming laser signals. Regardless of whether a radar and laser detector received a Thumbs Ups, it does not mean the detector will provide the user an alert in ample time to reduce the vehicle’s speed. Vehicle speed measurement by Laser is nearly instantaneous, and as a result, drivers should invest in active laser counter-measures like the Anti-Laser Priority (ALP) for neutralizing these threats used by speed enforcement agencies.
Configuring Settings and Updates, and Commitment J
The Escort Max 360 received a good score in this category due to the user-friendliness of the detector’s menu, the easily identifiable alert colors on the front display, and the ease of updating the detector on the Escort Live App and the compatibility of the software for updating the detector’s Defender Database. In the videos below, “Vortex” walks users through all the various menus, including how to configure the arrows, and familiarizes users with the purpose and function of each feature. This detector clearly encompasses all the simplicity of previous generation Escort radar detectors, and incorporates innovative LED features on the arrows, such as the individual colors for each band, and as a result, we gave this detector a high 5 of 5 score!
The Escort Max 360 is Escort Live compatible, so if users want to take advantage of the Cloud-based app, they simply need to buy an Escort Live Smartcord ($99), a simple USB Mini cable, and download the Escort Live App for free, which is available on Apple or Android smartphones (see Specifications section above for links). The Escort Detector Tools application is available for Apple OS and Windows OS computers, and is very easy to install and use.
Commitment to Customer Satisfaction – We Are the Voice for the Community
Since the beginning of this forum, we have been a voice for the radar detector and laser jammer community. A few years ago, we expressed our concern to Escort Inc. about bringing band-segmentation to the Redline. Although some months passed without any feedback from them, the company finally listened to us and brought this feature to the Redline. The same story goes along with the new Escort Max 360. A few of our members had the gracious opportunity to test beta versions of the Max 360 and provide feedback to Escort Inc.. One issue that “Vortex” found was some problematic lag in the arrow alerts – the arrows would take too long (~8-9 seconds) to respond appropriately in real-time to the location of radar sources. In the following videos you will see “Vortex” showing this issue on Max 360s with firmware 1.1. After receiving this feedback, Escort responded with a solution. Firmware 1.2 improved the tracking time of the LED arrows pointing to the threat. This improvement is also presented in the following video.
Summary J (Plug-N-Play Category)
Overall, we gave the new Escort Max 360 a high rating, due to its above-average range detection for Ka-band and K-band, sensitivity to Instant On (I/O) radar, and above average scores in false alert mitigation features. Until now, drivers looking for a radar detector with a display showing the direction of the threats only had one choice – the Valentine One (V1) radar detector. For over 25 years, the V1 has held this firm grip, however, this has changed with the new Escort Max 360. In this article, we did our best to throughly review every aspect of this new radar detector to see how it ranked among the current list of premium radar detectors. For starters, its price differentiates it among all detectors and makes it the most expensive, windshield mounted radar detector available at the present time. Unlike the Cobra DSP 9200BT which was very expensive but had nothing to show for it, the Escort Max 360 is worth its price. In testing, we observed how the latest firmware (1.2) gives this detector above average range detection against the three Ka-Bands currently used in the United States, and more importantly, how it demonstrated the best detection range against 34.7 GHz. Detection against K-Band was also above average, although we feel it could do a bit better. Its sensitivity against Ka-Band 35.5 GHz is absolutely great! We presented a video from “Vortex” showing the Escort Max 360 alerting to a real-world encounter against a speed enforcement official using Instant On radar, and how the new directional arrows identified the threat and direction, thus providing “Vortex” excellent situational awareness versus the all too common “beep” that most other detectors provide. As many users would like to know, the Escort Max 360’s directional arrows work very similar to the V1 radar detector, however, some users observed a bit of a lag in the tracking mechanism. In the earlier firmware version (1.1), the arrows did lag substantially while tracking the source of the threat in real-time. The current firmware (1.2) solved this problem significantly, however, some users accustomed to the quickness of the V1’s arrows, still think there is a lag. At this point, the matter has become more of an opinionated area based on comparisons, but the real-time tracking is accurate and timely for all intents and purposes. Additionally, we all like how the Escort Max 360 went a step further with introducing LED arrows by color-coordinating them according to the type of band received during an alert. For example, Ka-Bands and Laser appear as RED LED arrows, K-Band as BLUE, and X-Band as GREEN. These default factory settings are interchangeable, and users can tailor the colors in a manner they feel fit. Further testing showed that the Max 360 is not just a Max2 with a radar. We discovered two major improvements in the Max 360 over the Max2 – BSM/CAS/TSR improvements, and laser detection improvements. Our tester, “Vortex,” learned that the Max 360’s built-in BSM/CAS system is better than the Max2, thus translating to better false alert mitigation. Secondly, the TSR system on the Max 360 has improved greatly and no longer has the delay during a K-Band alert like the Max2. Lastly, laser detection was an area of improvement that caught many of us by surprise. In a recent laser detector test conducted by forum members in Georgia, we observed the Max 360 alerting to laser guns better than the Max2. In fact it alerted to VPR laser guns, which is always a concern given the elusive detection ability by laser jammer standards. All in all, the Max 360 impressed us with its new features, and although it may not have the extreme long-range detection found in the Redline, Radenso Pro SE, or Uniden LRD950, it does provide more than adequate detection performance and false-alert mitigation out of the box. Many of these other premium detectors must be configured and used in conjunction with extra accessories and apps to attain long-range detection. Also, long-range detection can be a problem for drivers who live in busy urban cities because this detection equates to a very chatty detector detecting and falsely alerting to so many false sources. Again, at this point, long-range detection also becomes a topic of opinion, and one must be the judge for themselves and decide how far is far enough. We recommend this detector to users who want a detector like the Valentine One (V1) along with the convenience features of the Max2 like the built-in GPS module for locking out sources of false alerts, and having the built-in Bluetooth module to quickly pair with their smartphone for Escort Live’s cloud-based app. The Escort Max 360’s vast array of features and technical improvements are just the beginning for a detector we feel will get better and make this detector even better than it is now.
- Special Thanks
- Vortex – for conducting very thorough reviews and a tutorial of the Escort Max 360 in order to show our readers and enthusiasts the pros and cons of this detector, and showing them how to setup the Max 360. To read his review on the forum, please follow it here.
- dcpatters – for providing a loaner detector to “Vortex” for testing and listening to our feedback that resulted in a better LED arrow tracking
- Pointercone – for putting together a Escort Max 360 radar detector test to demonstrate how it performed against K-Band and Ka-Band
- Georgia Testing Group – for setting time aside to conduct a laser gun test against the Escort Max 360
- Brainstorm69 and the Texas Testing Group – for coordinating a radar detector test against the Escort Max 360 and showing how its Ka-Band sensitivity against a battery powered Stalker ATR gun effects the detection range; the 0.9 mile detection range also supports “Vortex’s” video against I/O and the similar detection range against 35.5 GHz.
- Loyal members of our forum who have provided additional testing, feedback, and support to other members on the Max 360’s features
- Information and Discussion
- Want to learn more about the Escort Max 360 or discuss it with some of our members? Click here to view the Escort forum on our site!
- Ready to buy an Escort Max 360?