9/1/14 34.7 Test: Forward and Reverse Facing. CR-85, Max, 8500 X50 Black, V1C, RL (2 Viewers)

jdong

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I took advantage of the low residential traffic today to do another radar shootout. Originally I had planned both K and Ka band tests, except I had some trouble with the originally planned test course and ran out of time after all the Ka band tests.

The Enemy:
My trusty Stalker II 34.7, at 34.705GHz.

The Contenders:
Passport Max v1.8 X/K OFF
V1C: 4x 34.7 tight custom sweeps, X/K OFF
8500 X50 Black: X/K OFF
Redline BS/RDR: 5/6 RDR OFF, X/K OFF
Whistler CR-85: Ka MaxID, X OFF K OFF, FILTER1

(In case you're wondering why these settings, read the notes after the results)

The Course:
A stretch of residential in South Bay, PSL is 35mph, fairly frequently enforced in stings by the local PD. The rear-facing course is an identical recreation of my previous testing course, to address some of the feedback from the previous test. The FF test was conducted about 500ft further down the road.

Locations were chosen both strategically the way LEOs would set it up, and also at either the first or last legal parking spot to prevent variations caused by nearby street-parked cars being moved.

The Procedure:
Each detector was given two runs, with a third run planned if the first two runs had major discrepancies. This in effect almost never happened. Furthermore, after each run, the detector was removed from the windshield (including mount), re-mounted, and given 1 minute to settle down before the run. They were all powered on in a parking lot at the end of the course, so they have no chance of seeing the radar signal at boot up.

Testing was done with adaptive cruise control at 35mph, the PSL, in the slow lane. Cars regularly travel at 50+mph on this stretch.

The Mishaps:
  • The rear-facing course didn't produce much separation of the top-dog detectors. They all alerted around the same bend, within 2 seconds of each other. Instead of playing clever/misleading games with antenna placement, I decided I would add a forward facing test to illustrate the difference in sensitivity of these detectors.
  • The first FF test course was placed so strategically around a bend that NO detector provided appreciable advanced warning when approaching from behind. Even though the V1C and RL BS/RDR are beasts, don't forget that they still have their limitations. Since the goal of this FF course was to separate out the top dogs, I purposely selected a FF course using quick runs of the RL vs the Max until I found a position where they differed to an appreciable extent.
  • The CR-85 kept randomly falsing to K band during its two runs, even with TFSR on. So I decided to do the test with K band off. Note that the test vehicle is an Audi A6 with K-band blind spot radar. I'm not going to ding the CR-85 for this, but I did have to re-start all my testing runs to reflect the new detection settings. In retrospect though, every re-tested detector did about the same as it did with K ON. So turning off narrow bands did not produce an appreciable effect.
  • I bought a Mobius Action Cam to document all testing runs. It died about 30 minutes into the testing :(
The Results:

Rear-Facing:
RF map.png

Forward-Facing:

FF map.png

Conclusions and Observations:

  • This is the first time I've FAILED a detector. In all my previous tests, all detectors performed well enough to be considered a save in the real world. In this test, the rear-facing 34.7 results from the CR-85 were so horrible that I considered it a fail. It alerted only around the last bend, which was about 1-2 seconds before visual contact. It would not be possible in the real world to slow down in reaction to this alert. The FF results from the Whistler were similarly unimpressive. It was also one of the two detectors that did not alert before the intersection, and often didn't alert until the middle of the intersection, forcing me to go a whole f***ing block further past the test site before whipping a U-turn. Given this performance, I think the conclusion is clear. The Whistler "high end" platforms are not in the same playing field as any Belscort or V1 platform. They might do well on ordinary on-axis runs, but off-axis and around-the-bend encounters are pretty bad. At $140, I would highly recommend going into the $200 mark to get yourself an X50 Black.
  • Redline reclaims its position as the King in both tests. The V1C OTOH failed to distance itself from the Max much. It lost to the Max by about half a second on the rear-facing test, and tied in the FF test. This is kind of peculiar -- I can't really explain why my V1C fails to shine, when on HiddenCam's course against 35.5 the V1C does way better than the Max. Maybe my V1C is a dud? I'll be buying a new V1 in my near future to confirm.
  • The X50 Black on the rear-facing course loses its alert after the initial blips when going slowly and then reacquires it later down the course. This was marked on the map as "X" and "X*". I discovered this by accident when I had to abort a test run due to a driver cutting me off. I later "stewed" the other contenders (Max/V1C/RL) in this "dead zone" and confirmed they all hold onto the alert during this zone. From this observation, it seems the X50 is less sensitive than the Max.
  • Does the CR-85 need more bad news? During one of the test runs, it gave about 2 seconds' worth of full strength Ka9, but no threat in sight. And it was WAY WAY outside the detection range of my radar source. No other detector falsed during this testing course. It seems like if you really want to run this thing in the real world, FILTER1 might produce enough Ka falsing that you'd want to consider a higher FILTER setting (which reduces response time)
Whistler:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPKDnolIlpw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LS6ZVvM8y3A

Escort 8500 X50 on same course (sorry, loud alerts auto-mute to nothing):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZvGy49VAxw

That's ~33 seconds before visual contact for the X50, and ~2-3 seconds for the Whistler.
 
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Vortex

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Great job with the test! I wasn't expecting such results with the Whistler.
 

jdong

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[MENTION=2404]Vortex[/MENTION]: Neither was I... I was expecting that it would pick it up 1 bend earlier.

I've added a video of the X50 Black running the full course length, and the Whistler run. The other Whistler run was nearly identical.


Now that I look at the terrain map, it looks fairly "obvious" why all the detectors acquired it so early. There's a potential for line of sight in the fall due to the lack of foliage that wasn't there when I did this test near the spring...
 
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Run4donut

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The Whistler's forward facing results are no surprise. Try K band next and you will see even worse.
 

jdong

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The Whistler's forward facing results are no surprise. Try K band next and you will see even worse.
True, I think even as early as GOL days, Whistlers did lackluster in forward-facing tests.

But the rear-facing test was simply horrifying IMO. Yes, the terrain was a little tricky given that it's around a bend, but sheesh, the Whistler would've been owned in that constant-on trap. I could have made a dead straight and flat course where the Whistler would get miles of detection, but then the Redline and friends would've been off the chart. We've had some debates in the Whistler forum lately whether or not the "average Joe" needs a more sensitive detector, and I hope this test helps beginner users understand the importance of having a very sensitive detector.

This is not a speeding trap for insane speeders who go 100 in a 55. If you were going 45 in this 35 zone with the Whistler, you most likely would've gotten a ticket by the time you judged the alert as real and realized how quickly it was ramping up. Less than 3 seconds from initial detect to the kill.
 

TurboDriver

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I was glad to see the X50 Black mixed in there, I seems to be missed in a lot of testing. I have 2 M4's and a RedLine. I use the M4's for the Ms. and be-bopping around, they are still worthy RD's for most situations.

Now if Belscort would only give the M4's BSRDR they would have another Trophy detector - I bet it could tangle with the Max and be very respectable.


Thanks for the Testing!
 

jdong

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9/1/14 34.7 Test: Forward and Reverse Facing. CR-85, Max, 8500 X50 Black, V1C...

Yeah I think there's a lot of great testing of the M3 and V1C platforms but not really much testing on mid grade and low end detectors. That's one of my goals of doing this test, and it's been in the planning for quite some time and involved shelling out for 2 more detectors that I didn't need ;).

Note that while I'll keep the X50 black, the Whistler is almost certainly getting returned to Amazon with a link to the above video. I wouldn't even want to go PSL+10 with it.

I would wholeheartedly recommend any detector in this test except the Whistler. And the best bang for the buck is the Escort M4 based detectors.
 
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Holla

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Great testing! As I would expect the Red line prevailed, Nothing can touch the Red lines pure performance "Yet"
 

ifeelsic

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gotta love the redline as i do lol
 

Nine_C1

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An excellent test and presentation of the results jdong.:) Your attention to detail is appreciated.....especially liked the Procedure and Mishap sections. Almost feel like we were there in the backseat with you.

The lackluster performance of the Whistler on Ka band was surprising. That is just flat out dangerous and here I thought it was only dangerous on K-Band.:p

Another surprise was the MAX and V1C going head to head here on the rear facing. Forward facing didn't surprise me as much as I've witnessed close performance between the two during off-axis tests (yeah, that M4 casting in the M5 somehow sees a bit better off-axis than the typical M4). And the FF performance of the RedLine just confirms that amazing off-axis sensitivity of the M3.

BTW....the clarity of those videos is amazing. Was that the Mobius?
 

jdong

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9/1/14 34.7 Test: Forward and Reverse Facing. CR-85, Max, 8500 X50 Black, V1C...

An excellent test and presentation of the results jdong.:) Your attention to detail is appreciated.....especially liked the Procedure and Mishap sections. Almost feel like we were there in the backseat with you.

The lackluster performance of the Whistler on Ka band was surprising. That is just flat out dangerous and here I thought it was only dangerous on K-Band.:p

Another surprise was the MAX and V1C going head to head here on the rear facing. Forward facing didn't surprise me as much as I've witnessed close performance between the two during off-axis tests (yeah, that M4 casting in the M5 somehow sees a bit better off-axis than the typical M4). And the FF performance of the RedLine just confirms that amazing off-axis sensitivity of the M3.

BTW....the clarity of those videos is amazing. Was that the Mobius?
Thanks for the kind words! Indeed it's the Mobius Action Cam, and it's come back to life after the testing. I am suspecting my USB power supply was a dud.

Another remark about the Whistler:
---
My very first detector was a Whistler (1793SE). Then I decided to upgrade to a Whistler XTR-695, sent in to Michael B. for the Rev C update and a tuneup. I, like many other Whistler users, observed this unit giving me some decent real-world saves. But this CR-85 with "Ka MAX" should've been head and shoulders better than my XTR-695, and it really disappointed me on today's test. I expected the Whistler to alert between the "X" and "X*" mark, which represents a nice linear gradient of increasing ramp-up, which both the V1 and Redline BS/RDR precisely tracked. Strong initial blip at the first corner, tapes down to a single blip or so, and then a slowly building ramp-up, and full blast right before rounding the corner.

I know the Whistler results are going to disappoint some of the folks here who love Whistlers, and have expressed that opinion pretty strongly in our Whistler forums. Whistler (and Michael B.) has plenty of sentimental value in my heart, and I didn't do anything intentionally to make the Whistlers do worse or look worse. This is the same test course and setup I've used before, and I went in expecting that the RL BS/RDR would alert around the corner and all other detectors would be spaced out linearly along that stretch between X and X*. That simply did not happen. But for testing, we present data (facts) and then our interpretations of the data.

I still believe you can get some long range saves with Whistlers. Obviously this has been documented... but so have lackluster detections for tough terrain, off-axis, perpendicular and FF encounters. I don't have anything against a Whistler. But after seeing these tests, are you happy with a $140 Whistler (or that and a collection of 10 $30 dollar Whistlers)? Or would you much rather have the X50 Black for $240 or so? I know which detector I would trust. It doesn't take IO or driving ridiculously over the speed limit to push a Whistler beyond its limits. All it takes is a little help from the terrain. And I think 99% of the forums members here have seen it: cops know how terrain interacts with radar and do use it to their advantage in setting up traps. A nice little bend or forward-facing around a curve will defeat most detectors.
---


As far as the Max: I've not made it a secret that it's my favorite daily driver detector currently, due to its balance of range and quietness. However, it did pleasantly surprise me today with its results, especially how closely it tracked the V1C! It does seem like despite sharing the same physical horn design as the M4's the digital stuff behind the M5 helped with off axis and sensitivity.

The unanswered question is: is this simply because the Max has a more responsive RDR algorithm or that it is more sensitive?

I think my unofficial "stew" test hints that the M5 is fundamentally more sensitive. I parked at the side of the road for almost a minute with each detector while taking notes. The Max was with the crowd (V1, RL) that went off during the whole time. The X50 fell silent and didn't reacquire until the X* point.
 
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Nine_C1

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Re: 9/1/14 34.7 Test: Forward and Reverse Facing. CR-85, Max, 8500 X50 Black, V1C...

Thanks for the kind words! Indeed it's the Mobius Action Cam, and it's come back to life after the testing. I am suspecting my USB power supply was a dud.

Another remark about the Whistler:
---
My very first detector was a Whistler (1793SE). Then I decided to upgrade to a Whistler XTR-695, sent in to Michael B. for the Rev C update and a tuneup. I, like many other Whistler users, observed this unit giving me some decent real-world saves. But this CR-85 with "Ka MAX" should've been head and shoulders better than my XTR-695, and it really disappointed me on today's test. I expected the Whistler to alert between the "X" and "X*" mark, which represents a nice linear gradient of increasing ramp-up, which both the V1 and Redline BS/RDR precisely tracked. Strong initial blip at the first corner, tapes down to a single blip or so, and then a slowly building ramp-up, and full blast right before rounding the corner.

I know the Whistler results are going to disappoint some of the folks here who love Whistlers, and have expressed that opinion pretty strongly in our Whistler forums. Whistler (and Michael B.) has plenty of sentimental value in my heart, and I didn't do anything intentionally to make the Whistlers do worse or look worse. This is the same test course and setup I've used before, and I went in expecting that the RL BS/RDR would alert around the corner and all other detectors would be spaced out linearly along that stretch between X and X*. That simply did not happen. But for testing, we present data (facts) and then our interpretations of the data.

I still believe you can get some long range saves with Whistlers. Obviously this has been documented... but so have lackluster detections for tough terrain, off-axis, perpendicular and FF encounters. I don't have anything against a Whistler. But after seeing these tests, are you happy with a $140 Whistler (or that and a collection of 10 $30 dollar Whistlers)? Or would you much rather have the X50 Black for $240 or so? I know which detector I would trust. It doesn't take IO or driving ridiculously over the speed limit to push a Whistler beyond its limits. All it takes is a little help from the terrain. And I think 99% of the forums members here have seen it: cops know how terrain interacts with radar and do use it to their advantage in setting up traps. A nice little bend or forward-facing around a curve will defeat most detectors.
---


As far as the Max: I've not made it a secret that it's my favorite daily driver detector currently, due to its balance of range and quietness. However, it did pleasantly surprise me today with its results, especially how closely it tracked the V1C! It does seem like despite sharing the same physical horn design as the M4's the digital stuff behind the M5 helped with off axis and sensitivity.

The unanswered question is: is this simply because the Max has a more responsive RDR algorithm or that it is more sensitive?

I think my unofficial "stew" test hints that the M5 is fundamentally more sensitive. I parked at the side of the road for almost a minute with each detector while taking notes. The Max was with the crowd (V1, RL) that went off during the whole time. The X50 fell silent and didn't reacquire until the X* point.
I thinks it's a combination of both. The MAX has better reaction time compare to the M4 without doubt and the digital signal processing also yields better sensitivity (via signal averaging and noise reduction) whilst using the same horn casting as the M4.

It's definitely a huge step up from the M4 in performance in all respects from what I've seen and certainly in the top three windshield mounts available today.

Perhaps I'm being a little harsh on the Whistler in my remarks as it is less than half the price of these other detectors. However, I would have expected a little better performance on Ka like you. Perhaps you have a dud there?

Speaking of half price units, damn....don't tell me that's a $100 dash cam. I just dropped about $300 on a Blackvue and I'll be thrilled if it gives a picture that good.
 

jdong

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Re: 9/1/14 34.7 Test: Forward and Reverse Facing. CR-85, Max, 8500 X50 Black, V1C...

I thinks it's a combination of both. The MAX has better reaction time compare to the M4 without doubt and the digital signal processing also yields better sensitivity (via signal averaging and noise reduction) whilst using the same horn casting as the M4.

It's definitely a huge step up from the M4 in performance in all respects from what I've seen and certainly in the top three windshield mounts available today.
Agreed on all counts. As much criticism as the Max gets, it's easy to forget that it actually is a great radar performer. Just didn't live up to the hype.


Perhaps I'm being a little harsh on the Whistler in my remarks as it is less than half the price of these other detectors. However, I would have expected a little better performance on Ka like you. Perhaps you have a dud there?
Two things there:
(1) Rocks are free. And I will argue that a rock is the best radar detector ever because it's free, and you can't compare it to a detector that costs infinitely more ;-). In all seriousness though, there's a limit to how much I'm willing to give detectors slack for being cheap. Yes, it's cheap. Yes, it's good bang for the buck. But your protection really does suffer, and in ways that do affect real-world usage. It's not really less than half price though -- the CR-85 MSRP's for $229.99, and Amazon sells it for $141. The 8500 X50 retails for $339.99, but Amazon sells it for $239.
(2) I was expecting someone to present the "dud" argument. I don't know if mine is a dud. I would gladly invite anyone who thinks they have a hot Whistler to send one over for testing :).

Note that @happya$$ posted a very similar video on 33.8, and that's with even more expensive $166/$279 cousin the CR-90.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCs5WwI9v7w

I think it's just a question of on-axis vs off-axis, and if the M4 is "blind" to off axis, the Whistler is a black hole.



Speaking of half price units, damn....don't tell me that's a $100 dash cam. I just dropped about $300 on a Blackvue and I'll be thrilled if it gives a picture that good.
80 bucks off Amazon. I'm pleasantly surprised! And I found out the USB charging port I plugged it into was dead. PEBKAC.
 

Jag42

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Thanks for the testing. Whistler did horrible ! I can tell you FILTER might have been a bit better on the Whistler, you might have to confirm that. Michael b told me Filter 1-2 can miss brief C/O radar around the bend as it can be ignored. I had a prototype Whistler Mike B gave me that had FILTER 1-4 so I played around a lot on Filter settings to help diagnose KA9 falses.


Having driven 170k miles with Whistlers, They only shine on axis or line of sight in flat terrains. Any very flat state a Whistler will give you superb detection :)
 
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jdong

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So, now that our NDA's have been lifted, I'll disclose that I am a beta tester for the Max2, and it was a part of this test, just the results were withheld.

The Max2 performed identically to the Max, which confirms Escort's claims that they are the same detection circuitry.
 

300S

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Thanks for going to the time and trouble to include a CR 85 in the test, although it failed miserably off axis. This is why when you spend another hundred or so on an X50 you are getting what you paid extra for. Detecting radar costs money. How much money do you want to spend?

I've read somewhere else, that this detector was the XTR 658, which is based on the HSXWH10/21 platform, and not the high performance WH20 chassis. But the results would have likely been the same with the top of the line Whistler.

[video=youtube;QjdfPKyBCvo]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjdfPKyBCvo[/video]

Around curves and rear facing isn't the Whistler's forte,,,usually. Yet sometimes they'll deliver good off axis detections, and even rear facing as well. But don't count on it.
 

happya$$

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Good stuff! Your time and expertise is very much appreciated. Whistlers struggle vs off axis and forward facing as others like DJrams80 has shown over the years. The Max is currently my favorite RD. It has come a long way and its performance in my area is blistering. It plain sucks on laser but its radar performance is awesome.
 

jdong

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Thanks for the testing. Whistler did horrible ! I can tell you FILTER might have been a bit better on the Whistler, you might have to confirm that. Michael b told me Filter 1-2 can miss brief C/O radar around the bend as it can be ignored. I had a prototype Whistler Mike B gave me that had FILTER 1-4 so I played around a lot on Filter settings to help diagnose KA9 falses.


Having driven 170k miles with Whistlers, They only shine on axis or line of sight in flat terrains. Any very flat state a Whistler will give you superb detection :)

BTW, the CR-85's FILTER settings are XK "FILTER1 -> FILTER3" and Ka "FILTER1 -> FILTER3". As an XTR-695 owner, I know what you're talking about — there used to be a "FILTER" setting. It doesn't seem there any more.
 

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BTW, the CR-85's FILTER settings are XK "FILTER1 -> FILTER3" and Ka "FILTER1 -> FILTER3". As an XTR-695 owner, I know what you're talking about — there used to be a "FILTER" setting. It doesn't seem there any more.
Interesting. My Cr90 from Whistler had Filter in the settings. Mike did not send it as it came from Arkansas last year.
 

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Thanks for the testing and the videos. I have to be honest, like the rest, I expected to at least see some performance out of the whistler... but I was shocked to see how poorly it really performed. Its a shame that most people do not do their homework because they end up buying a name not knowing that in reality the product is sub par and will still get them in trouble.

I am SO glad I found this forum and am SO glad I went with the RL.

Thanks again for the tests and posting the results.
 

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