American Radar AR9970BT Initial Impressions

Vortex

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So my new American Radar AR9970BT arrived in the mail today. The company sent me one for testing purposes. I just unboxed it, putzed around through the menu and interface, and read through the manual. Here's a look at the unboxing and what all's included.

AR box.jpg


AR included.jpg


It comes with the detector, suction cup mount, 16gb MicroUSB card and SD card adapter, MiniUSB cable, cig. lighter cable, and even a hardwire cable which is cool. You can plug the power cable (MiniUSB, not RJ-11) into either the detector or the mount. The mount has a power connector on it so you can take the RD on/off the mount without having to deal with unplugging the cable. I love that.

The main things I want to figure out are:

1) How good of a RD is it?
2) How good of a dashcam is it?
3) Is the $400 better spent on this integrated setup or on a standalone RD and dashcam?

Looking through the manual and menu (you've got buttons on top to control the RD and buttons on the face to control the dashcam), it looks like the GPS is just for the dashcam (display your speed or lat/lon on the video) and to alert you to RLC's and whatnot. It doesn't offer any benefits on the RD side like low speed muting or GPS lockouts.

Edit: Correction: It does have low speed muting.

As such, I think at best it's gonna be competing somewhere between a $200 DFR6 and a $300 DFR7. I have no idea how the performance and BSM filtering is yet, but it does have some GPS functionality for the RD.

In terms of the dashcam side, you can do an A119 with GPS for $100 that actually goes a little higher in resolution (1440p vs 1296p), has GPS, and does pretty much the same thing.

You wouldn't get any RLC alerts with a DFR6 and A119 unless you ran Waze or something, but it would cost $100 less. For low speed muting you'd need a DFR7, plus that would offer you RLC alerts like this setup but it also adds lockouts. Nevertheless, I think it's a pretty cool option to see an integrated setup in one package, that only requires one power cable, and so on.

I'm definitely curious to see how it performs...
 

Vortex

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Re: New Company / Product: American Radar

Are there dimensions of the AR-9970BT anywhere, or a size comparison ?
It's smaller than I thought it'd be, especially considering it contains both a RD and a dashcam.
Here ya go:

AR size comparison.jpg


It's about as wide as most other RD's, but shorter front to back.

Here's a look at the detectors from the side:

AR size comparison side.jpg


(I had to use a suction cup mount to hold up the Uniden because it has rounded sides and wouldn't stand on its own, haha)

Anyways, it's a pretty short detector, comparable to the RPSE, but it's a bit taller towards the front because of the two displays.
 

erickonphoenix

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Re: New Company / Product: American Radar

Wow, it is small. (insert joke here);)

Really glad to have you reviewing this product. Can't wait to see your impressions.
 

wirelessandy

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Re: New Company / Product: American Radar

By golly the Radenso non-XP is so petite!
 

Vortex

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Re: New Company / Product: American Radar

Here's a quick photo with the detector powered on, picking up a K band signal in a parking lot, and dash and screen on.

2a9cee39c04a106f2e53576184941602.jpg


and here it is as you'd normally see it when it's not detecting anything. Dashcam LCD shuts off and there's a blinking orange light in the corner to let you know the dashcam is rolling.

1c2f006fd583ae48886eb570e00e42fe.jpg
 

wirelessandy

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Re: New Company / Product: American Radar

Ohhhh at first I thought the LED in the lower left was for radar detection.
 

Jag42

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Re: New Company / Product: American Radar

Sweet ! Let the testing begin.
 

meismyname

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Re: New Company / Product: American Radar

I suppose the same price combo for comparison would be an A119 and DFR7? That way we'd be comparing based on features at that price rather than price for those features (if that makes sense).

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk
 

Vortex

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Correction: It has a speed limit feature which I thought was a nag when you go over a speed but it looks like it's low speed muting.
 

jim4rc

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This is exciting. Really like how compact the whole setup is. Any ideas when you might get a chance to do a mini test?
 

Vortex

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This is exciting. Really like how compact the whole setup is. Any ideas when you might get a chance to do a mini test?
I got them to send one over to the TXCTG as well and they'll be taking care of long range testing for us. :)
 

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I got them to send one over to the TXCTG as well and they'll be taking care of long range testing for us. :)
I smell a mini shoot out in the near future.... [MENTION=201]Jag42[/MENTION] [MENTION=9768]Brainstorm69[/MENTION]
 
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wirelessandy

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Any listed specs for the dashcam side of things? Resolution, frames per second and bitrate?
 

Vortex

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Any listed specs for the dashcam side of things? Resolution, frames per second and bitrate?
Resolution:

2304x1296, 30fps
2560x1080, 30fps
1920x1080, 30fps w/ HDR
1920x1080, 30fps
1280x720, 60fps
1280x720, 30fps

Bitrate isn't listed, but running at the highest res option of 1296p with video quality set to Super Fine (instead of Fine or Normal), bit rate in VLC is showing up around 20 Mbps.

Video quality though looks very poor. Just soft, tough to read license plates unless close up and looking straight on, and just generally looks low quality. Here's 3 clips from driving around with it this afternoon so you can see. This is with all the settings maxed out for top quality including 1296p and Super Fine upsampled to 1440p (instead of down to 1080p) for YouTube to show the highest level of detail.


The G-sensor records 30 second clips when it detects impacts like bumps in the road. At first I thought the camera was missing 30 sec chunks, but they get saved in a separate Events folder.

There's plenty of combinations of displaying speed, lat/lon, date/time, or American Radar stamped on the video, but there's no way to remove all text if you like.
 

comno6

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Thanks Vortex! I am kind of shocked at the video quality - I thought it would be better.
 

Vortex

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Thanks Vortex! I am kind of shocked at the video quality - I thought it would be better.
No kidding! I'll be driving some more tomorrow and I'll have a chance to get some more footage, but so far it's not looking too good. Maybe [MENTION=9768]Brainstorm69[/MENTION]'s unit will be better?

Regarding the mount, I like how easy it comes on and off and having the power cable plugged into the mount means you can easily mount and remove the detector. However, the mount is strangely long and in my small car, even if I mount the RD as high as I can, it drops down into my vision more than other detectors.

AR-mounted-on-WS.jpg
 

Hügel66

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GPS, low speed muting, lockouts, RLC database.
I dont know but I smell a pending IP infringement lawsuit hanging over their head..
 

Vortex

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GPS, low speed muting, lockouts, RLC database.
I dont know but I smell a pending IP infringement lawsuit hanging over their head..
Lockouts aren't included. I mentioned to them over email about needing to get a license if they're doing lockouts, but they don't have that feature. Do they also need it for low speed muting or for RLC's?
 

Hügel66

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You are walking on very thin ice having a GPS enabled radar detector with integrated GPS chip. And in this industry it is a sport to sue each other for everything. I would be very nervous unless they have a licensing agreement.
 

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