So the Max360 is Escort’s latest and greatest, newest radar detector with all the bells and whistles. It takes their previous best selling radar detector, the Max2, and gives it a second antenna pointing backwards so that it can have arrows just like the V1, and now you have an automatic, plug-and-play, ease to use radar detector that can do it all for you without minimal setup, no extra accessories required, and it’s now basically like the jack of all trades.
Let’s go ahead and take a look at the detector and get a feel for its features, performance, false alert filtering abilities, how it compares to the other top detectors on the market, pros and cons of the Max360, some specifics on how well it works, test results, and more. 🙂
So the video I posted up above is the short version of my video review that covers the highlights. If you’d like to watch a comprehensive and in depth video review, here’s the full version that’s just over an hour long.
My original review and full discussion on the 360 can be seen here. I’ve had a chance to drive around with the Max360 some more so I’m posting an updated version of the review here on this site. 🙂
The Max360 is Escort’s first detector with arrows. The V1 has had this feature for nearly 3 decades now, but their patent for arrows expired back in 2012 and so now Escort is introducing this same feature to close the gap and remove the V1’s primary competitive advantage. It is essentially a Max2 with a rear antenna to give it arrows to make it more like a V1, and they’ve also copied a few other small things that the V1 does to close the gap. They’ve also improved upon a couple things the V1 does while in other ways it’s not as refined as the V1, so there’s a mix of good and bad. There’s also been some welcome improvements beyond what we had with the Max2, so it’s more than just arrows. The detector is also pretty large and heavy (the largest and heaviest on the market) though that doesn’t seem to be a big deal once it’s actually on my windshield.
Would I recommend it? Yes, but like with any detector, it’s not going to be the best choice for everyone. Depending on your needs, where you drive, and even your personality and preferences, the Max360 may be the perfect choice or perhaps another detector may be better suited to you. So let’s take a look at some of the specifics to get a better feel for how this detector fares.
This is arguably one of the most important attributes of a radar detector. Performance. The better it can detect radar and warn you of threats in the area, the more likely it is to save you from a speeding ticket.
This detector will give you the same level of performance as the Max/Max2. Despite claims to the contrary from the manufacturer about it being the most sensitive detector on the market, this is simply not true. @kasher1979 and I opened up our Max360’s. It looks like the front horn is the same as the Max2 and the RF circuitry features the same components plus some additional hardware to add support for the rear antenna. Here’s @Nine_C1‘s analysis of the RF circuitry and @jdong pointing out that it features the same class of FPGA and DSP hardware as the Max2.
Here’s my complete teardown video plus detailed internal pics. So given all this, the test results that have been done so far make sense.
@OpenRoad ran another Max360 at the stew test and it didn’t do too hot. It alerted basically at line of sight, on par with the Whistlers and Cobras. Not good… I know the speed sign’s power output is somewhat variable over time, but it also got beat out by the Redline and Uniden when OR tested it the same day. So the Max360 is not about all out raw performance. Other detectors are better at that.
The MWCTG tested the Max360 and it gave plenty of warning time, but it got beat by the other detectors the tested with including the Redline, STi-R O, and Stinger VIP.
So while it may not be the range king, it’s not like it’s unusable. Here’s a very good realworld detection against I/O 35.5. It has no problem here and should be adequate in many situations.
If you want to know how much range you’ll get with this detector compared to the competition, since we the detector performs comparably with the Max and Max2, you can take a look at my previous radar detector shootouts here and here and substitute in the Max360 wherever you see any Max results.
I’ve also done some basic QT testing and it seems to be on par with the Max/Max2 as well which means that it’s the fastest KaSW detector. A custom swept V1 and BS/RDR Redline are both faster, but the DSP definitely helps speed things up with making the detector fast without having to rely on disabling some of the Ka filters or cutting out some of Ka band and potentially missing an out of tune gun. It shouldn’t have too much trouble detecting brief signals.
It looks like they’ve reused the exact same laser sensor on the Max360. I haven’t done laser testing specifically yet, but opening up the detectors and looking at the internals, it’s got the exact same packaging for the laser receiver. Therefore I was expecting similarly poor laser performance with the Max360 that we saw with the Max/Max2. Proper testing is the best way to confirm this though. Now I’ve done some initial lidar sensitivity testing and the Max360 performed quite well on laser, better than its M5 counterparts like the Max2 and GT-7, much to my surprise. I’m not totally convinced of the results and need to do more thorough testing, but laser detection looks good so far, better than expected.
Along with radar detection performance, the ability to filter out false alerts is also vitally important. Who cares if you have awesome performance if you’re getting endless false alerts, begin tuning out your detector, and you stop paying attention to the alerts that it’s giving you?
The Max360 uses the same techniques as the Max2 with lockouts and TSR, but there have been improvements made here.
The Max360’s implementation of GPS lockouts is the easiest to use. Unlike some other detectors like the Radenso or LRD950, lockouts are automatic. Just drive around and it does it all for you without you having to press a button to lock a signal out. Unlike the V1 which can also do autolockouts, the Max360 doesn’t require additional dongles, a phone to make it happen, or setting up and running any third party apps. It’s the most convenient way of doing it and I like that. No phone required. If you take your phone inside to keep it charged and forget to bring it back out to the car with you, your lockouts will all still work properly. It’s also easier to travel from car to car when all you need is a detector and a power cable.
The blind spot filtering has been improved relative to previous detectors. There’s now some CAS filtering that’s built in (that you can’t turn on or off) that lets it filter out some blind spot cars without having to enable TSR and accept the performance penalty that TSR brings. Very impressive stuff. The only other detectors I’ve seen so far that can do that are the Stinger VIP and the older firmware versions of the LRD950. Maybe Escort finally is doing something with the DNA. 😉
The false filtering isn’t perfect by any means. You’ll still get falses for sure. It’s not magic. The falses will be really weak at first which is nice. You can enable TSR, but it’ll then start to give M3-like alerts where instead of weak signals that ramp up, you’ll get stronger initial alerts that feel more like close range I/O blasts which are scarier. This is something that a bunch of us are still feeling out and getting a sense for, but it’s nice to have some filtering going on without having to resort to TSR.
Speaking of TSR, the delay has been reduced from what we saw with the Max2 so there’s no longer a crazy long delay when the filter is enabled. A very nice improvement and it means you’re less likely to miss a brief burst of K band radar.
You’ve also got cruise alert to mute signals when you’re below a set speed which is handy for quieting the detector down around town. If you pair your detector with your phone, you can get speed limit information for the road you’re on and the cruise alert threshold gets replaced with the speed limit and so the detector will mute signals when you’re traveling below the speed limit. Sounds good in theory, but there’s some issues with doing this (what if you’re in a construction zone or the speed limit information is wrong?) which I’ll take about in the section below about bugs and improvements I’d like to see with the 360.
One thing that’s pretty awesome about the Max360 is that the screen can display arrows, frequency information, as well as signal strength for front and rear. You get a ton of useful information on the display itself.
The display is also very customizable. There’s 7 different ways of displaying signal strength and 3 different ways of displaying the arrows. You can customize the colors of the display and arrows as well to match your vehicle’s interior or to differentiate between front/rear, different bands, etc. With the V1 all the LED’s are red which makes things harder to ID quickly. With the 360 you can make things different colors which makes it easier to quickly identify things at a glance. Very handy.
I also like that you can have frequency information for the primary threat right on the detector. You can do this with a phone with the V1 and you can get the frequency for every single signal if you go that route, but for a detector that doesn’t require a phone, the Max360’s display presents more useful information than the V1.
So yeah, it’s got arrows like the V1. The arrows are smaller than the V1, but they’re plenty bright and there’s no issue seeing them in practice. They do operate a little differently than the V1 so we’ll talk about these in a little more detail since that’s the big change with the 360.
There’s 3 different ways to display the arrows:
1) Single arrow: The arrows will point to whatever the primary threat is
2) Multiple arrows: The arrows can point to multiple signals, a primary and secondary signal. The arrow for the primary threat will blink (ie. Ka band ahead over K band behind) like the V1 to help make things clearer.
3) Band mode: The colors for the arrows are fixed depending on the band. Laser and Ka are red, K is blue, X is green. You can watch the video I posted above for more info and to see this all in action.
The arrows are also a little more laggy than the V1. The V1 is super quick at flipping from front to rear which makes it easier to tell when you pass a source.
On average it takes about 4 seconds for the arrows to change directions when you pass a source. Here’s a comparison with the V1 and Max360.
Sometimes it takes much longer than that. Here’s an example passing a K band speed sign where it takes closer to 8 seconds.
Again, this isn’t always the case. Here’s an example where I found an Acura MDX (which makes just about every detector false to K band) where I did a little blind spot testing. You’ll see TSR doesn’t help deal with the false. Anyways, when I pass the Acura towards the end of the video, you’ll see the arrows flip from front to rear pretty quickly. This is one example where the arrows are very helpful. They can help confirm that the K band false you’re seeing is a blind spot false and not an I/O shot up ahead.
So the arrows aren’t as refined as the V1, but hey, Valentine has had 30 years to fine tune their arrows. Escort has been working on this for just a few years. I’m hoping things improve with a firmware update. There have been some firmware updates already which have improved things. In 1.0 and 1.1, there was a long delay for signals to completely appear on screen. The detector would go off, but it would sit there for a while before it would display the signal strength, frequency, and arrows.
Take a look at the difference between the Max2 and Max360 (1.1).
and here’s the same thing with the V1 and the 360 (1.1).
Escort has since released firmware 1.2 which has sped things up. It’s not instantaneous yet, but things are definitely faster.
If you pick up a Max360, make sure you update the 360 to the latest version. (Currently the update software is only available for Windows. No Mac option is available yet, but you can always dual boot.) You can also periodically update the detector as the RLC database is updated, or if you have your detector paired with Escort Live, you’ll always get the latest information from my butt to your phone (but not permanently downloaded to your detector).
So seeing firmware updates and improvements, I’m definitely hopeful that things will continue to improve. Speaking of which, let’s go over some of the other little bugs and quirks that I’m hoping are addressed.
Bugs & Improvements to be Made
The Max/Max2 has long had ~33.676 falsing issues. It looks like that that issue has been fixed (woohoo!) and @BagNDrag confirmed it here. However, the Max360 likes to alert to 33.4xx when in the presence of K band. A bunch of people are also reporting this issue. Sometimes the alert even gets stuck on screen and the only solution is to power cycle the unit. Again I’m not sure if it’s related to the 33.6xx falsing, but it is occurring. Fortunately the Max’s are good at filtering out Cobra falses that plague the M3’s and V1’s thanks to RDR being left on.
Update: The 33.4xx falsing issue has been fixed as of firmware 1.4.
The buttons are also kinda weird. It seems like they’re clear with silvery paint on top. It looks like the paint is fading away (even on brand new detectors) to where the light is shining through the paint. It doesn’t affect performance or anything, but it does make things seem cheaper, like they’ve been cutting corners.
The text on the buttons has also been fading off of some brand new detectors.
I’ve mentioned the laggy arrows and Cruise Alert / Escort Live stuff already. There is an improvement that I really wish Escort would make with Cruise Alert / Escort Live. The issue is that if you pair your detector with Escort Live which gives you speed limit information, if you also have Cruise Alert enabled on your detector to mute signals out at low speeds, the detector will ignore your Cruise Alert speed and instead use the Speed Limit speed which means that the detector will be muted if you’re traveling below (what the detector thinks is) the speed limit. The issue is that the speed limit is not very accurate. It also doesn’t take into account construction zones so you very well may run into an issue where you’re traveling over the speed limit and the detector decides it should mute itself. Not cool. There’s no way to disable this if you’re running both Cruise Alert and Escort Live simultaneously. Running one or the other is fine, but running both creates this issue. Escort knows about this and designed it this way. I don’t like it and wish there was a way you could disable this and still use both features. You can see this illustrated in this video.
The latch on the Max360 is a little weird. It’s sorta long and then it sits silently for a while, even if it’s detecting a lower priority signal. Because of this, there can be a period of time when the detector is sitting around and not alerting you to a legitimate threat. I’m hoping they remove the silence at the end of the latch.
The mute button felt a little mushy on the detector on the first copy of the Max360 I tested. They’ve repositioned the mute button on the 360 compared to the Max2. The mute button didn’t have the same satisfying tactile click as the other buttons so you don’t get the same level of feedback. Usually the mute button still works when you smush it down in practice so it’s not a big deal, but it does feel different than the other buttons. I ordered a Max360 from Escort myself and when I received this second one, it has a better mute button press with a very definite click.. Not sure why there’s a difference.
There’s also some of the standard issues with Escort Live for Android where it doesn’t integrate or consistently work properly. Sometimes the speed limit won’t display on the detector, it’ll be connected but it won’t show it is, your radar alerts will get reported to my butt but other people’s Live alerts don’t get reported to your detector, etc. This is the same as what we saw with the Max2 so it’s not a 360 thing. Escort Live works pretty well on iOS, but it’s been a bug ridden mess on Android for years and Escort isn’t doing anything about it.
Live also doesn’t support arrows yet. From what I understand there should be an update coming to Live to give it arrows when paired with the 360. Given Escort’s really slow update speed though, I wouldn’t hold your breath.
Red Light Cameras & Speed Cameras
One thing that’s great about the 360 is that it does have a database built in for red light cameras and speed cameras. No additional apps required. It also has one of the best databases on the market. It’s accurate, updated pretty frequently, and it’s also directional meaning that if an intersection is enforced in one direction of travel but not another, you’ll only get alerted if the RLC’s are monitoring the direction you’re driving. This means you’ll get fewer false alerts than with other solutions that alert you when you approach the area independent of direction.
One thing that I would like to see Escort improve on (and this is an issue with every single RLC database built into a RD) is not alerting you to RLC’s and speedcams when you’re driving down the highway and there’s one on a nearby or parallel street. The detector doesn’t know if you’re on the highway or traveling down city streets and so you will get unneeded RLC alerts when driving down the highway in cities. The solution to this would be to add mapping information into the database rather than just locations and direction of travel, but this would likely make the database gigabytes to download and require a lot more memory in the detector and Escort (or any other RD manufacturer for that matter) has expressed interest in doing this so they all have the same issue.
If you run Waze on your phone (and you should), it also has an excellent database, it’s updated regularly, it’s directional like Escort’s implementation, it’s totally free, and it takes into account city streets vs. highways so you do get fewer falses.
So little annoyances like that aside, Escort’s RLC alerts are actually pretty good. Sure you can get a better running package overall if you piecemeal other apps in like Waze, but again the Max detectors are designed to be your do-it-all detectors that don’t require
Size-wise, the detector is huge. Not absurdly huge to the point of ridiculousness, but it’s definitely the biggest detector out there. It’s also heavy at nearly 3/4 of a pound.
Is this an issue in practice? Not as much as I thought.
Even in my car which is a compact Miata, it doesn’t block as much of my visibility as I thought it would. It’s still usable even when mounted high by the RVM.
It does block more of my visibility than my V1, and that’s something that I am seeing to be a bit of an issue when driving around with it, but that’s more due to the fact that the sticky cup drops it down and I can’t mount it flush with the top of my car. Also because of the fact that the mount is in the rear of the detector rather than the middle, it sticks out forward which gets in the way of seeing my RVM. The solution is to move it over to the left a little bit so it’s more in front of me instead of slightly off to the side by the RVM. I wish the factory mount would let me mount the detector higher so it didn’t dip down into my vision, obscuring my view of the road as much.
The previous Max’s were known for being kinda bouncy on the sticky cup. There was an update that fixed this to a certain extent, but there’s a newly redesigned sticky cup that the Max360 comes with that effectively solves this issue entirely. It uses a shorter connector with less leverage against the mount. The Max360 is solid and stable now, despite its size and weight, and it’s nice to have the detector actually be fixed on the windshield. No more bounciness! Yay!!
The sticky cup is also compatible with the Max/Max2/GT-7 as well so if you’re upgrading from a previous gen Max, your current sticky cup will work with the 360. I don’t know what the process is like for getting a new sticky cup for the previous gen M5’s, but if you’re having an issue with a bouncy Max, take a look at the updated sticky cup for the 360. That’s a good solution.
It does seem like there’s some build quality issues with the new sticky cup though. Mine has exploded on me twice. Apparently the way the latch connects isn’t very robust and it’s possible for it to pop off. Inside the sticky cup is a spring and when the latch pops off, the whole thing springs apart, the detector disconnects from the windshield, and it all comes crashing down. It’s happened to me once during testing and again while I was at a red light and in a bit of a rush, a time when I really would have wanted a radar detector to back me up. Apparently a number of people are reporting the same issue. This wasn’t happening with the previous gen sticky cup and I’m not sure what changed.
Fortunately it’s pretty straightforward to put all the pieces back together again. Just put them in place, squeeze, and it all falls into place. This worked for a while but then after it fell apart the third time it would no longer stay together when I put it back together and went to mount it on my windshield. It would explode every time. My other 3 sticky cups are all fine and so this one bad mount I sent back to get swapped out for a new one.
The main thing is that I wish the mount wasn’t so big and didn’t make the detector hang down so low and block as much of my visibility. Aftermarket mounts are available as well and depending on your vehicle and placement location, this may not be an issue for you in your vehicle.
Improvements over Max2
So in addition to the arrows, new display options, improved blind spot filtering, reduced TSR delay, and less bouncy sticky cup, there’s even more improvements to the Max360 over the Max2.
The case design is different so we shouldn’t have issues with the Max360 splitting in half, removable panels falling off, or lens falling out. It feels much more solid which is a very good thing.
There’s also a really high pitched annoying beep when the detector starts up or when you go into the settings. After the initial warnings (ie. X band off, TSR off, etc.), there’s a high pitched beep with the Max2. Very annoying if you had your detector volume up from a noisy car the night before and then you start up the next day in a quiet parking lot. That chirp can be kinda ear piercing. That has been changed now to where it’s all a lower pitched beep which is much more pleasant to use in practice.
All in all, it’s a more enjoyable package to use. They’re small things, but the improved build quality, reduced annoyances, no more bounciness, no more crazy long TSR penalty etc. all add up to be a more enjoyable package and I like it more than the Max2. It’s more than just arrows. There’s been a few other improvements too that they’ve practically copied from the V1.
Compared to V1/YaV1
So I’ve gone over the arrows stuff already. I like that there’s more customization and colors offered with the Max360. You get much more information on the Max360 display (ie. frequency display) and you can display the signal strength for two signals at once (front and rear). With the V1 you only get signal strength about one signal. However, if you pair your V1 with YaV1, you can get the arrows, band, frequency, and signal strength for every single signal. So you get more info with the V1/YaV1 over the Max360, but the 360 has more info than the V1 on its own.
They’ve also added a bogey counter to the 360, just like the V1, so you can be aware of how many signals the detector is picking up on.
The V1 has two volume controls, the main volume and the muted volume. They’ve sorta copied this with the 360. AutoMute now has 4 different options: High, Medium, Low, and Off. Now you have the option of how far AutoMute drops the volume… so if you want the automuted volume to be louder or quieter, you have more control over how loud or quiet it gets. Not quite as easy to use as the V1 with its physical dial right on the front, but definitely a welcomed improvement.
There’s also a V1-like new bogey tone that you can activate. Under tones there’s Standard (traditional beeps), Standard+ (traditional beeps with a new bogey tone), and Mild (which is like a calm doorbell). Here’s an example of Standard+ in action passing by one auto door opener. As I pass it, the arrows flip from front to rear. The 360 then picks up a new K band signal from the door opener a block up the street, you get a beep, and the front arrow lights back up.
It’s not exactly the same as the V1. They have different alert priorities. You don’t get a new bogey sound if you first have a Ka alert then get a K band alert, or if you have a K band alert then get a Ka band alert. With the 360, they have to be the same priority in a sense.
So there’s a bunch of little things that they’ve copied. Imitation is the highest form of flattery, I suppose. It’s also taking away, to a certain extent, the competitive advantage of the V1 over the Max detectors, and I think that’s a big part of what Escort was going for with the 360.
So new colors, they’ve copied some features, and they’ve improved on some things, but the V1 still feels more responsive and refined because alerts display instantly and arrows change directions to follow the signals almost instantly too. The 360 feels like a bit of a “me too,” but that’s okay. I’m hoping Escort continues to tweak and improve the detector to close the gap even further.
Driving around town, I’m liking the quietness of the GPS lockouts as well. YaV1’s lockouts are safer and more sophisticated, but they are a bit noisier because they’re much more geared towards avoiding locking out a legitimate threat. Escort’s lockouts are simpler and the err on the side of quietness.
YaV1 does a lot more analysis to help avoid locking out a legitimate threat. While both implementations look at the location and frequency of the signal to create a lockout, YaV1 looks at things like the direction of travel (the 360 doesn’t) which means locking out a signal when driving in one direction is independent of a lockout traveling the other direction. It also will alert to an additional signal with a similar frequency while Escort’s implementation will lockout any and every signal with a similar frequency.
YaV1 errs on the side of safety at the expense of chattiness and taking longer to lock a signal out. Escort’s implementation errs on the side of quietness and makes it easier to use at the expense of being more likely to lock out a legitimate signal.
I also like that because the 360 does it all itself, every lockout is muted immediately. With YaV1 there’s a bit of a delay between when the detector goes off (immediately), the signal is passed onto the app, the app does its muting processing, and then it tells the detector to mute. So with YaV1, you’ll always get an initial beep, but it’ll mute by the second beep. That’s good if you want to be kept aware of what’s going on around you, but it can be annoying if you want a quieter experience and only want to be alerted when there’s a new threat in the area. I like both implementations for different reasons. Sometimes I want to know everything that’s going around me. Sometimes I want a more relaxed experience and to focus on other things.
So I think the V1 with YaV1 is a little more refined. You get safer lockouts, arrows are far more immediate and responsive, you get more information on screen, all the information about every single signal versus just the primary and secondary signals (sometimes people just want a simpler experience too which is also cool), more advanced muting options, frequency announcements are possible, you can easily create and switch between settings profiles on the fly, etc., but the 360 offers much more as a standalone option if you don’t add YaV1 into the picture and you don’t have to go through the effort of setting up an app to get the full functionality.
The 360 has bluetooth built in so you don’t have to purchase and add on an external bluetooth dongle, the 360 is cross-platform capable so it works with both Android and iOS while on the V1 you have to purchase an iOS or Android specific BT module, Escort’s app works with both platforms while YaV1 is Android only (there are iOS apps available for the V1 like StealthAssist available which adds low speed muting, but you don’t get lockouts unless you go Android), it offers more as a standalone package, you don’t have to dive into more advanced programming options like custom sweeps to derive maximum performance from the unit at the risk of potentially not alerting to out of tune guns, and the general idea is you can get many of the same features and abilities in an all-in-one easy to use package.
Is It Worth it?
I think the Max360 is a great option for people who want all the bells and whistles and also want something easy to use that does everything for you. It’s especially good for people who want a simple experience or who’s intimidated by technology in general.
Yes it’s big, yes it’s heavy, yes it’s falsing on 33.4xx which is kinda dumb, and yes it’s the most expensive windshield mount RD ever… That said, it really does have a lot to offer.
The main issue I see with it right now is its lack of radar detection performance. It’s still an M5 with a rear horn. Given what we saw with testing the Max/Max2, it’s generally on par with a custom swept V1, maybe a little less. That’s certainly good enough for most people in most situations. Plus you get a lot of false alert filtering that’s taken care of for you automatically. It would take more setup and configuration to run a Redline/Magnum with Escort Live for lockouts and to manually lock them out, or to get a V1 with YaV1 and get and set up an Android phone, but if you take the time to do that and are cool with using a phone, you’ll have better performance overall and, in my mind, still a slightly better package.
For people who want all the features and a plug-and-play option, the Max360 provides a very easy to use option and does it all for you with little to no configuration necessary. It’s a great option for the masses who want an easy to use package, especially if they don’t know much about radar detectors in general but still want all the bells and whistles.
Even if you like a more advanced experience and more fine tuned control over the nuances like I do, there’s really something to be said for taking a break from things sometimes and having things just work without having to focus on things, use so much brainpower, and remember to plug in additional accessories like cell phones. Everything just kinda works on its own and that’s pretty refreshing sometimes.
If you want an easy to use detector loaded with features and are willing to accept some reduction in range compared to other options (this is a big one) and you’re willing to spend the cash for convenience and ease of use, that seems like what the Max360’s main appeal would be.
If that’s what you’re looking for, the Max360’s are now available for sale.
I’ve tested two Max360’s so far. Both were retail units. The first one was one of the first production units that RDF member @dcpatters sent me. He purchased a detector and sent it to me unopened for testing. Thank you! I then purchased a Max360 as well to continue testing and getting familiar with the detector. I haven’t been compensated in any way for this review.