The brand new Escort Redline EX is the detector that enthusiasts have been asking Escort for for years, and here it is! A Redline with improved BSM filtering and GPS? Add in Bluetooth to boot? Sounds great! It took Escort more time than we hoped to come out with such a detector and since then some stiff competition has come out in the form of the Uniden R3 ($399) and the Radenso Pro SE ($499), but how does the Redline EX ($599) compare, especially given that it offers some excellent features that the competition doesn’t? Are you ready for the Escort Redline EX review? (Updated: November 2017)
Well my Redline EX arrived just a few days ago and I, along with many other enthusiasts, have been feverishly testing our copies to learn all about it. How is it looking? Is it all it’s cracked up to be? Does it set itself apart from the competition? Let’s see how the Redline EX stands, what it has to offer, and if it deserves the title of “Best Radar Detector.”
Note: There’s different places to get it depending on if you’re in the US or in Canada.
USA: Click here to buy the Redline EX. The Redline EX is 15% off for Black Friday.
Canada: Click here to buy the Redline EX and use the coupon code “VortexRadar” to save $25.
Redline EX Overview
- High performance, long range radar detector
- Significantly improved K band BSM filtering over the original Redline
- GPS chip adds autolockouts, low speed muting, and redlight camera alerts
- Updated color OLED display
- Bluetooth chip allows you to change settings with your phone or share real time alerts with other drivers through the cloud
- Can display current speed limit on screen
- Immune to detection from radar detector detectors
- Band segmentation for both K and Ka band
- Support for international radar guns including the MRCD, MRCT, Gatso, and Strelka
- Excellent new magnetic mount
- Power cord has an alert LED, mute button, and USB port to charge your phone
- Customizable alert lamp on top of the detector which can display different colors for different bands
Long Range Performance
So first things first. It’s the successor to Redline so we gotta talk performance! After all, the Redline was considered the benchmark of radar detection performance. It was the long range king (until the Uniden R3 showed up, that is).
There’s still lots of testing to do, but it looks like the Redline EX performs almost (but not quite) as well as the original Redline.
For the TXCTG’s complete test results including 33.8, 34.7, 35.5, & K band, click here.
I’ve tested my Redline EX against a bunch of other detectors and was a little disappointed by its performance. My Max360 outperformed it on 33.8 and my DFR7 outperformed it on 34.7. Those detectors don’t offer the bells and whistles that the Redline EX does, but still… we’re talking Redlines here.
@Dukes tested his Redline EX against his Redline and Max Ci and found this his Redline EX was performing below his Redline and Max Ci on 34.7. He also found that enabling MRCD detection on his Redline EX seemed to reduce the performance of the detector.
So the Redline EX may not be the longest range detector on the planet, and honestly I feel it should be performing better than it is. Yes competition is getting tougher these days, but it doesn’t seem to be living up to the performance standards set by the original Redline. That said, even if it’s not going to be able to win long range competitions against some of the other detectors out there, it will still provide long range detection and is a detector that will offer you solid performance and plenty of advanced warning in practice and ultimately that’s what’s most important, you know?
False Alert Filtering
One of the biggest improvements that the Redline EX brings over the original Redline is a new IVT (in vehicle technology) filter which should help filter out false alerts from nearby vehicles with blind spot monitoring systems, radar cruise control systems, and so on. Initially the Redline EX required TSR in order to have BSM / IVT filtering, but it turns out that was a bug. It’s supposed to filter out BSM’s without TSR and as of firmware 1.3, we now have BSM filtering without TSR. Excellent.
IVT: The BSM filter of the Redline EX is a big improvement over the original Redline. With the latest firmware update released at the end of October, we can now filter BSM’s without TSR which means you don’t take a hit to performance. The filter is pretty effective, but I notice that the Redline EX likes to give full tilt alerts rather than weak alerts to BSM’s.
TSR: If you encounter traffic sensors on the highway (and get blasts of K band every mile or so), enable TSR. The Redline EX offers this filter, just like most other modern detectors.
Auto Mode: Instead of running in Highway mode (which gives you maximum sensitivity all the time), you can instead run in Auto mode to quiet things down even further. Auto mode reduces the detector’s sensitivity below 50mph which is great for filtering out false alerts from nearby shopping centers when you’re stuck in traffic, sitting at a redlight, or driving through a parking lot. I also really like that Escort’s Auto mode, unlike some competing detectors like the R3, can automatically switch to reduced sensitivity at low speeds and then back to full sensitivity at high speeds, completely automatically. This is a great feature. For even stronger filtering, you can choose AutoLoK which reduces K band sensitivity even further. This will reduce your range of course, but will also help quiet down the detector even more.
Low speed muting: Escort also offers low speed muting through their Cruise Alert feature. Basically you just select a speed and when you get an alert below that speed, the detector will simply beep twice and go quiet. It’s great for letting you know an alert is present and then shushing itself (different than Automute which alerts for a few seconds independent of speed and then reduces the volume). When you connect your detector to Escort Live, the Redline EX can determine the speed limit of the road you’re on (very accurate in my area, but it doesn’t take into account temporary changes like school zones or construction zones) and then use that as the low speed muting threshold so it stays quiet when you’re traveling below the speed limit. I find this to be pretty cool, but personally I wish I had the option to choose a fixed speed threshold and not have it dynamically change up and down while paired with Escort Live. The only way to do that is to shut down Live altogether.
Automatic GPS lockouts: Finally, another excellent feature is GPS lockouts. Basically you can drive around and when the Redline EX sees the same signal in the same location repeatedly (ie. every day along your commute you pass the same grocery store with an automatic door opener or the same speed sign on the side of the road), it can automatically learn and remember these false alerts and filter them out for you in the future. Some competing detectors can do this too, but you have to manually teach it what is or isn’t a false alert. Because the Redline EX can do this for you automatically, it’s more plug-and-play and provides additional convenience and a more beginner-friendly user experience.
In terms of laser performance, it should be excellent at detecting laser, just like the original Redline. It won’t be quite as sensitive as the V1 which is the benchmark in laser sensitivity, but it should offer better filtering than the V1. That said, I’ve seen the Redline EX false to vehicles with laser-based collision avoidance systems such as Volvos and Mazdas and others are reporting more laser falses than with previous gen Escort detectors too.
International Radar Gun Support
There used to be two versions of the Redline: the North American Redline with (sort of) the filtering we need along with Escort Live support and the International Redline (sometimes called the Pro-A) with features that users abroad need such as K band segmentation and support for the more difficult to detect international radar guns.
The Redline EX combines both versions into one detector that will work worldwide. In terms of international guns, the Redline EX can detect the MultaRadar CD, MultaRadar CT, Gatso, and Strelka. (None of those guns are used here in the US. In Canada, the MRCD is in use in Edmonton, Alberta as well as in Ontario.)
(Redline EX vs. MRCD in Edmonton, video courtesy of @Dukes)
Against the MRCD, the Redline EX does an excellent job. Results vary a bit from run to run which is normal for the MRCD, but it does a great job at providing both advanced warning to slow down in time as well as providing a different alert for the MRCD (extremely low powered K band) as opposed to traditional K band. Detectors that aren’t designed for the MRCD either won’t alert, or they’ll give you a normal K band alert once you disable the K band filters which means it will either provide no alert or be going off so much that you won’t take the alert seriously. The Redline EX does a good job at both providing you advanced warning as well as indicating when you’re approaching the MRCD instead of just another typical K band source. If you drive in a country such as Canada where any of these radar guns are in use, the Redline EX will serve you well.
Even though those guns aren’t used here in the US, for fun I tried enabling all of those international guns… which was a big mistake. The detector was going off to K band almost nonstop, particularly to the Strelka. There was zero filtering. If the detector was seeing K band at all, even if it was a weak signal at a distance, it was screaming full tilt. Enabling detection of those bands is great for countries that actually have those guns and don’t have the level of K band pollution that we have here, but here in the US you won’t need those features and I wouldn’t recommend enabling them. (I haven’t yet tried enabling just one gun such as the MRCD to see how it fares, but that testing will be coming shortly.)
Note: Many people in the US are asking if they should get a detector with international gun support just in case they one day show up here. Honestly, I wouldn’t bother. I’ve been driving around with the Stinger VIP for a while which already supports those guns and I gotta admit that while it’s cool and I do like the future-proofness, I certainly wouldn’t pay extra for a detector today just to have those features. If one day those guns ever do show up here, it’s not a big deal to grab a detector that supports them. There’s no word on those guns making their way here so if you don’t have those guns in use around you, don’t worry about it. If you do, this detector should be a great option.
The Redline EX has a bluetooth chip built in so you can pair it with your phone, run the Escort Live app (available for Android and iOS), and gain a bunch of cool features. The primary benefit is that your detector can automatically report threats to the cloud and share them with other drivers also running Escort Live and you can be notified from alerts recently shared by other drivers in the area.
The app also makes it way easier to change and adjust your radar detector’s settings.
You can also change your settings through the detector, but it’s more complicated, the buttons are a bit hard to press down, and if you scroll past an option in the menu, you have to loop through the entire menu again to get back to the option you want (and hope you don’t accidentally skip by it again). The app makes this process much easier.
Note: If you like the cloud integration, you can also run Waze on your phone which is a similar idea. While it’s not designed to integrate directly with your detector, there are way more people using it so you’ve got many more people out there reporting where police are located up ahead.
The new magnetic mount (same one used on the less sensitive Escort iX) is fantastic. It’s gotta be the best mount I’ve ever used, and I’m honestly a bit surprised to say that. I wasn’t expecting it to be this good, but I love it! It’s super solid with no bouncing and it’s very easy to mount and unmount the detector with no release buttons to press. Just lift up on the front of the detector and take it off. To mount, just hook it right back in place. (There’s a little lip on the front of the mount to prevent the front of the detector from going down so you have to lift up on the front of the detector to remove it which is a great design.)
This may sound silly, but one of my favorite new features is the updated alert lamp on the front of the detector. You’ll see it just on top of the primary display, glowing blue on the left and red on the right.
The idea is when you get an alert, the alert lamp will light up too. You can set it to match whatever display color you’re running (red, blue, amber, or green). That’s what you see on the image on the right with a red display and red alert lamp.
You also have the ability to have that alert lamp glow a specific color depending on what band you’re detecting, independent of display color. Doing this, X band will glow green, K band will glow blue, and Ka and Laser will glow red. You can see this on the image on the left where I’m detecting a K band alert and the alert lamp is glowing blue.
I like being able to quickly tell what band it’s detecting at a glance. X band and K band are, generally speaking, likely to be a false alert and green and blue two are more calm colors. Red is a more intense color and if it’s glowing red, there’s an extremely high likelihood of if being a legit alert so you definitely need to pay attention.
The buttons are also backlit and gently glow with the detector when it alerts as you can see in the photo above. You can also disable the lights altogether if you like. When a false alert is locked out, all the extra LED’s turn off and the radar signal shown on the display grays out so the whole detector chills out visually too which I really like.
Radar Detector Detector Immunity
The original Redline was RDD immune and the Redline EX is as well. In my testing I found that the Redline has to be 1 – 1.5 feet away from the Spectre Elite (running at full sensitivity) to produce any sort of alert. Even when literally nose to nose and physically touching the Redline EX, the Spectre will only produce sporadic beeps every now and then. This is a huge difference from other detectors which are detectable hundreds of feet away.
If you require a detector that is fully stealth and undetectable by radar detector detectors, the Redline EX is an excellent choice. With the larger mount it does hang down lower than other detectors would, but it won’t be detected by an officer running an RDD.
Compared to the Uniden R3
This is the comparison that most everyone is wondering about. Is the Redline EX ($599) better than the Uniden R3 ($399)? I’m going to do a full comparison between the two later, but here’s the main highlights:
Uniden R3 Advantages
- Longer range
- Better BSM filtering
- $200 cheaper
- Smaller and lighter, less visually noticeable
- Uniden has a better history of both adding new features and fixing important bugs, and doing so quickly
Redline EX Advantages
- Automatic GPS lockouts instead of manual
- Escort Live integration
- Can display current speed limit on screen (when using Live)
- Automatic adjust sensitivity based on speed
- Automatically adjust display brightness
- Support for international radar guns like the MRCD
- Great magnetic mount
The Redline EX looks to be a high end radar detector for people who want long range performance and good false alert filtering in an easy to use package. While the original Redline appealed primarily to enthusiasts, the EX is geared towards both hardcore enthusiasts as well as more of the general public. If this detector had been released several years ago, getting one would likely have been a no brainer. However, given that the competition has stepped up over the past few years, you now have a detector like the Uniden R3 that does the fundamental core things that a radar detector needs to do (detect radar and filter out false alerts) better than the Redline EX, and it costs $200 less to boot.
That said, if you need the international gun support, you want the added convenience that automatic lockouts can bring, and/or you want the added bluetooth features, the Escort Redline EX looks to be a good pick as well.
Personally between the two the Uniden R3 is the one I plan on running on my windshield to keep me protected, but I can definitely see the appeal sacrificing some all-out range and spending more money to gain the convenience brought forth by the Redline EX, particularly if you want the autolockouts, bluetooth integration, or MRCD detection.
Either way, competition is a good thing for us and now we’ve got another high end radar detector on the market.
Canada: Click here to buy the Redline EX and use the coupon code “VortexRadar” to save $25.
Thank you for reading my Escort Redline EX review. If you have any questions, please let me know down in the comment area below. 🙂
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