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Aug 02

Escort Redline EX Review

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?

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 and use the coupon code “escort30” to save $30.

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).

Redline and Redline EX

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.

TXCTG Test Results ft. the Uniden R3 (gray), Escort Redline (light orange), & Escort Redline EX (orange)

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. We’re finding that the filtering is a little bit different than what Escort has done with their digital detectors like the Max360 or even the analog detectors with IVT like the Escort iX.

IVT: Unlike Escort’s other modern detectors with an updated IVT filter which is effective even without simplistic K band filters like Auto mode (reduced sensitivity) or TSR (filtering out short duration alerts), the Redline EX is utterly terrible when using only its built in IVT filter. While the filter is always enabled, if you have the other filters disabled, it goes off almost constantly to the point of being virtually unusable. Others are reporting the same results.

TSR: However, once you enable TSR, the detector actually quiets down nicely. I’m thinking that, unlike Escort’s other recently produced detectors, the IVT filter requires TSR which is why once you enable it, it’s a much more usable detector. Because of this, however, you are unable to achieve full performance on K band while filtering out BSM’s, something you can do with many 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.

Redline EX automatically learning and storing the false alerts in a shopping center

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.

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.)

Redline EX alerting (falsing) full tilt to the Strelka (notice the S in the circle)

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.

Escort Live

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.

Redline EX alerting to radar and laser spotted ahead thanks to Escort Live

The app also makes it way easier to change and adjust your radar detector’s settings.

Changing detector settings via Escort Live

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.

Magnetic Mount

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.)

 

Alert Lamp

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

Conclusion

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.

USA: Click here to buy the Redline EX and use the coupon code “escort30” to save $30.

Canada: Click here to buy the Redline EX and use the coupon code “VortexRadar” to save $25.

36 comments

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  1. Mike

    Thanks for all of your hard work here. Does it look like the Redline EX has an M3 style antenna? If so, there’s a chance it’s X-band performance might be better than the Uniden’s. A possible advantage for New Jersey and Ohio customers. Fortunately, I’m not one of those and I’m pretty sold on the Uniden based on your hard work which is very much appreciated.

    Once all the testing is done it would be interesting to see a comparison between the antennas in the original redline, the new redline, and the Uniden. I’m wondering if the Uniden has two LNAs instead of one (back to back on the motherboard the way Valentine is heading once all their patents are approved). That may explain why it’s so hot on K band and Ka.

    1. Vortex

      Uniden actually doesn’t use an LNA at all which is very strange.

      As for the Redline EX’s horn, yeah it looks very much like the original M3 horn. Take a look at the teardown of the EX I just posted: https://www.vortexradar.com/2017/08/escort-redline-ex-teardown/

      1. Mike

        Thanks for adding the Redline EX teardown information so quickly!

  2. Victor

    Hi, so moving forwards do you think Escort will release firmware that improves range(or its hardware limitation) and bsm filtering or will Uniden include auto lock out and auto sensitivity (both of which seem to be software feature) ?
    I still have original Redline and love its stealth and range, however i jumped on new redline ex and still have a month to decide 🙂

  3. David Sammartino

    Dear Vortex,
    Great Work!
    Can I ask you a couple questions?
    1 If you could turn off some k band channels would you do 1,2,3,4 I’ve read some people are doing 3,4 but what would you try? I have k in my are.
    2 If TSR is ON what Range would a person lose?
    3 I tried to band segment from the phone and it showed done in phone but never went to REDLINE EX.
    4 On Auto mode what type of range has been lost in speeds of 20 mph-45 mph?
    5 What settings are you trying?

    1. Vortex

      K band segmentation is designed for Europe where they have guns that stay close to specific frequency ranges, not the US where our guns can be all over the board. It’s one of the main reasons why Escort has been hesitant to offer the feature here. Sure you could use it to cut out some K falses, but that is very very risky to do.

      Regarding Auto and TSR, check out this test: https://www.rdforum.org/showthread.php?t=44374

      As for the phone segmentation thing, maybe a power cycle is sometimes needed for it to take. Not sure.

      As for other settings, mostly TSR on to get it to shut up, along with Auto mode, lockouts, RDR off, segmenting Ka, and the other usual settings.

      1. David Sammartino

        Vortex,
        Thanks for replying to my message in great detail.

  4. Mike

    Forgot to ask if the Redline EX has a multi threat display like the original Redline or something similar to the Uniden R1/R3 for increased situational awareness?

    1. Vortex

      It has an expert mode, but expert mode doesn’t show a frequency display like the Uniden does with All Threat Mode. See my guide for programming the Redline EX for more info: https://www.vortexradar.com/2017/08/how-to-set-up-configure-the-escort-redline-ex/

      1. Mike

        Thanks again!

  5. Sam

    Thoughts on Redline EX vs Max 360—do you prefer one over the other and if so why?? Thinking about the Max 360 but also hearing great things about the Red line EX including the new mount. I will say I tend to be a plug and play guy. Does the Redline EX detect a newer type of laser that the 360 doesn’t ? Thanks in advance for your help

    1. Vortex

      The Redline EX has longer range (in theory), international gun support, and is RDD immune, but if you live in the US where radar detectors are totally legal, go for the Max360. http://amzn.to/1jvCbxE

  6. Sam

    Does the EX detect some type of laser that the 360 does not?? Also is the EX as heavy as the 360..

    1. Vortex

      Some type of laser? No. As for weight, the EX is heavier.

  7. Sam

    Someone told me it detects dragon 1 laser that the others don’t????

  8. Sam

    Any advantage of detector being paired to phone via Bluetooth if not using escort live??
    Thank you

    1. Vortex

      nope, all the actual features are gained via the app which talks over BT.

      1. Sam

        Yeah-seems to me that besides the set up and features (which prob won’t change much after initial set up) may get more use out of Waze then Escort Live!

  9. Sam

    Thoughts on escort IX?

    1. Vortex

      https://youtu.be/9QiGFO1975E

  10. Sam

    Thank you much!

  11. James

    For Edmonton would go for Radenso pro se or redline ex. Thanks

    1. Vortex

      Radenso Pro SE M-edition would be better for the MRCD detection.

  12. Sam

    So I have had my 360 for 30 days. I am a plug and play guy. At this point (based on all that may/may not be going on with the 360) would u keep it or send back for another detector and if so do you have a recommendation?? Thank you!!

    1. Vortex

      If you want a plug and play detector, the 360 is arguably the best out there. The Redline EX is really only a better choice if you need RDD immunity or international gun support.

  13. Sam

    360 seems awfully quiet but I do not have a good handle on performance

    1. Vortex

      Check out this latest test posted just the other day featuring the Max360 and Redline EX. https://www.rdforum.org/index.php?threads/66883/

  14. Anas

    thanks for the the grate revue, I have V1 right now and planning to change it because it dose not alert me of some cameras using k band till it is too . moreover, it dose not detect some laser cameras when it is placed at an angel.

    which radar detector would preform better for my case?

    1. Vortex

      Where do you drive?

      As for laser cameras, the V1 is the BEST laser detector on the market in any radar detector. If the V1 can’t detect it, nothing will. Against laser though, laser jammers are the proper tool, not a radar detector.

      1. Anas

        I drive in Saudi Arabia, the V1 cannot detect some of the laser cameras is placed on 70 degree and behind a barrier. I guess I shall go with a laser jammier.

        How would the redline EX compare to the V1 in term of laser detection ?

        1. Vortex

          The V1 has better laser sensitivity than the Redline EX. It has the best out of any radar detector on the market. If you need protection from laser, you’ll need a laser jammer, or some tool like an app that uses GPS to warn you when you’re in a location where laser cameras are used.

          1. Anas

            thanks Vortex, appreciate your valuable advise.

  15. Sam

    thanks Vortex–always appreciate your knowledge!!!!!

  16. Sam

    I have both a Redline EX and Max 360. Have u noticed the display is harder to see on the EX even if I change the brightness from auto to med or maximum?? Thx

  17. Johnny

    I’m skeptical of some of your reviews. You’re obviously doing this for a profit. How much is Uniden paying you?

    1. Vortex

      I totally understand your concern and I’m glad you asked. To answer your question, they haven’t given me a dime. In fact, since the Redline is more expensive, I make more money when you purchase that. For more information, please read this: totally understand your concern and I’m glad you asked. Dance your question, they haven’t given me a dime. Fact, since the redline is it more expensive checked her, I make more money when you purchase that. For more information, please read this: https://www.vortexradar.com/2017/06/is-vortex-radar-biased-or-sponsored-by-radar-detector-manufacturers/

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