Uniden R3 vs. Escort Redline EX: Comparison and Review

If you’re looking for a high end, high performance radar detector with good filtering and GPS functionality, two of your top picks are the Uniden R3 ($399) and Escort Redline EX ($599). Both detectors are great choices and each one offers features and benefits the other does not. The R3 even offers better performance than the Redline EX and costs $200 less, but the Redline EX offers more convenience and several other helpful features that you may want or need that would justify its higher price tag. Uniden R3 vs. Escort Redline EX. Which one should you pick? Let’s take a closer look at both detectors.

Overview

Both detectors have a lot to offer and can keep you well protected on the road. Depending on your personal preferences as well as where you drive, one may be a better pick than another.

The Uniden R3 offers better all out performance and is able to filter out false alerts without compromising performance. If you’re looking for the highest level of protection and want a detector to help you avoid speeding tickets first and foremost, the Uniden R3 is the one to get.

Buy a Uniden R3 here.

The Redline EX costs more and it sacrifices some ultimate range (though it still offers plenty of range in practice nonetheless). In exchange, you get the convenience of being more plug and play and automatic, it can automatically learn where false alerts are located and filter them out for you (the Uniden you have to teach it yourself), it has support for international radar guns like the MRCD which drivers in Alberta and Ontario definitely need, not to mention it can integrate with your phone to add more functionality and protection through the cloud.

Buy a Redline EX here. (USA)

Buy a Redline EX here. (Canada) Use the coupon code “VortexRadar” to save $25.

Features of Both Detectors

  • Long range radar detection
  • Good false alert filtering
  • GPS lockouts
  • Low speed muting
  • Undetectable by radar detector detectors
  • OLED display with multiple color options

Uniden R3’s Advantages

  • Longer range and better performance
  • $200 less
  • Physically smaller and more compact
  • More fine-tuned control over sensitivity levels
  • Buttons are easier to press
  • Better updates, Uniden is listening to their customers and implementing our requests
  • Can filter out BSM’s without having to handicap K band performance with TSR
  • Low speed muting keeps the detector totally quiet at low speed
  • Can display the frequency of the primary signal while also displaying info about additional signals

Escort Redline EX’s Advantages

  • Automatic GPS lockouts for a more hands-off experience
  • Automatic display brightness adjustments
  • Automatically switch been full sensitivity at high speed and reduced sensitivity for reduced false alerts at lower speed
  • Support for international radar guns like the MRCD, MRCT, Gatso, and Strelka
  • Realtime alerts to/from the cloud, shared with other Escort Live users
  • Can use phone to adjust settings
  • Can display current speed limit of the road you’re on via Escort Live
  • Low speed muting threshold can automatically be set to the current speed limit to the detector only alerts when you’re over the speed limit (but doesn’t take into account school zones or construction zones)
  • Low speed muting gives you two beeps initially to get your attention first and then goes quiet
  • Better laser sensitivity
  • Cool, easier to use magnetic mount
  • Alert lamp LED can be customized to glow different colors for different bands
  • Ticket-free guarantee where Escort covers the cost of your ticket (conditions apply) if you get a speeding ticket while running the Redline EX (you must purchase direct from Escort)

Performance

First things first, we need to start with performance. The original Escort Redline used to be the long radar detection King. It was the gold standard, the benchmark to which all other detectors were compared against. The Uniden R3 was then released which was the first detector (along with its GPS-less and thus more Redline-like brother, the Uniden R1) that was able to outperform the Redline. Escort retired the Redline (with its outdated false alert filtering capabilities) and released the updated EX with GPS, much improved filtering, and a host of helpful new features. Can the Redline EX reclaim the throne that the original Redline lost?

The TXCTG tested the Uniden R3, Escort Redline, and Escort Redline EX on 33.8, 34.7, 35.5, and K band. (Complete test results here.) In short, the Uniden R3 (in gray) was able to outperform not only the original Redline (light orange), but also the new Redline EX (orange) as well.

(You’ll see the some Uniden R3 results in gray towards the right. That reduced range is due to a bug with City2 mode that we uncovered in testing and Uniden has since addressed this with the latest firmware.)

Here’s another test where you can see the R3 able to offer much longer range than either of the Redlines. This is the trend they saw across the board.

Was that particular Redline EX just a less than average performer? @Dukes tested out his original Redline alongside Escort’s new remote mount Max Ci ($3,000) and the new Redline EX. As you can see, his Redline EX was unable to outperform the original Redline as well. (Complete test results here.)

I took my Redline EX out for testing alongside a bunch of other detectors including the R3. In my testing, the R3 is simply on a different level compared to the Redline EX. (Complete test results here.)

I think you can see the trend here. There’s a lot of important attributes to a radar detector beyond range alone, but it’s arguably one of the most important attributes and if you want the absolute highest level of performance and protection from speeding tickets, the R3 is the one to get.

Winner: Uniden R3

False Alert Filtering

Besides range, false alert filtering is probably the other most important attribute. If a detector has great range but is constantly going off all the time to false alerts, you’re not going to pay attention in the first place. In fact, false alerts are one of the most common reasons people return radar detectors so having really good filtering is really important. Let’s talk about different filters that the detectors offer and how they compare.

BSM Filtering

Filtering out false alerts from nearby vehicles with radar based blind spot monitoring systems is difficult and no detector can do it completely. Both of them are pretty effective, but I’m going to give the edge to the Uniden for two reasons.

  1. Better alert presentation: With the Uniden, BSM’s generally start pretty weak and gradually ramp up. The Redline EX, on the other hand, is more likely to give you a strong alert initially, triggering an unnecessary stomp of the brakes. So while both detectors may false, the R3 behaves a little better in this regard.
  2. No TSR required: The Redline EX’s BSM filter requires TSR, a filter which negatively impacts performance. It filters out shorter duration alerts which leads to both the possibility of not detecting brief K band alerts such as K band quick trigger, as well as reduced range in general. Many companies, including Escort themselves, offer a BSM filter that doesn’t require TSR, but the Redline does need it which is a negative mark against the Redline. In practice the filter is still effective and this won’t be a huge factor for most people, but it is a difference.

Winner: Uniden R3

Auto / City Mode Filtering

Both detectors offer the ability to dial back the sensitivity of your detector when you’re driving in the city. This is really helpful to cut down on picking up every automatic door opener in the area, for example. With the Uniden R3, you have the option of running in Highway mode (full sensitivity), City mode (reduced sensitivity on X and K band), or Advanced mode (granular control over exactly how far back you dial back the sensitivity on X, K, or Ka band). With the Redline EX, you have Auto mode which automatically reduces the sensitivity on X and K band when traveling at lower speeds (below 50mph) and automatically raises the sensitivity when traveling at higher speeds (above 50mph).

Both options are really helpful. I don’t have a lot of K band around where I live so I like being able to run in City mode on the R3 to cut down on false alerts. It’s also effective against Hondas and Acuras which punch through the BSM filter, and it also works on the highway since it doesn’t turn off at high speeds. You have to manually switch between sensitivity modes yourself though (press and hold the Menu button for a second or so). The Redline EX’s Auto mode is really nice too and I like the fact that it can automatically turn the filter on and off for you as you switch between highway and city driving. For me, it’s no big deal to change modes as needed and I generally just use one or the other, but I think the fact that the Redline EX’s ability to do this for you automatically will be more desirable for most people.

Winner: Redline EX

GPS Lockouts

Both detectors offer the ability to learn where stationary false alerts are located around town from speed signs and automatic door openers. They can learn those false alerts, store them in memory, and filter them out for you in the future so that you don’t have to deal with constantly muting your detector every time you pass by the same false alerts as you drive back and forth down the same roads.

The biggest difference between the two is that the Redline EX can do this for you automatically after seeing the same signal repeatedly while the Uniden (for patent reasons) requires you to manually double press the mute button on the front of the detector to teach it that the signal it’s seeing now is a false alert and should be muted in the future.(Here’s a video tutorial on how and when to use manual GPS lockouts.) You can manually teach the Redline EX manually too (triple press the mute button), but the Uniden can’t do it automatically the way the Escort can.

Automatic lockouts are a big selling point for people, especially for those who want to simply put the detector on the windshield and have it do the work for them. Additionally, you reduce the risk of advertently locking out a police officer by mistake since the detector is generally better at remembering if you’ve seen this signal here before in the past. This is one of the biggest advantages of the Redline EX.

Winner: Redline EX

International Radar Gun Support

If you live outside the US, ie. Many countries in Europe, certain provinces in Canada, around Russia, etc., you will encounter specialized, difficult to detect radar guns that the Uniden R3 is not designed to or able to detect. These include the Multaradar CD, Multaradar CT, Gatso, and Strelka. The guns aren’t used here in the US. In Edmonton, Alberta as well as in Ontario they use the MRCD, but we don’t have them here. If you live in a country where any of the guns are in use, the Redline EX will definitely be the better choice.

If you live in the US, there’s no need to get a radar detector with international gun support. There’s no word of these guns coming to the US and even if they did, there’s tons of detectors that can detect them and it’s not a big deal to switch. I’ve been running the Stinger VIP for a while which supports detectors like the MRCD and while I admit I do like the future-proofness and the fact that I can detect it just in case it ever does show up one day, I certainly wouldn’t pay more just for a detector just because a detector has these features.

Winner: Tie in the US, Redline EX abroad

Escort Live & Bluetooth Integration

The Redline EX adds a Bluetooth chip within the detector, something the Redline didn’t have so it required an optional power cable with a Bluetooth chip. The R3 doesn’t have Bluetooth support. The bluetooth chip allows you to pair your detector with your phone, run Escort Live (Android and iOS), and add several helpful features.

  • Share realtime alerts with other drivers in the cloud also running Escort Live
  • Easier way to adjust the settings of your detector
  • Find out the current speed limit and display it on the screen of your Redline EX
  • Additional external display for your detector
  • Output audio through your phone as well, instead of just your RD’s speaker

The cloud alerts are pretty handy. When you get a legit radar or laser alert, it will get reported to other drivers who can get notified of your encounters. You can also take advantage of what other drivers up the road ahead of you have already seen. This is great for helping protect you from radar and laser threats up ahead before your detector goes off. You can do this same sort of thing with Waze (a similar free app which has way more users and thus way more people reporting police officers spotted up ahead), but I like the fact that Escort Live is integrated with your detector, the alerts show up and sound through your detector so there’s less worry about missing an alert if the app is backgrounded or your phone’s volume being turned down. Personally I run both apps because sometimes one app will save me instead of the other, and I find that Waze tends to do a better job of locating police in general since it does have more users, but the integration aspects of Escort Live are really nice.

I also like the ability to quickly and easily change settings with the Redline EX using your phone. The R3 is much better at changing settings through your detector. The buttons are much easier to press, navigation is easier, and if you accidentally scroll past the option you wanted you can easily go back whereas the Redline EX makes you scroll through the entire menu again to get to where you wanted. However, being able to quickly and easily tap a few buttons on your phone really simplifies and improves this process.

Finally, the Redline EX’s display allows you to display both the current speed limit (accessed through Escort Live) right next to your current speed. This makes it easy to tell if you’re currently speeding as well as what speed you need to slow down to when your detector goes off. In my experience it’s pretty accurate around the roads where I live. It’s not always perfectly accurate so you’ll still want to pay attention to the speed limits signs around you, it doesn’t know the limits of some smaller surface streets, and it doesn’t take into account temporary speed limit changes due to construction zones or school zones, so you can’t rely on it 100%, but it is a helpful option for general driving, especially after you’ve had a chance to drive with it a bit, confirm that its speed limits are correct, and develop confidence in what it’s telling you.

Winner: Redline EX

Windshield Mounts

The Uniden R3 comes with two different windshield mounts: A traditional smaller mount with two suction cups and a second mount with one large suction cup. I prefer running the traditional dual suction cup mount. The larger one is cool too, but it doesn’t bend back enough to work with really steeply sloped windshields. In that case, the traditional windshield mount is the one to use. Mounting and unmounting the detector is very simple and normal. Just press the release button and it slides right off. Slide it back on and it clicks right into place.

The Redline EX uses Escort’s sticky cup (similar to Uniden’s larger mount) with the same “EZ Mag Mount” they use with the Escort iX. This mount is fantastic. It’s my new favorite radar detector mount. It uses a newer style magnetic mount compared to what’s used in the Max360. It pops right on and off with no release button required and it’s very solid when driving as well thanks to a little plastic lip that keeps the front of the detector from falling down.

Both detectors are also (or will soon be) compatible with the Blendmount, an excellent third party mount that attaches to your rearview mirror. The Redline EX is already compatible by using the mount that Blendmount developed for the Escort iX. Blendmount is currently working on a new mount specifically for the R1/R3. If you’d like one, sign up for their waiting list here.

Which mount is better? Personally I love the magnetic mounting design on the Redline EX. The suction cup is fairly large though and takes up a fair amount of real estate on the windshield. Also for people who drive smaller vehicles like I do, if you mount it high up next to your RVM, it drops the detector down a little lower than I’d like. I’d prefer a smaller mount that improves my overall visibility. In larger vehicles this will be less of an issue. Given that both radar detectors are immune to being picked up by RDD’s, a more stealthy design would be preferable for drivers in areas where RD’s are banned.

Winner: Tie

Conclusion: Which Detector to Buy?

Both detectors are objectively good options, but no one detector is ever going to be universally the “best” for all people in all situations. Both of these detectors offer good performance, good false alert filtering, GPS functionality, and RDD immunity.

Personally I’d choose the Uniden R3. It offers better performance and range, I like that the BSM filtering doesn’t require me to cut down on K band performance, manually locking out signals in the beginning is really no big deal (tutorial here), not to mention it costs $200 less. That said, even if the price was the same, I would still pick the R3 because ultimately it offers me better protection and security and that’s why I choose a radar detector. It’s the detector that I depend on.

Purchase the Uniden R3.

At the same time, if you need the international gun support, the Redline EX is a no brainer. The performance is still decent and as long as you enable TSR, the filtering is good too. The GPS lockouts are totally automatic which is one of the biggest selling points. It can also automatically adjust the display brightness and sensitivity levels for you so the convenience is nice. Escort Live does a good job of alerting you to threats that other drivers have seen and sure you can do the same thing with Waze, but Live is more clean and integrated. While you won’t need to adjust your detector’s settings all the time, doing it over Bluetooth certainly does improve the process. Besides the international gun support, if you want the convenience of automatic lockouts and cloud alert integration, the Redline EX will do a good job and provide you with a more plug-and-play experience over the Uniden R3. If the convenience and added functionality is worth the extra $200 to you, spring for the Redline EX.

Purchase the Redline EX if you’re in the USA.

Purchase the Redline EX if you’re in Canada. Use the coupon “VortexRadar” to save $25.

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Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Uniden R3 & Escort Redline EX
Author Rating
51star1star1star1star1star

21 comments

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    • bob on August 13, 2017 at 3:35 pm
    • Reply

    Excellent analysis. The one area that Escort has a lead on is the mount. I really dislike the fact the R1/R3 mount is in the front and not on top as is Escort

    • Rick on August 15, 2017 at 4:49 pm
    • Reply

    Hi Vortex

    Hope to get your reply.

    I want to know old version redline radar support “international gun” ?? Yes or no?

    Or just only new redline EX support international gun?

    What is the different between redline and redline ex please?

    1. Hey Rick, please don’t repeatedly post the same question in multiple places. Please see this video for more info: https://youtu.be/ZfW5EsB5sVw

        • Rick on August 16, 2017 at 5:23 am
        • Reply

        Hi Vortex

        Thanks for your quick reply…But now i have some difficult to understand the video …because my poor english….and one other problem is now i can not visit youtube it is banned in my country….

        So that is why i leave you message for Does old version redline radar support “international gun” as redline EX?

        And one another questions is some radar fans want to know, Does Uniden R1 support to detect K band 24.00Ghz?

        1. I’m not a good person to ask about radar detectors outside of the US or Canada. You’ll need to do a little research on your end. For example, North American Redlines and International Redlines are different. The Int’l ones have support for international radar guns and I believe they scan lower on K band too than North American ones. The Uniden R1 scans down only as low as 24.050. This information is available in the manual. Anyway, you’re better off contacting someone who lives in your country. I’m not a good resource for you.

            • Rick on August 16, 2017 at 4:07 pm

            okay,thank you so much for your kindly reply…

            So can we buy international redline on USA? it seems that not easy to find international redline version on amazon.

  1. Nice fair review Vortex. I enjoyed reading it and seeing how that you fairly reviewed each product throughly and mentioned all the pros and cons for each.

    Good job! I own both units and enjoy running both.

    Kasher

    • ross on October 10, 2017 at 11:46 am
    • Reply

    Hey Now Vortex, I have owned an original redline for about 6 years now and have only ever owner escorts. I had just ordered the redline ex and it will ship end of October with a new deal they just sent out by email. I am shocked and I mean shocked about the test results you have posted. I am seriously considering canceling my order. I am so happy i came across your reviews. the couple questions i have for you is, in northern Ohio state troopers love running x-band in remote areas around port clinton and Toledo, and also i noticed you mentioned the laser sensitivity to be a little better on the redline ex, in the end I’m thinking of keeping my old redline and still ordering the new r3.. did you have any better results with the new redline ex they sent you or is escort just fallen off the map.. thank you for your time!!

    1. So I just did a trip this past week running both the R3 and Redline EX. The R3 does indeed have better range, the Redline EX has better laser sensitivity but it also falses more, the R3 has a little better false filtering in terms of which cars it falses to but the R3 usually picks up cars a little farther away due to its increased sensitivity. I noticed the R3’s falses tend to be a little more chill while the Redline EX likes to do full tilt panic brake inducing alerts. Escort Live also broke for the drive back yesterday which was a bummer so I couldn’t use that either. In short, I’d recommend opting for the R3 at this point.

    • Shannon Whitney on February 20, 2018 at 6:12 pm
    • Reply

    Does the r3 detect the new dragon eye laser? I have been using redline for the last decade but in the past year I have gotten two tickets from laser with absolutely no warning and when I called escort about it because I thought something may have been wrong with my detectors. They told me about the new laser and that at the time only the hard install Max CI would pick it up. Since then they have released the redline ex and I called them and they told me that it picks up the new laser also. Getting a better detector for $200 less certainly interest to me since I have two of them one in the truck and one in the Corvette and those two tickets I got was one for each. For the cost of those two tickets I could have bought two brand new R3’sand still had money left over!

      • Chris on December 6, 2018 at 4:27 am
      • Reply

      99% of the time if you get hit with laser you’re getting a ticket. It’s just a convenience as in it lets you know you’re about to get pulled over. If you want protection from this you’re going to need a laser jammer/shifter.

    • Eric on April 5, 2018 at 4:39 am
    • Reply

    Hey Vortex, spent way too many hours looking over all your information/videos and links to rdf. Thanks for all you all do. Always liked escort thought they made the best products. I’m running an x70 that I’ve come to trust, had a cobra for years before this one and this is much better. I’d like to stick with them but I don’t know about 200 more for 2nd place, but the trust has been there, seems like it has better build quality-although moved manufacturing from canada to asia?, auto lockouts, used to the tones-unidens sound odd. Like valentine-I didn’t like lockouts but seems that is the way to go now. Also their programming, smaller lockout frequency and ka priority standard, etc… seem to be better thought out. Searched on rdf and couldn’t find much answers-Is the lockout frequency still as broad of a range on the uniden? Ex:people saying it locks out like a 110 mhz difference saying that is too much and will lockout legit police k band in lockout area. Apparently the ex is better for this? I don’t know about using the function but if the r3 detects so much more you’d probably need it but would better trust the auto lockouts and just make sure it doesn’t do a bsm. Laser detection seems better, though I know that a jammer is proper way of dealing with that. Don’t want to jinx it but don’t think the laser threat is as bad in wi or kband but once in awhile you do see it. Ignored k band luckily I wasn’t going that fast and a couple people were going quicker. And how do you know when there is updates with uniden-search rdf occasionally? Escorts’ forums always put a sticky. Going out of town for a few days, would rather buy in store rather than have to order-if I go that route I’ll hit you on paypal or something to make up for it. Best buy has the r3 in the case, would have to order the ex. So yeah would prefer an escort truthfully, but if the r3 is so much better and it’s in the case at best buy. Lockouts is my concern if you could clarify that. My speaker blew on the x70 a few days ago, had it maybe 3-4 years. So-maybe their quality control is not that good and more reason to make the switch. Also, some of their responses I’ve seen to loyal customers of 20 years are crazy, if I talked to a customer like that at jobs I’ve worked I would have been fired or forced to quit over lack of making money. Sorry for the long message,
    Thanks, Eric

      • Eric on April 5, 2018 at 4:52 am
      • Reply

      Also, does the ex unlearn lockouts, ex: speed cams move, drifting frequencies with temp changes? If you were to order one, would the fix with the ka false when taking off the mount have been fixed? Called them last night and the guy on the phone had no idea what I was talking about. Customer service seems as shoddy as any other big company. How do you not know? If your job is selling the same 5 detectors all day, you think he’d been aware of the issue. Not that friendly, I always like to think about a decision for a day as this. Their mentality seems, if you’re not busting out your wallet right that second, tell the guy on the phone to get bent

      1. Yeah the Ka mount falsing issue has been fixed. It was a hardware change to add additional shielding inside the unit. New detectors will all have the fix. As for unlearning lockouts, yeah the Escorts will do that too if a signal goes away after a period of time.

          • Eric on April 5, 2018 at 4:49 pm
          • Reply

          Thanks for the reply. How are the lockouts on the uniden-safe to use with wide frequency range? With it’s extreme detection do you pick up a lot more junk k. I’m assuming you use them regularly. How much worse is the range on the o vs ex? Might just have to go uniden since it’s at best buy waiting.
          Thanks, have a good one
          Erc

            • Vortex on April 6, 2018 at 8:10 am
              Author

            I haven’t done extensive testing of Uniden’s lockouts recently, especially since they’ve changed things from how they worked initially. As for the differences in range between the original Redline and the Redline EX, see my Redline EX review. https://www.vortexradar.com/2017/08/escort-redline-ex-radar-detector-review/

      • Eric on April 5, 2018 at 4:54 am
      • Reply

      Also, does the ex unlearn lockouts, ex: speed cams move, drifting frequencies with temp changes? How much worse is the ex to original on range? Is it still much better than my x70? If it wasn’t for the r3 existing it seems this would be the best one other than a installed system. If you were to order one, would the fix with the ka false when taking off the mount have been fixed? Called them last night and the guy on the phone had no idea what I was talking about. Customer service seems as shoddy as any other big company. How do you not know? If your job is selling the same 5 detectors all day, you think he’d been aware of the issue. Not that friendly, I always like to think about a decision for a day as this. Their mentality seems, if you’re not busting out your wallet right that second, tell the guy on the phone to get bent

    • Shannon Whitney on April 7, 2018 at 7:07 am
    • Reply

    My question which I have already asked and never got a response is do the new R3 and Redline EX detect the new Dragon Eye laser?

    1. They do, but that doesn’t mean they’ll help you avoid a ticket from the guns.

    • Shannon Whitney on April 9, 2018 at 3:39 pm
    • Reply

    Of course but at least it will detect it if someone else ahead is getting tagged!

      • chris on December 6, 2018 at 4:33 am
      • Reply

      No, laser guns are extremely precise vs typical radar guns. Radar guns shoot signal everywhere which is why you pick it up early. The laser is a focused much much more precise radar device. When they tag the car up ahead there won’t be enough scatter for you to pickup. Especially if the cop knows how to use his equipment.

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