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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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
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
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.
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.
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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