Last weekend I had a chance to go out and compare all the top remote radar detectors from Escort, Stinger, Radenso, and Net Radar. They’re all really capable and long range detectors and personally I think the most important differences have to do with things like BSM filtering, how the lockouts work, the interface, price, etc., but we always gotta do long range testing too. 🙂
The production hardware and firmware is finally available for all the different remotes and since the weather cooperated, I headed back out to the ~half mile long red barn test course to see how the radar detectors compare.
We tested all the detectors on 33.8, 34.7, and K band. We ran out of time to test 35.5. I also ran my Uniden R3 as a baseline and even brought a few other windshield mount detectors as well, but I generally had to cut them for the sake of time.
- 33.8: MPH Bee III
- 34.7: Stalker II
- K Band: Falcon HR
Radar Detectors & Firmware Versions:
- Escort Max Ci 360, 1.3 (on loan from @GoWFO)
- Radenso RC M (provided by Radenso. Running initial public firmware, the version isn’t listed in the settings so I’m not sure exactly what version it’s running)
- Net Radar DSP, ALP 5.4.5/7.6 (provided by NR)
- Stinger VIP, 4.0.52UK (provided by Stinger)
- Uniden R3, 1.36 (my daily detector, provided by Uniden. The firmware should be publicly released soon.)
- Uniden R3, 1.31 (@meismyname‘s detector)
- Valentine One, 3.8945 (My retail copy)
All the detectors were set up with the standard settings. RDR/Ka Filter Off, Segged 2/5/8, etc.
Let’s start with 33.8. Every detector alerted right around the red barn, maybe a little before or after, and every detector gave plenty of warning (which is what I was expecting, given these are all high end radar detectors). They all generally all went off around 2300-2700 feet away.
The Escort Max Ci 360 impressed me with consistently long range runs including the longest 33.8 run of the day.
The Stinger VIP did much better than it did last time when it gave really poor results. This is the same hardware, firmware, settings, and everything. I’m not sure what’s up with that.
The Radenso RC M and Net Radar DSP did well too. The NR DSP just barely edged out the RC M. Both had two shorter 1600’ish foot detections for one of the runs (the course has several different detection “zones” due to the nature of the terrain) which kind of messed up their averages.
@meismyname and I are running different firmware versions of the R3, but both detectors performed similarly. His got better range overall, but the differences were within the normal bounds of sample variation, normal run-to-run variation, plus a little fudge factor due to my measurement method (V1Driver) only being accurate to +/- 50 feet or so. So yeah we were running different firmware versions, but I don’t think the differences in the detection ranges are due to the different firmware versions.
He wanted to test out the impact of Ka Filtering on his R3 so we did two passes with Ka Filter On and two more with Ka Filter Off.
His R3 did well with the filter on or off, but it did give slightly longer detections with the filter off.
Next we ran against the Stalker II. Every detector gave tons of warning on 34.7 as well. No detector turned in poor results like I’ve seen in the past with lower grade detectors. I actually brought that crappy Chinese V7 Batman detector along to run as well, mainly for comic relief, but the power cable was toast so the detector wouldn’t even power on. Bummer.
Anyway, here’s a look at the results.
To simplify things, here’s a look at the average of the two runs for each detector.
Like on 33.8, the Max Ci 360, R3, and Stinger VIP turned in the longest runs.
The NR DSP was just under and the RC M was just under that. I ran the V1 as well to get a baseline for a known detector that isn’t an R3 and the RC M turned in V1 level range. It was only a few hundred feet behind the top detectors and that is by no means bad, but it is less than I was expecting. The RC M has fared better in other tests.
For example, here’s a recent test with the Max Ci 360 vs. the RC M on 34.7 by @Dukes.
As you can see, it fared better there.
However, in another test, that same RC M did well and provided plenty of range for a save like everyone else, but it lagged just a bit behind the competition.
Down in Texas, the TXCTG tested it recently and found that the RC M was up in R3 / Redline territory.
So as you can see, results may vary depending on a variety of factors. I always recommend looking at multiple tests in different terrains, against different radar guns, with different copies of radar detectors, with different testing setups, etc. No one test can tell the whole story, as great as that would be. 🙂
K Band Testing
Last up is the K band runs. I wanted to test out the different sensitivity settings / filters on the detectors. On K band, the detectors were definitely more clustered in the different detection zones I typically see on this course.
It’s a lot of runs so here’s the averaged runs for every detector / setting combination.
The R3 was a standout performer on K band. Oddly enough, its longest detection was in Advanced Mode with 70% sensitivity for some reason. I believe its one freakishly good run was just an outlier.
I also noticed the R3 and Max Ci 360 present alerts differently when you dial back the sensitivity. The Uniden still has a normal rampup that starts slow and progressively builds as you get closer. It just has less range than full sensitivity. The Escort pretty much hides the alert when the signal is weak. Once the signal gets stronger, it starts alerting at the same signal strength level, ie. starting out alerting at maybe 50% intensity or 80% intensity which means that when the detector does go off, you get a really intense alert and it sounds like you’re getting I/O’ed at close range.
My biggest concern was the RC M with the K Filter set to high. The detector failed to alert until just before the kill zone, both times. According to Radenso, the K Filter should have little to no impact upon range, but I definitely saw a dramatic reduction in range. For context, with the K Filter set to high, I got worse performance than with the R3 in City mode or the Max Ci 360 in AutoLoK. This was really strange because my results were pretty different than what other testers were seeing. After a bunch of discussion and others testing too, the best guess currently is that Radenso’s K Filter’s signal analysis is trying to filter out the signal from the linearly polarized Falcon HR which is different than a traditional circularly polarized antenna. I also think there’s something about the terrain and nature of this particular course that really highlights the impacts of filters that affect performance. Radenso’s K Filter introduces a delay like TSR does and every time I test on this course with a delay filter like TSR, I see a reduction in range. To test this out further, I just ordered a normal K band antenna for my Decatur Genesis II so I’ll have a traditional K band antenna to run the RC M against next time and see if the difference is due to the course or the radar gun antenna. I won’t be able to test again in the immediate future, but I do plan on testing again.
As far as the other detectors, I ran the NR DSP with the K Filter On and TSR Off, but I didn’t bother testing different settings combinations like City mode. The Stinger I ran in the most aggressive K band filtering settings possible including Regular mode, Alert bias -2, and Dynamic sensitivity on. Those are the settings that I need to run to get any semblance of BSM filtering out of the detector.
Thoughts about the different detectors
Escort Max Ci 360:
The Max Ci 360 impressed me. It was consistently a strong performer on all bands. It wasn’t a Redline vs. Cobra type of battle by any means, but it was consistently a strong performer, managing to outrange the competition. I also really like the autolockouts, not needing a phone for lockouts but having the extra functionality it provides, plus the Escort alert tones. I’m still getting a feel for its BSM filtering abilities, but it seems good so far. I just wish Escort would release this detector without their jammers/shifters!
The Stinger VIP did very well this time as well. I don’t really run the Stinger much anymore day to day for reasons discussed here, but it turned in strong numbers too.
Net Radar DSP:
The Net Radar DSP was a strong performer as well. The R3 did manage to outrange the NR DSP this time. Sure the NR was mounted lower so that may have been a disadvantage, but the Stinger and Max Ci 360 were down there too.
Radenso RC M:
Unfortunately the Radenso RC M turned in bottom of the pack numbers on 33.8, 34.7, and K band when filtered. When unfiltered it did much better on K band and was up at the top of the pack, but you can’t run it without the K filter for BSM falsing reasons. It’d be easy to rag on the RC M for coming in last in this test, but it’s done better in other tests. Plus, even with these results, I’d be fine running it in tougher situations because it didn’t give bad detections by any means. The K band runs with K Filter High are a different story, but all the detectors were really in roughly the same ballpark overall. Seeing it hang out around V1 territory on 34.7 does catch my attention though and next time I could also try testing my other antenna to see if it gives me longer range. Either way, I think it’d be wise to look at more testing to get a better feel for this detector. I’m expecting more from the RC M.
My distances aren’t exactly precise. I was using V1Driver for distance measurement again since it is so handy for testing. I could mark the location of the radar gun and drive back and forth and it’d tell me how far away I am. Super helpful for testing!
The distance updates once a second and changes roughly 50-60 feet every time it updates. Because of this, I’m not measuring precisely down to the foot or anything and so if one detector “beats” another detector by 10 feet or something in my test charts, there is some fudge factor in the actual numbers so don’t take the numbers to be super precise. Same thing with if the detector alerts right when the number changes. I wasn’t always sure if I should mark the distance as where V1Driver just was or where it switched to now.
The best thing to do is to look at overall trends and patterns. Did the detector generally do well? Did it generally lag behind? What are the consistent trends? What do the average runs look like? Were the results similar on different frequency radar guns? I think that big picture stuff is more telling to look at than seeing if one detector beat another by a few feet.
Thoughts for Next Time
The next time I head out, I’d like to test out the upcoming Escort iX Ci and add it into the mix. Getting a K40 for comparison would be great too. I’ve got @Dukes‘ STi-R O that I could run as well for grins. I’d like to test against 35.5 since I didn’t have time on this test. I can also do more testing with the RC M against different style K band antennas to see what sorts of differences that makes. I understand Radenso is going to look at tweaking their K band filter to see if they can mitigate the reduction in range against the Falcon HR / Raptor RP-1, but given that they are doing a good job with the significantly lower powered MRCD, I’m curious to see what their engineers come up with.
Thanks to everyone who sent in testing equipment, as well as to @meismyname for helping me with the testing yet again!
Where to Purchase the Radar Detectors
Purchase the Escort Max Ci 360
Purchase the Stinger VIP (Save 10% with coupon code “VortexRadar)
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Does Escort Max Ci pair with ALP jammers?
Nope. They are independent products.
Hey I found your site while looking for a radar detector and laser jammer for my 2013 miata and am pleasantly surprised to see that we drive the same car! From what I understand by reading your pages, you currently run an ALP and Escort Max Ci 360, is this correct? It may be a good idea to create a post specific to the miata, since Miatas are probably targeted more than other cars, they have less real estate, and owners value lightness to keep the handling good. I’m sure there would be a lot of interest on the miata forums. I would really appreciate hearing about what your ideal setup is – even down to how many jamming heads you need – so that I can duplicate it! Thanks.
Hey how’s it going! Great choice in vehicle! 😉 I could certainly create a Miata-specific post, but my equipment changes regularly. I run a different detector most every time I go out. The Uniden R3, Max Ci 360, and ALP are currently my favorite countermeasures out there though, yeah. If you’d like to see details of my install, check it out here: https://www.rdforum.org/index.php?threads/38265/ and here: https://youtu.be/vau4cgYi9GU
Thanks. Yes these cars are a blast to drive! How did you send the wires for the ALP through the firewall?
Often times there’s already a passthrough in your firewall you can use to run the cables through. If not, you can have a professional drill a new hole and then add a rubber grommet afterwards.
I might be wrong but I think part of the reason your results differ from results of other people’s tests is the way you mount all the front heads… They’re pretty low to the ground (I’d say too low, especially when testing these on the hilly terrain) and they’re not really centered (not located at the car’s midpoint). Maybe you should just mount the front heads a little bit higher, and most importantly put them all at the same exact spot (for example, after finishing runs with Stinger – remove its front head and put Radenso’s front head at the same exact sport). I know it would add some inconvenience and will probably not significantly affect the end results but that would at least show to your readers that you want your tests to be as objective as possible 😉
Anyway, I do appreciate every extra independent test and hopefully you’ll continue doing these at least every few months.
They are low, but remotes are generally mounted pretty low anyways. Some cars allow for higher installs, but not so much with mine. I have looked into alternative mounting options such as a custom mount to bring the heads closer together like this. https://www.rdforum.org/index.php?threads/53767/ We’ve tested before with heads all over the grill and no one took issue with it before. https://www.rdforum.org/index.php?threads/57733/ Ideally I’d like to move all the heads to the exact same location for every run, I agree, but moving the heads physically damages my grill every time I do it so I have to keep things balanced.
Given your test results, would you buy the Radenso RCM at this time? I was strongly considering this unit combined with ALP jammers but am now hesitant. Can you supply results from other testers or list their websites? Based on your results, I should purchase the Escort Max Ci and the ALP jammers but do not want 2 separate keypads. Too confusing and definitely poor aesthetically.
It’s a great remote radar detector and the latest firmware update has helped address some of its issues. If you want an integrated radar and laser setup with the ALP, it’s the best one to get. https://bit.ly/2ndI0ED
Thanks. I’m respect your advice and expertise. Your YouTube videos are excellent. I’m going with the Radenso RC-M and the ALP jammers.
Ah man, great combination. Congrats! 🙂
Great looking jammer install on your Miata!! Similar to my Jag, your grill is surrounded by a chrome trim. It looks like your jammers are barely protruding through the grill. Am I seeing this correctly or do they actually extend out as far as the chrome trim? Didn’t you mention under “Jammer Installation” that reflections from chrome might cause the jammers to not operate properly? What about reflections from the left and right sides of the trim as well as above and below? On my Jag F-Type, the surrounding chrome trim extends out 2″ beyond the grill. Does this mean that the front of the ALP jammers need to extend 2″ in front of the grill? Thanks for your help.
Post some photos on RDF. It’s much easier to go over things with pictures. https://www.rdforum.org/index.php?forums/57/
Hey man I’m from Canada and I’m in the market for a radar detector. I want a radar detector that has the arrows but I also need it not to be detected by the cops because where I live it’s illegal to have. So what would be my options ? Thanks for your response.
If you want an undetectable radar detector with arrows, the Max Ci 360 would be your best bet. The Stinger would apply too, but it’s not great. The Net Radar DSP and RC M would be close, but they are somewhat detectable from directly behind.
I have had ALP front and rear as well as net radar for about 3 years, and am happy with it, other than the wonky interface (I bought a separate Android phone to control it) Recently, the radar stopped working, and it turns out water got into the net radar. The installer said the seals failed. Might it be a good idea to replace seals on a regular schedule?