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.
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!
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!
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