Valentine 1 Gen2 Review

The new Valentine 1 Gen2 ($499) has finally been released and it’s the biggest change we’ve seen to the V1 in 30 years. It features an all new design, longer range, better false alert filtering, RDD immunity, and integrated Bluetooth with support for fantastic cell phone apps.

Valentine 1 Gen2

I’ve been running the V1 Gen2 since its debut in March and while many early units have been plagued with poor reliability and a variety of hardware failures, and even repaired detectors continue to fail, my (now repaired) Gen2 has nevertheless become one of my favorite windshield mount radar detectors, particularly when paired with third party apps. Here’s my complete review of the new V1 Gen2.

Full disclosure: This is not a paid or sponsored review. (I’ve never done those and never will.) I purchased my V1 at full retail and do not make an affiliate commission when you purchase one. These are my thoughts and opinions, good and bad, based upon my own experiences testing and after spending hundreds of hours reading and discussing things online will fellow V1 Gen2 owners.

New Interface & Design

The new V1 Gen2 features an all new look and design. It’s based on the original of course, but the new V1 is thinner and sleeker and has made a number of evolutionary changes to the look and feel of the radar detector based on customer feedback over the past 30 years.

New Volume Buttons

Gone are the two volume and control knobs, replaced with a single power/mute button up front and a pair of volume buttons up top.

This new design was chosen for two main reasons: First, a lot of people didn’t know what the outer volume lever was for (it controlled the secondary “muted” volume level) and if it was set too loud, they would think that their mute button stopped working. Second, it was designed to make it easier for motorcycle riders to adjust the volume while wearing gloves. I personally preferred the original muting volume knobs because they made it a little easier to instantly adjust my volume on the fly, but once you get your volume levels dialed in, most people don’t mess with them much either way.

LEDs

The arrow LED’s now feature a special film in front of them to help diffuse the light and create a smoother look. It’s a great improvement in practice.

V1 Gen 1

V1 Gen1

V1 Gen 2

V1 Gen2

Why no modern multi-color OLED display though? Valentine chose to stick with LED’s because they are easier to see in direct sunlight. (This was very apparent in my convertible when direct sun would wash out the displays of my OLED detectors.) Additionally, LED’s don’t suffer the same eventual burn-in issues we see with OLED technology after months or years of usage. LED’s aren’t as fancy or flashy, but they are more reliable over the long term.

Band Indicators

To identify which band the V1 is alerting to, the V1 used to have white text next to little red LED dots. This worked alright in the daytime when you could read the little white text, but now they’ve switched over to larger red LED’s letters which are easier to read at a glance, particularly at night.

I would have loved to have seen them make the bands different colors for even quicker band identification, a modification I made in my Gen1 concealed display, but this is a welcome improvement either way.

Long Range Performance

Long range detection and sensitivity is one of the biggest new improvements with the V1 Gen2. This new version is a beast. This is the first windshield mount radar detector that can finally run toe-to-toe with current king of long distance range, the Uniden R7.

I tested the V1 Gen2 against all the other top options and here’s a look at the results:

Ka Band Performance

On 33.8, it beat out almost every other detector, only being surpassed by the R7.

Vortex's 33.8 Averaged Radar Detector Test Results, Red Barn Course, 3-16-20

On 34.7, it managed to beat everything else, including just barely edging out the R7.

Vortex's 34.7 Averaged Radar Detector Test Results, Red Barn Course, 3-16-20

On 35.5, it managed to again outperform all the other top options. Extremely impressive stuff!

If you want a detector with outstanding range on Ka band, the V1 Gen2 will not disappoint.

K Band Performance

On K band, things are a little more complicated given all the different filtering options available, but let’s take a look at some more test results.

Vortex's K Band Averaged Radar Detector Test Results, Red Barn Course, 3-16-20

With the BSM filters (now known as K Verifier on the V1 Gen2) enabled so the detectors don’t become falsing machines, the R7 is significantly more sensitive at max sensitivity. After multiple tests, the consensus is that the V1 Gen2 gives roughly the same range as the R7 set to 40% sensitivity. You can dial back the R7’s sensitivity to help quiet it down on K band, but you can never crank the V1’s sensitivity up to R7 levels.

Running the V1 Gen2 in All Bogies Mode (A mode) or Logic Mode (l mode), the V1 Gen2 outperforms other detectors like the Max 360c, Redline EX, Pro M, and V1 Gen1.

Switching over to Advanced Logic Mode (L mode) to get even more false alert filtering, range does drop lower than anything else, including the R7 in City Mode which dials the back R7 to only 18% of its max sensitivity.

Lightning Quick Scan Times

The new V1 Gen2 is completely different under the hood and it doesn’t share any internal components with the Gen1… One of the key parts of the new V1 Gen2 is the new Surface-Acoustic-Wave Dispersive-Delay-Line, or SAW DDL. This allows for absurdly fast sweep times across all of X, K, and Ka band.

Why does this matter? Well it basically makes the V1 immune to being defeated by quick trigger radar on Ka band. (Quick trigger is when the officer tries to quickly start and stop transmitting their radar gun, just long enough to lock in a speed while also being too quick for radar detectors to pick up the alert. See this video for more info.) Most modern detectors have no issue picking up Q/T nowadays, but the V1 takes it to a hilariously absurd level.

Some police radar guns like the Stalker DSR 2X and Decatur Genesis 2 offer automatic Q/T shots that last 0.5 sec. The V1 Gen2’s scan times are just 0.002 sec per antenna, lol. This means that for a complete front and rear scan, it takes just 0.004 sec total, or 125x faster than what the radar guns are doing. Officers can do manual Q/T shots that are a little faster than the half second automated ones, but nothing even remotely quick enough to sneak past the V1 Gen2.

V1 Gen2 and JBV1 alerting to 33.8 ahead

That said, on K band, the V1 Gen2’s false alert filtering does slow things down quite a bit so if you face a lot of K band Q/T, the V1 Gen2 will struggle to alert you reliably.

False Alert Filtering

The V1 Gen2 offers improved false alert filtering compared to the Gen1 and it is a noticeably quieter detector than the original.

The new BSM filter (now called K Verifier instead of TMF2 / Junk K Fighter) does a great job of filtering out many false alerts. I’d say it’s one of the best BSM filters in the business. It’s not perfect and will still false to certain Mazdas, Hondas/Acuras, GM’s, and Chrysler vehicles, but when it does false, it’s gives a very weak and chilled out alert. It’s very different than detectors that alert intensely and from far away. I’m a fan of not only the fact that it filters out more vehicles than most other detectors (only the Radenso Pro M / RC M filters more), but the new V1’s alert presentation when it does false is less panic brake inducing than typical. 🙂

Ka Guard has been removed as an option from the V1 Gen2. I do still see some false alerts on Ka unfortunately, but luckily they’re not excessive.

The V1 also offers several different logic modes to add in additional false alert filtering.

All Bogies mode (A mode)

In All Bogies mode (you’ll see an “A” on the face of the detector), the V1 visually and audibly alerts to all signals that aren’t filtered out by the K Verifier. This is the V1’s chattiest mode (which sometimes confuses people when they think the “A” stands for “Automatic” mode) and so I only really run this mode for testing.

Logic mode (l mode)

Logic mode is great for when you have a fair amount of K band in use in your area. It visually alerts to all the same K band signals, but it will audibly mute any weak signals such as many BSMs, door openers on the side of the road, or police officers at a distance. As you get closer to the source and the signal gets stronger, the V1 will resume alerting normally.

I like Logic mode for when I want to keep an eye on what’s going on around me and I still want a good amount of range on K band.

Advanced Logic mode (L mode)

For the most aggressive K band filtering, especially if there’s not a ton of K band in use around you, there is Advanced Logic mode. Valentine recommends this in urban areas and it is their default option. Advanced Logic mode both visually and audibly hides any weak alerts to keep the detector extra quiet. Once the signal gets stronger, only then will it alert and we see this reflected in test results.

Vortex's (Adjusted) Valentine 1 Gen2 K Band Test Results, Red Barn Course, 3-16-20

Advanced Logic mode also offers some additional filtering to try and filter out door openers, independent of signal strength. I find this to be helpful, but kind of hit or miss. It helps against some door openers, but I find it works better when you initially drive into a shopping center and park. When you get back in your car, the V1 will alert to some of the door openers that it was filtering out before. So it does add some additional filtering against door openers, but false alerts may still punch through in certain instances.

Nevertheless, Advanced Logic mode is the way to get the quietest experience possible running a standalone V1 while still getting a fair amount of K band detection range in all but the most demanding of situations.

No GPS?

Like the V1 Gen1, the new V1 Gen2 lacks a GPS chip so it has no native ability to give you low speed muting, GPS lockouts, or redlight / speed camera alerts. IMHO GPS is pretty vital for a detector used in urban areas and it’s a reason why people often give the V1 a hard time. “How can a modern $500 radar detector not include GPS!?”

Valentine does offer low speed muting through accessories like Savvy (a $69 OBD-II module) or their free V1connection app so they do offer options to get some speed-related muting.

However, Mike is very much against GPS lockouts as he explains on his website. I also had a chance to talk to him about this more in our recent interview (skip to 1:03:03).

In short, there are potential risks with GPS inadvertently locking out legitimate signals which can and has sometimes happened with detectors that offer GPS. However, the third party apps available for the V1 that add in GPS lockout functionality (V1Driver and JBV1) are designed more intentionally and with built-in safeguards to help virtually eliminate that risk.

So the V1 does lack GPS natively, but if you’re willing to pair a phone, you can add the functionality you’ll want while also doing a great job mitigating the risks.

Mike also brought up some of the legal restrictions regarding using GPS. GPS lockout functionality is currently patented and owned by Escort who now aggressively defend their patents after previously being sued by a patent troll over usage of GPS integration before eventually purchasing the patents themselves. In short, adding GPS to a detector can be a legal headache and so he’s chosen to simply avoid doing so altogether.

Now that said, a lot of people are going to be running the V1 out of the box without GPS. It can accomplish a a lot even without GPS and I think it’s gotta be the best non-GPS radar detector out there. At the same time, I also think that the V1 is best experienced paired with a phone to add the GPS functionality to add additional false alert filtering around town.

Integrated Bluetooth & Open API

While the V1 lacks GPS built-in the way other detectors do, it also offers a feature that other detectors don’t: an open API. This allows third party developers to design apps and accessories that directly communicate with the V1 and offer additional functionality.

As I talked about in the previous section, if you’re willing to pair a phone with your V1 and run a third party app, you can add an incredible amount of functionality, including the GPS false alert filtering that I think the V1 needs if you plan on running it in urban environments. It also helps add some additional useful features not available in any other standalone radar detector.

Bluetooth is now built in to the V1 Gen2 (and you’ll see a blue Bluetooth icon light up on the display when connected). With compatible Gen1’s (3.892 or newer), you had to purchase a $49 external Bluetooth module. Now with the Gen2 it’s built directly into the V1. This makes the wiring even easier, especially if you want to use a Mirrortap to grab power from your RVM and so now you don’t have to find a place to stuff and hide the BT module.

Personally I think the addition of an open API was a brilliant move by Mike V and I’m surprised other manufacturers haven’t implemented this too yet. It allows third party developers to add in additional functionality that we users want and it has allowed the V1 to become much more than it ever could have been on its own.

It does mean that you’ll have to run a third party app on your phone. The apps can visually display a bunch of useful information on screen, plus they also do a great job running in the background (even from your pocket) and quietly adding a bunch of additional useful functionality without you having to start and stop the app every time you get in the car.

That said, as great as all this functionality is, it’s also the biggest thing stopping me from switching over to the V1 entirely. While there are a bunch of extra features available with your phone, it’s not quite as seamless, integrated, and clean as I would want to get the experience that I like when driving. I really do wish the V1 could do everything I want without requiring a phone, but that’s just not the case with the V1.

Third Party Apps

If you’re wanting to run a V1, I would recommend running one of two apps, either V1Driver for iOS or Android or JBV1 for Android.

V1Driver

V1Driver

If you’re an iPhone user, you’ll want to buy V1Driver ($10). Think of it as a sophisticated false alert muting app. It seamlessly connects to your V1 in the background and adds GPS-based low speed muting and automatic lockouts. As you drive around with it, V1Driver will learn your stationary false alerts from speed signs and door openers and automatically begin muting them for you.

It also adds voice announcements, a frequency display, and it can log all your alerts for future reference.

V1Driver Apple Watch Ka alerts

Apple Watch alerts through V1Driver

Plus if you’re running an Apple Watch, it can visually display information there or allow you to mute your V1 simply by raising your wrist.

I like V1Driver as a way to just seamlessly add GPS-based false alert muting to the V1 without having to putz around with your phone while driving. It’s available for both iOS and for Android.

JBV1

For the most feature-rich and complete experience with the V1, you’ll want to download JBV1 (free) for Android. IMHO, this is the very best countermeasure app on the market. It’s nothing short of incredible and often times people will get a V1 just to run JBV1. It’s that good…

You can run it quietly in the background like V1Driver or you can turn it into your rolling command center.

JBV1 GM BSM and CSA alerts ahead on map

JBV1 in action

Here’s a quick list of some of the features and highlights that JBV1 offers:

  • Automatic GPS lockouts
  • Low speed muting
  • Additional BSM muting for falses that punch through the V1
  • RLC / speedcam alerts
  • Speed limit display
  • Can automatically reprogram the V1 based on where you drive
  • Realtime crowd-sourced alerts on screen
  • Historical data displayed on the map
  • Overlay pop-ups for visual alerts when the app is backgrounded
  • Voice alerts
  • Alert logging
  • Alerts to police aircraft overhead
  • Realtime weather info
  • TMG laser jammer integration
  • Automatic startup and shutdown
  • Standalone mode to run without a V1

It’s an incredibly powerful app with an unbelievable list of features. Plus the developer regularly releases updates and new features based on user feedback and requests.

That said, there’s definitely a learning curve associated with JBV1 as well so if you’re interested, I’d recommend heading over to the JBV1 section of RDF to learn more.

Personally I think the app is amazing. Since it’s Android only and it will not be coming to iOS, as an iPhone user I run a dedicated Android phone in my car for the times I want to run JBV1. That does mean extra hassle of having an additional phone, mount, and power cable, plus mounting and unmounting the phone every time I get in and out of the car so I think it works better on your main phone if you’re an Android user already, but it’s a very powerful option either way.

Programming the V1

Now when it comes to programming your V1, you can change certain settings directly in the V1, but it’s not the most intuitive thing to do. It’s much easier to use Valentine’s V1connection app for iOS or Android (or JBV1 on Android) to change settings. Plus you have more options available to configure in the app than are available directly in the detector.

The V1 Gen2’s programming options have been simplified compared to the Gen1. For more info, you can watch the video tutorial above or read my V1 Gen2 programing guide.

Side note for V1 Gen1 owners: Custom sweeps are no longer available in the Gen2. Because the Gen2 sweeps so fast already, there’s no need to disable certain frequency ranges to speed up the detector and improve its performance. There is a similar feature now called “Custom Frequencies,” but that is purely for disabling alerts in certain frequency ranges in case you see strictly false alerts on those frequencies. Like with the V1 Gen1, 33.8 detection can’t be disabled, even with Custom Frequencies.

MRCD / MRCT

One thing that the V1 Gen2 lacks is support for low powered photo radar guns like the MultaRadar CD, CT, Gatso, Redflex, Mesta Fusion, etc. Most newer top end radar detectors are able to detect some or all of these guns, but the V1 wasn’t designed for them which limits the V1’s future-proofness. There is no MultaRadar in Ohio so it’s not a priority for Valentine to develop MRCD detection, even though it’s starting to make its way across the rest of North America.

I haven’t seen any V1 Gen2 MRCD testing done in Edmonton yet, but based on some initial testing, it looks like the V1 loses its ability to detect certain photo radar signals when the K Verifier is enabled, just like the Gen1. This is unfortunate because without that filter, the V1 will false incessantly. That, combined with the fact that the V1 doesn’t offer a unique alert for low powered radar the way other detectors do, means that when you get your 10,000th K band alert of the day, you’ll simply wind up ignoring it.

I don’t know if this capability is something that can be added at a later date without a hardware update, but given that Mike V has described low powered radar detection development as more of a “science experiment,” it doesn’t sound like that is a huge priority at this time.

Thus, if you need low powered radar detection today or you’d like a more future-proof detector that can detect low powered guns should they appear in your area down the line, I don’t think the V1 Gen2 would be the best option.

Ramp-Up

Now one thing that’s pretty different with the V1 compared to other detectors is its ramp-up, or how progressive the signal strength meter “ramps up” as you get closer and closer to the source. While other detectors usually like to go bananas before the officer is able to lock in your speed, the V1’s ramp-up will be more laid back and chill and wait until you’re in the kill zone (usually) before it starts going off full tilt.

Here’s a video illustrating the differences between several different detectors:

The V1’s ramp-up is intended to be more communicative and let you know what’s going on with the signal instead of just screaming at you too early. Not everyone likes this behavior though and many prefer their detector to be more urgent with the alerts before you get close. The V1 Gen1 used to have an option for a more aggressive ramp-up, but that has been removed as an option with the Gen2.

One thing I definitely don’t like is how the V1 alerts to strong I/O hits. Normally when you get blasted with instant on radar at point blank, your radar detector will immediately start screaming bloody murder. With the V1 Gen2 though, it’ll alert as a weak signal first and then it’ll ramp up in signal strength and start alerting full tilt. I don’t like this behavior because it’s not representative of what you’re experiencing and it doesn’t communicate the urgency of what’s going on so I hope Valentine addresses this in a future update.

Update: I’ve already seen one person get a ticket with the V1 Gen2 when it took about 3 seconds to fully ramp-up to full strength against a point blank instant on hit.

Stealth & RDD Immunity

One big improvement with the V1 Gen2 is its stealthiness and undetectability by the Spectre Radar Detector Detector. Unlike the V1 Gen1 which was detectable from hundreds of feet away, the new V1 Gen2 is now undetectable by the Spectre III RDD.

Other testers have reported the same thing and so if you’re looking for a radar detector that is undetectable by RDD’s, the V1 Gen2 should be on your short list.

Laser Detection & Filtering

What about laser detection? Well for a variety of reasons, laser detection in any radar detector isn’t a reliable form of protection. That said, the V1 Gen1 has long been the gold standard in terms of laser sensitivity, even though it falsed quite a bit.

Is the V1 Gen2 just as sensitive? Honestly I don’t know. I haven’t bothered testing it. I find that it falses to laser so often that I’ve just turned off laser detection altogether. Unfortunately Valentine still hasn’t improved the laser filtering yet so it’s still going to false to the laser-based safety systems in some Infinitis, Mazdas, Toyotas, Lexus’, Cadillacs, and Audis. (Fortunately it does look like an update is in development for certain Mazdas and Volvos.)

V1 Gen2 laser false to Infiniti SUV

V1 Gen2 laser false to Infiniti SUV

I’m guessing the new V1 Gen2’s laser sensitivity is still good, but given that it cries wolf so much, your best bet is to just disable laser detection on the V1 and rely on a set of laser jammers for proper protection.

Quality & Reliability Issues

Now speaking of things that I’d like to see changed, let’s talk about the quality issues and unexpectedly poor reliability we’re seeing with the V1 Gen2.

Note: Most of these issues have been resolved since launch and are no longer an issue.

Power Off Failures

First off, the most critical issue we’ve seen thus far is a power failure issue where the V1 dies and refuses to power on again. The display blinks on startup but immediately shuts off and the V1 no longer detects radar or operates properly.

There’s been 37 reports of dead V1 Gen2’s on RDF as of May 6, 2020 as well as additional reports in my YouTube video comments, social media, etc. Matt Farah’s new V1 Gen2 died a few days into ownership as well. Roughly 1/3 of V1 Gen2’s on RDF have failed in this way.

Now despite the COVID-19 shutdown, Valentine has been working to help affected users get their V1’s repaired. Here is the repair process for dead V1’s. (My V1 was repaired and shipped out the same day they received it.) They are helping out most customers, but they haven’t gotten in touch with every customer who’s reached out to them yet, presumably because of the pandemic shutdown difficulties, but it does look like repairs are the priority which is great to see.

I had a chance to speak to Mike Valentine privately about the issue and while he didn’t want to disclose exactly what the issue was, he assured me that they’re fully repairing affected detectors purchased by early adopters. Additionally, any new detectors shipped out when they reopen after the shutdown (sometime in late May 2020) will have the fix in place.

Update 5-27-20: Unfortunately there have been multiple reports of repaired V1 Gen2’s that have died again after being repaired. Most repaired detectors have been fine, but this issue continues to plague the new V1.

I’ve run my repaired V1 Gen2 on my desk 24/7 for about a week and it has been just fine. It’s also powered on properly every time in my vehicle since. This is great news. It does look like most people (myself included) have been just fine after repairs, if they even had the issue in the first place, but this issue has not yet been fully resolved.

Update 7-30-20: This issue looks to have been fully resolved. It was a software issue and an update has been released that appears to have fixed this issue. Luckily now V1’s are reliable once again.

Display Bleed

Another issue we’ve seen with a few early V1 Gen2’s is display bleed where light would bleed through into different sections of the display it wasn’t supposed to be in.

V1 screen bleed

V1 screen bleed, photo by @FoxFourSVT

Luckily this wasn’t a hugely prevalent issue (I only saw 3 people reporting this). According to Valentine, it appears they had some assembly problems that were addressed before the shutdown so this issue has also since been corrected.

Display Covers Peeling Off

One fairly recent issue that I’ve seen a few people report is the display cover popping off.

V1 Gen2 display cover popping off

V1 display cover popping off, photo by @rth121

I’m not entirely sure what the cause is (maybe adhesive failing?), but fortunately most people are having luck simply pushing the display cover back in place. I don’t know what the story is with this issue, but just like with the previous issues, I’d assume Valentine will take care of it before resuming shipping later this month.

Update 7-30-20: This issue looks to be almost completely resolved now too. People send their detectors in for repair for the fix, but a few people had the issue again. Valentine has since switched adhesives that hold the display cover in place and so far that looks to have done the trick.

Mute Button Sticking

On a likely related note, my mute button sometimes sticks when I press it in. I don’t experience it in practice when I’m using the V1, but depending on how I press the button when shooting videos, I’ve noticed it sometimes gets stuck behind the display cover and doesn’t fully pop back out. I’ve also heard of this happening to others who’ve had to reattach their display covers and it’s created alignment issues with their mute button as well.

Signal Ghosting

Sometimes when you pick up a police officer up close and get a strong signal, the V1’s bogey counter (the number on the display that tells you how many signals the V1 is seeing) may shoot up and start reporting a bunch of non-existent ghost signals. Several people, myself included, have occasionally seen situations when the V1 starts incorrectly reporting up to the max of 9 signals. I don’t know why this happens, but I imagine that Valentine can fix this via a future software update.

Internal Manufacturing Differences

I’ve also had a chance to look at the internals of 4 different V1 Gen2’s so far. While my repaired V1 looks pretty great inside, I’ve seen some that look worse. There are multiple hardware revisions of V1 Gen2’s and it looks like the soldering and manufacturing processes have improved over time.

While I don’t know if there are impacts to performance or reliability as we get to newer revisions and I don’t know if any of the soldering was to blame for any dead detectors, it is a bit surprising to see what was going on inside some of the initial detectors sold. Luckily though, it looks like things have improved as time has gone on and I would certainly hope this trend continues.

Wasn’t the V1 Gen1 More Reliable?

I can’t recall any radar detector having this many issues upon launch, and this is especially surprising given how solid and reliable the V1 Gen1’s have historically been. That said, the Gen1 has been around and refined upon for 30 years now. Valentine has had plenty of time to find and address any issues like this, including the various issues that the Gen1’s have experienced over the years.

Dealbreaker?

Look, radar detectors need to be reliable and trustworthy. We depend on them to keep us protected on the road and we can’t have them dying on us, failing to alert when needed, or falling apart in our hands, especially when paying $500 for a detector. It’s for this reason that I’ve seen a lot of people dismiss the V1 Gen2 outright, despite its many good attributes, and I can totally understand this perspective based on the importance of reliability.

Fortunately Valentine’s focus right now as they start resuming normal operations is, first and foremost, fixing all these issues and taking care of current customers before resuming sales later this month.

V1 Gen2 from multiple angles

My V1 has been solid after being repaired and I’m very happy with what I’ve got now. At the same time, I completely understand others not being confident at this time given the string of issues many of us seen thus far.

I don’t have a crystal ball and I can’t tell you what will happen in the future, but I am both hopeful and optimistic that once VR resumes shipping detectors, they will properly address the issues that we early adopters have experienced in our first batches of detectors.

Update 5-27-20: Seeing roughly one third of new V1 Gen2’s fail out of the gate and then seeing repaired detectors continue to fail, I can’t comfortably recommend a new V1 at this time, despite how great a properly functioning V1 Gen2 is. I continue to be hopeful that Valentine will fully address this issue.

Update 7-30-20: Now that Valentine has addressed the power off issue and display failures, I’m much more comfortable using and recommending this detector. I’d still like to see them fix the ramp-up and ghosting issues, but things are now much better than before.

Updating Your V1

When Valentine has released new updates for the V1 in the past, you’ve always had to mail your detector back in and pay the upgrade fee. Then they mailed you back an updated V1. There was no way to update yourself at home.

With the V1 Gen2, there is now the ability to update your V1’s software using the V1connection app. It’s free, easy to do, and takes about 10 minutes. Here’s a look at the update process.

Accessories

If you’d like to add additional features or functionality to your V1, there are several different accessories available to help improve the experience.

SAVVY

SAVVYIf you’d like low speed muting around town without relying on your phone for GPS-related functionality, Valentine offers a $69 accessory called SAVVY.

It plugs into your car’s OBD-II port for power (conveniently making it easier to hardwire your V1 as opposed to tapping into your fuse box) and tells your V1 to mute when you’re traveling below the speed that you set in Savvy’s control dial.

Most people wind up skipping this nowadays since you can easily add low speed muting (and much more) using your phone, but it’s a good option for people who don’t want to rely on their phone.

Concealed Display

V1 Gen2 CDIf you’d like a secondary remote display, Valentine is developing a new Gen2 version of their concealed display (price TBD).

I really liked running the Gen1 CD. I’d have the V1 up high by the RVM with the display turned off and I’d put the CD on my dash right in my line of sight so I could keep my eyes on the road and easily see what’s going on with my peripheral vision.

I don’t know when the updated version of the CD will be available, but as a note to V1 Gen1 owners, newer ESP Gen1 CD’s are (mostly) compatible with the V1 Gen2. Almost all of the features work properly. The only exception the strength meter. The V1 Gen2’s strength meter maxes out at only 6 bars so it won’t use all 8 dots in the Gen1’s CD. It will only light up a max of 6 dots. Otherwise everything works as expected. If you’re using an older generation V1 Gen1 CD, it will not work properly with the Gen2.

Remote Audio Adapter

V1 Remote Audio AdapterIf you’d like separate audio controls, Valentine sells a Remote Audio Adapter ($49). The RAA gives you a secondary mute knob, an additional speaker, as well as a 2.5mm headphone jack and 3.5mm headphone jack. (The V1 Gen2 already includes one 3.5mm headphone jack.) The RAA is particularly helpful for motorcycle riders.

External Bluetooth Module

Valentine sells external Bluetooth modules ($49) that were designed for the V1 Gen1. Now that the V1 Gen2 includes Bluetooth built-in, this has become mostly unnecessary.

V1C LE

SquirrelMaster’s CD

If you’d like a concealed display that also includes a frequency display, @SquirrelMaster on RDF is custom building his own multicolor display called the V1 ReCD.

Beta testing SquirrelMaster's V1 ReCD

V1 Gen2, JBV1, & beta V1 ReCD

This custom new CD (the white box in the bottom right) also adds remote muting and control of the V1 via Bluetooth. The beta unit I’m testing is white, but the final version will be matte black like the V1.

Price is still TBD. I’m excited about it to give me a dedicated frequency display for the V1 while V1Driver handles all the muting for my V1 in the background. 🙂

If you’d like to use the V1 ReCD and a phone simultaneously, you will need an additional external BT module since only one device can be connected via BT at once. For this reason, if you still have a V1C LE from your V1 Gen1, it’ll come in handy with your V1 Gen2. Head to RDF for more info about the V1 ReCD.

Blendmount

V1 Gen2 on BlendmountIf you live in a state where mounting devices to your windshield is prohibited and/or you don’t want to deal with suction cup failures (my V1 Gen2 has fallen off my windshield several times), you can pick up a Blendmount and mount it under your RVM.

The Blendmount gives you a nice solid mount while keeping your V1 off your windshield.

As a bonus, if you already own a BM for your V1 Gen1, the same clip is compatible with the V1 Gen2. You’ll simply need to swap mounts and secure your V1 Gen2’s mount into the Blendmount.

Price

The new V1 Gen2 retails for $499, $100 more than the V1 Gen1. That said, the Gen2 has Bluetooth built-in and since you’d want to get the $50 Bluetooth module with the Gen1, it’s effectively $50 more than a Gen1 with BT.

Upgrade Cost

If you’re upgrading from a V1 Gen1, you’ll get a $110 credit for trading in your Gen1. You can easily get more selling your detector yourself, but if you’d like a quick and easy solution, this allows you to get your V1 Gen2 for $389.

Where to Buy the V1 Gen2

Important: Valentine ONLY sells the V1 Gen2 ($499) direct through their website or over the phone at 1-800-331-3030. Do NOT buy a new V1 Gen2 from websites like Amazon, eBay, or third party sellers unless you like paying more than full price (they’re currently going for $650-$1000 on eBay) and getting no warranty.

There’s already been someone who purchased the new V1 from a third party, had their V1 die, and unfortunately found out the hard way that the warranty is not transferrable when Valentine refused to repair their dead detector because they weren’t the original owner.

There are websites that will sell you a new V1 for more than full retail (so the resellers can make a profit) so you’ll wind up overpaying for a detector that you can’t get repaired should it die on you. If you want a V1 Gen2, please wait for Valentine to open up later this month and resume sales so you can get a warranty should you need it, especially until we’ve been able to verify that the next batch of detectors are all solid.

Should You Get a V1 Gen2?

So boiling it all down, should you get a V1? This has turned out to be a pretty polarizing question.

V1 Gen2 alerting to Ka ahead

If you want a long range detector, great BSM filtering, arrows, RDD immunity, and an open API to add additional functionality, the V1 Gen2 is a great choice.

If you want a fully standalone detector with integrated GPS, MultaRadar detection, and/or a built-in frequency display, choose a different radar detector.

I know a lot of people have complaints about the V1 not having GPS and needing a phone to get the lockout functionality. That’s understandable, despite the fact that a phone can do a better job than what’s available built-in to any radar detector directly. This is actually the main thing that stops me from completely switching over to the V1 full time. At the end of the day, depending on your phone, car, and personal preferences, relying on a phone (even one running an app silently in the background) may or may not be a solution you’re happy with.

As for the quality control issues, this was my biggest hesitation with the detector. I’d still like to see Valentine fix the ramp-up and ghosting issues, but now the detector is much more solid and reliable. I feel much more comfortable using it and recommending it. The V1 Gen2 isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty fantastic.

Valentine 1 Gen2

Pros

  • Outstanding long range
  • Great BSM filtering
  • Updated Design
  • Arrows
  • Bluetooth
  • Open API
  • Fantastic 3rd Party Apps
  • Spectre Undetectable
  • Downloadable Updates

Cons

  • No GPS
  • No MultaRadar Support
  • No Frequency Display
  • Requires Phone for Full Functionality
  • Excessive Laser Falses
  • No Redlight / Speedcam Alerts
  • Very Poor Initial Reliability

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Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Valentine 1 Gen2
Author Rating
41star1star1star1stargray
Product Name
Valentine 1 Gen2
Price
USD 499
Product Availability
Out of Stock

Permanent link to this article: https://www.vortexradar.com/2020/05/valentine-1-gen2-review/

44 comments

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    • Fred G. on May 6, 2020 at 5:45 pm

    About as through and honest as one can be…. Outstanding review and evaluation… as always, thanks so much for your time, conciseness and dedication to informing the radar detector community!

    aocsgil

    • Mark on May 6, 2020 at 8:27 pm

    Great review Vortex! Honestly, if it had a built in frequency display and GPS low speed muting I think it would be a no brainer recommendation. Leaving out GPS because he doesn’t like lockouts isn’t reason enough. GPS can be used for other things!

    • ROBERT J MEYER on May 9, 2020 at 6:18 pm

    “This new design was chosen for two main reasons: First, a lot of people didn’t know what the outer volume lever was for”

    Translation: “a lot of people are too dumb to read the manual.”

    • LK on May 9, 2020 at 9:26 pm

    Great analysis! its about time someone else talks the same language as me regarding radar detectors and specifically valentine. I think the Gen2 is great, big fan!
    thanks vortex!

    • Jeff on May 14, 2020 at 6:00 am

    Great review. But your rating system does not make sense (4-stars and the other “Best of 2020” are 5-star). Is this detector inferior to the other three “Best of 2020” detectors? They all have pros and cons, but not sure any stands out as the best of the best, or inferior in “absolute star rating” terms.

      • Vortex on May 14, 2020 at 7:50 am
        Author

      Yeah great question. The star rating is a relatively arbitrary rating to be honest. I plan on bumping the V1 up to 5 stars once they fix all the hardware failures, but for the time being, I’ve got it bumped down. Once it’s back up though, I think it’ll make more sense with all the best detectors being 5 stars.

    • Steve on May 14, 2020 at 6:53 am

    Excellent, honest review. I have been running a V1G2 since the middle of March, mounted with a blendmount/mirrortap. No reliability problems for me so far. I use V1Driver as my phone app. Great app, and really makes the V1G2 nice and quiet, particularly running in little L. I came from an R3, which I had run for over a year. R3 is an excellent detector for sure, but having now gotten use to the performance and quietness of the V1G2 (love the arrows), no way I’m going back to the R3. The automatic GPS muting of V1Driver is so much nicer than the “manual mode” required by R3, plus I believe the phone GPS is more sensitive and accurate than the built-in GPS of the R3.

    • WGM on May 21, 2020 at 12:43 pm

    “I can’t recall any radar detector having this many issues upon launch…”

    The first run [from what I’ve seen on the RD forum (& with my G2) it’s only the very first ones] of G2s DO have problems…

    There are RDs that have been on the market for YEARS that still have problems. I won’t list all of them here, but Uniden, Escort and Radenso are STILL trying to solve issues in their “older” RDs…problems that they’ve had since their launch.

    If VR’s track record is any indication of what to expect, this will NOT be the case with the V1G2. I really doubt that VR will be trying to fix their displays or that G2s will just “decide to not announce even though they appear to be fine” several months/years from now.

    • Gary on May 21, 2020 at 12:51 pm

    So…the V1G2 beats the sensitivity of the R7 on 2/3 of Ka frequencies (which is easily THE most important band) but no knew crown?

      • Vortex on May 22, 2020 at 4:51 am
        Author

      Oh it may certainly become the new king of long distance range. I think we just need to see a bunch more tests first in different situations against more guns and in different terrains to get a better sense of the big picture and to fully verify, especially since the two detectors went back and forth on longest range depending on the frequency.

    • Gary on May 21, 2020 at 12:52 pm

    NEW…not knew. Sorry…I didn’t notice that the word got changed by auto INcorrect

    • Bob Gant on May 22, 2020 at 6:24 pm

    I’m a huge fan of V1 products and have been for many years. I have 4 vehicles with direct wiring and concealed displays for my V1 – Gen 1 units, I have 3. I just received my V1 – Gen2 unit and I really like it. My problem is that it works with the concealed displays in 2 vehicles but not the other 2. I even switched the concealed displays and 2 works and 2 do no work. The 2 that work will work in any vehicle. The unit works fine with the other 2 but it doesn’t use the concealed feature. All 3 of the V1 – Gen 1 units work in all 4 just fine. Any ideas?

    • WILLIAM MONTGOMERY on May 23, 2020 at 9:15 am

    It only works with ESP concealed displays. I had an older one (non ESP) but ended up selling it with my G1.

    • WILLIAM MONTGOMERY on May 23, 2020 at 9:15 am

    I should add that I called VR; that’s what they told me.

    • Bob Gant on May 23, 2020 at 9:25 am

    Thanks, that makes sense. When the new concealed displays come out, I’ll replace my 2 old ones. Until then, I’ll use them with my old G1 units. They look identical but after looking through receipts, the 2 that work with the G2 are the newest ones, within last 2 years. Thanks again.

    • Roger on May 28, 2020 at 11:39 am

    Got my Gen 2 Covid delayed unit yesterday. Yahoo! Can’t wait to try it out.

    • Cameron on May 31, 2020 at 8:36 pm

    Can you comment about how well the app does / doesn’t work when running in the background of an iphone? For instance, if I want to GPS lockouts, but don’t care about the add’l detail, can I safely run it in the background around town? And, would I be correct in assuming I have to restart the app every time I get in the car vs is being triggered somehow with the bluetooth connection?

    Thanks for the great review! I’ve been a fan for years!

      • Vortex on June 1, 2020 at 9:54 am
        Author

      V1Driver and JBV1 do an awesome job of reconnecting in the background so you don’t have to mess with the app every time you get in the car. That’s how they’re designed to operate.

    • Alex on July 2, 2020 at 10:25 am

    Great honest review- thank you! I do have a question. I have a Land Rover and SUV has a front window defroster. If you look closely, you can see little wires covering the windshield. I’m wondering if this causes any interference and/or impacts the detector’s ability to pick up radar?

      • Vortex on July 3, 2020 at 4:31 am
        Author

      Likely yeah that’ll be blocking radar signals. Hopefully you have a spot somewhere for a toll pass, GPS, or radar detector? If not, you’ll need to get a custom installed detector in your grill.

    • B P on July 4, 2020 at 11:41 pm

    Great review. I would like to share my story on my purchase of V1 Gen2. I purchased a v1 Gen 2 on June 17th, the display keeps popping off from left side. There is one other small issue but the main issue is the display. I spoke to a lady that sounds like she is in her 60s or 70s. I was super nice and respectful when talking to her, however I got the runaround. They will not let me practice the 30 day money back gurantee either. I spoke to another female (I am not sure if I’m allowed to post names here) in some of my followup calls, I am told I can return the detector but I would have to pay for the shipping. She says they are not providing any RMA’s. Overall, the customer service has been horrible. They do not seem to care one bit at this moment. Shipping this detector back without an RMA does not seem right but I have no choice at this moment since I have a defective and having hard time getting exchange. (I am well under 30 days gurantee, I should atleast be able to get an exchange). Am I wrong??

    • tester on July 13, 2020 at 8:45 am

    Would you recommend purchasing a V1G2 now or wait a little longer? I can’t tell if the current issues have been resolved…

      • Vortex on July 13, 2020 at 12:45 pm
        Author

      It seems to be pretty good now

    • Catfish Jack on July 14, 2020 at 11:06 am

    Hi Vortex,
    Great job as always.
    I see the Valentine 1 /G2 is now available on the V1 website.
    Just curious if you have heard anything positive or negative about the quality issues this unit has had in the G2 series? I have used a V1/G1 since the 90’s but now with BSM issues from inside my wifes 2020 Chevy Traverse it has become useless and notifies constantly.
    So with that said what can you recommend out of the box to buy for her vehicle?
    Thanks
    Catfish jack

    • Bob Gant on July 14, 2020 at 3:20 pm

    I have 2 G2 and 4 G1’s. I like the performance of the G2, it’s been great. Much better at reducing false alerts but I like the old volume controls better. The new is fine but takes longer to set, usually while driving. Great units

    • Chris Butcher on July 17, 2020 at 2:56 am

    Sir, can you explain if you need to run a cell phone with apps simultaneously with the V1gen2? I’m contemplating buying one but it’s a deal breaker if you think a phone needs to be constantly connected and running.

      • Vortex on July 17, 2020 at 5:49 am
        Author

      Technically you don’t need a phone to use the V1. However, if you want the GPS features which are a must-have in the city, IMHO, you do need a phone. Luckily it’s something that can be run in the background and you don’t have to actively mess with the phone every time you get in the car.

  1. AMAZING INFO !! So helpful and useful ! Thank you SO MUCH !
    Ed

    • Dustin on July 28, 2020 at 9:49 am

    Hi there, I have a Gen 1 V1 and picking up a new Porsche this week. I’m debating between mailing in the v1 + $389 or buying a different detector all together. I always found the v1 so chatty in the suburbs (Sammamish) that is was pretty much useless unless I was on a road trip across I-90 or something. Do you have a recommendation? I’d be happy to meet for a consult if that is an option since we are in the same neck of the woods.

      • Vortex on July 28, 2020 at 11:47 am
        Author

      The new V1 is WAY quieter than the old V1. Apps only help quiet things down further. I’m planning on doing an updated comparison eventually now that the RL360c is out, but there’s still more comparison testing I want to do first. With Coronavirus, I’d rather not do any meetups or testing in person right now, but you can always book a private session with me on my website and we can chat over email/phone and go over what’s best for you. https://www.vortexradar.com/private-sessions/

  2. it is now the end of July. Any verification that the V1G2 quality reliability issues are resolved with confidence? Mine shipped today. Fabulous service you provide!

  3. Also, at this point in time, have you changed your opinion on recommending or not recommending V1G2 based on news gathered 3 months now from your original review?

      • Vortex on July 30, 2020 at 5:11 am
        Author

      At this point yeah, things do look to be resolved and the detector is much more reliable. I can go in and update this review accordingly now.

    • Joseph on July 30, 2020 at 5:42 am

    Thanks again – you ‘da man …

    • Brijesh on July 31, 2020 at 12:50 pm

    The issues may be resolved, but their customer service is still HORRIBLE. I’ve been super nice to them when I call, and I have gotten but attitude from Martha and Margaret there. If anything goes wrong, they are quick to automatically blame the owner. $499 and that type of customer service?? I ask people choose wisely before spending their hard earned money on a company that gives bad customer service.

      • Vortex on August 1, 2020 at 10:58 am
        Author

      Sorry to hear that. Yeah their CS has long been a complaint. I think they’ve been getting better, but it’s definitely not perfect.

  4. I wish they retained the actual volume knob that a button. I don’t know if I will be upgrading for now.

    • Joseph on August 2, 2020 at 10:11 am

    Agree on the hard knob….. was never an issue for me on the Gen 1. What focus group led Mike to change it? Simply not necessary …..

    • Chris on August 6, 2020 at 7:29 am

    I own the V1 gen 1 and have used it for over a decade, upgrading it to the latest firmware, and its been a great tool. Looking at the Gen 2 and the price point compared to competitors, i think it misses the mark. Not having built in red light camera warnings or MRCD greatly limits the expansion and future proofing of this detector. I am not in love with needing to use my phone/3rd party apps with a detector at this price point. I will stay with my V1 gen 1 and likely go with a uniden or 360c if i catch a sale. Too bad Valentine missed the mark (IMO) with the gen 2. How many decades will it be before we see the next gen?

    • Joseph on August 6, 2020 at 7:50 am

    I, too, am disappointed in the length of time it has taken for a modern day upgrade. LEOs have vastly improved capabilities and better RDD counter measures. That being said, I believe in the V1, always have and have had great surveillance. So I took the plunge on the Gen 2. But I agree, there is so much more that could be included to make this a dominant device. WIRELESS / Wi-Fi would be a great add altogether on addition to MRCD, GPS and redlight. Come on, Mike – we know you have the capabilities.

  5. Agreed. The lack of understanding by Mike V for his client’s latest needs for MRCD/MRCT technology that’s making its way across the country is a big miss.

    GPS? Fine I’ll give him that for now reasoning its a moving target. But even my dash cam releases updates on this feature to make it up to date. Even user-feedback to update it should be standard.

    This is the reason why I won’t be upgrading to the Gen2. I had high hopes for it and it’s performance, which I don’t doubt is awesome.

    • Brijesh on August 6, 2020 at 9:06 am

    Mr. vortexradar has done a great job with his reviews, the amount of time he puts in, priceless. The v1gen2 is performing well, although it lacks the features. But yes, V1 as a business seems 1.) Complacent 2.) Not in tune with clients needs. 3,) If you’re upset about the features, try utilizing the 30day money back gurantee, you will get to experience their poor customer service that will give you pushback. If you go to homepage, you will notice, there are no details mentioned on the 30 day money back gurantee, and it is that way by design for their own benefit.

    • Patrick Kim on August 22, 2020 at 5:29 am

    Recently got V2 Gen2. 4.019 ..
    Sometimes and randomly Bluetooth off and on.

    Temporally using my old Bluetooth dongle : LE to be connected. and stable connected by LE .
    Is it known issue? S/W or H/W issue?

    Thanks for any comments

    • Steve S on August 25, 2020 at 5:15 am

    I bought a V1G2 a month ago based on your recommendation. I am very happy with it. The range is very good. I run it in logic mode with K band and X band off (police around here use Ka band only). When I first got it I ran it with K band on and it wasn’t too noisy. But the issue I am having is that I get continuous laser falses if the forward laser detection is turned on (I drive a 2018 BMW X5). I suspect it is picking up laser from my forward collision warning system. Have you heard about this being a problem? My Max360 did not have the same problem. I’ve turned the laser detection off on the V1 (knowing that laser detection isn’t particularly useful to prevent a ticket).

    Thanks.

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