Product Reviews

Valentine One versus Escort Passport Review

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After owning both an Escort Passport 8500 and Valentine V1 simultaneously, I decided to sell the V1 in favor of the Escort – this is a personal preference that may not work for everyone, but I felt the 8500 was hands down a better detector for my needs. This surprised me quite a bit, because the V1 seems to have far more passionate fans and better reviews than the cheaper Passport models, so I expected to like the V1 one better and be writing this post about why it’s worth the extra money – but to me, it wasn’t, and then some. Here’s why:

Valentine 1

 The Valentine One does get an edge for having the bogie count and arrows to tell you not only where the signal is coming from, but how many potential threats there are. This is definitely great; however, the V1 picks up way more false alarms and is much more sensitive to even the weakest radar signals – even on the most conservative Advanced Logic (AL) setting, this thing beeped so much I found myself ignoring it all together or turning it off most of the time. While you can program the V1 to turn off K band in the Programming Mode, it’s not easy nor does it fix how sensitive this alarm is. I think the V1 would be a better choice for longer road trips that are primarily on freeway and you are hauling butt and want to be super, super careful about getting pulled over (e.g. a Bullrun or Targa Trophy type scenario), but for city or daily driving this radar detector is way too hyper-sensitive and I found it more of an annoyance than helpful – in short, it’s too good at picking up radar, which renders it less helpful since you start to tune it out. Since I hardwired my radar detectors and they’re always on whenever the car is on, I found the V1 to be too annoying for daily use.

FWIW I had the most recent hardware when testing the V1, although it lacked the most recent software to tune out the signals from lane changing radar; however, my false alarm complaints were largely in city driving and didn’t seem to be at all related with folks changing lanes at all.

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Passport 8500

 The Passport 8500X50 is no frills – you can very easily turn off X band and K band, and my 4 year old Passport radar detector is still great at picking up radar with plenty of advance notice to slow down, yet is pretty conservative at reporting false alarms. When I hear my Passport beep, I slow the heck down. While a bogey counter or arrow system would be nice, when I hear the Passport beep and see the signal is anything larger than 1-2 bars, I  don’t really care which direction the threat is coming from or how many threats there are, as I trust there is something nearby I should slow down for, so I do – and it’s usually right. Countless times my Passport has saved me from expensive tickets, and this is one of the few mods to my car I would consider an “investment” as it has saved me far more money than it ever cost.

The newer Passport 9500ix  is even more advanced and has GPS to eliminate more false alerts, and Autolearn technology to eliminate false alerts based on your driving pattern. You can also mark speed cameras, which is nice if you live in an area that has them. I wouldn’t mind upgrading to one eventually for these features, but it’s pretty low on my priority list when I’m still very happy with my “ancient” 8500 model, especially since the 8500 is as good as it is at weeding out false alarms.

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TL;DR

The Valentine One is a great unit, but very sensitive and probably not necessary unless you are extremely cautious or only use it sporadically when you need it (e.g. longer road trips, or when you’re running very late) – the Passport 8500/9500 is better at weeding out false alarms and is much more practical for a daily driver that is “always on.”

Nick Roshon

Nick has been an Audi owner and fanatic for the last 10 years, and started Nick's Car Blog in 2009 to share DIYs and pictures of his A4. Currently he drives a 2012 Audi TT-RS, and has previously owned a B7 S4, B7 A4, and an 82 Audi Coupe (GT) LeMons race car. In his day job, Nick is a digital marketer and lives in San Diego, CA, USA.

5 Comments

  1. I haven’t hard anything about Radar detectors in years. Some states have banned them. I thought that after the police switched to laser speed guns, there wasn’t much that could be done. $500 does seem high for a radar detector…

  2. Laser is still pretty uncommon, at least in Arizona & California. I see it occasionally, but still mostly Ka band that police use. My guess is Laser is expensive for police to add to their squadron.

  3. Have you seen the cobra ones at costco, supposedly you get that app and it’s supposed to link to other detectors and maps the police in your area, wonder if it works.

  4. I haven’t tried one of the Cobra ones yet, but I’m sure it’s pretty good. Escort has a higher end model that also has an app with speed trap & photo radar warning alerts too. If you get one let me know what you think!

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