Most helpful critical review
137 of 159 people found the following review helpful
The most potential but the least capable software
on June 24, 2011
Please note that I need to update this review again. RedLine's M3 horn is still relatively young compared to other horn designs, which means this is a design which is seeing frequent firmware revisions and I have not been able to update this review as every revision has occurred. As software for the RedLine progresses, it continues to improve upon what is unquestionably an incredibly sensitive horn. Since writing this review, users are now able to segment bands and turn the RDR off, which means the unit has much faster reaction times than in 2011 when this review was composed. Additionally, Escort has since produced workarounds for those K-band BSI's (like Audis) and introduced various hard revisions to both their iPhone and Android apps intended to operate with the unit. For now the original review is still left up because it serves as a mark to show where the Redline has been and where it is today, but it will be updated in more detail in time. It also shows Escort's ability to respond to customer requests, which is something Valentine has not done as well with, and may factor into your purchase given a company's ability to stand behind their product and respond to issues is an important aspect of customer service. My criticism as to the long-term reliability of the RedLine not being as durable as some other Escort designs and the Valentine 1 has not really changed, and user reviews show the RedLine still does have some issues here. However, Escort has far better customer service than Valentine, which is not a friendly company to interact with. So no unit or company is perfect. I try my best to keep my reviews up to date but sometimes I miss one here and there, and I apologize for not making this notation earlier.
I must update this review once more. I have since owned two if these. My first seemed to be a defective or weak model, as it performed poorly and subsequently I gave it a very bad review. My second model was the exact opposite. It is one of the strongest performing detectors that I own. It would only be right to update this accordingly.
The Redline has the longest range of any windshield mounted detector for CONSTANT ON and (slower) INSTANT ON radar. The Redline feels like a tank when held in your hand. However, it seems that my first unit had issues. Furthermore, there are reports of users having their Redline (or STi Driver) go "blind" to a certain band just out of the blue. This has been attributed to poor soldering jobs, and these are occurring more than just as an isolated incident or five. If this is a widespread problem or just one bad batch I cannot say.
The Redline has exceptional performance on all frequencies within the Ka-band, including 33.8 GHz (MPH Industries radar), 34.7 GHz (Stalker radar), and 35.5 GHz (Kustom radar). For constant on and instant on, alerts well over five miles on flat in open land are not uncommon. K-band is also impressive and like any detector, it does well on X. It's Ka-band performance is similar to that of the current Valentine 1. Depending on the individual encounter, one may have the advantage over the other. Where as the V1 sometimes struggles on 35.5 Ka, the Redline excels. It seems the current (firmware 3.892) V1 does substantially better on K-band than the Redline. The Redline is also undetectable to any radar detector detector. It is the only windshield mounted unit that is truly invisible (the V1 is not) [the Bel STi Driver and Magnum are the same internals as the Redline but just in a Bel case].
Also, the Redline's off axis detection is superior to any other detector on the market by a landslide, including the V1. If you are constantly faced with off axis radar traps or speed cameras, then the Redline is likely the ideal unit for you. Also, the Redline is MUCH quieter than the V1 in regards to false alerts. However, it is nowhere near as quiet as the GPS driven Escort 9500ix. The Redline's small screen is also very glossy, and in sunlight, it can cause a glare that makes it difficult to read. This issue is furthered by the mounting hardware, which is used on all other Escort models. While this mounting hardware generally works great, the Redline is significantly larger and heavier than other models, which causes it to 'bounce' at times. Sometimes, when it bounces it can even appear as if the detector is alerting due to the glare. This quickly gets annoying and should have been considered. A better mount needs to be standard, such as the optional SuperMount, which works very well with the Redline. The Redline also has a bottom lip on it which will make it difficult to read the screen when hardwiring it higher up (which is the correct way to use a radar detector). This can get annoying as well.
The Valentine 1 has significantly better laser detection, and the Redline has sat quite through quite a few laser passes. However, no detector will give you any type of good laser protection. For that you need a jammer. If you turn on the TSR to reduce filtering, you will have a few second delay with K-band. That is enough to get you a ticket. The newest Valentine 1 has the same TSR feature which does the exact same thing. However, if you live in an area with traffic signal monitors (K-band 'drones'), TSR is a blessing.
The 'ramp-up' of the Redline is terrible. A ramp-up is how progressive the signal strength increases. Ideally, if you are approaching a stationary target you want the signal to progressively get stronger until you are at the target and then slowly and progressively ramp-down as you move away from it. The Redline's ramp-up is more sporadic than I would like to see, as one second you could have a two-bar warning, and the next a full strength signal, but still be over two miles away from the target. Before you get to the target, it may fluctuate back down to two or three bars and then jump to a full sinal multiple times. This poor and inconsistent ramp-up makes it difficult to accurately estimate the target distance and make you incorrectly think you have arrived at the source of the signal when you actually have not. The ramp-down usually goes from full strength, to virtually nothing or nothing (as both of its two horns are in the front). A firmware update could also fix this.
The biggest issue I have with the Redline is that it is perhaps the most capable horn design ever made, but its firmware is still lacking and is almost primitive compared to the firmware used on the Bel STiR+ (which is a remote mounted unit with the same horn as the Redline). As it stands now, the Redline is one of the slowest detectors on the market today, and consequently, it lacks the ability to detect many types of burst radar. Its reaction speed is slower than virtually any other higher end detector. The Redline does NOT detect POP, regardless of settings. It sits quiet through POP tests (see YouTube for verification). In fact, turning the POP setting on will actually DECREASE the warning distances on all frequencies except 33.8 GHz Ka (where as the POP setting on the V1 does not result in nearly as much of a range reduction and actually improves K-band sensitivity and reactivity). On the Redline, the POP feature is really useless and it will just false all day. Turning POP detection on causes the Redline to false more than the Valentine 1, except it goes from silent to a full alert while SCREAMING "POP ALERT!!!", which causes an immediate reaction to reduce speed that is not necessary and potentially dangerous. The hardware has the ability to detect both K and Ka-band POP reliably but the firmware does not allow it to do this. It also really struggles with quick instant-on radar, especially guns such as the Stalker ATR and Stalker Dual in 'HOLD', or burst mode. It fails outright to alert to K and Ka band quick trigger radar. IO, QT, and POP present some limitations that no detector can overcome without situational awareness (ex: driving with a rabbit), but ultimately, the Redline fails to detect these signals, where as the V1 detects them reliably (as does Escort's own STiR+). This seems to have to do with the filter that the Redline uses to reduce false alerts, as a signal must have multiple 'passes' before it sounds an audible and visual alert. However, this cannot be disabled. Escort's own Beltronics STiR+ uses the same internals as the Redline but different firmware. It's performance on burst signals is as good, and possibly better, than the V1. Escort has the capability to detect these burst signals, but they will not do it on the Redline. I imagine this is because they are unwilling to increase the false alerts that could come with the quicker reactivity.
Ultimately, the Redline is the best for constant on and slower instant on detection. It gives ridiculous long range on off axis signals and the 'photo-cops'. However, its lack of capability to detect burst signals keeps it from being the best detector ever made. Quick trigger is getting more-and-more common, and if a detector cannot detect it, then you are not completely protected. Even more frustrating is that Escort currently has the software to detect these signals, yet they refuse to incorporate it on the Redline. If you want a detector that detects burst radar, you are going to have to look at the V1 or Bel STiR+, as the Redline is currently a poor choice. While false alerts can get annoying, it is nowhere near annoying as watching a $500 detector sit silent while having your speed locked at point-blank range by quick trigger radar.
The range on my second Redline is amazing. However, until Escort revises the Redline's firmware, it will remain a unit I own to test but not to drive solely with as I do not trust it against quick trigger, which is a common encounter at where I live. When Escort fixes the one issue that is easier for the to fix then making a PBJ, then the Redline will be the ultimate detector. But until they actually do this, I cannot wholeheartedly recommend it given the price.