Top positive review
303 people found this helpful
Substantial improvements across the board, highly recommend
on September 5, 2011
The 8500 series Passports have been around for slightly over a decade and have seen two major revisions. This is the current, 2011, revision. I own all three revisions (8500, 8500 X50, and now 8500 X50 Black), and I give this product a lot of praise. For most drivers, this is one of the best choices in its price range.
The X-band performance on all models has been great. For this revision, K and Ka bands have seen substantial improvements, as has the 'ramp-up', which is how a signal has a progressive increase to and decrease from the target. Its laser performance and filtering is unchanged. Like the previous model, its filtering is the best in the business. It's off axis detection seems to be improved, thanks to a newer type of lens. The speaker is LOUD, which is what you want, and the tone sounds are very distinct. Like the previous models (and virtually all detectors), do NOT rely on it for LIDAR (laser) detection. For that you need a LIDAR jammer.
The black color is a nice change as it does not clash with interiors and it looks much sharper than the previous silver colored one. The display is as crisp as always and the included true hard-carry and padded zipper case is a nice upgrade from the plastic box. This is a true travel case and great for the mobile user. As always, the mounting hardware and SmartCord are excellent (the SmartCord allows you to mute an alert without touching the unit and seeing an active alarm when the unit is in 'Dark' mode. The frequency display, expert meter, band customization, city sensitivity customization, voltage display and more give users many features allowing them to customize the unit for their area and specific driving. If you aren't a customizer, then it is ready to go out-of-the-box and is VERY simple to use and reprogram (of so desired). Escort's extended warranty of an additional 2 years for $30 is very reasonable as well and their 30-day risk-free trial is also nice given this is a big purchase. Being able to get it with a blue display is nice, although I swear by the red myself as I find it easier to read, especially at night.
It does, however, lack a few features. The first is voice alerts. Some people love these, and some hate them. I love them, but it isn't a major issue IMO. It also lacks substantial protection against 'quick trigger' radar, which is instant on radar that goes from asleep-to on-to lock a speed-and back to 'sleep'. It is simply not fast enough to detect this short signal, which is very common in some areas. However, it is not used at all in others and for its price point I would not let this discourage you from buying it. It also does not detect the 16 millisecond K-band POP2 (it's POP settings detect the 33.6-33.8 GHz Ka-band 67 millisecond POP), and turning POP on will greatly increase false alerts with a reduction in distance on all non-POP frequencies. However, unlike QT, POP is very rare.
The Bottom Line?...Well, perhaps everything I have thus far said makes no sense if you aren't a radar detector person...if that is the case, let me sum it up in a not-so-dorky fashion. The detector offers good to excellent range on virtually every type of radar, still has the same laser limitations of other detectors (get a jammer), looks really good in person, has a lot of features that let you customize your unit for you, and is VERY easy to use. It has made some substantial improvements over the previous two silver-colored models, and so I would look at the X50 Black (which is this model) over them. So in layman's terms this is a pretty darn good pick for most users and is an excellent overall value.