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on January 31, 2005
Before I actually begin, one thing should be perfectly clear - you're looking at this radar because you understand accuracy is not only important, it is critical when looking for a radar detector. If you look at my other reviews, you'll notice that I've given 5 stars to those products as well - you'll also notice I haven't done many reviews in the past, that's because I only really write reviews for items that I think deserve it. As for the rest, well, I don't keep the product if it doesn't meet the 5 star requirement! So trust me when I say this radar is the best you can buy under $500.

Accuracy:

I've always been a little skeptical about using radar detectors, everyone knows they won't prevent tickets every single time. But, if it can save you a couple tickets it's already paid for itself. I live in Chicago, and frequently drive to neighboring states for work and to visit family. Because of this, I knew that I would have to buy a solid detector that was effective if I was constantly on the road. I made the right choice. Driving on the expressways in the midwest is simple for me now knowing I am using the 8500 x50. It has alerted me much in advance if a cop was gunning and I've always had time to slow down and pass the cop at the posted speed limit. The three main alerts, K, KA, and X are pretty much always on target - and with minimal false readings, it stays quiet when it needs to.

Ease of Use:

One of the best aspects of this radar is how easy it is to use. Right out of the package, it's ready to go. However, if you're a little more technical and always need things a certain way, you can configure it with a number of different settings to fit your style. One of the downfalls is that I wish the x50 would have a better volume control - I feel that it doesn't go loud enough, especially when I'm listening to music in my car. To make up for it, I've moved the x50 from the center of the winshield to more to the left, so it is in my field of vision while I drive to allow me to see the display at all times out of the corner of my eye. In addition, the Escort SmartCord works well with it's auto mute button on the adaptor itself.

Value:

Hands down, the x50 takes the gold as the number one radar on the market. You're probably thinking to yourself, $340 for a radar detector is a lot of money. And you know.. you're absolutely right. But.. if you save yourself two speeding tickets, the x50 has paid for itself (not to mention the pain of having to go to court and traffic school). If this radar was over $400, it would still be worth it considering what you may be saving yourself from. I got the x50 with the blue display because it was from the Sharper Image, and that's all they had. If you want to save yourself $40 by going with the red display, I say do it and save some cash.

The Bottom Line:

If you want to make a solid investment, get the 8500 x50 and don't waste your money with a $100 or $200 radar that isn't accurate - doing that will cost you the price of your ticket plus a radar detector that would be better off being used for a paper weight. Although Bel and the Valentine One are solid detectors, they don't match up to the stats that the x50 has - see it for yourself at [...]
55 comments|281 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 19, 2006
I was going 75 in a 40, up a hilly highway last night, to get by a logging truck before a long stretch with no passing zones. There was some downhill traffic, but no cop-like vehicles I could see. But Mr. Escort blinked his lights (the one on the power supply as well as the blue LEDs) and sounded his chirp (which is loud enough for me!) and I buried the brake pedal to get my bimmer down to the legal speed. Then the signal went dead. None of the downhill vehicles was the fuzz, so my first thought was "dangit, that false alarm is going to get me stuck behind this truck for five miles!" but then I saw Mr. Smokey in the trees just off the road, using pop-radar in his unmarked car. He had just clocked the downhill cars, that's where I got my signal.

"BUzzzzzz!" Mr Escort said again when the copper clocked me, and I'll bet HE thought "a BMW going 40? He knew I was here." But once the cop was out of view,I zoomed by the truck , and thanked the Escort Co. for the 50th time this year. I have not gotten a SINGLE ticket since I installed mine, and many, if not most, would have been unavoidable without it.

If you drive a lot, and you don't like being passed by grandmas, BUY THIS DETECTOR. Don't quibble about the price, it will save you three times the $ in the first year. I never owned any other, so I can't say if it's better than a V1 or a Cobra, but I do know I am VERY glad I bought mine.
22 comments|61 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 3, 2006
I ordered the Passport X50 from Amazon to save the $18 shipping Escort Radar was charging. I was told by someone at Escort Radar that Amazon was an authorized reseller.

After having my detector on for ten minutes (right out of the box), it did three "SELF CAL"s, then said "SERVICE REQUIRED". I called Escort Radar and was told "If you let the car power up the unit when you start the car, the voltage can be all over the place and the unit gets confused. You must first start the car, and then use the thumbwheel to turn on the detector." It makes some sense, but if this is really the case, why don't they put those instructions in their manual? After trying this many times, the unit was "still confused", so I returned it for a replacement.

My second detector worked for maybe thirty minutes before the same thing happened. This time Escort Radar told me "if you leave it plugged into the cigarette lighter over night, this has been found to cause problems." Well my lighter power goes off when I turn off the ignition, so this doesn't apply. Escort Radar also told me that "excessive heat" has been causing them problems. Now we have had a few days of 100° heat, and I'm sure the car gets hotter parked in the sun, but the design engineers should have accounted for these conditions plus some margin when you design something that is supposed to work in a car. It gets a lot hotter in other parts of the country. There are no warnings in the manual about not using it above 90° or leaving it off in a hot car. You wouldn't design a ski that doesn't work below 35°, would you???

The most troubling part of my conversation with Escort Radar service department was they told me Amazon is not an authorized reseller, and they have no idea where they are getting the units from. Furthermore, they will not honor any warranty nor will they ever repair the unit, not even for money.
1515 comments|287 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 26, 2007
I bought this radar detector unit one year back. It worked fine for first few months as it picked up LASER, POP, and Ka bands properly. However, after 6 months, it started displaying a message: "Self Calibrating" and finally displayed: "Service Required." After that this unit was unreliable. I passed several cop cars with LASER gun pointed on the highway. This unit never alerted me (POP is turned on). After several of such incidents, I returned the unit for servicing. The unit came back with a note saying that they replaced antenna and updated the software.

Be sure to send the unit back if it displays "Service Required" message. If you ignore it, like I did, you might be travelling with a dummy unit.

Be sure to get extended warranty. These units does seem to have quality problems. Considering $300 I paid, I am giving it a ** rating because of the quality problems.
0Comment|36 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 16, 2005
After driving for ~2 weeks with both x50 and Valentine One I am

keeping x50 and Val1 will go back to the vendor.

Besides the price differential, x50 offers better pop protection,

is less sensitive in the city driving and offers more up-to-date

interface.

On the other hand it lacks arrows and back window radar (it does

have a back window laser detector, which is not the same as a

full fledged radar that Valentine 1 has patented).

Arrows could come very handy, but this alone does not

justify the ~$120 difference between otherwise very similar

products.

Other than that, both units are very accurate compared to some

other detectors that I've tried. The noise level in the city

driving could get excessive, thankfully x50 comes with a very convinient mute button right on their "smart cord" power supply.

I am deducting a star for the lack of a carrying case,

as less expensive units come with carrying cases out of the box

I was expecting x50 to provide this accessory as part of the

product, not a separate purchase.
22 comments|107 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 15, 2005
After driving for ~2 weeks with both x50 and Valentine One I am

keeping x50 and Val1 will go back to the vendor.

Besides the price differential, x50 offers better pop protection,

is less sensitive in the city driving and offers more up-to-date

interface.

On the other hand it lacks arrows and back window radar (it does

have a back window laser detector, which is not the same as a

full fledged radar that Valentine 1 has patented).

Arrows could come very handy, but this alone does not

justify the ~$120 difference between otherwise very similar

products.

Other than that, both units are very accurate compared to some

other detectors that I've tried. The noise level in the city

driving could get excessive, thankfully x50 comes with a very convinient mute button right on their "smart cord" power supply.

I am deducting a star for the lack of a carrying case,

as less expensive units come with carrying cases out of the box

I was expecting x50 to provide this accessory as part of the

product, not a separate purchase.
0Comment|34 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 28, 2007
This is by far one of the best purchases I have ever made for my car. I have only had it for a day and it has already saved me twice. People complain about how the speaker isn't loud enough which I noticed it's not. However, it comes from the factory set to standard loudness. If you just program it to loud you are good to go. Not a single thing wrong with this product yet, and I don't think I will find anthing wrong with it. Great buy can't even express how happy I am with this radar detector
0Comment|10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 26, 2009
I have never been a huge fan of reviews, I do read them because I feel that people are honest about the products they buy. However, several tests that I have found showed that this Escort 8500 x50 was better than the Valentine1. So I bought it upon many reviews that I read on this site as well as tests done by outside sources.

I owned the product for a total of 3 weeks... I dont even know where to begin. It has many programmable features which is nice and it dims and you can see the screen in the dark(unlike the Valentine1). However there are several things that turned me away that made me sell it so quick. First, I have never had so many false alarms in my life. I would start my car in the driveway no where near any sort of store or any other car with a detector or even a police vehicle, and I was getting multiple bands and multiple sources of radar. Just sitting in the driveway I had K, Ka, and X bands all at the same time on "Expert Mode". It began to get frustrating and had to drive around with it on silent. After a 2 days of this, brand new from the box I called Escort directly and they said that it could be different radio towers in the area. I tried to believe them, but 3 days later and driving to and from Washington never got any better. Called Escort again, very unhelpful and unwilling. In the end I sent it to them to have it repaired.

8 days later I received my so called "fixed" item and began to use it again. Worked great for 3 days before the same thing. So I up and sold it, nearly spent 400$ and only got back 200$ after selling it.

About a month later I got a speeding ticket and really wished I would have had a radar detector. I started looking around again and so many people have swore by the Valentine1 that I needed to at least try it. So I did.

3 days after it arrived I was driving up I-5 just north of Seattle in the Lynnwood area and got a shot of a pretty weak Ka band, I slowed down to the speed limit and got in the middle lane. Seconds later another blast of Ka, pointing ahead this time a bit stronger. Now the V1 has arrows pointing side, front and rear. So we are nearing an overpass and I pick up 3 Ka bands all in front. I could see only 1 officer however on the overpass, we drive by and naturally it goes to the rear but I still had 3 on my bogey counter and now blinking ahead and rear so I knew the worst was to come. After everyone saw this they began to speed up but I didn't. Just to the top of the hill near the next off ramp sat 6 police cars picking people off one by one. And if it had not been for the V1 I would have been toast. No other detector could have saved me. I have had my V1 for 6 months and at least 3 tickets avoided.

If I had to do it all over again I would have just listened to all my friends and gone with the V1 instead of the Escort. The blue Escort is only $50 cheaper than the V1 and with the V1 such better protection and alot more features and security. I have had both the V1 is the BEST, and I sincerely mean that when I say the BEST radar/laser detector in the world.
33 comments|9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Overview: Having been accustomed to the Beltronics line of radar detectors with voice alerts, it was a bit frustrating to get used to the Escort Passport 8500 x50's lack of voice alerts. However, it was not too hard to get used to the different tones on the x50 when using the Expert display mode as a set of "training wheels." The performance of the 8500 x50 is top notch in K and Ka band sensitivity. It offers POP detection for K and Ka band radar, along with superior Laser detection. It was one of the few detectors that could detect laser aimed at the front license plate (the other detector was the venerable but formidable Valentine 1). The Escort Passport 8500 x50 is essentially the same as the Passport 8500, except the x50 offers POP detection and a firmware upgrade. The latest firmware revision of the Passport 8500 x50 as of this review is 6.10. The upcoming Escort Passport 9500i shows great promise in being an even better detector.

Installation: The power cord system is straightforward. It uses a standard RJ-11 telephone jack. The smart cord systems with the LED and remote mute button require a 4-wire RJ-11 connection, while a standard direct-wire would only utilize the 2 center leads in the RJ-11 jack: red (+12V) and green (GND). The Escort Passport 8500 x50 uses the standard Escort mounts such as the windshield suction cup bracket or the visor clip. A note of caution when buying a visor clip: The clip is inferior compared to the older Beltronics visor/windshield combination mounts. The Escort clip will NOT allow you to adjust the radar detector, but instead it follows the slope of the visor.

Pros: The Expert display mode allows simultaneous displaying of up to 8 radar signals total, in all 3 bands. For example, if you are receiving 2 X-band signals, 1 K band signal, and 1 Ka band signal, the display will show X K Ka followed by bars of different heights signifying the signal quantity and strength. It is similar to the Valentine 1 bogey counter, except the x50 uses a much more advanced and intuitive layout. The K, Ka, and Laser sensitivity is almost on-par with the Valentine 1 in real-world tests as well as tests published online by various communities. The filtering algorithms in the x50 are exceptional, but it will still report strong signals from door sensors, highway signs, and other "false alerts."

Cons: The lack of voice alerts makes it cumbersome to use. I had to frequently look at the display to see what it was detecting until I got somewhat accustomed to the different tones. The loud tone setting is very annoying (max X and K band signals sound like missile lock tones that do not get automuted), so I recommend keeping it on standard tones (will get automuted over time). The visor/windshield mounting system is something left to be desired. I wish Escort used Beltronics' mounting systems when the two firms merged, rather than force-feed the Escort mounting system onto all future Beltronics models (the RX-65 and Vector 995i all use the Escort mounts).

Summary: With newer detectors over the horizon, such as the Passport 9500i, the prices will begin to drop for the 8500 x50 so it may be a great time to upgrade your older detector for one of the best on the market.

1). Multiple radar detection in the form of signal labels and individual bar graphs, as well as signal prioritization. Basically if it detects 3 X-band door sensors and a Ka instant-on, you will hear the Ka alert rather than the 3 X-band door sensors, but the Expert display will show all 4 signals and 4 bar graphs.

2). The 8500 x50 is more aesthetically pleasing with more display brightness settings and programmable default controls. You can set the x50 so that it starts off at a certain brightness setting, as well as tweak the default display mode.

3). The 8500 x50 can be automuted so that the detector doesn't require manual muting to ignore the audible alert.

4). Individual band control. You can turn POP detection, X, K, Ka, and Laser on or off individually depending on what systems are used in your area.

5). High X, K, Ka, and Laser sensitivity. It may not be the absolute king of the hill based on EMI chamber sensitivity tests, but it is close enough to the V1 that the price and extra features of the 8500 x50 make the Escort Passport 8500 x50 a significantly better buy without compromising radar detection performance.

6). The upcoming Passport 9500i will most likely blow the 8500 x50 out of the water, but at almost twice the price.
0Comment|29 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 1, 2006
First of all I got this product for [...]$ and then a few days later Amazon lowered it to [...], I was quick to ship mine back and order it for cheaper...thanks amazon for that :D
The good:
1) Very accurate. Everytime it goes off I have enough time to slow down. I borrowed V-1 from my friend and installed it together. Believe it or not V-1 does not go off sometimes (K and Ka bands)
2) Intellient muting: The unit mutes automatically after a few beeps and however loud I keep my music I can still hear this beeping!
3) 360 degree range: I have seen cops arrive on all directions after this thing goes off. It has a 360 degree range.
4) Consumes lesser battery power than V-1 does.

Recommendations:
1) Install it as high as you can in your car.
2) Keep all the window glasses of your car clean.
3) Turn the volume to High. (The default is standard)
Myth and reality:
Do not expect it to go off on slopes, if you are on a rising slope I suggest you slow down because it will be too late when you get hit.
I really wish they they had the arrow feature of V-1 built into it, but for half the price of V-1 I don't mind :)

Cons:
Do NOT blame this device if you get ticketed because you were speeding up a slope or on curvy roads, or you got pulled over by cops who didn't have their radars turned on. This device will help only monitor your speed and warn you of potential threats, it doesn't make you invincible!
POP is not turned on by default and is listed as a con by amazon, but it's just a two step process to enable it.

Overall it's a great toy to have. I got the blue display because it matches well with my blue dashboard display of my Civic 06.
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