Radars are like tasers — something you never really think of getting until something happens that makes you want one, like a speeding ticket at a speed trap. The Radar Escort 360 is a top-notch radar detector that will pay for itself in potentially avoided speed tickets. If you are new to radar detection, there is a bit of a learning curve with this device, but it works wonders once it is in action.
As a newcomer to radar detection, I found myself eager to use it but having to google a fair amount of words to understand how it even worked. The interface is pretty easy to use once you understand what certain bands mean, but you need to keep that memorized because when you are driving you only have time to reference the type of band detected and the direction it is coming from as told or displayed on the device. Fortunately, even if you can’t look at the radar while you are driving, the voice prompt tells you what kind of band is around. It also tracks your speed and lets you know when you are excessively over.
More Bands than Beyoncé
Police tend to use a variety of radars, so a good detector will pick up the main ones and more. The Escort Max 360 does X-band, K-band, Ka-band, and the dreaded Laser. The technical spec name for this type of radar is superheterodyne, varactor-tuned VCO. That may sound like a Terminator-style Velociraptor to you, which is appropriate enough because it is just as fierce in its capabilities. The first thing you notice driving around with this is just how much you are being monitored. It is like seeing a whole new world that you never knew existed. Even innocuous looking stoplights are often rigged with red light cameras.
False Alert Memory
Sometimes radar detectors can grate on your nerves by going off constantly with false alerts. The main offender here is newer vehicles with anti-collision technology that can set the radar detector off erroneously. They generally run off a K-band. The problem is, this is the same band the police often use. So, that means most alerts will simply be crying wolf, leaving it fairly useless. The Escort 360 intelligently blocks out most of these faux K-band alerts. That along with its multi-band detection and laser detection make it very useful. If the radar goes off without you knowing why, you can tap the mute button three times to teach it not to bother you at that point again. This is very useful for areas you go by a lot throughout the day. It remembers where you mark it because of the built-in GPS. This GPS is an internal usage GPS, not to be confused with navigational GPS that gives you directions.
360-degree Detection and Sensitivity
Speaking of directions, the Escort 360 has front- and rear-facing antennas, with high-definition OLED arrows to indicate what direction signals are coming from. The digital signal processing algorithm that is built into the device provides it with eight times the range of a police gun. Another awesome feature of this radar detector is the ability to automatically coordinate detection sensitivity based on your speed. For example, when you are driving slowly through a city, you need less sensitivity because of the concentrated barrage of signals, but on the highway you need more broad sensitivity. You can also teach it what the signals are with the Mark button, and volume controls to choose either Red Light, Speed Camera, Speed Trap, or Other.
Bluetooth App Integration
The Escort Max 360 integrates with a companion iOS and Android app (Escort Live) via Bluetooth to keep you up to date on the latest real-time reports of police laser speed traps, of areas that are known to generally have speed traps, fixed photo speed traps, and even of potential aircraft speed monitoring zones. However, that means when you get in your car you have to set up the radar detector, your smartphone with the app, and possibly a GPS navigation system, leaving your dashboard looking like a cockpit.
As if that isn’t incredible enough, the Escort Max 360 comes preloaded with the Escort’s Defender Database, the most expansive collection of photo enforcement cameras in the whole country. The catch with this database is that you must download updates using your computer regularly, which requires a PC. So, Mac users will have to stick to the Escort Live app for the latest information. Mac users will also not be able to update software on the device until it is available for Mac, or run it through a crossover platform like Parallels. Fortunately, it is not often needed.
Legality and In-Car Set-Up
The Escort Max 360 comes with a free sticky cup for placement on your window. The best positioning for it is on the window, with clear lines of sight. Taking legality into consideration, radar detectors are legal everywhere in the (continental) United States except Virginia and Washington D.C. However, various states have specific rules about what you can have on your windshield with regards to driver visibility — and you can bet a police officer will not take to kindly to a radar detector if it is placed illegally on the windshield. It should also be noted that commercial vehicles are typically banned from using these.
The Escort Max 360 is a top of the line radar detector. It comes in at a hefty $650, but that is well worth what tickets and insurance premium hikes would cost you if you don’t avoid tickets. Adding to the value is Escort’s Speeding Ticket Limited Guarantee, which comes with the purchase of the Max 360. For any unit purchased factory direct from Escort, the company will pay off and speeding ticket you receive because of radar or laser detection. So, whether you get nailed by a speeding ticket or not, your Escort Max 360 will give you some measure of financial protection.
Radar detectors aren’t just for speed demons. More and more reports of predatory speed traps and practices leave the common person a tad bewildered when they want to obey the law but simply don’t see a sign, or get distracted for a moment. The radar detector kept me very attuned to my driving conditions like never before and made me more conscious to obey the law rather than disregard it. With a bit of homework, I quickly got the hang of it and absolutely love it. This is one competent piece of car tech, and with its feature set and Escort’s Speeding Ticket Limited Guarantee, it handily beats out competitors like the Valentine One. See Escort for more.