Passport 9500ci Radar Detector
Escort bills it as The World's Most Intelligent Custom Installed Radar and Laser Defense System. With a price tag of $1600, the Passport 9500ci had better be. Let's check out what makes this little dashboard device smarter, quieter and more accurate than the competition...
Review: The Escort Passport 9500ci
The Escort Passport 9500ci is not your run-of-the-mill radar detector. It's arguably the best, and definitely one of the most expensive. But it does offer an unprecedented level of protection when you are on the road. Here's my review of the cutting edge Passport 9500ci. (If you want some background on what radar detectors are and how they work, see my companion article on radar detectors.)
There are several new features in Escort's latest system. The Passport 9500ci identifies the strength, location and source of all radar signals. This includes X-band (10.525 GHz ± 25 MHz), K-band (24.150 GHz ± 100 MHz), Ka-band (34.700 GHz ± 1300 MHz), and Laser. The embedded GPS, along with a pre-loaded database of speed traps and traffic cameras gives you an extra level of heads-up, in addition to the radar and laser detection. The Truelock filter gives you the ability to press a button to ignore radar-based motion sensors, automatic door openers and other false alarms. And because this device knows where you are, it can learn as you drive, so the annoying false alarms happen less and less over time. At the same time, the 9500ci lets you know of a new or different signal coming from the same location.
And of course the unit is stealthy. It's invisible to "radar detector detectors" so the police will never know you're on to them. Also, the 9500ci's variable speed sensitivity adjusts to how fast you are moving. For example, for city driving the detection sensitivity is very low, but when you hit the highway, it will pick up all radar bands. You can also leave it on manual. SpeedAlert displays the band, strength and vehicle speed. Voice on/off is optional but when left on, is clear and precise.
The radar receiver is a tiny size of 3.7 x 4.1 x 1.2 inches and is backlit for nighttime convenience. One of the gadget's niftiest features is called Mark Location. When you mark a location to put it in memory and drive by it again, the 9500ci reminds you in advance that the site is coming up. Handy for those "trouble spots" you already know about from experience.
When it comes to the 9500ci's radar receiver, it features a dual LNA microwave receiver, a superheterodyne, varactor-tuned VCO, a scanning frequency discriminator, and digital signal processor. At a size of 1.9 x 0.7 inches, the 280 LED digital display, in addition to SpeedAlert, shows an ExpertMeter, Spec Display, a bar graph, and five degrees of brightness, from complete daylight to full dark.
The total package includes twin laser receiver/shifters to mount in the front, a rear license plate mounted laser receiver/shifter, a 12-volt interface module, a GPS antenna, 12-volt amplified speaker, the bi-color LED and mounting hardware for all of it. Passport includes a manual and installation guide and you can visit their site for help or contact them by a toll-free number. The detector comes with a free 3-year database subscription when you order your new toy. To have access you need to register your 9500ci online, supplying serial with your number and key code. You can then download their Detector Tools application. I suggest that you use a laptop so that you do not have to pull the unit back out to hook up a USB cable to your indoor PC. Remember that the "ci" in the 9500 stands for custom installation. I recommend that you have it done by a pro, unless you're very doing this sort of thing. To make it easier, Escort provides labels, color-coded wires and an amazing self-diagnostic capability that displays in text anything that doesn't seem quite right.
If you're still not quite convinced, visit Escort's radar detector school. There are online manuals, videos and tutorials. You'll also find information on how police radar and laser guns work, why they sometimes make mistakes or are used unfairly, and other interesting facts.
Even If You're Not a Crazy Speed Demon...When I wrote my earlier article about radar detectors, some people asked me "Why would you need a radar detector, unless you were planning to exceed the speed limit intentionally?" Well for me the answer is simple... it's for those times when you are UNintentionally exceeding the speed limit. I travel often on major highways, and I've never gotten a speeding ticket on the highway. But the more you drive on local roads, the more likely you are to find yourself inadvertently doing 40 in a 30 zone, and see those red lights flashing in your rear-view mirror.
Have you ever driven through an area with an artificially low speed limit -- clear visibility, few houses, on the outskirts of town... the type of area that would normally have a speed limit of 45, but for some reason it's only 30? A few years ago, I got two "40 in a 30" tickets in a two-week period. One time I just wasn't paying attention, and the other time, the "Speed Limit 40" sign was literally yards in front of my car when the officer nabbed me. After paying some hefty fines and insurance rate hikes, I decided to supplement my brain with a radar detector to level the playing field.
You might not have guessed, but speeding tickets are actually big business. Over a BILLION dollars a year flow into local and state coffers as a result. Houston for example rakes in about $45 million per year. And the price of the average speeding ticket: about $800 including fines, lost work time, and insurance hikes over the next 3-5 years. If you're a law-abiding, tax-paying citizen who happens to get pulled over on the way home from the grocery store, that's a tough pill to swallow.
Before you buy a radar detector, you should know that they are banned in two states -- Washington D.C. and Virginia. And some insurance companies will refuse coverage if you have a radar detector. But oh, the irony... insurance companies donate radar and laser guns to the police all the time, hoping to increase the number of speeding tickets and thereby justify raising the rates of their customers. You can argue that they do it to help the police catch bad drivers, but that rings hollow to me.
Nobody paid me to write this article, and I don't really care if you buy a radar detector or not. I'm just telling the story of why I'm interested in radar detectors, and why I decided to buy one. Do you have have a radar detector, or a story to tell? Post a comment below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 30 Nov 2008
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Passport 9500ci Radar Detector (Posted: 30 Nov 2008)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved