Brad Wardell's site for talking about the customization of Windows.

It's not that I intentionally speed as much as I just don't like being the victim of speed traps that I have made it my business to know what the best radar detectors are.

For the last 4 years in particular, I've been using various models of K40 radar detectors with the most recent one being a K40 Calibre installed last year.  The K40s are special because they are integrated into the car. That is, someone would not know that you had a radar detector.  The radar detector itself is installed professionally in the front of the vehicle (under the hood) and a remote receiver informs the driver of any radar threats.  Once installed, the read out is part of the dashboard (typically a pair of LEDs). 

Also during this time, I've been a daily lurker on many different car websites and the consensus, by far, is that the Valentine V1 is the best radar detector out there.  However, the V1 is a traditional radar detector which means it is quite conspicuous there on your windshield.  If you're reasonably handy, you can help this situation by hooking it up to a power source in the car, but it's still not nearly as seamless or subtle as a K40.

Pricing

The price difference between the K40 and the V1 is significant.  A fully set up K40 Calibre (with laser defuser) can end up around $2K.  The V1 is around $400.

Going head to head

Recently, while driving up north, I got a speeding ticket.  The K40 went off but it was with so little notice that it was far far too late (I was the trooper before the K40 went off).  So I decided to pick up a V1 and conduct a series of unscientific head to head tests over the past month or so.

So which radar detector is the best? The V1, by far, is superior. It's not even remotely close.  The V1 gave off far fewer false positives, seems to be much more intelligent in picking up what matters, was able to detect instant ons that were going on in the distance (The K40 never even went off), and gave far more advance warning.

Eventually, I decided to put them both in the car at the same time.  I had read that having two radar detectors in the car at once could cause them to interfere with each other. But at least in this case, there was no problem at all. The two were far enough apart (since the K40 is in the front under the hood) that they got along just fine.  It allowed me to really compare the two in performance and like my separate testings showed, the K40 was no where near as effective as the V1.

What I was really amazed at is the lack of false positives the V1 gives when it's in "advanced logic" mode. It really works phenomenally well.  The other thing I noticed was how well the V1 handled detecting troopers on the highway who were using instant on to nail targets. The K40 never even picked them up.  This evening, while driving up north, the V1 gave me plenty of notice of a state trooper on I75 but the K40 didn't pick it up until after I could see the trooper -- at which point I would have been dead meat if I had been relying on the K40.

The Verdict

So which would I use? The Valentine V1 right? Not necessarily.  The V1 is better. No doubt about it. The question really revolves around what is "good enough".  For cruising around town, the K40 gives ample notice. And let's face it, for most of us, that's when we get nailed. Going 45 in a 35 or 40 in a 25 is the scenario most people run into and the K40 works very well for that.  It doesn't work as well as the V1 but the K40 is completely integrated into the car. I can't do this with a V1.  The best I could do with a V1 would be to get a professional to install it up near my visor and put a remote display somewhere which would still be more than I would want on a day to day basis in my car.  What's nice about the K40 is that it works fairly well and it's largely invisible.

That said, the K40 is basically worthless for highway driving. I've had my installation checked a couple of times and I am sure part of the weakness of the K40 is how low to the ground it is (since it's installed near the front grill) compared to a traditional radar detector. But I can also tell that it's programming is fairly stupid compared to the V1. So if you do a lot of highway driving, the K40 is pretty useless.  So it really boils down to whether you speed a lot when you're on the highway as well as whether the "stealthiness" of the radar detector matters.


Comments (Page 1)
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on Jun 21, 2008

So what does the stealthiness do? Are the police more inclined to give a ticket if ya got one visible?

on Jun 22, 2008

chadwbaker
So what does the stealthiness do? Are the police more inclined to give a ticket if ya got one visible

In some states, it's illegal to have a radar detecter in your car. If the police can't see it, they generally can't bust you for having it.

on Jun 22, 2008

Hazirak
it's illegal to have a radar detecter in your car. If the police can't see it, they generally can't bust you for having it.

Ahh yes that would be a very good reason! lol

on Jun 22, 2008
I never figured you for a insatiable criminal Brad, but I guess we all have our peccadilloes.

In Australia radar detectors are banned, with possession alone enough to give you a ticket. They're an interesting idea though. I've always wondered how hard it would be to get radar-proof paint and cover a car in it. That would be pretty cool, if no matter what they used the fuzz couldn't get a reading. Of course if it worked that would be banned too, so I guess I'll just have to avoid breaking the law.
on Jun 22, 2008

Cactoblasta you are right there. We can only get fixed speed camera / red light camera detectors.

on Jun 22, 2008

Radar detectors aren't illegal here.  But I just don't like stuff hanging around that isn't "native" to my $140k car.

on Jun 22, 2008

Cactoblasta you are right there. We can only get fixed speed camera / red light camera detectors.

Well what can I say? God bless America.

on Jun 22, 2008

  USA all the way!

on Jun 23, 2008
Yea, Radar detectors are illegal here in Norway as well.. unfortunately. So far I've avoided any speed-traps, but I guess its only a matter of time.

Course, many of the roads here are under video surveilance so I guess it wont do much good with a detector anyway.

on Jun 23, 2008
In some states, it's illegal to have a radar detecter in your car. If the police can't see it, they generally can't bust you for having it.


Yea, here in the Old dominion they are. However, I really dont want to put their powers of observation (the cops) to the test.
on Jun 26, 2008

I use a Passport 9500i.  Haven't really played with the GPS feature yet.  Okay, I bought it because it has a USB plug and can be flashed.

I'm a sucker.  But it's awesome.  I've basically paid for it in avoided tickets already.

And it talks.

-Ian

on Jun 26, 2008

I use a Passport 9500i.  Haven't really played with the GPS feature yet.  Okay, I bought it because it has a USB plug and can be flashed.I'm a sucker.  But it's awesome.  I've basically paid for it in avoided tickets already.And it talks.-Ian

Yea I've looked at the 9500i, there's a cool video demo of it on the web. I very much like the idea of being able to flag known trouble spots. The reason I didn't pick it up is because I didn't like the UI for adding hot spots.  When I'm driving, i don't want to mess with a bunch of controls.  I was surprised the 9500i didn't have a one-button "mark" option (it's like 3 buttons to mark a spot in the GPS). 

I totally think GPS is the future though.  Imagine if the radar detectors could communicate with one another so inform them of police traps. That would be great.

on Jul 10, 2008
Did anyone else notice that Frogboy posted an article about radar detectors and an article about a new porshe at about the same time? I wonder what that could mean...
on Jul 10, 2008
Did anyone else notice that Frogboy posted an article about radar detectors and an article about a new porshe at about the same time? I wonder what that could mean...


You cant pin anything on me copper! Nyahhhh!
on Sep 07, 2008

My car got broken into last week (I'll talk more about that in a future blog post) and my V1 was stolen.

So I'm picking up the 9500i to see how well it does.

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