Pros: Edge on x, k band and laser detection range over 8500/x50, arrows, rear antenna.
Cons: none so far.
Valentine 1 unit package consists of an owners manual, a direct wire mount option, a 12v lighter style plug in with replaceable fuse (phone jack wire), visor clip, windshield mount with suction cups and quick release tab. The windshield mount is more solid and sturdy than the escort passport 8500 which is a small metal piece that allows the 8500 to bounce up and down more so. The 8500 mount also sags and bends under stress over time, whereas the valentine 1 high quality hard plastic mount never sags over time and allows you to constantly stay level. The V1 mount also is very stable allowing very little bouncing of the detector over bumps. The mount has many adjustable positions for various windshields. The front display of the v1 detector has a volume knob with built in mute button and mute button volume adjuster switch. There are radar and laser band markers that light up when detected making either a beep for x, a brap for k, a brap-brap for Ka, and a European style siren for laser. A deet-deet sound notifies the owner of an additional bogey located. Up to 6 radar and laser sources/bogeys can be detected at one time. A photo sensor is located on the front panel that brightens or dims the display according to external light level. The display arrows are vivid and bright, which allow for easy visualization. A high mounting position in the middle of the windshield will increase the accuracy and detection range of the front and rear radar antennas allowing for true location of the arrows. Avoid mounting low on the dash behind the windshield wipers and too high above the dark band at the top of the windshield. The higher the line of sight the longer the radar range and better laser detection. I have mine mounted just below my rearview mirror at the center of the windshield so it can see over my back seats.
The meat and potatoes:
I really would like to see a review of the new Escort Passport 8500 x50 against the current Valentine 1 radar detector. it says that it has up to a 50% k and Ka band range improvement. I have had a total of two Escort passport 8500s and now I have a valentine 1 and simply love it.
Let me start off with why I believe the Valentine 1 is better than the escort 8500. If we were to compare simply radar band sensitivity between the 8500 and valentine1 you would see the valentine 1 is better in x band greatly, slightly better in K band and about the same in Ka band. Comparing radar range for k and ka band areas would show no real winner. For laser detection the valentine 1 is the only detector to pick up laser form 500 feet aiming at the front bumper. Now for features you would not think the directional arrows would be that important. I thought that having arrows was just something that wouldn't really matter when I bought the valentine 1. After using the valentine 1 for the first week I received it about 1 year ago I saw why it was so great. Imagine this: You are driving down the road with your 8500 or non-valentine detector and you receive an alert. You slow down right?, but where is it coming from? The side, rear, or front? Sometimes a cop is driving far behind you in the same lane, sometimes in front and sometimes to the side. With an ordinary detector you would have to remain at the speed limit for as long as you are receiving the radar signal, but with a valentine 1 you can identify where the signal/s are coming from and make the decision to either slow down or remain at your present speed. any other detector just leaves you guessing while your driving at a slow speed limit until the signal goes away. For me a valentine 1 user, I find out where the patrol car/s are and then know exactly when I can go back to my faster speed. Some people may not care for this feature. It is usually those that are never really in a hurry, but for someone like me that has to be at places on time often I need to know when I can go back to me previous speed. If you thought the passport 8500 gave you comfort you never had before, just wait and see what the Valentine 1 can bring in the comfort department. Another plus to the valentine 1 that is not mentioned so much is the extra rearward facing radar antenna. This additional antenna picks up on not just rear radar but radar from the front also, which will give the detector an edge on detection range from more natural patrol car positions that are not perfectly in front of you or behind. Instead of the radar dropping off rapidly when a moving radar car goes past you, the valentine 1 continues to display the signal via the rear facing radar antenna. Not important you say? Keep in mind the patrol car may at a far distance behind you may decide to turn around or flank your cars position for a trap. A directional system will tell you just where the car is heading and if it is coming back. Another good thing with the arrows and front and rear radar antennas is after 1 or 2 patrol cars go by with radar and the rear arrow is lit up, another patrol car if up ahead, the rear arrow will stay constant while the front arrow will flash. As you can imagine the directional system is more complicated than you may have previously thought. I do have to mention though that with any radar it will bounce off of everything and at times the valentine 1 will give a different direction than it really is, but it will also give the direction from the signal that is hitting the front or rear the strongest. I rarely get false directions and they usually only happen in the city where there are many cars and building reflecting and bouncing radar around.
I'm not here to sell you on either product. Both are good enough for the job, but it's up to you if the extra features are worth the price. let me also tell you about how instead of just being able to detect the new Bee 3 pop mode, top radar detectors like escort and valentine 1 need to have a system that lets you know when the pop 3 mode is being used, so that if you get pulled over you can make sure that you don't get a ticket by referring to the bee 3 manual on not being able to issue tickets in pop mode. The majority of the public have no idea about this fact in the bee 3 manual, and I think plenty of patrolmen will take advantage of the fact no one knows that it is illegal for them to give out a ticket based on the pop-mode alone. I hear that speedzones.com will have a review at the end of june 04' for the latest detectors including the escort 8500 x50. I can't wait to see the results. I buy whatever is the best detector, and I have no true loyalty over companies, but I do love the directional arrows enough to keep the valentine 1 even if the escort 8500 new x50 beats it by a small margin. The pure capability to upgrade the hardware an software of the valentine 1 for less than half the price merits it a permanent keeper almost regardless of test results. Why you ask? Well, valentine research is constantly researching new hardware and software technology to improve their already top detector. They have always offered updates to the older customers if you have an older model. You can upgrade the first valentine 1 to the latest version! It's hard to beat the long term plan of never being obsolete. With the Escort you buy a new detector like the 8500 and then the 8500 x50 comes out with new hardware and software updates. In order to get the new hardware you can't send in your old 8500 for a hardware update, just software only...that doesn't help, because it is generally the hardware doing all the work. If you own a Valentine 1 you just send in your unit when a new hardware and software improvement has been made for less than half of what you originally paid (399 dollars). In the short term you save money with buying an escort, but in the long run you will spend more money on escort for the new technology, which would be another 300-330 dollars per new upgrade escort makes on it's hardware. I am 21 years old and I haven't received a ticket since I turned 16. I got a warning from a state patrol car when I first started driving on my own. I was going 84 in a 55 passing another car on my way to highschool in the next city. Luckily the state patrol officer knew my family and I got just a warning, but I got blessed out by the patrolman after he told me to get out of the car. I had a cordless escort solo...what a piece ...it went off after i was on top of him. After that I bought an escort 8500 and then a valentine 1 after I had two 8500s. When it comes to radar detection and avoiding tickets you can not spare any expense on a top detector, or your days are numbered. You have to remember, even auto insurance companies have been known to invest in speed detection devices so that they can jack up your insurance rates after getting some speeding tickets. Thanks for reading..happy patrolman detecting on the road!
News Flash from the inside:
I wanted to add to my above review that I Have recently talked to a technical staff member from Valentine Research. After asking the man if they were working on anything new he told me some great news. He said that they were already in the field testing phase for new hardware and software updates to detect the new pop made by MPH industries on the Bee 3, or any other pop mode maker. He said that they did not want to rush out an update like Escort has with it's new 8500 x50. The few self-reviewers that have bought the new 8500 x50 say that it falses a lot when the pop mode option is turned on.
Another technical staff member told me that they have several new passport 8500 x50s in their laboratories, and indicated that the Valentine 1 still beats the 8500 x50 in x and k band, but is about equal in ka band detection. Another note is that detection range has nothing to do really with pop mode detection.
Currently the V1 detects k band pop mode, and when the new hardware and software update comes out it will detect pop mode on both k and ka bands with minimal falsing unlike the 8500 x50.
This is all I have herd for now. How long will it take for the update to come out? They wouldn't say, but I did get them to easily say it would be well less than a year. Perhaps 6 months? I would not think long since it is already in the testing phase. I can't wait to get the new updated version. besides pop mode detection, I'm sure there will be improvements across the board on the valentine 1.
I guess valentine1.com's main page on the Bee 3 pop mode and how that they want be making plans for an update,...and that MPH industries should recall their units is a stall for what they are really working on. They are right about the pop mode's error prone readings due to the limitations of physics and how the oscillator has to heat up to be accurate with speed readings. This will, or probably will not stop traffic police from issuing tickets, even though the MPH Bee 3 manual says pop mode readings should not be used for evidence towards giving out citations. The majority of the population will know nothing about the pop modes error prone electronics, and this is why traffic police will get away with giving out pop mode tickets, which in turn could lead to a rise in pop mode units sold across the U.S.A. This is why Valentine Research had to work on an update for their detector. The mention of no update when they posted the MPH bee 3 article was more than likely a marketing ploy to keep valentine 1 owners from switching to the 8500 x50 for pop mode protection whether it falsed too much or not.
I personally had grown too attached to the directional arrows, rear antenna, and superior k band detection range to switch to an escort 8500 x50 before I knew this knowledge. I also wanted to know speedzones.com's results, which I considered to be the least biased. I herd here recently from both escort and valentine research that speedzones isn't always 100% correct, and that their results should "be taken with a grain of salt."
Hope this update was of some help. Happy radar hunting!
New from an insider on speedzones 2004 test reports Valentine 1 leading X, K, and laser detection over the new 8500 x50. The 8500 x50 had a .2 mile lead on Ka band, which is no real lead over the Valentine 1's range. I can't wait to see what happens when the older Valentine 1 get's it's new polished update for pop detection and range improvement, which would be a more fair comparison to the 8500 x50 which jumped the gun on pop detection hardware. Valentine research actually wants to spend time on a quality pop detecting product that doesn't false like crazy, and has a better detection rate over the 8500 x50.
Update 3: Inconsitancies with Speedzones.com 2003 and 2004 test.
Last years 2003 test in the 2 1/2 mile over the hill test the valentine 1 detected k band and this year 2004 test the valentine 1 did not? Also last year the valentine 1 detected k band pop mode, yet this year did not. In the laser test for 2003 the valentine 1 was the only detector to alert at the front plate from 500 feet, yet this year it did not on even the 1000 foot marker, nor did any other detector, but it was the only one to detect laser while a car was driving ahead of it. There are a lot of inconstancies with this years and last years results with the same version valentine 1. Currently Valentine 1 is field testing new hardware and software for detecting k and ka band pop modes, which should be out in 6 months or - . Also, why did the Valentine 1 do better in the long ranger test on x and k band over the 8500 x50, yet the 8500x50 alerted to x and ka band at 2 1/2 mile over the hill test over the valentine 1. Boy are these two tests different and they are at the same testing grounds as before. If you go to speedzones.com website and look at the photos, you will also notice how the valentine 1 is always positioned at the far right of the car at an angle, while the 8500 x50 is positioned closer to the left side of the car where the road/radar operator gun is. Instead they should take each detector down and position all of them in the same spot each time they tested instead of scatering them across the windshield with the valentine 1 in the worst spot for their testing. The radar operators are also holding the radar guns, which allows for human error to tilt the radar for many feet when the beam nears it's target. A more accurate test would have the radar guns in a fixed position. One round could have the radar gun pointed more torwards the detector that is on and others off, the next round the operator could be pointing off some messing up the results. Last years test said that they would never declare a clear winner, yet this year 2004 they declare the 8500 x50 the top dog. It seems to me someone is getting paid for these results. maybe, maybe not? Just wanted to make sure readers will take all detector reviews with a grain of salt and not believe everything written on paper. Speedzones has illustrated a clear example of that.
Check for updates periodically. I will be making, or adding a new review between the new passport 8500x50 and the new valentine 1 when valentine research comes out with its pop mode and range update in several months. Our hometown has fixed k-band speed signs, grocery store k-band automatic doors, and varying terrain situations. These stationary signs and sensors will allow me as with the previous 8500 and v1 get consistent and accurate results. I will also do tests on ford and gmc vehicles to make sure each test is re-checked for consistency and windows are transparent with no metallic films of any sort that might alter the results.
I will keep updating the previous 8500 and v1 for those of you still deciding on what to do about upgrading your detectors. My fiance and my father still have the passport 8500s, so I will always have them to compare with. I am here to give unbiased and precise test results, because I myself want only the best in radar/laser detection measures. Loyalty to either company is the least of my worries.
The Valentine 1 now has K and KA band pop mode protection built in. The feature is not one you turn on and off like the 8500x50 by escort. The reason escort made there pop mode protection feature able to turn on and off is because it falses like crazy when it is on. Now the valentine 1 has a pop mode protection with minimal to no falsing and it detects it over the hill before you get in line of sight. Most detectors with pop protection cant detect out of line of sight.