Cobra XRS 9400 B Radar Detector
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User reviews and opinions
|loaderror||10:46am on Monday, October 25th, 2010|
|worked great but the cops can detect it i had this radar for over 4 months it worked its purpose in the united states.|
|betterspud||10:15pm on Tuesday, April 13th, 2010|
|Sometimes you just need to get somewhere in a hurry, well this device can help you save even more time bye not getting pulled over for a ticket. I returned two Whistlers then tried this one and so far I am very happy with it. Clear Alert, Durable, Easy To Mount, Good Sensitivity|
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11 BAND HIGH-PERFORMANCE RADAR/LASER DETECTOR WITH XTREME RANGE SUPERHETERODYNE TECHNOLOGY
Nothing comes close to a Cobra
Printed in China Part No. 480-104
Important Information And Customer Assistance
Federal Laws Governing The Use Of Radar Detectors It is not against federal law to receive radar transmissions with your Cobra radar/ laser detector. The Communications Act of 1924 guarantees your right to receive radio transmissions on any frequency. Local laws that contravene this Act, while illegal, may be enforced by your local law enforcement officials until and unless they are prohibited from doing so by federal court action. Safety Alert Use of this product is not intended to, and does not, ensure that motorists or passengers will not be involved in traffic accidents. It is only intended to alert the motorist that an emergency vehicle equipped with a Cobra Safety Alert transmitter is within range as defined by that product. Please call local fire and police departments to learn if coverage exists in your area.
Safe Driving Motorists, as well as operators of emergency or service vehicles, are expected to exercise all due caution while using this product, and to obey all applicable traffic laws. Security Of Your Vehicle Before leaving your vehicle, always remember to conceal your radar detector in order to reduce the possibility of break-in and theft.
Should you encounter any problems with this product, or not understand its many features, please refer to this owners manual. If you require further assistance after reading this manual, Cobra Electronics offers the following customer assistance services: For Assistance In The U.S.A. Automated Help Desk English only. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week 773-889-3087 (phone). Customer Assistance Operators English and Spanish. 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. CT Mon. through Fri. (except holidays) 773-889-3087 (phone). Questions English and Spanish. Faxes can be received at 773-622-2269 (fax). Technical Assistance English only. www.cobra.com (on-line: Frequently Asked Questions). English and Spanish. firstname.lastname@example.org (e-mail). For Assistance Outside The U.S.A. Contact Your Local Dealer
2003 Cobra Electronics Corporation 6500 West Cortland Street Chicago, Illinois 60707 USA www.cobra.com
Controls, Indicators And Connections
Display And Product Features
Signal Strength, Laser And City/ Highway Mode Indicators Signal Strength 1 (weakest) to 5 (strongest)
Windshield Bracket Release Button Windshield Bracket Mount
X K Ka V S
LaserEye For 360 detection of laser and strobe signals. Speaker City Button For City or Highway modes to reduce false alerts.
NOTE: In This Manual When steady, X K Ka V S the display will be shown: When blinking, the display will be shown:
Address (No P.O. Boxes)
Radar, VG-2, Spectre 1, Safety And Strobe Indicators
Credit Card Number
Type: Visa MasterCard Discover
Congratulations! Youve made a smart choice by purchasing the XRS 9400 high performance radar/laser detector from Cobra. Just look at some of the sophisticated features and capabilities your new unit includes: Xtreme Range UltraBright Data Display Superheterodyne Technology Easy-to-read with adjustable brightness With super-fast sweep circuitry, City Or Highway XRS provides extra detection range Modes to reduce false alerts and the best possible advance warning Safety Alert to even the fastest radar guns Traffic warning system distinguishes Detection And Separate Alerts For: important safety alerts from other Radar signals (X, K and Ka bands, K band signals with signal strength indicated), Strobe Alert laser signals, Safety Alert signals, Emergency vehicle warning system Strobe Alert signals, VG-2 signals, Manual Mute Or Auto Mute Spectre 1 signals A mute function of audio alerts LaserEye IntelliMute For 360 detection of laser and A mute function which strobe signals automatically reduces false Instant-On Ready alerts by sensing engine RPMs Detects radar guns with instant-on Mounting (very fast) speed monitoring capabilities Mounts easily on windshield Tone Alert or Voice Alert or dashboard With adjustable volume
This booklet describes the simple steps for mounting and setting up your detector. It also provides helpful information about how radar and laser guns are used and how you can interpret the alerts you receive.
U.S. Cost Each
12V DC Power Jack On-Off/ Volume Control Allows you to adjust the volume of the tone alerts.
420-030-N-001 420-026-N-001 545-139-N-001 CLP-2B
Straight 12V Power Cord Coiled 12V Power Cord Windshield Mounting Bracket Dual Port Power Adapter
IntelliMute Button Engine RPM sensing mute function which reduces false alerts. Button turns IntelliMute On and Off. (Also enters IntelliMute setting mode. ) *
U.S. Subtotal Amount Shipping/Handling* Tax Table Wisconsin add 5% $10.00 or less. $3.00 (Tax if Applicable) Indiana, Michigan, $10.01-$25.00. $5.50 Ohio add 6% $25.01-$50.00. $7.50 California add 7.25% Shipping/Handling Illinois add 8.75% $50.01-$90.00. $10.50 Total $90.01-$130.00. $13.50 *For AK, HI and PR add additional $26.95 for FedEx Next Day or $10.95 for FedEx 2nd Day. Excludes weekends and holidays shipments. $130.01-$200.00. $16.50 Please allow two (2) to three (3) weeks for delivery in the U.S.A. $200.01 plus. 10% of purchase Prices subject to change without notice.
Mute Button For manual mute or auto mute of audio alerts. (Also turns Voice Alert On and Off. ) *
Dim Button Allows you to adjust the UltraBright Data Display brightness for easy reading. (Also turns VG-2 and Spectre 1 alerts On and Off. ) *
Ordering From U.S.A.
Call 773-889-3087 for pricing or visit www.cobra.com. For Credit Card Orders Complete and return this order form to fax number 773-622-2269. Or call 773-889-3087 [Press one (1) from the main menu] 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. CT, Monday through Friday. Make Check or Money Order Payable To Cobra Electronics, Attn: Accessories Dept., 6500 West Cortland Street, Chicago, IL 60707 U.S.A.
* Press and hold for two (2) seconds to access these functions.
Modifications or parts substitutions not approved by Cobra Electronics Corporation may violate FCC Rules and void your authority to operate this equipment.
To Order Online Please visit our website: www.cobra.com
Installation Where To Mount Your Unit
You will get optimum performance from your detector if you Mount it at a point approximately in the center of the vehicle, as low as possible on the front windshield without obstructing the units view of the road either to the front or rear. You can also mount it directly on the dashboard.
Windshield Mounting Dashboard Mounting
1. Attach the rubber
cups to the bracket.
2. Make sure the rubber cups and your windshield are clean. 3. Push the bracket firmly onto the windshield.
The units lens must not be blocked and the LaserEye should have a clear view out the back window to allow 360 detection.
The LaserEye Should Have A Clear View
4. Attach the detector to the bracket. Check the angle of the unit.
5. To adjust the angle if necessary, gently push or pull on the bracket to bend it. DO NOT use the detector to bend the bracket. 6. Plug the power cord into the detector.
Radar and laser signals pass through glass but not through other materials and objects. Objects that can block or weaken incoming signals include:
s s s s
Windshield wiper blades Mirrored sun screens Dark tinting at the top of the windshield Heated windshields currently available on some vehicles (Instaclear for Ford, Electriclear for GM.) Consult your dealer to see if you have this option.
7. Plug the cigarette lighter adapter on the power cord into your vehicles cigarette lighter. 8. You can temporarily remove the detector whenever you wish by pressing the bracket release button and sliding it off the bracket.
Getting Started And Settings
1. Place the detector on the dashboard to find a location
where the unit has a clear, level view of the road. The angle can NOT be adjusted after mounting. 2. Remove the paper backing from one (1) side of the hook-and-loop fastener.
To Turn On The Unit And Adjust The Audio Volume Rotate the On-Off/ Volume control clockwise (away from you). Tone Three (3) beeps Voice Testing, then three (3) beeps Visual Display
4. Attach the detector to the hook-and-loop fastener. You can remove and reattach the unit as often as you like. 6. Plug the power cord into the detector.
appears in the display indicating System Ready, then that the power is On. Voice Alert
NOTE In some vehicles, power is supplied to the cigarette lighter even while the ignition is Off. If this is the case with your vehicle, you should turn Off or unplug your detector when parking for lengthy periods.
7. Plug the cigarette lighter adapter on the power cord into your vehicles cigarette lighter.
When changing the Settings on your detector, please keep in mind:
Buttons can have multiple functions. Depending on your choice of Voice Alert or Tone Alert mode, you will hear either voice messages or tones confirming changes in settings. All settings will be stored in memory when the power is turned Off and recalled when the power is turned back On.
Nothing comes close to a Cobra 5
3. Attach the pad to the dashboard at your chosen location and remove the other paper backing.
On-Off/ Volume Control Rotate clockwise (away from you)
Setting your detector to City mode delays all X band audio alerts until the signal strength reaches Level 3. (A single beep will sound when the signal is first detected.) This will reduce false alerts while you are driving in, or near, urban areas where there are many sources for conflicting X band signals such as microwave towers and automatic door openers. To change settings, follow the procedure listed below, which indicates what you will see and hear (either in Voice Alert or Tone Alert mode) as you complete each step. The factory setting is Highway mode.
UltraBright Data Display Brightness
You can choose from three (3) settings for Brightness of the display. You can cycle through the settings by repeatedly pushing the Dim button. The factory setting is Bright.
IntelliMute Button Press and release
To Turn IntelliMute On Press and release the IntelliMute button. Voice Auto Mute On Visual Display None To Turn IntelliMute Off Press and release the IntelliMute button again. Tone One (1) beep Voice IntelliMute Off Visual Display None Tone Two (2) beeps Voice IntelliMute On Visual Display Dot appears next to the large character on the right
To Turn Auto Mute On Press and release the Mute button again while no alert is occurring. Tone Two (2) beeps
IntelliMute Button Press and hold for two (2) seconds
What To Remember While Using IntelliMute IntelliMute works with both City and Auto Mute modes. Whenever your engine revs are below the activation point, the dot next to the large character on the right side of the display will remain lit. Above the activation point, the dot will blink twice every two (2) seconds.
Below Activation Point Above Activation Point
To Set The IntelliMute Activation Point Press and hold the IntelliMute button for two (2) seconds. Tone Two (2) beeps Voice Set Engine Revs Visual Display None
If, for any reason, the unit stops sensing your engines revs, IntelliMute will indicate an error and automatically turn Off. The rev point you set will be stored in the units memory when power is turned Off and recalled each time the power is turned On. NOTE The rev point must be reset if you use your detector in a different vehicle. NOTE When initially choosing your IntelliMute activation point, a setting of approximately 300 to 600 RPMs above idle is recommended. You can reset the activation point at any time to fit your individual preferences and driving style. Setting The IntelliMute Activation Point Your detector must be installed in your vehicle. CAUTION Do not attempt to set the rev point while driving. Your vehicle should be parked and idling. IntelliMute must be turned On before setting the activation point. Depending on whether the unit is in Tone Alert or Voice Alert mode, you will hear a series of beeps or voice messages as you follow the steps on page 11.
Rev your engine to None the level you wish to set (recommend slightly above idle) and hold revs steady for two (2) seconds. At the desired rev level, press and release the IntelliMute button. Three (3) beeps
Three (3) bars will flash in succession
All three (3) bars flash three (3) times
NOTE If the unit is unable to sense usable pulses within three (3) seconds or if you do not set a rev point within 20 seconds of beginning these steps, IntelliMute will indicate an error and automatically turn Off. Tone Four (4) beeps Voice IntelliMute Error, followed by IntelliMute Off Visual Display
You can set your detector to sound alerts with either a Voice or a Tone. You can change settings by using the Mute button. In Voice Alert mode, you will first hear several tones, then a voice message announcing the type of signal detected, followed by more tones. In Tone Alert mode, you will hear the tones only. The factory setting is Voice Alert mode.
VG-2 And Spectre 1 Alert Audio Settings
The detector is undetectable by police VG-2 and Spectre 1 radar detector detectors and will alert you when such a device is in use near your vehicle. During the alert, the unit continues to detect other signals. You can choose whether or not you want your unit to show VG-2 and Spectre 1 alerts. The factory setting is VG-2 and Spectre 1 alert On.
Dim Button Press and hold for two (2) seconds
Mute Button Press and hold for two (2) seconds
To Turn VG-2 And Spectre 1 Alerts Off To Change From Voice Alert To Tone Alert While no signal is being detected, press and hold the Mute button for two (2) seconds. Tone One (1) beep Voice Tone Alert Visual Display None While no signal is being detected, press and hold the Dim button for two (2) seconds. Tone One (1) beep Voice Spectre VG-2 Off Visual Display
V will blink once
To Turn VG-2 And Spectre 1 Alerts On To Change From Tone Alert Back To Voice Alert While no signal is being detected, press and hold the Mute button for two (2) seconds again. Tone None Voice Voice Alert Visual Display None While no signal is being detected, press and hold the Dim button for two (2) seconds again. Tone Two (2) beeps Voice Spectre VG-2 On Visual Display
V will blink twice
Detection Signals Detected
During Safety Alert and Strobe Alert the letter S will appear. It will be steady during a Safety Alert and will blink during a Strobe Alert.
Safety Alert Signal Detected Strobe Alert Signal Detected
The tables on the following pages show you the types of Signals your detector will detect, as well as the voice and visual alerts it provides for each of them.
In Voice Alert mode you will first hear several tones, then a voice message announcing the type of signal detected, followed by more tones. In Tone Alert mode, you will hear the tones only. In both Voice Alert and Tone Alert modes, a distinctly different alert tone is used for each type of signal detected (including separate tones for each laser signal). For X, K and Ka band radar signals, the tones will repeat faster as you approach the signal source. The repeat rate of the tones gives you useful information about the signal detected. (See responding to alerts on page 17.)
Radar Signals, Voice And Visual Displays Type of Signal X Band Radar K Band Radar Ka Band Radar
X Signal Detected
Voice X Alert K Alert Ka Alert
K Signal Detected
Visual Display X and Signal Strength K and Signal Strength Ka and Signal Strength
Ka Signal Detected
An indication of the type of signal detected will appear in the UltraBright data Display. During X, K and Ka alerts, a number will also appear, indicating the strength of the signal detected. (1 = weakest, 5 = strongest)
X Signal Detected K Signal Detected Ka Signal Detected
Laser Signals, Voice And Visual Displays Type of Signal LTI 20-20* LTI Ultra-Lyte* Kustom Signals ProLaser* Kustom Signals ProLaser III* Voice Laser Alert Laser Alert Laser Alert Laser Alert Visual Display L is Steady L is Steady L is Steady L is Steady
During laser alerts the letter L will appear, instead of the signal strength indication.
Laser Signal Detected
During VG-2 or Spectre 1 alerts, the letter V will appear. It will be steady during VG-2 and blink during Spectre 1.
VG-2 Alert Signal Detected Spectre 1 Alert Signal Detected
* Your detector provides 360 detection of these signals.
X K Ka V S X K Ka V S
NOTE Beep rate changes with different laser alerts.
Voice Emergency Vehicle Approaching Visual Display S Blinks
Strobe Alert Signals, Voice And Visual Displays Type of Signal 3M Opticom or Tomar*
Strobe Alert Signal Detected
Your detector is designed to detect Instant-On speed monitoring signals, which can suddenly appear at full strength. NOTE You should take appropriate action immediately whenever an instant-on alert is given.
* Your detector provides 360 detection of this signal.
Responding To Alerts
Safety Alert Signals, Voice And Visual Displays Type of Signal Emergency Vehicles Road Hazards Trains
Safety Alert Signal Detected
Visual Display S is Steady S is Steady S is Steady Tone repeats slowly at first, then speeds up rapidly. Tone sounds one (1) time only. Tone instantly begins repeating rapidly.
Probably police radar
Voice Emergency Vehicle Approaching Road Hazard Ahead Train Approaching
Probably a false alarm, but possibly pulsed radar, VG-2, or Spectre 1 nearby Radar, VG-2, or Spectre 1 nearby has been activated suddenly
NOTE There are different tones for each Safety Alert. VG-2 And Spectre 1 Alert Signals, Voice And Visual Displays Type of Signal Interceptor VG-2 Spectre 1
VG-2 Alert Signal Detected
Tone repeats slowly as you Probably police approach a hill or bridge, radar beyond the then speeds up sharply as hill or bridge you reach it. Tone repeats slowly for a short period. Any type of laser alert. Any Safety Alert or Strobe Alert. Probably a false alarm Laser alerts are never false alarms You are nearing an emergency vehicle, railroad crossing, or road hazard (construction, accident, etc.)
Voice VG-2 Alert Spectre Alert
Spectre 1 Alert Signal Detected
Visual Display V is Steady V Blinks
Exercise caution FULL ALERT Exercise caution
NOTE There are different tones for each alert.
Understanding Radar And Laser
Understanding Radar And Laser Radar Speed Monitoring Systems
Special strobes mounted on the light bars of authorized emergency vehicles (fire trucks, police cars, ambulances) automatically change traffic signals as the vehicle approaches an intersection. These strobes and the special strobe detectors located on the traffic signals, introduced fairly recently by 3M and Tomar, are already in use in more than 1000 cities nationwide. Cobras exclusive Strobe Alert detector will detect these special strobes and give an emergency vehicle alert. When you receive such an alert, please watch for an approaching emergency vehicle and pull over to allow it to pass. To inquire about coverage in your area, contact your local fire and police departments.
Three (3) band frequencies have been approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for use by speed monitoring radar equipment: X band K band Ka band 10.525 GHz 24.150 GHz 33.400 36.00 GHz
Your detector detects signals in all three (3) radar bands.
VG-2 And Spectre 1
VG-2 and Spectre 1 are detector detectors that work by detecting low-level signals emitted by most radar detectors. Your detector does not emit signals that can be detected by VG-2 or Spectre 1, but does detect VG-2 and Spectre 1 signals and will alert you when a device is in use near your vehicle, if you so choose.
The correct name for the technology that most people refer to as laser is actually LIDAR, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging. LIDAR operates much like radar. Its signal spreads out like a radar signal, though not as widely. Unlike radar, LIDAR must have a clear line of sight to its target vehicle throughout the entire measurement interval. Obstructions such as sign posts, utility poles, tree branches, etc., will prevent valid speed measurement. Some common questions about LIDAR include: s Does weather have any affect on LIDAR? Yes. Rain, snow, smoke, fog, or airborne dust particles will reduce the effective range of LIDAR and can, if dense enough, prevent its operation.
Safety Alert Traffic Warning System
FCC-approved Safety Alert transmitters emit microwave radar signals that indicate the presence of a safety-related concern. Depending on the frequency of the signal emitted, it can indicate a speeding emergency vehicle or train, or a stationary road hazard. Because these microwave signals are within the K band frequency, most conventional radar detectors will detect Safety Alert signals as standard K band radar. Your detector, however, is designed to differentiate between standard K band and Safety Alert signals, and give separate alerts for each. Safety Alert technology is relatively new. Safety Alert transmitters can be found in limited numbers in all 50 states, but the number is growing. Depending on your location, you may not receive these alerts regularly and may often encounter emergency vehicles, trains and road hazards without being alerted. As the number of transmitters increases, these alerts will become more common. When you receive such an alert, please watch for emergency vehicles ahead of you, on cross streets and behind you. If you see an emergency vehicle approaching, please pull over to the right side of the road and allow it to pass.
Can LIDAR operate through glass? Yes. Newer LIDAR guns can obtain readings through most types of glass. However, the laser pulse also can be received through glass to trigger an alarm by your detector. Can LIDAR operate while in motion? No. Because LIDAR operates by line of sight, the person using it cannot drive the vehicle, aim and operate the gun all at the same time. Is LIDAR legal to use? Yes. It is legal in all 50 states.
Maintenance Maintenance Of Your Radar Detector
Your detector is designed and built to give you years of trouble-free performance without the need for service. No routine Maintenance is required. If your unit does not appear to be operating properly, please follow these troubleshooting steps:
Band And Frequencies Band X Band K Band Safety Alert Traffic Warning System Frequencies 10.525 24.125 24.070 24.110 24.190 24.230 Ka Band Laser Strobe 34.700 0.050 0.125 0.010 0.010 0.010 0.010 1.300 GHz GHz GHz GHz GHz GHz GHz nm nm
Make sure the power cord is properly connected. Make sure the socket of your vehicles cigarette lighter is clean and free of corrosion. Make sure the power cords cigarette lighter adapter is firmly seated in your cigarette lighter. Check the power cord fuse. (Unscrew the ribbed end cap of the cigarette lighter adapter and examine the fuse. If required, replace it with a 2-amp fuse only.)
Unit Dimensions And Weight Dimensions* (H x W x D) 113" x 234" x 413" (34 mm x 70 mm x 110 mm) Weight* 5.11 oz. (145 g)
* Dimensions and weight measurements are approximate.
This radar detector is covered by one or more of the following U.S. patents: 5,497,148; 5,594,432; 5,612,685; 6,078,279; 6,094,148. Additional patents may be listed inside the product or pending.
Product Service And Trademark Acknowledgement
Limited 1-Year Warranty
For Products Purchased In The U.S.A. Cobra Electronics Corporation warrants that its Cobra 11 Band Radar/Laser Detectors, and the component parts thereof, will be free of defects in workmanship and materials for period of one (1) year from the date of first consumer purchase. This warranty may be enforced by the first consumer purchaser, provided that the product is utilized within the U.S.A. Cobra will, without charge, repair or replace, at its option, defective 11 Band Radar/Laser Detectors, products or component parts upon delivery to the Cobra Factory Service Department, accompanied by proof of the date of first consumer purchase, such as a duplicated copy of a sales receipt. You must pay any initial shipping charges required to ship the product for warranty service, but the return charges will be at Cobras expense, if the product is repaired or replaced under warranty. This warranty gives you specific rights, and you may also have other rights which vary from state to state. Exclusions: This limited warranty does not apply: 1. To any product damaged by accident. 2. In the event of misuse or abuse of the product or as a result of unauthorized alterations or repairs. 3. If the serial number has been altered, defaced or removed. 4. If the owner of the product resides outside the U.S.A. All implied warranties, including warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose are limited in duration to the length of this warranty. Cobra shall not be liable for any incidental, consequential or other damages; including, without limitation, damages resulting from loss of use or cost of installation. Some states do not allow limitations on how long an implied warranty lasts and/or do not allow the exclusion or limitation of incidental or consequential damages, so the above limitations may not apply to you.
If you have any questions about operation or installing your new Cobra product, or if you are missing parts Please call Cobra first! DO NOT RETURN THIS PRODUCT TO THE STORE! See customer assistance on page A1. If you suspect that your unit requires service, please call 773-889-3087 BEFORE shipping it to Cobra. This will ensure that you receive service as quickly as possible.
If you are asked to send your unit to the Cobra factory, please follow these steps: 1) Send the complete unit, including power cord. (It is not necessary to include the mounting bracket.) 2) For warranty repair, enclose some form of proof-of-purchase, such as a photocopy or carbon copy of a sales receipt. If you send the original receipt, it cannot be returned. 3) Enclose a typed or clearly written description of the problem you are having with your unit, plus the name and address where you want the unit returned. 4) Pack the unit securely to prevent damage during transit. If possible, use the original packing materials. 5) Ship prepaid and insured using a traceable carrier such as United Parcel Service (UPS), Federal Express, or Priority mail with delivery confirmation. Ship to: Cobra Factory Service, Cobra Electronics Corporation, 6500 West Cortland Street, Chicago, IL 60707 U.S.A. 6) Please allow three (3) to four (4) weeks before contacting us about the status of your service. Call 773-889-3087 for assistance. If your unit is under warranty, it will either be repaired or replaced upon receipt, depending on the model. If your unit is out of warranty, you will receive a letter informing you of the repair or replacement charge.
Cobra, 6 Band, DigiView, Extra Sensory Detection, HighGear, microTALK, LaserEye, Safety Alert Traffic Warning System, Strobe Alert, VG-2 Alert and Nothing comes close to a Cobra are registered trademarks of Cobra Electronics Corporation. Cobra Electronics Corporation, 11 Band, EasySet, IntelliMute, IntelliShield, Road Ready, SmartPower, Spectre Alert, UltraBright, Voice Alert and Xtreme Range Superheterodyne are trademarks of Cobra Electronics Corporation. Opticom is a trademark of 3M Corporation. Instaclear for Ford is a registered trademark of Ford Motor Company, Inc. Electriclear for GM is a registered trademark of General Motors Corporation. 20-20 and Ultra-Lyte are trademarks of Laser Technology, Inc. ProLaser and ProLaser III are trademarks of Kustom Signals, Inc. Bee III and Pop are a trademarks of MPH Industries. Spectre is a trademark of Stalcar. Interceptor VG-2 is a trademark of TechniSonic Industries LTD. Tomar is a registered trademark of TOMAR Electronics, Inc.
Optional Accessories You can find quality Cobra products and accessories at your local Cobra dealer, or in the U.S.A., you can order directly from Cobra.
Straight 12V DC Power Cord Includes plug and fuse Item # 420-030-N-001
Windshield Mounting Bracket Includes suction cups Item # 545-139-N-001
Call 773-889-3087 for pricing or visit www.cobra.com. Coiled 12V DC Power Cord Includes plug and fuse Item # 420-026-N-001 Dual Port Power Adapter Includes adjustable plug (up to 90) and fuse Item # CLP-2B For Credit Card Orders Complete and return this order form to fax number 773-622-2269. Or call 773-889-3087 [Press one (1) from the main menu] 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. CT, Monday through Friday. Make Check or Money Order Payable To Cobra Electronics, Attn: Accessories Dept., 6500 West Cortland Street, Chicago, IL 60707 U.S.A. To Order Online Please visit our website: www.cobra.com
Nothing comes close to a Cobra 25
The Cobra line of quality products includes:
CB Radios microTALK Radios Radar/Laser Detectors Safety Alert Traffic Warning Systems Accessories GPS (Global Positioning System) HighGear Accessories CobraMarine VHF Radios Power Inverters
For more information or to order any of our products, please visit our website: www.cobra.com
The radar vehicle for the tests was a Police Package Ford Expedition which was also equipped with a Kustom Signals Tracker time/distance computer. The target vehicles were a 2002 Mercury Sable four-door sedan and a 2004 Dodge Ram SRT-10 pickup.
BELTRONICS Express 925 Subjective Evaluation
I. Physical and Operational Characteristics The BEL Express 925 has an all-black case and its operations are controlled by a row of four top-mounted buttons. (The 935 model shares its case and is identical save for a text display and additional features.) The display has red alpha-numeric characters for operating mode and signal strength as well as laser identification. Secondary icons depict radar band
identification. Display brightness can be adjusted in three steps. In full-dark mode a dim, horizontal red segment stays lit to verify power-on. Alerts are audible-only in this mode. Four user-selectable options are available: SWS on/off, VG-2 Guard on/off, SWS voice alerts on/off and radar/laser voice alerts on/off. Finding programming mode isnt an intuitive process and new owners will need to keep the owner manual handy. However, three of the four options are little-used while the fourth, voice alerts, will generally remain unaltered once the owner makes a choice. There are three operating modes: City, City All and Highway. An audio confirmation accompanies each change: one beep for City and City All, two beeps for Highway. City mode raises the threshold at which audible X-band alerts are issued while City All extends that strategy to all three radar bands. The two BEL models were the only units to offer this feature and we found it contributed to a significant reduction in urban false alarms. Highway mode acts in the conventional manner, delivering maximum sensitivity for open-road conditions. II. Alert Systems Radar band identification icons are yellow (X band) and red for K and Ka band. Their generous size, intensity and color greatly assist in visual identification, easing the operator's task. The yellow X-band icon is generally unreadable in direct sunlight. Fortunately, since police worldwide almost universally stopped using Xband radar over a decade ago (only three U.S. state highway patrols continue to use it in any number), this icons color is of commensurately little consequence. Detection of VG-2 radar detector detectors is accompanied by a special audible alert and a flashing H or A in the display. The BEL isnt immune to the early model VG-2, which detected it at 2,396 feet, well beyond the range at which the 925 was able to detect the RDD. It proved much more difficult to detect by our late model VG-2, by far the more commonly used of the two. But since some of the old VG2s are still around, driving with the BEL 925 could be risky for truckers and for those who
drive in Virginia, Washington D.C. countries where detector use is banned.
officer is responding to something like a Code 78 callofficer needs assistancehell be running every bit this fast.) Assuming that the civilian is driving at 70 mph, a 4556 mph speed differential would translate to advance warning for the BELequipped driver of 47 to 58 seconds. To a Cobraequipped driver: 1.0 to 1.25 seconds. VII. Laser Sensitivity The BEL 925 ranked equal with all but the Whistlers, which led the group. VIII. Overall Evaluation The BEL Express 925 and 935 are well constructed, sophisticated detectors with outstanding performance. Based on past tests we find that they can compete with units priced up to $399, including many in the BEL model lineup. Each has a comprehensive feature set, excellent audio and visual alert systems, effective, high quality mounting hardware and comes with a complete set of accessories. The operator manual is well written and informative. These units stand out for their superior detection range and a price/performance ratio that is best-in-class by a significant margin.
high speed. The average driver doesnt check his mirrors from one month to the next and sirens at that speed are so useless that no state patrol trooper that weve met in the past 25 years even bothers to switch it on. At 115 mph, a speed routinely attained by a trooper trying to catch up to a speeder, the patrol car is moving along at 169 feet per second. (The last Ford Crown Victoria police car we tested, even burdened with a drag-inducing light bar, hit a radar-verified 126 mph, a velocity equal to 182 feet per second. If the
Highway. Switching between the two requires 1.15 seconds. II. Alert Systems Radar band identification icons are yellow (X), pale green (K and Ka) and red (laser). A yellow V indicates VG-2 and Spectre Mk I detection and a red S denotes Strobe Alert. This function is intended to alert the driver to a nearby emergency vehicle equipped with an Opticom or Tomar traffic-signal-changing strobe light transmitter. And there are four different visual alerts for various brands of lasers. Radar signal strength is shown via red digits, 1 through 5, and by beep frequency. There are 9 audible alerts: one each for the three radar bands plus laser, Strobe Alert and VG-2/Spectre alert. There are also three audio tones for Safety Alert signals (the competitor to the Safety Warning System or SWS), one each for Emergency Vehicle, Road Hazards and Trains. Maximum audio volume was 96 dB, best of the group. III. Features Cobra offers a fairly competitive array of options in the XRS 9300 including auto mute, manual mute and preferred settings memory. The radar detector detector-detection feature proved useless. The XRS 9300 detected a late model VG-2 at only 79 feet and failed entirely to detect an earlier VG-2. And while it can detect the Spectre Mk I, none of these is being used in U.S., all having been replaced by Mk II versions that are both undetectable by the Cobra and which can spot this detector from 1,359 feet away. The Cobra is, however, undetectable by the VG-2. The IntelliMute feature is intended to automatically mute all radar alerts when the cars engine speed is running at low RPM. The theory is that if the driver is slogging through rush hour traffic, radar alerts are of little consequence. We tested the feature and found it effective in limiting urban false alarms. Engaging the feature required 45 seconds on the first attempt and an average of 24 seconds on subsequent attempts. If the unit is moved to a
visual alerts would take forever and prove irritating in the extreme. And since an abbreviated self-test option is not offered, the driver would be subjected to this audible assault every time the car is started. We found another downside to this medley of tones: the radar and laser audible alerts are readily identifiable but the rest are almost incomprehensible. And four different laser visual alerts serve no purpose; lasers all transmit on the same frequency and to the average driver, knowing hed just been clocked by a Kustom Signals ProLaser III instead of a Laser Technology Ultralyte LR is meaningless. And the Cobra frequently gets it wrong. During testing it frequently warned variously of attacks by a ProLaser III or LTI 20-20. We were using a Laser Atlanta Speed Laser. IV. Ergonomics The Cobras four control buttons protrude far enough from the case to be easily seen. But since theyre long and slender, measuring 30mm by 6mm, and positioned in pairs at an angle, we not infrequently hit the Dim button when the adjacent City button was targeted. The IntelliMute button often was pressed instead of the Mute button for the same reason. The XRS 9300s power/volume thumbwheel switch is an elegant method of operation and the use of both reference numbers and a volume pictogram is the most effective and intuitive approach weve seen.
Cobra XRS 9300 display uses icons of different colors for band identification and a red alpha-numeric display on the far right for laser ID and numeric signal strength. The red remains visible but the pale yellow and green icons used to identify all other threats are highly susceptible to being washed-out in bright sunlight.
on each band. VII. Laser Sensitivity Laser field of view was competitive with the other units. VIII. Overall Evaluation The XRS 9300 is arguably one of the bestlooking detectors on the market. Its not, however, a particularly well designed product. Far too many audible alerts, poorly chosen visual band ID colors, industry-worst rear radar detection range, uneven radar performance and other drawbacks lead us to conclude that its one model that performs far better on the sales charts than on the road.
A bright red alphanumeric mode/signal strength display is readily visible even under difficult lighting conditions. But the yellow and pale green band ID icons are difficult or impossible to read in sunlight. Wed have to conclude that either the designers eyes interpret colors differently than ours do or they seldom drive on sunny days. This units bright chrome buttons and mesh speaker grille, coupled with its titanium-colored upper case, produced an intensely annoying reflection in the windshield directly in the drivers line of sight. This is the last detector in the world wed want to use on a long trip. V. Mounts and Hardware Unlike the other units tested which have coiled power cords, the Cobra is shipped with only a six-foot-long straight cord. The windshield mount is of good quality and keeps the unit anchored securely. VI. Radar Sensitivity At the Straightaway test site it showed excellent X-band range, ranked mid-pack on Ka band and dead last on K band, with less than half the range of the leading BEL 925. It also trailed the field on rearward Ka-band detection range, 335 feet, where it joined the Radio Shack 22-1697, at 343 feet. Curiously, at the far more difficult Curve test site the XRS 9300 fared much better, where it ranked about mid-pack
Cobra XRS 9600/9700 Subjective Evaluation
I. Physical and Operational Characteristics The Cobra XRS 9600 (and the 9700 pictured above) are built on the BG Tech large-antenna
platform. The two are identical except that the latter has voice alerts and a slight difference in the design and color of its upper case. Its text display has characters for operating mode, signal strength, laser identification and radar band identification. There are two default settings for display brightness: full bright and dim. Full-dark mode is a menu option but its unavailable in conjunction with dim and must be programmed by the user. Were puzzled that Cobra chose this complicated method rather than having a three-step display brightness control instead. Six user-selectable options are available. These include VG-2 Detect mode, Spectre I Detect mode and IntelliMute. Audio confirmation for option selections is provided. There are four operating modes: City, City X Beep Off, City X+K and Highway. City raises the threshold at which audible alerts are given. City X+K raises the threshold on K band as well. City Beep Off kills the audio entirely for X-band alerts. Highway mode acts conventionally and IntelliMute functions as it does in the XRS 9300. Programming the 9700 takes awhile. Selecting City X, for example, requires 17 seconds, including a few seconds required by the unit to store the setting and return to normal operation. This should have been grouped with City/Highway and controlled by simply pressing a button. Diverting ones attention for 17 seconds over a basic function is taking way too long. Wed surmise that whoever designed this detector is unfamiliar with the term TenTenths. (Okay, well relent. Racers use tenths to indicate how close they and the car are to the absolute edge of control. Ten-tenths is 100 percent. Someone driving at six-tenths or above on public roads is not going to have 17 seconds to tinker with a radar detector, at least not if he expects to remain crash-free.) II. Alert Systems Radar band identification is spelled out by an X, K or Ka in the text display. Signal strength is depicted by a 5-segment bar graph, by beep frequency and numerically, 1-5. There are 9 audible alerts: one each for the
three radar bands plus laser, Strobe Alert and VG-2/Spectre alert. There are also three audio tones for Safety Alert signals, one each for Emergency Vehicle, Road Hazards and Trains. Maximum audio volume averaged 76dB, second-lowest of the group. III. Features The XRS 9600 and XRS 9700 both offer a long list of features. A compass with 8 cardinal points is standard, for example, and we found it to be very accurate. Smart Power automatically shuts off the unit after a period of inactivity to prevent battery drain. Notable by its absence is tutorial mode, a feature as impractical for these models as it is for other Cobra detectors, due to their 9 audible alerts and 11 visuals. Some of the other features are of dubious value as well. Safety Alert is one. Youre more likely to get hit by lightning than to encounter a SA transmitter on the road. Worse, when we had a SA-equipped emergency vehicle come screaming up from behind, the XRS 9600 didnt spot it until the patrol vehicle was 51 feet away, making the feature useless. Strobe Alert potentially has more value but the transmitters that trigger it are used only in the city, where many drivers either dial back the audio or dont use the detector at all. The ability to spot VG-2 and Spectre RDDs is a potential winner but the XRS 9600 couldnt detect the Spectre Mk II or late model VG-2s at all. The Spectre, however, spotted the Cobra at 1,866 feet. We also noted that the XRS 9600 is susceptible to detecting other radar detectors. For example, it issued a Ka-band alert to the Whistler 1763 at 343 feet, a considerable distance. IV. Ergonomics The Cobras three top-mounted control buttons are simple to locate and easily reached. Its power/volume thumbwheel switch is an elegant method of operation and the use of both reference numbers and a volume pictogram is the most effective and intuitive approach weve seen. Yellow is a poor choice for a text display
and the XRS 9600s is no exception. In low light its fine. In direct sunlight it can be impossible to read. Equally unfortunate, the XRS 9600s bright upper housing trim and large chromed buttons generate significant windshield glare, enough that we doubt that many will mount it anywhere near their line of sight. V. Mounts and Hardware The Cobra XRS 9600 windshield mount is of good quality and locks into place for positive retention. Once in place, it keeps the unit anchored securely with minimal vibration. VI. Radar Sensitivity At the Curve test site, radar detection range was below average on X band, mid-pack on K and second from the bottom on Ka. It fared better at the Straightaway site, again trailing all but the PNI RX7500 on X band but it showed stellar K- and Ka-band range.
POP-mode performance, the overabundance of audio/visual alerts and too much windshield glare. Like the XRS 9300, its a knockout on the display shelf. On the road, its somewhat less impressive.
Radar Detector Ratings
Alert Systems Features Ergonomics Mounts and Hardware Radar Sensitivity Laser Sensitivity Overall Score (Average) Lowest Rating Highest Rating
Cobra XRS 9600
PNI Sensoro RX7500
Cobra claims the XRS 9600 and XRS 9700 detect POP mode, the lightning-quick burst of radar generated by the MPH BEE III and a few of their hand-held guns. But the Cobra was unenthusiastic about spotting the BEE III. At point-blank 1,000-foot range it alerted only 20 percent of the time. Inexplicably, at 4,500 feet it improved slightly to 30 percent. But the dismal 25 percent average makes this unit a poor choice as a defense against POP-mode radar. VII. Laser Sensitivity Laser field of view was competitive with the other units. VIII. Overall Evaluation The XRS 9600 is one of the most stylish detectors on the market. It has a reasonable level of standard features and its Ka-band sensitivity is far better than nearly all previous Cobras, a significant achievement. In the debit column are the user-unfriendly programming method, weak text display, poor
I. Physical and Operational Characteristics The PNI Sensoro RX7500 can function as a cordless detector when mated to its external battery pack/windshield mount or, with power cord attached, as a corded model. (The RX7600 is identical except it has a compass.) Its LCD text display has a green backlight that operates briefly when mode is changed and during alerts. When operated in cordless mode, at night the display remains dark. There is no power-on indicator. With the unit blacked-out, theres no way to know if its working. Driving after dark with the Sensoro RX7500/7600 models could lead to unpleasant encounters. Four switches atop the case control all operations except audio volume, which is handled by a convenient slide switch on the left
cordless detectors. A tutorial mode is also standard, as is memory retention of preferred settings. IV. Ergonomics The RX7500 is a simple unit to operate but some functions operate with glacial speed. Cycling through the three filter settings requires 20.5 seconds, for instance, about 19 seconds more than wed prefer. (The BEL and Cobra required just over one second each.) Sitting at a stoplight its a non-issue. At speed, on a winding mountain road at midnight it could become a safety hazard. The primary control buttons are recessed, making them invisible when viewing the unit head-on. At night their tiny depressions must be located by touch, not particularly difficult as there are only three, but unnecessarily time consuming. Clearly this was a design decision made by a stylist, not a driver, possibly the same person who felt 74 dB of audio volume was adequate. (The typical passenger car at 70 mph has about 73 dB of ambient cockpit noise.) The units tiny dimensionssmallest cordless model on the marketare appealing until the battery box/windshield mount is added. So equipped, length nearly doubles from 3.825 in. to 7.25 in. Of more importance is the units shiny aluminum finish which generates a substantial reflection in the windshield. Since youll be depending heavily on the LCD for critical information, the intrusive glare will always be exactly in your field of view. V. Mounts and Hardware Brackets for visor and windshield (two of the latter, for use either with or without battery box) are provided. Composed of two parallel metal strips, each clips to the bottom of the case with a spring-loaded catch to secure it. There are problems with this design. Once affixed to its mount, the detector is positioned at the end of an arm thats longer than the unit itself. Even at moderate speeds it vibrates noticeably. As the speed rises, so does the amplitude until, at 70 mph on typical roads, it bounces around uncontrollably, creating a major visual distraction.
The mount employs three flimsy suction cups, one or more of which generally declines to remain stuck to the windshield on hot days, allowing the unit to suddenly flop down and dangle from the glass. On those occasions when all three work properly, an attempt to remove the assembly from the windshield often results in the battery box cover falling off and the detector separating from the mount, leaving the driver holding a handful of parts. The suction cups easily slip free of the battery box, usually leaving at least one stuck to the windshield in the bargain. A redesign might be in order here.
VI. Radar Sensitivity This model proved to be a marginal performer. At the Straightaway test site it ranked dead last on X band, with less than half the range of the leading BEL 925. It spotted the K-band radar from 14,374 feet versus 28,196 feet for the BEL 925 and 28,012 feet for the Cobra XRS 9600. It did manage to edge out the Cobra XRS 9300 (12,970 feet). On Ka band it ranked second from last at 14,115 feet, some 150 less the XRS 9300 although over 13,000 feet more than the last-place Radio Shack 22-1699s 1,047 feet. More telling was its performance at the Curve test site. Our minimum detection range at this ambush site is 1,500 feet. The PNI RX7500 delivered 932 feet on X band and 782 feet on K band (the radar had begun reading the target vehicles speed when the detector alerted). Strangely, the PNI gave 1,765 feet of warning on Ka band here, comparable to the Cobras and Whistlers. Best range: BEL 925 at 2,025 feet; worst range: Radio Shack 22-1699 at 604 feet.
VII. Laser Sensitivity The RX7500 had a 14-inch field of view, the lowest of all the units by a small margin. VIII. Overall Evaluation The RX7500 and RX7600 are basic designs, fairly easy to operate and offer the convenience of cordless operation. But they suffer from shortcomings like the absence of so basic a feature as a power-on indicator. The poorly engineered mounting system, industry-worst auto mute, faulty city mode strategy and large gaps in its performance envelope conspire to relegate it to the status of a curiosity piece. As a ticket prevention device wed suggest looking elsewhere.
on their small-antenna platform shared with the 22-1699, identical save for a slightly different case to house a compass. Three top-mounted switches control all functions save for power/volume, which is handled by a convenient, quickly adjustable thumbwheel switch on the left side. Its alphanumeric text display has yellow characters 5mm tall for operating mode, band ID and signal strength. A two-step display brightness adjustment can be made. Display Dim reduces illumination by 50 percent. Display Dark mode reduces it further 10 percent but it cannot be darkened. City/Highway, display dimming and VG-2 mode changes receive voice confirmations. Mute-function changes are marked by onebeep/two-beep tones for On and Off, respectively. Switching between City and Highway requires 2.67 seconds, including voice confirmations. One user-selectable option is available: VG2 detection on/off. A tutorial mode is offered as well. The Radio Shack 22-1697 and 22-1699 shared a trait with their BG Tech relative, the Cobra XRS 9300. All were prone to detecting the local oscillators of older BG Tech (11.812.2 GHz) models. The 22-1697 alerted to a Uniden LRD 9900SW at 104 feet, a substantial distance and almost certain to generate a false alarm on most roadways. The 22-1699 alerted at 107 feet. II. Alert Systems Radar band ID is denoted by the letters X, K or Ka and by voice alerts. Signal strength is visually depicted by one to five icons that illuminate progressively, left to right, and numerically, 1 through 9. Audible beep frequency also is used. Audible band ID is provided by tones and voice alerts. There are 11 voice messages including five for SWS: Rock Slide Ahead, School Zone Ahead, Road Narrow Ahead, Sharp Curve Ahead and Pedestrian Crossing Ahead. Of the five, only two are likely to be of much use: Sharp Curve and Road Narrow. There are two reasons for this: 1) many drivers dont use their detectors in town and wont be listening and 2)
VI. Radar Sensitivity At the Straightaway test site the Radio Shack 22-1697 showed excellent X- and K-band detection range, on par with the Whistlers, better than the Cobra and about 10 percent behind the leading BEL. However, in City mode it detected the radar from only 1,519 away, about 2,000 feet after the radar had already locked-in a speed. In comparison, the others detected it from 8,790 feet (Whistler 1734), 10,270 (BEL) and 12,831 (Cobra). The PNI did not detect X band in City mode. To be fair, City-mode X-band detection range isnt that critical a factor for U.S. drivers due to the scarcity of X-band radar. But for those who drive in states where this band continues to be used, a City mode detection scheme that so radically dials back sensitivity renders the device almost useless. True, the user should only be using City mode in urban areas, where typical radar encounters are short-range affairs, generally under 700 feet. In this circumstance the abbreviated range wont be as critical an issue, although a mile or more of warning range would give an inattentive or distracted driver more time to react. Once out on the interstate, if the driver neglects to switch to Highway mode, the unit provides too little radar range on X-band to qualify as an effective detection device. A better strategy would be to raise X-band City mode sensitivity with a consequent rise in the threshold at which audible alarms are provided. An initial audible/visual alert, followed by muted audio and a continual visual alert, would be more forgiving of operator error and provide a more useful alternative.
At the Curve test site the Radio Shack unit met our 1,500-foot minimum range on X band (1,726 feet) but failed on K band (654 feet) and Ka band (778 feet). Its rearward Ka-band range was 343 feet, some 8 feet ahead of the lastplace Cobra XRS 9300. The owner manual text of the 22-1699 model, asserting that it can detect Ka POP mode radar. Examining its package at the Radio Shack store, there was no mention of Ka POP. But we spotted it on the owner manual and purchased a unit. So we powered-up an MPH BEE III Ka-band radar to verify the POP-mode claim. What we found is that the 22-1699 cannot detect Ka POP and experiences great difficulty in detecting Kaband radar at all. It spotted the same Decatur Genesis II Select Ka-band radar as used to test the other units from only 970 feet, some 2,400 feet after the radar had locked-in a speed. VII. Laser Sensitivity At an average of 17 inches, the Radio Shacks laser performance was slightly below average. VIII. Overall Evaluation The 22-1697 and 22-1699 are representative of dozens of other BG Tech models weve sampled over the years. Large performance gaps and other anomalies account for a mediocre overall showing. And in a head-to-head comparison, their shortcomings become more evident.
signal strength. Secondary icons 2mm tall are provided for laser alerts and VG-2 detection alerts. II. Alert Systems Radar band ID icons are yellow (X), red (K) and pale green (Ka). Radar signal strength is shown numerically, 1 through 9, and by beep frequency. A yellow V indicates that a VG-2 has been detected. The latter is more cosmetic than functional as the early model VG-2 spotted the 1734 from 2,526 feet while the Whistler couldnt detect it even at point-blank range. For this reason we wouldnt recommend the Whistlers for use in areas where detector use is banned. Display brightness can be adjusted in two steps from full bright to all dark. In the latter mode only the mode icon remains lit. Alerts are audible only. Two user-selectable options are provided: VG-2 detection on/off and Battery Saverauto shutoffon/off. There are four operating modes: Highway, City, City 1 and City 2. Highway acts conventionally, City raises the threshold at which an audible alert sounds while City 1 reduces X-band sensitivity and City 2 shuts it off entirely. We found City 1 and City 2 very effective in limiting urban false alarms. Audible band ID quality is excellent with each band easy to identify. Maximum volume averaged 89 dB, lowest of the group other than the PNI 7500 but only 3 dB below the 92 dB average of the other units. The top-mounted speaker allows freedom in choosing a mounting location without compromising audio performance. III. Features
I. Physical and Operational Characteristics This platform also is used for the 1730, 1733, 1743 and 1753 Whistler models that differ only in features. The 1734 has a stylish black housing with the upper case a titanium color. Its display features 5mm-tall icons for operating mode, band ID and
Standard features include auto mute, manual mute, settings memory, SWS reception and two alternate City modes. Battery Saver mode shuts off the unit automatically after a period of inactivity to prevent battery drain. While most imported vehicles dont provide power to the cigarette lighter or auxiliary power outlets with the engine off, some American vehicles supply full-time power to both. Battery Saver will prevent a detector from draining the
battery if left on for an extended period, like sitting in an airport parking lot during a long trip. Any weary traveler whos returned late at night only to be greeted by a dead battery will appreciate this feature. IV. Ergonomics Five top-mounted buttons control the unit. Theyre wobbly to the touch and feel cheap. The slender power button doubles as the display dimming control. Its relatively easy to locate but the slim City and Quiet buttons are closely spaced and take some deliberation to find. Audio is adjusted by two more small switches, one to raise the volume, the other to lower it. This speeds up the process over the single-button BEL but its still slower than a thumbwheel switch. Cycling through all four operating modes takes 5.5 seconds, slow because the system requires a deliberate pause after each press of the button. An abbreviated self-test feature is unavailable, which means the unit runs through its full array of audio/visual alerts on each power-up, an annoying 11-second process. (Pressing the Quiet button on higher-end models kills the audio during power-up.) The Whistlers icons for City mode and Xband are yellow; those for Highway mode and Ka band are pale green. All tend to disappear in direct sunlight. K band and the numeric signal strength are red, helping them to remain visible in harsh lighting conditions. We also tested a 1773same platform, different featureswith a text display and found
Styling can have a price. Chrome on the top of a detector forms a mirror image on the glass. Before buying, ask yourself if youd like to stare at this during an all-day drive.
The metallic upper case and shiny chrome buttons of the 1743 and 1763 generated substantial windshield glare. The Cobra XRS 9300 was the only model that proved more vexing. V. Mounts and Hardware The Whistlers windshield mount is reasonably sturdy and clicks into place with a satisfying click. A side-mounted release button frees it. Like all but the BEL, it must be bent to adjust for windshield rake. However, we did find that upon removal, one of the small, lowrent suction cups inevitably slipped out of its retaining slot and remained affixed to the windshield. They also fared badly in extreme heat or cold. The two-foot-long coiled power cord is of good quality, however, and can be stretched to six feet without becoming a straight cord thereafter. VI. Radar Sensitivity The Whistlers radar scores at the Straightaway test site were very competitive. On X band it was in a virtual tie with the BELs, Cobras and Radio Shack 22-1697, all clustered at the 28,000-foot mark. On K band it tied the
that it washed out completely in direct sunlight.
This 1773s text display disappears in direct sunlight. Viewed from six inches away, this K-band alert is impossible to interpret. We finally resorted to removing the detector from the dash and holding it at eye level in an attempt to read the display.
Radio Shack at 26,659 feet, both of them following the BEL 925s 28,196 feet. Its Ka-band detection range was also excellent. VII. Laser Sensitivity Whistlers traditionally have scored well in laser tests and this one was no exception. The 1734 had the best field of view in its price range, an average of 31 inches. Strangely, it performed better than some of the pricier Whistlers by a small margin. VIII. Overall Evaluation The Whistler 1734 is one of the betterrounded imports with a comprehensive feature set, good audio and excellent laser sensitivity. Its radar sensitivity is also well-balanced, if not class-leading. It does suffer from some shortcomings in the user-friendliness category. The cheap switchgear, unpleasant windshield glare, leisurely mode changes and marginal display readability all hamper an otherwise creditable design.
VII. Laser Sensitivity The 1763s 39-inch laser field of view was substantially above average for its price class. Weve observed the same superior performance from the other models using this platform, including the 1773 and 1783. VIII. Overall Evaluation The 1763 is a reasonably well designed, competent radar detector. It has excellent audio, generally very good radar and laser sensitivitymarred by some inexplicable performance hiccupsand has an extensive portfolio of features. We find it to be aboveaverage by most key criteria and blessed with some compelling virtues. When Whistler resolves the display visibility issue and irons out a few production QC matters, it can only enhance this detectors utility and userfriendliness.
BEL Express 925
BEL Express 935
Cobra XRS 9300
Cobra XRS 9400
Cobra XRS 9500
Cobra XRS 9700
Radio Shack 22-1698
Radio Shack 22-1699
BEL BEL 925 935
Cobra Cobra Cobra Cobra Cobra XRS XRS XRS XRS XRS 9700 X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
PNI RX 7500
PNI RX 7600
Radio Radio Shack Shack X X X X X X X X X
RMR Whistler Whistler Whistler DX X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Multi-step Brightness Control Manual Mute Auto Mute Settings Memory Mode Audio Confirmation Voice Alerts Alt. Tones Digital Signal Strength Text Display Icon Display Tutorial Abbreviated Self-Test Selectable Features SWS Safety Alert Alternate City Modes VG-2 Protection Compass
X X X X X X X X X X X 4 X X X
X X X X X X X X X X 4 X
X X X X
X X X X X
4 X X X
4 X X X X
2 X X X X
TEST RESULTS SUMMARY
Straightaway Test Site
Avg. of 3 Runs (Feet) 0
BEL 925 Cobra XRS 9300 Cobra XRS 9600 PNI RX7500 R Shack 22-1697 R Shack 22-1699 RMR-D250 Whistler 1734 Whistler 1748 Whistler 1763
Detecting radar in flat country isnt rocket science. The microwave beam bounces off every hard surface in its path and extends in a cone that can be a mile wide at 5-plus miles of range. The test site is a two-lane county road whose roughly 3-mile-long straight sections are linked by sharp, plunging S-curves where the road crosses the same dry river bed in three locations. The straight sections arent aligned and by 20,000 feet, the detectors are pointing at about a 30-degree angle away from the radar guns. Elevation drops 300 feet over the course, further hampering sensitivity. Detectors of comparable sensitivity tend to be grouped together at the points where tiny elevation changes bring them more into line with the distant radar. At the 28,200-foot mark the road dives down yet another S-curve and takes off at a sharp tangent. No detector in our tests has ever spotted any type of radar from beyond this point. Radar frequencies, in order of importance to the driver: Ka-, K- and, far behind, the rarely used Xband.
Copyright 2004 Peterson Publications Inc.
Curve Test Site
Avg. of 3 Runs Per Unit (Feet) 500 BEL 925 Cobra XRS 9300 Cobra XRS 9600 PNI RX7500 R Shack 22-1697 R Shack 22-1699 RMR-D250 Whistler 1734 Whistler 1748 Whistler 1763 X band K band Ka band 1,000 1,500 2,000 2,500
Dark blue police Expedition lies in wait in mid-curve. By the time drivers spot the radar trap its already too late. Many detectors that delivered over five miles of Ka-band range at the Straightaway test site failed miserably here, not alerting until a target speed was already locked-in. Our minimum detection range for all three frequencies: 1,500 feet.
Laser Field of View (Inches)
0 BEL 925 Cobra XRS 9300 Cobra XRS 9600 PNI RX7500 R Shack 22-1697 R Shack 22-1699 RMR-D250 Whistler 1734 Whistler 1748 Whistler 1763 Right FOV Left FOV Avg. FOV 50
Maximum Audio Volume (Decibels)
Ka POP Detection
(Pct. of 10 Attempts At Each Distance)
Whistler 1763 RMR-D250 Radio Shack 22-1699 Cobra XRS 70 Average 100
At 1000 ft.
At 4500 ft.
Copyright 2004 Peterson Publications Inc. 27
Radar Detector Detector Test
(Detection Range by RDD Model) 0 BEL 925 Cobra XRS 9300 Cobra XRS 9600 PNI RX7500 R Shack 22-1697 R Shack 22-1699 RMR-D250 Whistler 1734 Whistler 1748 Whistler 1763 VG-2 Spectre Mk II 5000
1832FX Controller Control Xd900DG RCM 105 FS-3800N TC1000 Digitech RP-1 EN516 TH-V70R HR7774 30 Larry 1 PRO-7 TLA-04641C T650A 10331 NV-GS120GC MZ-E40 GT102 VT 266 MG105 TR2500BC PL42A450p1 BAR338P 40PFL8664H Compustar UN46C6500VF A-965 Camileo PRO Easy Gprs Robot Cafe UE46C6000RW 200ARC SD630 CLP-110 Quest Nikkor XVS125-2002 NAV360 V1 3 FX-570W DCB-H360R GEX-P700DAB IC-A6FR Touch PRO2 20PT1552 Coolpix 800 P2350 Computer FSM-50S LH-D6530A WF-T852A CL1000N Z320I Pentax SFX P4350 TCM-36 KX-TSC11 KV-32FC60 Bizhub 164 PW50-2005 SGH-F210 Junior Urc-9960 784 S CDB05001B0 Review LBT-XB800AV Satio U1I Invisible WAR Aopen MK77 N150-JA01 VGN-UX280P DE6955 SGH-X700S Reference Rvnb10BB-RV-nb10 26S81B PSR 1200 AF5076MS 1 0 EX-FC100 SC-PM46DB Wireless RAC PAC 80032 16gb 32GB NC6000 VK1010 98030 Premium 2200 08 Zanussi ZK30 WF8804RPA Liebherr SGN Europe SX410 RT21vhsw Kohler K321 VSX-23TXH DSC-W230 L
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