Valentine 1 Radar Detector Consumer Point of View

After trying out the Passport 9500i.  I had to give the Valentine 1 I ordered a try.  I’m not a professional tester like you see on these other sites.  I’m more of a consumer who loves electronics, gadgets and well…a new gadget is hard to not scrutinize even if I now only 10% about radar detectors. 🙂

In short I decided to keep the Valentine 1 over the Passport 9500i.  I’ll explain my reasons below and point out the ones I had read/researched about below.

What I like about the Passport 9500i (in order of importance):

  • Voice that announces what threat you’ve encountered keeping your eyes on the road
  • I could customize the operation and what was displayed on the detector using the configuration menu
  • auto adjusting volume (it worked OK, wish it would auto-volume a little better; but I did have a convertible mini cooper — adjusting the sensitivity would have been nice?)
  • GPS capability for blocking out known non-threatening signal
  • Mute button on the power plug was easier to reach
  • Speed display upon detection
  • updated sleek design
  • Hard case everything came in that can be used to carry the detector when you leave your car

What I like about the Valentine 1 (order of importance):

  • Arrows to indicate direction of radar
  • Blinking arrow to indicate location of most severe threat
  • Excellent reputation, reliability and has proven it just works over and over again
  • Changing between three modes calmed my concern of the claims I read with the unit being annoying in city driving
  • Coiled and straight cable were both included

Dislikes with Passport 9500i (biggest complaints first):

  • I would like arrows or the voice alert including a direction!!! When testing the 9500i, the voice alert could be improved by telling me where the threat was coming from:  “K-band Front/Rear/Side”
  • Correct the GPS locking feature that blocks signals you chose to block; but may inadvertently also block radar guns in the same frequency.  I’m not sure from a technical view point if this is really possible; perhaps blocking out a smaller subset range of the frequency? But then how small of a window should the engineers choose?
  • The USB port on the side is not currently usable.  It makes the geek in me curious as to what the intent behind this will be for and also cautions me as this may still be a beta product released early…ouch!

Dislikes with Valentine 1 (biggest complaints first):

  • Before learning the different beeps; at night it is hard to tell what band the detector is informing you about.  Little LED’s illuminate, but telling if the LED is next to the L, Ka, K or X is not easy to read at night!
  • Would like voice alerts so eyes can stay on road
  • Prefer mute on the power plug for easier access and also to prevent changing the volume when pushing the knob to mute the detector
  • a nice carrying case would be nice; I know its extra — I should have ordered it with the detector

So the 9500i is nice if you want the frills, which I really, really liked.  I wasn’t so concerned with how they both looked.  I didn’t initially think the arrows would matter much to me, but once you begin using the Valentine 1 with the arrows, you just cannot go back to another radar detector.

Mini Cooper S convertable with Valentine 1 mounted high, behind and just to the left of the rear view mirror.


10 responses to “Valentine 1 Radar Detector Consumer Point of View

  1. Your review of the V1 is quite like mine. Not to mention that you mounted it in the same place, bravo! The key is to mount high and you definitely did it correctly.

    Great review!

  2. Good review, Mark! I’m not looking for a radar detector, but if I was, this would be an excellent resource.

  3. what about fasle alarm on X band on V1?

  4. The false alarm on the X band created by local stores, etc. doesn’t really bother me. When it does and I know I’m driving around stores, I’m never consider if I am going too fast because of all the lights, intersections and cars. So I turn down the volume or press the volume knob that basically tells the device I know about the threat, hush up. It then falls over to its second volume level which can be adjusted by the knob as well. I believe that there is a way to turn off X band entirely…yep found it here…

  5. The purpose of the USB on the 9500i is to upgrade the software if there is any. With the V1, if there is a new one out, you have to pay like $45 to get it upgraded. If there is a new hardware, you send them your V1 and they swap out the hardware that needs to be upgraded for about $150

  6. Good point. When I purchased both, the 9500i has no firmware updates or any software that let you tweak the device from your computer.

  7. The 9500i is light years ahead of the V1 in terms of detecting radar, less (or no) false signals, GPS, it tells you how fast you’re going all the time if you want it to AND it has an audio jack.

    The V1 makers are out to gouge and bilk their customers at every turn. They charge you for a carrying case, the charge for updates to the V1, they charge you for an audio jack… it’s like they’re milking their customers dry and I hate that.

    I have been a faithful V1 owner/user for 12+ years but just bought a 9500i. I love it! Like I said, it’s light years ahead of the V1 and Escort doesn’t try to reach into your wallet every opportunity they can. They include a carrying case, an audio jack (very handy for motorcyclists) and free firmware updates via the internet (no need to ship the detector back to the maker).

    I really do like the V1 directional arrows but it’s incessant false alarms (in the last month, how many times have you reached up to hit the mute or turn the volume down completely? 1000’s probably.) , its dated design etc etc etc etc

    I could just go on and on about how much worse the V1 is compared to the 9500i.

  8. I actually prefer the V1 over the 9500 but I guess its just personal preference.

  9. I think even the cheap radar detectors are all right .5 to 10 miles over the speed limit in most cases will not get you a ticket.In my State if you speed to much,they will clock you with an airplane.

  10. Four years after you’ve written this article and people are still reading this. Thank you for the review, Mark. I now feel comfortable enough to burn $400 on a radar detector. :]

    Happy Chinese New Year.

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