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.