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Wednesday January 18, 2012 1:48 pm

Escort Passport 8500 X50 review

Escort Passport 8500 X50 review

With the Detroit Auto Show buzzing with new models, many faster, leaner and meaner than their predecessors it’s only a matter of time before the new vehichles hit the road.

There are two types of drivers in this world—those that ride in their cars and those that drive their cars. In many cases, those that drive their cars tend to have a heavier right foot. Like rain on a sunny day, blue and red lights can ruin anyone’s drive.

Over Labor Day weekend, I went on a road trip to California. Knowing that I’d be spending nearly 26+ hours on the road (Seattle to Sacramento and back), it was inevitable that I’d run into the boys in blue. Not wanting to ruin my weekend trip, I decided to invest in a radar detector.

In the world of radar detectors, promises of a ticket free trip are a dime a dozen. Being a natural born skeptic, I dug around and did some research before buying. I looked for a company that had a proven track record of producing products that worked and stood behind its gear. After searching and reading various reviews and websites, I landed on purchasing the Escort Passport 8500 X50 (Black). Read on for our full review of the radar detector.

Buyers Tip: When buying a radar detector online, make sure that you buy from an authorized dealer, so if any warranty issues come up your skin is covered. I ran across many stories of people buying fakes from eBay and other bid-like sites, only to find out they were scammed by a replica. Along with fakes, be on the look out for sites promising things that sound too good to be true, without legitimate proof or third party review. Those companies and sites, such as Rocky Mountain Radar, are only after one thing—your wallet.

With my car packed and radar mounted, I hit the road around midnight. The Escort 8500 X50 came with three levels of sensitivity—city, highway and auto. I had it set to “highway.” Being silent for two hours and not making a beep, I began wondering if my purchase was even worth it. Nearing Vancouver, WA my car started beeping with warning signals, alerting me of the police down the road. Though the officer was preoccupied with another car, I was pleased that it worked.

I made it to Sacramento issue-free and drove around the Californian highways with confidence. Well, aside from the fact that the Escort 8500 X50 does not detect VASCAR, but to our knowledge very few radars do. Since the size of California is vastly larger than Washington, their state patrol also relies on planes to catch spirited drivers.

The Escort 8500 X50, kept my trip ticket free, and showed its muscle on the way home. Taking a flatter route home via Highway 97, the 8500 X50 was able to warn me of an oncoming officer from miles away. I thought the Californian sun got to the detector. But sure as death and taxes, the Escort was right in giving the proper alerts.

Though the Escort 8500 X50 is plagued by false alarms in the city, this problem is solved with its older brother—9500ix. Priced at $500, the 9500ix was out of my $300 budget.

The Escort Passport 8500 X50 is a solid buy for any driver, spirited or not. It gives drivers a third eye, alerting them of potential obstacles down the road. When looking for a radar detector in the neighborhood of $300, look no further. The Escort Passport 8500 X50 is improved from its predecessors and provides the driver with solid radar detection. You can pick one up on Amazon for under $300.

Pros: Price, quality of product, range of detection, three different sensitivity modes, auto-dimming, smart cord, Escort Live option, all-band detection, 360-degree radar and laser detection, customizable settings

Cons: False alerts in the city, suction cup mounts (purchase the SuperCup mount)

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