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Radar detector packs location-aware features

Posted: 07 May 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:radar detector? laser? RF circuit? GPS?

Passport 9500ix GPS board (Click on image to enlarge.)

Product assembly
In an era when most electronic products are assembled in China, Escort bucks the trend by manufacturing the 9500ix at its dedicated facility in Mississauga, Ont. Precise, specialized assembly and test requirements, combined with the high price point, likely make local, captive manufacturing a viable prospect despite the potentially higher cost structure.

Amazingly, we got the 9500ix back together after two troubled shield removals (and delicate can replacements) stemming from the teardown process. The device has been used only a bit since its resurrection, so it's too early to speak on its effectiveness, but a little field testing should be fun.

An almost tragic design flaw was noted: The "on" indicator LED in the smart plug that powers the device is blindingly bright at night, remaining on even when the unit is running in dark mode. But a piece of black tape or some reengineering of the LED drive should fix that right up.

Without specialty ASICs, but with beautiful RF engineering, the Escort 9500ix seems to own the top spot in radar/laser detectors for now. You can spend a lot less, but reviews of the unit suggest you would get a lot less as well.

Even the finest kit won't save the lone traveler surprised by instant-on systems; by the time you get an alert, it's often just too late. For more crowded driving environs however, the 9500ix may be just the (unissued) ticket.

- David Carey

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