updated 11:40 pm EDT, Mon May 7, 2012
Enforcement avoidance continues to evolve
Escort late last year introduced Escort Live, providing basic integration between the company's radar detectors and Android or iOS smartphones. The company has continued to embrace smartphone capabilities with SmartRadar, a new detector that discretely monitors radar and laser signals while diverging from form factor of existing dash-mounted radar detectors. Electronista had a chance to check out the new device this week at a special event ahead of CTIA's New Orleans gathering.
We were impressed by Escort Live, which enables smartphone integration with the company's proven and well-received detectors such as the RedLine or 9500 series. The system compete's with Cobra's iRadar detectors, which are specifically designed for smartphone integration but, as an entry-level product, left us questioning their core capabilities as radar and laser detectors.
The SmartRadar aims to bridge the gap, bringing a compact form that omits the traditional display and buttons of the company's previous dash-mount devices. When using a phone to provide alerts, users can tuck the device completely behind the rearview mirror and mostly out of sight. Wireless operation also enables users to route the power cable around the windshield frame for additional obscurity, though an additional cable and tiny dongle serve to replicate the traditional detector display if needed.
We haven't had a chance to road test the SmartRadar or the new iRadar, however we can vouch for the reliability of Escort's high end equipment. For drivers with an existing RedLine or 9500ix, the Escort Live cord accessory serves as a perfect accessory, however for any smartphone user who is new to the market, we suspect that the SmartRadar will prove to be the superior product in the segment.
The SmartRadar is currently available in two versions, one for iOS and one for Android, with each carrying a $450 price tag. If cost is an issue and users only need basic features, Cobra's iRadar is clearly a winner with its $129 price point.