Escort iX radar detector review


Last year I reviewed the Max 360, Escort’s feature-packed, flagship radar detector. With everything but the kitchen sink built into it, the device is quite the behemoth. Since then, Escort has released a new high-tech radar detector, the iX as a successor to their renowned Passport 9500iX. The Escort iX is a nice compilation of both, with many of the Max 360’s high end features in a smaller more compact form factor.

Note: Images can be clicked to view a larger size.

According to Escort “The All-New Escort iX keeps everything you love about the legendary 9500iX with more power, new features, and a sleek new design.” Escort’s new iX has faster/greater processing power, increased memory, integrated Bluetooth connectivity, and a high-performance multicolor OLED display. When paired with a smart device running the ESCORTLive app, the iX provides real-time speed limit data, speed trap notifications, speed camera locations, and shared radar alerts from nearby users.

I would guess the Escort iX is approximately 80% the volume of the Max 360. Though it’s smaller in size, the iX still packs a long list of capabilities, with the only feature missing from its big brother is the directional arrows found on the front of the 360. As you can see, the buttons/controls and speaker are located on the top of the device. Depending on how you mount the Escort iX in your vehicle, accessing the buttons may be difficult or a stretch but thankfully the mute control is available on the SmartCord.

In the Box:

  • ESCORT iX Radar/laser detector
  • EZ Mag Mount windshield mount
  • SmartCord USB power adapter
  • Quick Reference Guide
  • Zippered Travel Case

Specifications:

OPERATING BANDS

  • X-band 10.525 GHz ± 25 MHz
  • K-band 24.150 GHz ± 100 MHz
  • Ka-band 34.700 GHz ± 1300 MHz
  • Laser 904nm, 33 MHz Bandwidth

RADAR RECEIVER / DETECTOR TYPE

  • Superheterodyne, Varactor-Tuned VCO
  • Scanning Frequency Discriminator
  • Digital Signal Processing (DSP)

LASER DETECTION

  • Quantum Limited Video Receiver
  • Multiple Laser Sensor Diodes

GPS RECEIVER

  • SiRFstar IV

SENSITIVITY CONTROL

  • Highway, Auto, Auto No X and Auto Lo K

COMPACT SIZE

  • 1.25″ H x 2.875″ W x 5.125″ L

Installation:

Like the Max 360, setting up the Escort iX is a relatively simple task.  First, the magnetic suction cup mount adheres to the windshield, placed where it does not interfere with your field of view while driving. The iX snaps/clicks securely into place magnetically which is an excellent, convenient feature. For the month plus I have been testing the iX, the magnetic hold has yet to fail/release even on the bumpiest of gravel roads.

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The SmartCord plugs into any 12-volt power port then into the device. In my car, the SmartCord is not in the way or an eyesore by mounting the detector low, near the dash. But if mounted higher, near the rearview mirror with the cord dangling down, I (and probably many others) would find that distracting and a bit irritating. That said, Escort and other manufacturers have direct-wired solutions that would provide a cleaner, more driving Zen solution. The SmartCord enables you to not only mute a notification, but double clicking it blocks that location from alerting you in the future.

Assuming you’ve already downloaded the ESCORTLive app, the final step is to pair your two devices and you are good to go. The ESCORTLive app is available for both Android and iOS devices and provides visually enhanced, integrated telemetry the radar detector is collecting. The ESCORTLive app has two views as seen above: Map and Dashboard modes. The Map mode is very Waze-like, providing a “real-time ticket protection network, which warns you of upcoming alerts received and reported by other users in the area, and gives you access to local speed limit data for over-speed alerts”.

Hardware:

On the front of the Escort iX is a very nice multi-color OLED screen that provides the speed limit, your speed, and what type of sensor/detector is within range of your vehicle whether it is: X-, K-, and Ka-band radar signals, laser threat, red light or speed cameras plus signal strength on the far right. The vivid display is readable in all lighting conditions and has four different color settings: blue, red, green, and amber. The OLED display has five levels of brightness including a “Full Dark Mode”.

The iX’s casing is made from sturdy plastic. Other than it’s front screen and buttons, the iX’s only other notable physical features are a miniUSB port and power plug port on its right side with its long range antenna protruding from its top.

Detection:

The distance the Escort iX can detect threats is VERY impressive. From speed nagging road signs to automated intersection speed detectors, the iX does a great job letting you know that they are there in plenty of time to moderate your speed.

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DEFENDER Database:

In addition to actively monitoring your surroundings and integrating data warnings from other users, the Escort iX comes preloaded with Escort’s database (the DEFENDER) of active red light and speed camera locations across the U.S. and Canada. Escort provides weekly updates via their website to keep your detector up-to-date. The application is actually pretty slick…it automatically recognizes your device by serial number and thus whether or not your subscription is up to date.

This database is a subscription based service that currently only works on Windows-based computers (aka no macOS).  One year of service is $24.95 with three years is $49.95.

This statement from the Escort website is more than a bit misleading. After a quick discussion with an Escort tech support person, I came to find out that the application does not work on macOS Sierra but is compatible with the last few iterations of OSX like El Captain. My MacBook Pro has Sierra on it but fortunately, the Gadgeteer Kid is a slacker and has not updated his laptop in forever. So, the application worked well on both platforms but was more polished in Windows 10. According to Escort, they are working on updating their Mac software.

IVT Filter:

I thought the In-Vehicle Technology (IVT) filter was pretty cool and a required/needed feature with an increasing number of vehicles with collision avoidance, adaptive cruise control and self-driving capabilities on the road. This updatable system automatically reduces false alerts from moving IVT sources.

Transportability:

Escort includes a very well made, semi-rigid foam lined travel case for transporting the iX with you. There is just enough room for the magnetic mount, SmartCord, and the iX itself. The Escort iX is relatively lightweight and nicely sized for travel.

Escort Radar Performance Guarantee:

The cost of getting a speeding ticket is high and constantly going up both in terms of paying the ticket but the potential increase in your insurance rates. There are many out there who have received tickets erroneously or were not aware of the current speed limit due to poor signage, construction, limited visibility, etc. The current line of Escort radar detectors does an excellent job of increasing your situational awareness…reminding you of the speed limit, how fast you are going, and where detectors/cameras do not only help you drive smarter but more safely. Like the Max 360, Escort believes so strongly in the iX, they offer a “Speeding Ticket Limited Guarantee” including both radar and laser speeding tickets when you purchase their flagship directly from their website.

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Bottom line:

As I have said before:

The majority of the driving I do is behind the wheel of a small, zippy sports car. Though sadly, I occasionally get dogged by my friends and family for driving it like a little old lady. My typical response is that I enjoy the luxury of the vehicle’s interior and the drive itself, why would I ever want to rush that experience. I have never used a radar detector because 99% of the time I lock the cruise control near the speed limit, lean back and keep it between the lines.

That said, my absolute favorite feature of the Escort iX is the overspeed function. The ESCORTLive app enables you to set a maximum overspeed and both the iX and your smart device nag you when you go over that speed. For my review, I set the overspeed at 5 miles per hour. Every time I exceed the posted speed by 5 mph both devices beeped, turned red and told me I was going too fast. Let’s face it, many times we unknowingly go faster than we should for a multitude of reasons and it is great to have a travel companion other than your significant other yapping at you to slow down 😉 . The Escort iX’s Clear Voice technology is very understandable even over road noise and the car stereo. It includes English and Spanish languages.

The Escort iX is an excellent driving companion, always reminding you of your speed as compared to the posted speed limit. The situational awareness it provides only adds to your driving experience and knowledge of what lies ahead of you, all hopefully combining to increase your overall safety. At $500, the iX is not inexpensive but is one of the most feature-rich, capable devices in its class.

Source: The sample for this review was provided by Escort. Please visit their site for more info and Amazon to order.


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Product Information

Price:$499.95
Manufacturer:Escort Radar
Retailer:Amazon
Pros:
  • Well made
  • Exceptional situational awareness
  • Vivid OLED multicolored display
  • Good iOS and Android ESCORTLive app
  • Responsive, long range notifications
  • Monitors X-, K-, and Ka-band radar signals & laser threats
  • Internal active red light and speed camera locations database
Cons:
  • Expensive
3 comments… add one
  • Richard Greene March 7, 2017, 8:16 am

    Nice review:

    From a pure radar/laser detector – I compared it to a Valentine One mid-summer and the V1 is far superior. The V1 picked up rear radar much further away then the Defender and in some cases it might make a difference between getting a ticket or not. I’m not certain, even with the guarantee, that the hassle of getting a ticket and then filing a claim for reimbursement would be worth it. The V1 is comparably priced andy also offers a very nominal fee to upgrade the unit every so often.

    I’ve used a V1 for 25+ years and have often tried others – I keep using the V1. But it’s only a pure Radar/Laser detector no speed indicator’s – just the arrows and lights indicating the number of signals, direction and strength.

    But the Escort does have certain features that make it desirable comparatively as long as one understands that with all of the features the Defender has it may suffer detection issues from the rear. Forward Radar/Laser it was fine – just not as good as from the back.

    • john kes March 7, 2017, 1:07 pm

      Thanks for the feedback.

  • Andy Chen March 10, 2017, 1:04 pm

    To see how the iX stacked up against some other detectors in independent testing, check out: https://www.rdforum.org/showthread.php?t=55406

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