If you want -- or need -- to hide your radar detector from police, you have only a few options, including the stealthy Beltronics STi Magnum. Although it's nearly identical to its corporate twin, the top-rated Escort RedLine (Est. $500) , the Magnum lags just a smidgen behind the RedLine in long-range radar-detection tests, making it the runner up in the "invisible" radar detector class.
Long-range detection, just behind the Escort RedLine. Just a hair behind the Escort RedLine in long-range tests, the Beltronics STi Magnum still ranks as one of the best long-range radar detectors you can buy. The newer Escort Passport Max (Est. $550) now beats both the RedLine and Magnum in long-range tests, and the Max can do two things the others can't: It uses GPS to warn you of speed and red-light cameras, and also to limit false alarms. Still, the Max isn't invisible to police radar-detector detectors -- but the Magnum and RedLine are.
Invisible to police. The Beltronics STi Magnum is just as undetectable to police radar-detector detectors as the Escort RedLine. Like the RedLine, the Magnum lacks GPS, so it can't remember false-alarm or speed/red-light camera locations. Both the RedLine and Magnum are compatible with Escort Live (Est. $40) , an optional app that allows the detector to pair with your smartphone's GPS. However, owners say the app doesn't always work properly.
Front-mounted controls are easy to reach. Although the Beltronics STi Magnum and Escort RedLine are identical under the skin, they have different cases -- and Craig Peterson at RadarTest.com likes the Magnum's, thanks to its easy-to-reach, front-mounted controls (the Escort's are on top). Both have an easy-to-understand graph that shows how strong a radar signal is getting, so you'll know whether you need to slam on the brakes or just slow down gently. Both models have spoken alerts (along with beeps and LED readouts), a SmartCord (with a second mute button and tiny light to deliver alerts while in Dark Mode) and a quick-release suction-cup windshield mount.
The Escort RedLine holds a very slight edge over the Beltronics STi Magnum on most bands in this long-range detection test -- but only very slight. Both are among the top performers in this 15-detector shootout.
Review: ECCTG October 2012 Radar Detector Test, East Coast Countermeasure Testing Group, October 2012
Again, the Beltronics STi Magnum trails the Escort RedLine just slightly in long-range detection tests here. In real-world driving tests, the Magnum issues one less false alarm than the RedLine.
Review: Bel Pro 500, Bel STi Magnum, Escort 9500ix, Escort RedLine: Which Over-$299 Radar Detector Is the World's Best?, Craig Peterson, 2013
Reyer calls the Beltronics STi Magnum his "#2 choice behind the Escort RedLine" for professional and mostly highway drivers. The Magnum is just as undetectable to police RDDs, but the RedLine has "a slight edge in long-range performance."
Review: Beltronics STi Magnum Radar Detector Review, Roy Reyer, Aug. 13, 2012
The Beltronics STi Magnum earns 4 out of 5 stars after more than 20 reviews. Most owners are very happy, but some complain of spotty performance.
Review: Beltronics 0150000-E STi Magnum Radar Detector, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of September 2013