Reviewers say the Escort Passport 8500 X50 is extremely similar to the Beltronics RX 65 (*Est. $300) , which is the critics' choice for best value among midpriced radar detectors. Experts and users agree on some good points for both units: They say both detectors are easy to program and use, and both are usually good at filtering out false alarms. But some reviewers find the Escort 8500 X50's audible alerts are quieter than the Beltronics RX 65's, which can make them harder to hear when music is playing.
Neither the Escort 8500 X50 nor the Beltronics RX 65 detects radar from as far away as top-of-the-line units, such as the Escort Passport 9500ix (*Est. $500) . The Escort Passport 8500 X50 lands in the middle of the pack in such tests, along with the Beltronics Vector 995 (*Est. $220) and the less expensive Beltronics Vector 955 (*Est. $150) . Still, experts and users say the 8500 X50 alerts drivers in plenty of time to avoid a ticket. The 8500 X50's LED readout comes in red or blue. Unlike the newer, pricier Escort Passport 9500ix, the 8500 X50 can't warn you about speed or red-light cameras.
The Escort Passport 8500 X50 is one of the detectors included in the exhaustive and authoritative tests at GuysOfLidar.com. It is also part of an extensive and elaborate comparison test at LaserVeil.com. At the other end of the review spectrum are the write-ups at Radar-Detector-Geeks.com and RadarBusters.com; they are extremely brief, but they do rank the 8500 X50 against other detectors. User reviews at Epinions.com provide insight into the 8500 X50's real-life performance.
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1. Guys of Lidar
The experts at GuysOfLidar.com test radar detectors in realistic situations; for example, detecting a radar gun that's hidden around a curve. The Escort Passport 8500 X50 ranks about midpack along with the other midpriced detectors, but it's one of the best at detecting instant-on radar.
Review: 2009 Radar Detector Test, Editors of GuysOfLidar.com, Aug. 28-30, 2009
This retail site also conducts expert radar detector reviews. This test pits the Escort Passport 8500 X50 against the Valentine One and Beltronics RX 65 over 2,300 miles in five states. The reviewer says the Escort works well with very little effort from the driver, but he ultimately prefers the Beltronics model.
Review: Ultimate Radar Detector Review '05, "The Veil Guy", Updated Sept. 2, 2008
3. Radar Detector Geeks
Auto-shop owners Paul Graham and Gary Smith award ratings of 1 to 5 to 18 radar detectors and rank them accordingly. They provide this list of pros and cons for the Escort 8500 X50, which earns a 4-star rating.
Review: Escort 8500 X50, Paul Graham and Gary Smith
The Escort Passport 8500 X50 is one of the top-rated radar detectors at this retail site run by former police officer Roy Reyer. Although Reyer does perform some testing, no test data is displayed for the 8500 X50; there's only a star rating.
Review: Radar Roy's Badge Ratings, Roy Reyer
The Escort Passport 8500 X50 earns a 3.5-star rating here (out of 5), but some of the 120 user reviews are for the earlier Escort Passport 8500 model.
Review: Escort Passport 8500X50 Radar Detector, Contributors to Epinions.com