The Escort Passport Max offers total protection, reviews say: the longest-range radar detection in its class, plus speed/red-light camera alerts and new technology to sift out false alarms. It's not cheap, but experts declare it the best all-around dashboard radar detector that you can get.
Total performance package. Plenty of radar detectors (even budget-priced ones) can detect radar from far away in tests. But the Max proves to be super-sensitive in two top tests, confidently sniffing out both faraway radar guns and sneaky instant-on radar spurts while -- importantly -- using its unique "digital signal processing" technology to rapidly blot out false signals. Meanwhile, the Max offers all of the same GPS-related features as Escort's previous flagship, the still-available Escort Passport 9500ix (Est. $470) , including speed and red-light camera alerts and the ability to "learn" where false alarms lurk on your route.
Fully loaded "smart" detector. Like the Escort 9500ix, the Max comes loaded with "smart" features. It dials up the sensitivity at high speeds (to give you lots of warning to slow down) and dials it down when you're creeping around town (to squelch annoying alerts you don't need). An optional Escort Live smartphone app (Est. $40) gives you help from the crowd: Whenever a nearby Escort Live-connected detector notices a speed trap, you'll be automatically alerted, although the app gets only so-so reviews from users. Only one feature is missing -- it's not invisible to police radar-detector detectors, although that's not an issue unless you're running it where radar detectors are illegal. If you want a radar detector that shields itself against being detected by police, experts recommend the Escort RedLine (Est. $500) .
Handy niceties include an OLED screen and excellent mount. Instead of the usual blocky digital-clock-style readout, the Max has a colorful, high-definition OLED screen that's particularly easy to see, testers say. A few buttons on top control all functions, and the included SmartCord that plugs into your cigarette lighter features a handy second mute button and a tiny light to deliver alerts when you're running in Full Dark Mode for nighttime stealth. The StickyCup windshield mount earns kudos from testers: It sticks like glue but releases easily. The only drawback: It's a "heavy, bulky beast," Autoweek.com says, just a little bigger than the 9500ix.
SpeedZones.com includes seven radar detectors (including the Escort Passport Max) in this long-range detection test. Although all of the guns sniff out the radar from eight or nine miles away (on an ideal, flat course), the Max does so with the most consistently strong signal.
Review: Annual Test 2013-2014, Editors of SpeedZones.com, June 28-30, 2013
Roy Reyer calls the Escort Passport Max "the best dash mounted radar detector ever made," with both long-range highway and anti-falsing city prowess. Reyer says he drove more than 3,500 miles with the Max and includes a video review.
Review: Escort Passport Max Radar Detector Review, Roy Reyer, June 2013
Graham Kozak highly recommends the Escort Passport Max after testing it in a variety of vehicles over the course of a month. Impressively, it detects a speed trap from half a mile away around a sweeping curve, saving him from a hefty ticket.
Review: Review: A Month with the Escort Passport Max Radar Detector, Graham Kozak, June 28, 2013
4. Veil Guy Blog
The "Veil Guy" is the proprietor of LaserVeil.com, an automotive spray designed to reduce a laser gun's targeting range. He also occasionally reviews radar detectors. Here, he explains why the Escort Passport Max's long-range capabilities might actually be useful in real-world driving, although he doesn't test the Max.
Review: Escort Passport Max Review/Preview: How Much Range Is Enough?, "Veil Guy", Updated June 9, 2013
Escort's own website is currently the richest source of user reviews for the new Passport Max. Nearly 250 owners have posted reviews, with enough variation among ratings that the reviews appear to be credible. Although it earns more than 4 out of 5 stars, several early adopters say their units were buggy.
Review: Passport Max, Contributors to EscortRadar.com, As of September 2013