Strengths: Excellent K/Ka and POP protection.
Nice options that are free with the unit.
Voice, sound, and visual alerts.
Weaknesses: Bad Speaker design (kept failing)
Annoying Volume Control!
Many false alerts on the X and K bands
Only alerts on the strongest signal
Summary: As fair as radar detector goes, the Bel is an excellent choice for value. However, if you are looking for durability and support, the Bel might come up short.
I had the Bel for a month and the voice and sound went out. I called Bel and they said no problem send the unit in and they will repair it. It took them about 4 weeks to get it back to me. 2 months later. Speaker died again. Called Bel. Sent it back. Speaker fails a 3rd time.
I just decided to live with it at that point. The radar detector that would make no noise.
I have sense purchased the Escort 8500 (after the Bel was stolen) and enjoy it much more.
With the Bel, they have volume controls that are push button. HOW ANNOYING!!!
Scenerio: You are listening your radio loudly or you have the windows down in the summer, so you turn up the volume on your radar detector. You PUSH and HOLD for about 5-10 seconds to adjust up or down.
Now you receive a call on your cellphone. You reach over and turn down your radio and answer the call. BEEP!!! BEEEP!!!!! "PLease hold on while I turn down the darn radar detector".. 5-10 seconds to adjust. "Ok, now I can hear you."
Just go with the Escort 8500 for the money.
BTW, the software upgradable Bel must be sent back to Bel for approximately 4 weeks to upgrade.
Similar Products Used: Escort 8500!!! <== Buy this one!
Rating Reviewed by: Mike (Unregistered User)
Review Date November 27, 2002
Overall Rating 5 of 5
Value Rating 5 of 5
Used product for 3 Months to 1 year
Visitors rate this review 4.56 of 5,
Review 2 of 32
Year / Model Reviewed: Bel 980
Strengths: - Can disable any of X, K, or Ka-band
- Different ways you can program the detector to alert you.
- Great detection
- a "quiet" button (in case you are stuck in traffic next to a false radar source)
Weaknesses: - getting to the programming menu was not intuitive... until you read the manual (I thought I had a defective product)
Summary: I have had my Bel 980 since the start of the summer... just in time for all the traps to come out and start collecting money from the public.
Where I live, the majority of speed traps are photo radar vans, using K-band (24.125 GHz) to catch speeders. It saved me on one of the very first times I used it. I was heading towards the city centre, and it had started beeping "k-band". At first I thought it was a false alarm, but I decided to slow down just in case. Then, I spotted the van with plenty of time to slow down.
I went through this trap many times to test out the detector.
From my experience, I can tell you that the Bel 980 is a very good detector. It will warn you of k-band photo radar vans with enough time to slow down as_long_as_you_are_not_going_too_fast! This is critical! If you are going 110 Km/h, you probably won't have enough time to slow down.
There are photo radar vans that operate on Ka-band, they don't operate in my city. If I can test it out, I'll just add another review.
Luckily, photo radar vans don't operate on the highways where I live. Only freeways (80 km/h limit)or regular streets (50 or 60 km/h).
The detection of the radar depends on traffic as well. The best is when you have some traffic ahead of you so that the radar beam can reflect off the back of those cars towards you and your detector. Remember to mount your detector relatively high atleast the middle of your windshield or higher.
The detector has also caught radar from police vehicles and those signs that tell you how fast you are going. Once again, in my city, they are all K-band. Since the radar is pointed AT you, you will have a lot more time to slow down, and just about any reasonable speed should be ample time to adjust your speed.
I think the best features of the detector is that you can disable bands. Anyone who owns a Bel 980 or 985 should not be complaining about X-bands going off all the time because they can disable it! For me, I also disable Ka-band since I don't know of any instances of use in my city.
As for laser (LIDAR) detection, the Bel 980 works, but don't count on it to save you. LIDAR obtains your speed in 0.3 seconds, so essentially, you have 0.3 seconds to adjust your speed, which is impossible. Buy a laser jammer if you want to protect yourself from laser traps. No radar detector (eg. Bel 980, Valentine 1, or Escort 8500) will save you from laser traps. If a radar detector manufacturer boasts it has the best laser detection, it's better to laugh it off, because unless you jam it, the police will already have your speed and will be issuing you a ticket.
By the way, for those new to radar detection, don't bother buying a cheap detector if you have photo radar in your city. Photo radar is the most difficult radar system to detect and cheap detectors won't give you enough time to slow down. They will be a waste of money and you can't trust them.
With the Bel 980, you develop a trust with your detector, so you don't have to drive looking for photo radar vans on the side of the road (which is potentially dangerous).
Now, let's talk about the Bel 980's falsing. Yes, the Bel 980 does false occasionally. I have driven with all bands on, and sometimes with some bands off. In general, if you are beside a megamall, hospital, or bank, you can expect your detector to alert you. Usually, it only goes to only a 1 or 2 strength alert (out of 9), but it can go to a 9 if you drive in the parking lot! Of course, there won't be any speed traps in a parking lot, so don't let this bother you.
If you are a normal driver, you usuaully drive certain roads here and there. Trust me, you WILL know if its a false or really police radar with time. I drive a lot of the same places throughout the city, and I know where it will false, so I ignore any alerts I get there. If I am driving somewhere new and I get an alert, I monitor how the strength goes up. If it goes up constantly, I will start to slow down.
Similar Products Used: Uniden 6599 (which was junk), Bel 985 (the newer model).
Escort 8500: Not as good detection, but better at reducing falsing
Valentine 1: Better detection, but more falsing.
Bel 980: ri
Rating Reviewed by: Matt Hope(Unregistered User)
Review Date November 13, 2002
Overall Rating 4 of 5
Value Rating 5 of 5
Used product for 1 to 3 months
Visitors rate this review 5.00 of 5,
Review 3 of 32
, from ENGLAND
Year / Model Reviewed: 2000
Strengths: it does get a lot of falses, but in the UK you can turn off X-Band and KA-Band
turn off X and KA and then you'll have almost NO falses, K band (GATSO) detection is generally very good, id recomend it as its great for the price (Bel 980 or a Cobra??)
good selective features
Weaknesses: it will false a lot in the UK if you have X and KA bands on... turn them OFF!
K detection isnt amazing, but at the price you cant get better... you can pay twice as much for a V1, it will be better, but can your wallet take it??
Summary: thought i had lost my licence, so decided i needed an RD.
read LOADS of reviews, the Bel 980 seemed a very good all-round RD, up there with the best really in range and features, but at a better price.
it does get a lot of falses, but in the UK you can turn off X-Band and KA-Band as they are not used over here anymore. this cuts out almost ALL falses now.
this thing TOTALLY saved my licence at about 9pm a couple nights ago. a hidden police mobile trap was detected by this thing, i was doing about twice the limit, but had plenty of time to slow down, i even thought it was a FALSE, until i saw the cop's van hidden in the bushes
Similar Products Used: experianced V1s, Unidens and Snooper 815.
V1 is god-like but has a price tag to match.
the others were rubbish.
either buy a Bel or a Valentine.
Strengths: Class leading Ka Band range, several miles on the highway.
One of the few detectors to pick up cops around corners and over hills.
Very clear voice warnings.
Weaknesses: Occasionally goes nuts around "hot" alarm systems.
X and K band alarms are annoying when autosilence isnt used.
Summary: This is one great radar detector! Sure it isnt cheap like those Cobra detectors you can get in Best Buy, but you get what you pay for. It is one of the top rated detectors and is beat by only one detector the Escort Passport 9500. Even beats the so called god of detectors the Valentine One and it is hundreds cheaper than the V-1.
Similar Products Used: Uniden and Cobra detectors (junk). The cobra even froze and left me un-protected against radar. Save yourself money and buy a Bel or Escort not a cheap ass Cobra.
Weaknesses: Sensitive to heat, terrible windshield mount.
Summary: Let me start by saying I am somewhat of a radar detector fanatic. I have used about everything under the sun (see below).
The Bel 980 is a fair detector. But there is a problem people don't like to talk about concerning this detector. It is extremely sensitive to heat. I left it under my seat one day at work, and when I left it failed it's startup loop. That makes it about as good as a snowshovel that breaks when it's cold.
On the positive side, it has alot of features, and the volume is definitely loud enough.
Detection range is fair, but not as good as the Passport 8500 and nowhere near the Valentine.
The windshield mount is absolutely atrocious. It looks homemade, and works homemade.
Considering you can get one on Ebay for $130-$150, it's a fair deal. But the heat factor has to be considered. For me, that was enough to make me never use it again (it happened twice, then I realized it has a problem, so I quit using it altogether).
For detection, it outclasses everything except the 8500 and Valentine. You get what you pay for.
Similar Products Used: Original Escort, Escort DSP, Original Passport, Original Solo, Solo 4, Solo 5, Newest Solo, Passport 4500, Passport 4600, Passport 5000, Passport 7500, Passport 8500, Bel 530i, Bel 745STi, bunch of Un