Strengths: Great detection range KA Band, K and X band. Great rear detection range.
Weaknesses: NOT INVISIBLE TO SPECTRE RDD !!!
Flimsy windsheild mounting bracket. False alarms escpecailly on X band.
Summary: I Bought this detector as we travel in the States a lot. Mostly in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvannia. New York State Troopers are relentless and use Stalker DSR radar units Ka band. Very deadly. So far the 985 has been up to the challenge. Oddly New Jersey still uses a lot of
X band. Do not shut off X Band in New Jersey! Good Ka detection is a must as most State Police departments are investing heavily in Ka radar. The Bel 985 provides excellent Ka detection. As far as Lidar goes I have yet to receive an alert, but my understanding is that if you get an alert you probably got a ticket. These units are not much help against Lidar.
I live in Ontario Canada, radar detectors are illegal up here and the Police have the Spectre RDD which can detect ANY detector made to date.
So far no Dectector Manufacturer has come up with a "long term" solution to defeating the Spectre.
A warning to any Americans travelling in Ontario, do not use your Detector up here. The OPP use the Spectre!
Similar Products Used: PNI Traveller, Uniden, Other Bel Products
Strengths: The Range On The Bell Vector Is Un Real.X Band 2 Miles K & KA 1.5 Miles, This Is Over Hilly Roads Has Very little Flase Alerts, With Accu,Sweep On The Dectecor, The Bell Really Has Range On KA Band.When Ka Went Off I Thought The Dectector Was Broken It Stay On So Long, But To My Surprise A Patrolman On The Side Of The Road Over A Hill 1.5 Mile Ahead, This Is The Best Radar Dectector That I have Ever Used.
Weaknesses: Scroll Rate At Start Up Is A Little To Fast To What You Have Turn On The Unit, They Need Separate Visor Mount
Summary: HI, I Have The Bell Vector 985. It Has Save Me From Getting Tickets, Unlike The So Called Best, As You Know Is The Passport 8500. I Think That the Bell Vector Is The Best For Someone that Wants To Advoid A Ticket, Instead Of Looking Cool With $100.00 Dectector, That Has About 100 Yard Range.
Similar Products Used: Passports A Lot of Models, A Lot Of Radio Shack Detectors
Rating Reviewed by: Polaris(Unregistered User)
Review Date January 5, 2003
Overall Rating 5 of 5
Value Rating 5 of 5
Used product for 3 Months to 1 year
Visitors rate this review 5.00 of 5,
Review 4 of 4
Strengths: Sensitivity/detection range; features (if you're into that); ... well, pretty much everything.
Weaknesses: You'll get a few falses. However, if you use the "Tech mode" (which shows the actual frequency of the signal received), you'll be able to tell what's false and what's real. For example: On Ka band, 33.700 is not a big deal. 35.500 (or 35.490 or anything near that) is, on the other hand, very much police radar. Same with K band: the center is 24.150; signals at 24.142 are often false, while 24.150 and seemingly oddball numbers like 24.178 are often radar. It's something you get used to pretty quickly. With this feature, it's hard to say that falses are a true "weakness".
Summary: Definitely a good detector. In my search for the best I could find, I went through: the Cobra 9850, Bel 916, Bel 940, Escort 8500, and the Bel 985, which I have right now.
About the Escort, this Bel's competition: I was using it for one day as a comparison to the Bel 940 when I had that. Even with the 940, they were nearly equal on detection, with one edging out the other every so often. The Escort had a slight lead in Ka, though. Because I was wanting to stick with Bel for some reason, I returned both of those and went with the 985. No regrets here.
If you're into this sort of thing, you'll find your frilly features (like voice) and quite a few really, really good options (like band defeat and multiple "modes", like Highway/City X/City All/...). If X band is not used by the police in your area, you may find it beneficial to just eliminate X band reports and use Highway for the most sensitivity. And, from firsthand experience, there is a lot of that.
So far, the best detection range I've had that I could measure was over two miles (odometer) away from a K band radar sign. Other than that, there's been quite a few times where it has/would have saved me from getting lit up. Even over hills (and even over hills in rural areas, which is, of course, hard to pick up), the 985 has given ample warning in all but a few cases (and those are the times where I doubt either the Escort or the V1 could do much better. Radar is bound to the laws of physics, after all). Example: At two in the morning, I did a U turn to go by a cop that was camping on the shoulder again just to get a range on him. I ended up with almost a mile (over 45 seconds away @ 60 to 65 mph), and this was on a major road here that is hilly because of the underpasses. He was on the other side of one of those "hills".
And, of course, there was the time I got about 7 or less seconds because the cop running radar was on the left side of the road, stationary, with a cement wall right next to him, on the other side of a hill that was also a slight curve. That's physics, guys; if most of the radar signal is deflected away like that, you're not gonna get a good warning time. But, any detector could have that problem.
BOTTOM LINE: Whether you pick up the Bel 985 or the Escort, I seriously doubt you're going to go wrong. They are both excellent detectors. Unfortunately, since I have never done a comparison test myself, I can't say what the exact difference (small at best, if there is any) between the two. I do, however, have many emails from other detector "enthusiasts", people that own either the 985 / 8500, and even companies that tell me the same thing. Expensive, sure, but you do get what you pay for.