Review 4 of 4|
Sensitivity/detection range; features (if you're into that); ... well, pretty much everything.
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".
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.
Similar Products Used:
Cobra 9850; Bel E916; Bel 940; Bel 985; Escort Passport 8500