I recently reviewed the Cobra RAD 480i on my blog and was impressed by how far radar detectors had come over the years, morphing from an annoying device that beeps all of the time to a smartphone-enabled “smart driving” device that is much more customizable and useful…so when Escort (the parent company of Cobra) hit me up about reviewing their latest and greatest device, the Escort Max 3, I jumped on it.
Like the RAD 480i, the Escort Max 3 radar detector integrates with Waze as well as the Escort app to alert you of everything from speed traps, traffic cameras, and even where to take bathroom breaks – it’s awesome.
So what sets the $399 Escort Max 3 apart from it’s $199 RAD 480i cousin…is it worth the extra money?
For starters, the Max 3 is for people who want a better detection range, so it’s absolutely worth it if you plan to *ahem, cough, cough* speed more.
The faster you’re going, the more advance notice you’ll want to slow down, so every extra bit of radar detection range goes a long way…and at $399 this device still pays for itself in avoiding about 1 ticket once you factor in increased insurance, etc. so it’s still easily justified on that basis alone.
Better yet, the Max 3 is smart enough so that if you are going fast, it automatically gets more sensitive…and if you’re cruising slow, the radar detector is less sensitive…resulting in fewer annoying beeps unless you’re going at a speed you don’t mind an occasional false positive.
More than just better detection range however, the Max 3 has a number of other features that help set it apart from more entry level options such as:
- Advanced false alert filtering means your ride will stay quiet unless there truly is an alert you need to be made aware of.
- Auto-learning intelligence continuously learn and remember to silence false signals.
- Intelligent speed sensitivity gives you greater sensitivity to signals when you need, like on the highway when you’re traveling faster than you would on local roads.
Beyond fancier tech, it’s also a nicer package physically speaking.
The charging cable has a mute button and extra USB button built in, the suction mount is the nicest suction mount I’ve ever seen, and the device itself is sleek and has a great fit & finish on par with any high-end consumer electronic device you’ve owned…it even comes with a handy carrying case for when it’s not in use.
One last feature that I thought was really cool is that it can automatically integrate with a dash cam so that you can protect your car against threats even when parked.
If you’re willing to spend a little more, the Escort Max 360c comes with some addition bells and whistles include directional arrow alerts (e.g. which way the radar is coming from) and built-in WiFi along with even more extended range…but if it were my money, the Max 3 hits the sweet spot of price versus value.
Driving around with this installed for the last week or so it’s hard to say I notice a huge difference in the range over the RAD 480i, but I also haven’t gotten popped by many radar guns to put it through its rigors…that being said, the higher-end Escort detectors come with a “Limited Ticket Guarantee” where Escort will pay your radar or laser speeding ticket, so the company is putting its money where it’s mouth is that the device is up to the challenge.
I recently picked up a second car, so both radar detectors are staying in my stable…as a spoiler alert, the new car is more of a weekend “fun” car, so the new car will get the Max 3 radar detector as I’m more likely to have high speed encounters…and the Cayenne will keep the RAD 480i for weekend trips but probably be stored in the glovebox when not in use.
If you have a close eye you can see the new car in a few pictures, feel free to guess what it is in the comments below 😉
After sampling both a $200 and $400 unit, I can also say with even more confidence that if you haven’t owned a radar detector in a long time like me…or you’ve simply never owned one to begin with…it’s definitely worth checking out. The best innovation in my humble opinion is false alert filtering, which means radar detectors of 2020 no longer beep all of the time like they used to – only when a real threat is present and it’s time to slow the heck down.
Regardless, a good radar detector will not only pay for itself in avoiding speeding tickets but will also help make long road trips more safe and engaging through its app and driver alerts, too.
A big thanks goes out once again to Escort/Cobra for gifting me this product to review; while I was given the product I’ve done my best to remain impartial and if I didn’t like the detector I would sent it back and declined to post anything, but this one is a keeper!