Friday, August 28, 2009

Escort RedLine vs Beltronics STi?

In early August, Escort annouced their latest RedLine radar detector, featuring the same "M3" dual radar antenna first introduced in Beltronics STi Driver. This makes the RedLine the 4th undetectable radar detector in the market, including the Bel STi Driver, STi-R Remote, and Passport 9500ci.

Over the past month we received many inquiries regarding Escort RedLine in Canada. The RedLine will not be available until the first quarter of 2010. "Is the RedLine worth the wait? Or should I buy an STi Driver now?"

UPDATE: Beltronics STi Driver has been replaced by STi Magnum in late 2011. Performance of Escort Redline and BEL STi Magnum is identical.

Comparing Escort Redline with Beltronics STi -

Escort RedLine:
  • Undetectable radar detector with M3 antenna
  • Improved radar detection on Ka band
  • Includes travel case, windshield mount, coiled SmartCord
  • Available Q1, 2010, in Canada
  • Priced at $559 (CAD).

Beltronics STi Driver:
  • Undetectable radar detector with M3 antenna
  • Performs better than Passport 9500ix, 8500 X50, RX65 (M4)
  • Includes travel case, windshield mount, and coiled SmartCord
  • Latest 2009 firmware with audio ramp-up update
  • Discontinued; see STi Magnum below

  • Undetectable radar detector with M3 antenna
  • Up to 60% improvement over STi Driver
  • Performance matching Escort Redline
  • Includes travel case, windshield mount, and coiled SmartCord
  • Includes linear audio ramp-up - not available in Escort models
  • Priced at $529 (CAD)

While Escort claims that the RedLine offers radar detection range on par with the remote detectors - STi-R and 9500ci, we'd like to see how the production units perform.

While the STi Driver already offers exceptional radar performance, any marginal improvement on the RedLine might not be necessary for everyone, as Escort claims. More range also means more false alerts driving in the city.

In addition, Escort RedLine has been reported potential software glitch or bugs in the first production batch. On the other hand, STi Driver has been a robust detector with refined software. We also found the exterior quality on STi Driver's "magnesium construction" to be nicer and more durable than RedLine's new black paint.

We strongly recommend the direct-wire cord or SmartCord to anyone who wish to hardwire their radar detector and avoid hanging a coiled power cord from the windshield or across the dash.


**Updated** How does Escort RedLine compare to Beltronics STi?

Both Bel STi Driver and Escort RedLine are 100% undetectable. The STi Driver already offers top-of-the-line radar detection performance in the market. Escort RedLine uses the same M3 antenna, but is tuned to get slightly better range on Ka band.

RedLine has a front lip coming out just underneath the display, so it is not ideal to mount it high near the visor or the rear-view mirror. RedLine's "lip" will be blocking the display when mounting it above eye-level. On the other hand, STi Driver can be easily mounted high where it can be more hidden. With a visor-clip, the STi Driver display can be adjusted when mounting it up-side down.

The slight improvement on the RedLine might appeal to those looking for raw performance and maximum range, but the STi Driver offers the same amount of protection for most daily driving, with a lower price-tag.

UPDATE: The all-new Beltronics STi Magnum now matches Escort Redline's performance for slightly lower cost. Choice between the two would come down to different voice alerts and brand loyalty. Radar detection performance is identical.

Buy Beltronics STi Magnum ($529)- available from
Buy Escort RedLine ($559) - available from

Monday, August 24, 2009

Beltronics STi Driver Review

Update (December 2011): STi Driver has been replaced by the new STi Magnum which offers up to 60% increased performance!

Beltronics was the first to design a radar detector that cannot be detected by any police RDD (radar-detector-detector), including VG2 and the latest Spectre 3 and Spectre 4. Use of a radar detector is prohibited in Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Maritimes, and all Territories. This makes the undetectable Beltronics STi Driver the no.1 choice for drivers who live in these provinces or plan to travel across Canada.

Not only is the Bel STi Driver undetectable, it is also the most recommended choice for those looking for the best radar detection range. We rate this the best radar detector made for Canada and the US.

Beltronics STi Driver includes the detector, Coiled SmartCord for cigarette lighter, quick-release windshield mount, spare suction cups, and the user manual. We highly recommend the optional accessories such as the Visor Clip, Direct-Wire SmartCord, or the Direct-Wire Cord.

Using the latest M3 radar antenna, the STi Driver offers impressive radar detection that outperforms the RX65, Passport 8500 X50 and 9500ix. Sensitivity can be configured in Highway mode for maximum range, or AutoScan and Auto No-X mode for balanced alert distance and false signal rejection for city driving. We recommend leaving the STi Driver in Highway mode for maximum sensitivity for police K and Ka bands.

All Bel STi Drivers produced in 2010 comes loaded with the latest firmware that includes an audio ramp-up update that makes the STi Driver alert in a linear fashion to accurately reflect the radar signal strength. This update allows drivers to rely on the audible alerts without looking at the displayed signal bar graph. This linear ramp-up is not available in any Escort models, including the RedLine, 9500ix, and 9500ci.

The Beltronics STi Driver is no doubt the best overall windshield mounted radar detector for Canadian drivers.

Update: STi Driver has been replaced by the new STi Magnum which offers up to 60% increased performance!

Buy Beltronics STi Magnum ($529 CAD) - available from

Recommended Accessories for the STi Driver:
Direct-Wire Cord ($29.95) - links to the fuse box or any 12V and a ground
Direct-Wire SmartCord ($39.95) - like the direct-wire cord, with an additional display with LED alerts and mute.
Visor Clip ($9.95) - Sun visor mount to hide the detector better.