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UPDATE: Beltronics STi Driver has been replaced by STi Magnum in late 2011.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

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