For your driving convenience, RC Electronics is providing an overview of current and future Radar Detector technologies.
There are four regions or bandwidths at which radar guns operate. They are commonly known as X, K, Ka, and Ka Superwide. Almost all radar detectors now scan all of these bands.
Just like the band discussion above, nearly all detectors now offer laser detection. The only differentiation to be found is 360 degree vs. front and rear detection vs. front only. Don't get too hung up on these features. First, laser guns will never be operated from beside the target car since they won't work that way. This makes 360 degree detection unnecessary. Second, laser guns must be stationary in order to work. A driver would actually need to pass a laser setup up in order for rear detection to even become an issue. Lastly, if a laser gun is pointed directly at the target car and activated, it's all over but the cryin'. A driver's only hope is to catch the reflected light from another target and set the laser detector off. For this situation, a good wide angle laser detector is all you need. All of our detectors will give you this level of protection.
While most detectors now have distinct tones to identify which type of device is tracking your speed, a new generation of detectors will soon appear which will use voices to identify the bands. The obvious advantage here is you don't have to go through a learning process on the signals. This make the detector more immediately useful.
usually in the form of LED's, these alerts inform you of the type of speed detection device being used. The most informative alert is the digital readout. This is usually easier to see and identify. Soon detectors will utilize full text messages on LCD screens which will leave no doubt as to what the detector is trying to communicate.
Signal Strength Meter
This is an excellent feature. These meters are either LED arrays or digital readouts from 1 to 10. The more levels in the scale, the more accurately one can estimate the proximity of the threat. Assuming the detector can pick up a signal a mile away, a 3 LED meter will only divide that into 3 levels, each being 1/3 of a mile. A 1 to 10 digital readout will divide it into 1/10 mile segments. By having smaller segments, you can better tell how quickly you need to adjust your speed. The larger the segments the less opportunity you have to assess the threat, and thus the quicker you need to react, perhaps unnecessarily slamming on the brakes. That can be a real safety problem in high traffic areas and just a plain nuisance otherwise.
This feature allows you to dim the lighted output of the detector in order to reduce unwanted glare during night driving. The better units will give a dim mode and a dark mode where all but the power LED is canceled.
This feature allows you to cancel the audio output of the detector. This comes in handy for drivers who don't want their stereo entertainment interrupted or for cellular users who don't want their calls interrupted. Also, in high interference areas where lots of falsing can occur, this feature can really reduce the nuisance factor. The better units have auto mute which will provide a short full alert followed by unobtrusive clicks. This ensures that
threats are communicated but noise levels are reduced.
Safety Warning System
This is an exciting new technology that will enable the radar detector to pick up signals from non-speed monitoring transmitters. These transmitters will be used in everything from emergency vehicles to trains to construction sites. The signals will warn drivers of impending danger or changes in road conditions. This is an important step in legitimizing the use of radar detectors for something other than speed checking devices. Check out the next article for a full explanation of the Safety Warning System (SWS).