Honestly this was a lot of fun and I was afraid for a few moments that I was going to end up paying the San Diego police department for the pleasure of reviewing the product instead of making some money myself. However, I'm happy to share that this is an awesome device that while you should never speed - is a good thing to have in your car to help make you more aware of what's going on around you.
This was a fun review for me since I haven't used a radar detector in many years and frankly I'd sort of written them off as being useless junk that "I" would never need ... much less enjoy using. However, I was curious about the advances in technology and sadly I've received my share of citations over the years for one reason or another.
Escort's Max 360 fits an interesting niche as it combines cutting edge sensor technology along with advanced mobile technology and smart design. This is definitely a premium product, but it was a lot of fun to explore how it worked.
Easy to Install ...
It was very easy to install! The included mount attached easily to my front window and the magnetic arm that held the device itself was solid but easy to attach and remove the radar detector.
When driving around, one of my frustrations sometimes is that you might not know what the speed limit is. This is especially frustrating when doing a road trip in a new area where local limits might differ from your own. The Escort Max 360 will actually display both your speed and what it believes to be the posted speed on the road you are traveling. While this might not be always 100% accurate, I found it to be pretty good and it's certainly a help.
Works in All Directions ...
The 360 in the Max 360 name isn't just to make it sound cool. This radar detector actually has forward and back sensors so that it can tell you where the threat is by pointing to it.
Escort Live! App, GPS and Bluetooth Connection
The one missing thing from being able to "detect" radar is being able to share help drivers even before it detects the laser or radar signals. This visual intelligence among drivers who actually see a speed trap can be the difference between getting a ticket and not. Many drivers will blink their lights or tap their brakes to do that today, but unfortunately by the time you see that sign you are already in trouble. Instead, you can now tap your smartphone screen to let people know where they might be hiding. The app also alerts drivers to where they might find red light and speed cameras. One year of Premium access is included when you purchase the Max 360 and it works on both iOS and Android devices.
Additionally, the Max 360 comes pre-loaded with Escort's Defender Database containing a extensive data on fixed speed cameras and known speed trap locations that it will alert you to as you approach. While these things change over time, the unit comes with 3 months of updates and you can subscribe for more.
As we tested this out, it was pretty awesome that the Max 360 would actually let you where a speed trap was located. In fact, it would actually talk to you, saying "Speed Trap Alert" as we neared a location recognized as being a frequent site where signals had been detected.
Filtering Out Collision Avoidance Sensors ...
Many newer cars today use a version of the same technology found in police radar guns. They operate on the K-band to determine the speed of a car in front of you and automatically applies the brakes so the car avoides colliding with whatever it is in front of you. Unfortunately for many radar detectors, this is can also trigger false positives. While I wasn't able to extensively test this feature, I can say that while driving on the highways around San Diego that I didn't notice a problem when cars approached me.
To accomplish this, the engineers analysed the fingerprints of both the collision avoidance systems and the police radar guns so that the Max 360 was even smarter at determining exactly what was being picked up. As a side benefit, this allowed the Max 360 to be able to sniff out police radar at an even farther distance than it had previously - over 8 times the capture distance of a typical police radar gun.
Helping You Stay Honest ...
OK, so sometimes you speed for whatever reason - whether it's because you are staying with the flow of traffic or for other reasons, it happens. However, remember what I mentioned above about the radar detector having a database of speed limits and also a GPS? Well, the Max 360 can actually recognize your speed and alert you when you've exceeded what it believes is the posted limit I thought this was a very cool feature since sometimes you simply don't know or don't think about it because you may be concentrating more on the cars around you.
While the Max 360 is an extraordinary piece of technology for avoiding getting "caught", the best solution is always to simply not speed and frankly I'm surprised that this isn't built into every car out there.
Is It Worth The Money?
This is a tough call and after spending time reviewing the unit, my answer is that it all comes down to your style of driving and why you might be looking for a radar detector. I take a lot of road trips and while I try to maintain a safe speed I'm also super curious about what's up ahead of me. So for me, a device like this will be helpful in avoiding tickets when there might be tricks like what happened to me in Nebraska a couple years ago. As I was driving through the middle of nowhere, the limit suddenly dropped from 75 to 60 for no apparently reason other than a town's police force wanting to make some money (which they did off of me).
Had I had the Max 360 that day, I could have avoided the ticket by being alerted that the speed changed, received a notification from the Defender and Escort Live! databases, and then as a last resort received notification of the radar gun in action.
For more information and to purchase the Escort 360, please visit their website.