There are many options for a laser/radar detector. Some are very basic and inexpensive, while others are loaded with features and priced accordingly. I did a First Look of the Escort Max 360 in a previous article, now after a few weeks of hands-on testing, here is my in-depth review of the device. The data on the Escort Max 360 looked good and I was impressed by some of the promised capabilities of the product.
For those who need a little refresher, here are the top features of the Escort Max 360.
Escort Max 360 Top Features
Power, precision, 360 degree protection – and unmatched precision with directional arrows.
Multi-colored Arrows indicate the direction of the radar source for 360 degree protection
Dual antennas, front and rear, rapidly scan the surroundings for possible threats.
GPS-powered AutoLearn Technology intelligently rejects false alerts based upon signal frequency and location.
Digital Signal Processing provides extreme range and lightning fast response.
The main competitor for the Escort Max 360 is the Valentine One laser/radar detector. To see how these two devices perform, I borrowed my friend’s Valentine One to test its features.
Valentine One Top Features
The Escort Max 360 and Valentine One offer similar features but here are some that distinguish Valentine One from its competitors.
Die-cast Magnesium case construction
Two antennas, one facing front, the other facing backwards.
Red arrows indicate ahead, beside, and behind.
Illuminated digital display indicates the signal strength of the radar/laser.
The windshield mount can be adjusted by 1 finger and has 15 adjustable positions.
The windshield mount releases by 1 finger by pressing the release bar.
When you purchase a Valentine One, you get the windshield mount, visor mount, lighter adapter, coiled and straight power cord, spare suction cups, direct wire power adapter, wiring harness connector, owner’s manual, and spare fuse.
When purchased directly from the factory, the Valentine One and its accessories costs $399.00 as of this writing. When compared to the Escort Max 360, the Valentine One is far more inexpensive, but the V1 lacks a few features and connectivity options. The overall design is a bit dated too.
The Escort Max 360 can be yours from factory for $649.95, and the Valentine One retails for $399.00, as of this writing. However, don’t let the price be the only deciding factor while choosing between these two.
The Valentine One and Escort Max 360 essentially do the same job and both of these devices do the job very well. However, when it comes to simplicity, features, and connectivity, the Escort Max 360 easily jumps into the lead. Unlike Valentine One, Escort Max 360 is web ready and easy to use. The owner of Max 360 has access to Escort’s award-winning Escort Live app and Escort DEFENDER database on their Android and/or Apple devices, which can be paired via Bluetooth connectivity.
These features interested me so I tried them out, firsthand.
$649.95 is a lot of money for a radar/laser detector. Like I had previously stated, some radars offer the most basic functions and are fairly inexpensive, while others are loaded with features and are priced accordingly. After a few weeks of “messing with” with the detector and its built-in features, here are the four top features that I found really useful and beneficial during my driving.
The Escort Live App is very useful and can be downloaded for free from the Apple App Store or Android Play Store. Setting it up was easy, but using it is a lot easier. When the Max 360 and the smartphone are paired via Bluetooth, the driver can access the Escort Live app to receive real-time information on all the active radar/laser detection hot spots. On the smartphone, the driver can monitor their vehicle’s location on a map, view the digital speedometer and the local speed limit sign, check their traveling direction on a built-in compass, and can also be alerted to various signal bands around the vehicle. Additionally, via the smartphone, the driver can choose between three OLED display colors (green, blue, and amber), set their over speed limit warning, and can adjust the brightness of the display screen (bright, medium, full dark, auto).
Obviously, we don’t recommend adjusting settings on the phone while driving.
Escort DEFENDER Database
After registering the Max 360 on Escort’s website, the driver will have access to Escort’s comprehensive DEFENDER database. The database warns the driver of all verified speed traps, speed cameras, and red light cameras.
Web Ready & Bluetooth Connectivity
With a USB A/ Mini B cable (not included in the package), the owner of Escort Max 360 can update the device’s software to the latest version. Max 360’s red light and speed camera DEFENDER Database can be easily updated using the company’s exclusive detector software tools found on the main website. The firmware, also known as the operating software, can also be updated using the same tools.
When Bluetooth is enabled, the over speed display (which can be adjusted in preferences) on the left side of the info screen, is replaced either with the Bluetooth icon or the current speed limit sign when it is connected to Escort Live.
Things I Didn’t Like About The Escort Max 360
When compared to the Valentine One, Escort Max 360 offers a lot more convenient features, which enables the driver to be informed and alerted of all the hot spots for radar/laser guns, speed cameras, and cops. Unfortunately, most of these features are controlled via the Escort Live app, which can only be accessed through a Bluetooth paired smartphone. Using the app is very simple and convenient, but as I mentioned, I would not recommend using it while driving.
The Button Layout
I know that some of you by now might be wondering “why did this guy mention the button layout as one of the good features of the detector, but now mentions it again in the things he didn’t like?” Well, like most things in the world, it has a good side and a bad side. On the good side, the button layout gives the detector a simple and modern look, but on the bad side, there isn’t much you can control and/or adjust on the device itself without logging into the Escort Live app.
For me, the lack of hard keys on the detector was really annoying while driving. Whenever I wanted to adjust a particular feature or a function, I had to either pull the car over and adjust the features via the smartphone, or drive with the “inconvenience” till I found a spot to pull over and adjust the settings to my preference.
The Detector’s Sensitivity
Don’t you hate that feeling when something catches you off guard? Well, with the Escort Max 360, I have had my fair share of this sensation to date. I know that I have the device installed in my vehicle, heck, its right there on the windshield, but after a while my mind just forgets about it until the device suddenly comes to life when it detects a signal band. At first, I wasn’t that bothered because I was actively paying attention to the device to see what it was doing, but after a few weeks, the device’s sudden activities got really irritating.
But, other times while I am driving, the device is so active, it constantly keeps on beeping and pinging, even if there are no active radar/laser hot spots. During these instances, I found myself frequently hitting the “mute” button on the Smart Cord to just quieten the device and restore peace in the vehicle.
Aside from these two minor inconveniences, I am really happy with the way the Max 360 performs and even if there are no immediate dangers around the vehicle, the detector can is also a good device to break the ice and start a conversation.
Things I Liked About The Valentine One
When compared to my time with the Escort Max 360, the time I spent with the Valentine One was really limited and short. However, even in the short amount of time, I was able to find certain features I liked about this device.
The Proximity Indicator
The Valentine One radar/laser detector works in a similar fashion to the devices found in the cop cars. Unlike the Escort Max 360, the Valentine One features a column of lights and a numerical indicator to alert the driver of the proximity of any radar/laser guns, speed traps, cameras, and air patrols. While driving on the highway, I found this layout to be really beneficial when compared to the Max 360’s layout.
The Manual Adjustments
Unlike the Max 360, the Valentine One features a big knob on the left side, which allows the driver to control the volume of the device, set certain features, and also manually turn the device on/off. I also appreciated the amount of hard keys on the detector, this was really helpful because I was able to set the device to my preferences on the fly, unlike the Max 360, where I had to pull over and whip out my smartphone to adjust the features via the Escort Live app.
Things I Didn’t Like About the Valentine One
When compared to the Max 360, the Valentine One looks really dated and does not include any connectivity features. Sure, it is a little inexpensive when compared to the Max 360, but at the same time, the device is showing its age and if it wants to be a serious contender in today’s radar/laser detector industry, the Valentine One needs to be overhauled with new features immediately.
When I compared the directional arrow displays of both devices, I was really impressed with the multi-colored directional arrows found on the Escort Max 360. On the Max 360, the front arrow indicates in green, the side arrows indicate in blue, and the back arrow indicates in red. But, in the Valentine One, all directional arrows are indicated in red, which is okay, but I think the V1 will also benefit from multi-colored directional arrows.
Dual Antenna’s Sensitivity
Like the Escort Max 360, the Valentine One features dual antennas (front and rear) and they do a good job of warning the driver of any upcoming hot spots for laser/radar guns. However, unlike the antennas found in the Max 360 which quickly scans the surroundings for any speed traps or hot spots, the ones in the Valentine One are a little slow to scan and detect any potential dangers. However, this is just something I found a bit lacking, but my friend who has been using this device in his car for the past few years, finds the sensitivity of the antennas to be really adequate.
Overall, with the shot and limited time I got to spend with the Valentine One radar/laser detector, I was really impressed with the device’s features and layout. Yes, when compared to the Escort Max 360, the Valentine One is a bit dated and the response time is a little slow, but when you consider its pros versus the cons, the Valentine One does an admirable job of keeping up with its more modern and faster responding competitors.
After testing both the Escort Max 360 and Valentine One, I was really impressed with the Max 360. When compared to Valentine One, the Max 360 was much easier to use, setup, and understand. The display on the Max 360 was a lot clearer and easier to read.
However, the one thing Escort Max 360 had in abundance when compared to Valentine One was aforementioned features. These things provided me with a lot of additional value, above and beyond a more traditional laser/radar detector.
So, which device is better? Well, that depends on what you are looking for in a laser/radar detector. For me, the Escort Max 360 was the winner because of its simple, modern design, the button layout, the integrated features, the connectivity capabilities, and multi-colored display. Should price be the main factor when it comes to radar detector shopping, then Valentine One is the obvious choice.
However, if you want a device that is stylish and offers a lot of useful features, then without a doubt, the Escort 360 is the one for you.
Escort Max 360 Unboxing Photos
*Rahul Raman is the Founder of CARS 360 Mke, an automotive news outlet. He is a regular contributor to Automoblog.net and the author of our First Look series.