PROS / This detector tells you where the radar alert is coming from, whether it's in front of you, behind you, or to the sides.
CONS / The Defender Database requires a subscription after 60 days.
VERDICT / The Escort Max 360 is the best radar detector in our review. It combines detection accuracy with a comprehensive alert and control features that help you drive safely and alertly.
The radar detector industry isn't very dynamic compared to other electronics like smartphones and computers. In this industry, a radar detector can dominate the market for years. It's not often that new radar detectors hit the market, and rarer even when they bring something new to the detection process.
The Escort Max 360, released in late 2015, did just that. While it's mostly identical to the Escort Passport Max 2 in terms of features and performance, the Max 360 added directional alerts to the display, allowing you to see where the radar is coming from. For these reasons, it earns the Top Ten Reviews Gold Award for best radar detector.
As part of our review, we looked closely at what users are saying. Most radar detectors take time to become effective at filtering out false alerts. We also consulted with expert hobbyists. The Max 360 received an A for performance. While there aren't as many user reviews as other radar detectors, it's still among the most popular devices when you consider that it hasn't been available for long.
The ratio of positive reviews is among the highest, with most users citing the directional alert feature and the crisp and colorful OLED display. The few negative remarks are based primarily in the subscription to the Escort Live app, and not with the detector specifically.
The Max 360 detects all the frequency bands used by radar guns: K, Ka and X. It also detects light used by laser guns, though these alerts are less of a warning and more of a notification, because laser is too direct to detect ahead of time.
As with all Escort detectors, the Max 360 has three sensitivity settings: Highway, Auto and Auto No X. The Highway setting removes all false-alert filters, which means you're alerted to any radar it detects. This extends the listening range while you're on the highway so you can be alerted to a radar gun miles in advance.
The Auto setting is special to Escort detectors with built-in GPS. When on this setting, the sensitivity automatically adjusts according to your speed. It's best used in a city or suburban setting off the highway. For example, if you're driving through a residential neighborhood at 25 mph., the sensitivity is decreased so you don't get very many false alerts. As your drive faster, the sensitivity increases. This might result in more false alerts, but it also provides more range within a city setting. It makes sure you're more likely to receive an alert when you're speeding, which also makes you more alert and a safer driver.
The Auto No X setting is the same as the Auto, but the detector stops detecting radar within the X-band, which is most commonly used with door openers and motion detectors. This is recommended mostly for suburban settings where you're likely to drive past houses and supermarkets. However, it largely depends on your preference and comfort level. If you're still worried about getting alerts from X-band, then don't use this setting.
The Escort Max 360 is certainly not the first radar detector to use directional arrows. The Valentine V1, which has been a popular model with radar detector enthusiasts for a long time, has arrows that tell you if the alert is coming from in front or behind your vehicle.
But the Max 360 shows the left and right sides as well. And the color of the light reflects the type of radar being detected. This is one of the most popular features mentioned by users because it provides spatial awareness to your alerts, which allows you to adjust your driving accordingly. With radar detectors, you can never have too much context.
The Max 360 features the over-speed alert made popular by the Passport Max 2. With this feature, you can view the posted speed limit, which is great if you're in an unfamiliar area and you haven't seen a speed limit sign.
You just have to make sure the device is paired to your phone via Bluetooth, and you have to have the Escort Live app open. If you exceed the speed limit, you'll receive an alert. You can also set your own speed limit. This is an excellent safety feature because it keeps you aware of your driving habits.
This radar detector comes with a pre-installed Defender Database, which includes thousands of red-light and speed cameras. In conjunction with the built-in GPS, it alerts you of these locations. However, many users have complained that the database is too small and that there aren't nearly enough updates, which also require a subscription.
A lot of radar detectors provide multiple-threat alerts, which is when the detector receives multiple radar frequencies at once or within close proximity, but the Max 360 allows you to receive and monitor frequency strengths for four simultaneous alerts. There isn't much value in this feature, as a single alert should be enough to cause you to calibrate your driving habits, but many advanced users would appreciate this ability.
The core control feature in the Max 360 is the built-in GPS. This controls the Auto sensitivity, monitors your speed, allows you to mark specific locations, and helps filter out false alerts that occur in the same spot over time. The GPS is also a necessary part of the Defenders Database of red-light and speed cameras.
This radar detector also features built-in Bluetooth capabilities, which connects it to your smartphone. With the Escort Live app, you can receive and share threats with other users. The app is a great tool at monitoring your cities live use of lasers, speed traps and other traffic issues. However, this was also the biggest complaint by users. Most didn't like that it required a subscription. Others complained about the privacy issues, or lack thereof.
Help & Support
The Max 360 comes with a one-year warranty, which is standard in the industry. The Escort website has contacts for support via phone, email and live chat. You shouldn't have trouble receiving help if you need it.
The website used to feature a lot of educational tools, but it's since been trimmed back to a FAQs page and a user forum, which is a good way of learning how other users are faring with the products.
The Escort Max 360 is best radar detector because it combines all the advantages of GPS technology with newer features like directional alerts. It's one of the few devices on the market with an over-speed alert, which is designed to make you a more alert driver. It also comes with the Defenders Database and Bluetooth, which allows you to integrate with the Escort Live app for community sharing. It might be pricy, but it provides an excellent opportunity to avoid tickets, which are also very pricy.