Pros / The over-speed feature cautions you when you exceed the speed limit, which keeps you alert to your driving habits.
Cons / It doesn't have directional alerts.
Verdict / The Escort Passport Max2 is one of the best radar detectors because it combines detection accuracy with GPS features that allow you to drive safely and alertly.
With a built-in GPS and a preinstalled database of speed and red-light camera locations, the Escort Passport Max2 is much more than a radar detector – it's a threat detector. It also integrates well with the Escort Live app, which allows you to receive and share threats in real time with other drivers. The radar detection has one of the longest listening ranges available, with accuracy that ensures you're not hitting the brakes because of a garage door opener. The Max2 doesn't just help you avoid costly tickets; it helps you drive safely. For these reasons, it earns the Top Ten Reviews Silver Award for best radar detector.
The Max2 has only been around for a few years, so it doesn't have as many user reviews as some of the radar detectors on our lineup that have been around longer. Still, the Max2 has quickly established itself as being one of the most highly rated radar detectors available by both users and experts. As such, it received an A for detection performance in our evaluation.
Most user reviews praise the detection accuracy and range while also appreciating features that most other radar detectors lack – like an over-speed alert that shows your speed next to the posted speed limit.
All radar detectors pick up K-band, Ka-band and X-band radar frequencies, but the accuracy of these detections varies greatly because many things use these frequency ranges other than radar detectors. Garage door openers, other radar detectors, motion detectors and similar items can cause a radar detector to signal a false reading.
The Max2 combines digital signal processing with intelligent GPS features to filter out false alerts. It's not uncommon to receive many false alerts at first because the device needs time to learn your area, but the false alerts diminish after a week or two.
There are three sensitivity settings: Highway, Auto and Auto No X. The Highway setting turns off all filters and alerts you when any radar band is detected. This means you can receive alerts many miles in advance of a police vehicle. However, if you use the Highway setting in the city, you constantly get false alerts. The Auto setting turns on the digital signal processing, which sacrifices listening range for accuracy. The Auto No X setting turns off the X-band, which is responsible for most false alerts.
The Max2 is also a laser radar detector. It uses multiple laser sensor diodes for 360-degree laser detection. However, laser alerts are different from radar alerts because the laser can only be detected when it's aimed directly at your vehicle. This means that when you receive a laser alert, the police officer already knows your speed. Fortunately, laser speed guns aren't commonly used.
One of the best features of the Max2 is the over-speed alert. When activated, you'll see the posted speed limit on the display next to your speed, which is accurately calculated via the GPS unit.
If you exceed the speed limit, it alerts you. Many speeding tickets are the result of drivers simply not paying attention to their speed. It's easy to let your foot weigh down on the gas pedal while you're listening to the radio, especially when there isn't any other traffic on the road.
You can set the Max2 to any speed you want, or you can connect to your smartphone through Bluetooth and use the Escort Live app to display the speed limit in real time so you're always alerted to your speeding.
Like the best radar detectors, the Max2 does more than detect radar guns used by law enforcement. It comes preloaded with the Defender Database, which has thousands of red-light camera, speed-camera and speed-trap locations.
Whenever you approach one of these preloaded locations, you receive an alert that tells you how far it is from you so you are prepared. The downside to the Defender Database, which is the most common complaint lodged against this device, is the lack of sufficient locations and an additional subscription fee if you want to receive updated locations.
The most important feature, aside from detection of police radar, is the built-in GPS. The GPS system plays a role in almost every facet of the Max2's functions. For example, the auto-learn feature uses the GPS to lock out locations where false alerts continually occur, which is why this is one of the most accurate radar detectors. After a few weeks of driving around your city, you'll rarely ever receive a false alert caused by a garage door opener and other fixed-position false alarms. Without the GPS, you also wouldn't have access to the non-radar alerts.
The GPS also allows you to mark locations specific to your commute, and the Bluetooth connection to your smartphone allows you to share and receive important information in real time.
When you mark a location as a potential threat, it shares your marked location anonymously with the Escort Live app's network of users, a feature where users can share locations of potential threats in real time. However, it requires a monthly subscription after the first year.
Help & Support
The Passport Max2 comes with a one-year warranty. If you have any questions or concerns, the support is helpful with phone, email and live chat features for easy communication. A section of the Escort website is devoted to radar detector education. It has articles, tutorials, videos and comparison charts so you can drive safely and avoid expensive traffic violations. It's a great resource for learning how the technology works and what current laws and trends are for traffic law enforcement in various parts of the U.S.
The Escort Passport Max2 is one of the best radar detectors because it doesn't just help you avoid the attention of traffic cops' radar guns, but it also helps you drive safely and alertly. The GPS system and the mobile app provide excellent real-time updates to important information like speed limits, speed traps, speed cameras and red-light cameras.