PROS / The traffic sensor rejection software blocks out false alerts caused by traffic signals.
CONS / It lacks alert features for non-radar threats like red-light cameras, speed cameras and speed traps.
VERDICT / The Escort Passport 8500 X50 is a reliable radar detector with decent range and accuracy, but it doesn't compare to the best radar detectors available.
Editor's Note: This review has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it no longer ranks as a top 10 product. The original review is below, but check out our current top 10 about radar detectors here.
The Escort Passport 8500 X50 has been around for a long time. When it first hit the market, it dominated the competition as one of the best radar detectors, with features like POP mode detection, V-tuned receivers and traffic sensor rejection (TSR) software. Now these are common features in radar detectors. The fact that it's still one of the most popular and effective radar detectors available is a testament to its quality, though it doesn't compare to the best radar detectors, which come with more alerts.
The design is simple, with a blue alphanumeric display and three buttons that control display brightness, mute and the sensitivity features. You can literally take this out of the box, stick it to your windshield and hit the road. It doesn't require calibrations or customizations. It simply detects laser signals and the three radar bands – Ka, K and X. The radar detection uses a V-tuned receiver that provides long-range detection.
This was one of the first radar detectors to have TSR software. This is a feature that blocks out radar signals projected by traffic signals. Traffic signal sensors are used to monitor traffic flow. They aren't used to issue citations, so they aren't a threat. However, if you don't have the TSR software, these sensors can trigger false alerts even when you're using a city setting. This is annoying, particularly in large cities where these sensors are more prevalent.
The biggest downside to the Passport 8500 X50 is its lack of alert features. While the simplicity makes it easy to use right out of the box, it also limits your protection. It doesn't have voice alerts, which would let you know which type of radar band is detected without you having to look at the detector or learn a specific tone. It also lacks speed alerts, red-light camera alerts, speed camera alerts, safety warning alerts and false alert filters. Without a built-in GPS system, most of these alerts aren't possible, which means that your alerts are only for police radar and laser signals.
The Escort Passport 8500 X50 is one of the most affordable high-end radar detectors because it lacks most of the alert and control features that you'd find in the best radar detectors with built-in GPS. However, it's good at what it does, which is detecting police radar and laser signals.