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Cobra DSP 9200 BT Review

Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been replaced by another product.

Our Verdict

The Cobra DSP 9200 BT has excellent Bluetooth features you don't get with other Bluetooth-compatible radar detectors, but it relies heavily on your phone.

For

  • With advanced audio routing, you can redirect alerts through your car stereo or to a Bluetooth headset.

Against

  • It requires a smartphone for GPS.
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Cobra DSP 9200 BT image: The Bluetooth connection allows you to integrate it with the Cobra iRadar app.

Cobra DSP 9200 BT image: The Bluetooth connection allows you to integrate it with the Cobra iRadar app.
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Cobra DSP 9200 BT image: The display features a multi-colored screen that's easy to read.

Cobra DSP 9200 BT image: The display features a multi-colored screen that's easy to read.
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Cobra DSP 9200 BT image: It mounts to your windshield.

Cobra DSP 9200 BT image: It mounts to your windshield.
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Cobra DSP 9200 BT image: This is the smallest radar detector in our review.

Cobra DSP 9200 BT image: This is the smallest radar detector in our review.

Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been replaced by another product. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.

The Cobra DSP 9200 BT is an excellent example of what can happen when you combine the social reach of smartphones with radar detectors. This device is the smallest radar detector in our review by a significant margin. The digital color display also makes it one of the easiest to read when you receive an alert. It has the best Bluetooth compatibility of any of the products we reviewed, with advanced audio routing capabilities. It's also one of the most affordable radar detectors.

In our performance evaluation, we looked at thousands of user reviews and listened to expert advice from hobbyists. The Cobra DSP 9200 BT received a B+. Users loved the small, unobtrusive design and generally accurate sensitivity, though some complained of too many false alerts.

However, the biggest complaint with users was the difficulty in pairing the Bluetooth with other devices, which is the main draw of this radar detector and other Cobra detectors like the Cobra SPX 7800BT. This can be a significant issue because most users also complain about the quiet alerts, which means that connecting to a Bluetooth headset or a Bluetooth compatible car stereo is important if you struggle to hear alerts. That said, Bluetooth-pairing issues are often the result of user error. In the case of this device, it doesn't appear in the Bluetooth menu of iPhones, which means you have to pair it by opening the Cobra iRadar app, which you'll find on your phone.

The DSP 9200 BT relies heavily on your phone to operate effectively. If you have an older, slower smartphone, you'll get frustrated with it. It uses your smartphone's GPS, connects you to the Cobra iRadar app and allows you to reroute the audio alerts to other Bluetooth devices.

The major advantage to connecting to your smartphone is the social reach of the community-sharing feature, which is similar to apps used by the Escort Max 360. The app boasts more than 1 million users that post an average of 40,000 traffic reports a day. The reports indicate speed traps, speed cameras, red-light cameras, active police speed monitoring, safety issues and more. A community-sharing app is the only ways you can learn of a laser gun in advance. That said, when you consider that there are over 200 million drivers in the U.S., the effectiveness of a community-sharing app is minimal.

Another advantage to its smartphone technology is the use of GPS mapping. Not only does the app have preloaded locations for speed cameras, red-light cameras and known speed traps, it also shows you exactly where an alert is coming from on a map. In other words, this allows you to see how far away the radar detection is instead of just the strength of the signal. You'll know if an alert is on the left side of the road, behind you, on a side street. It provides spatial awareness to the alerts.

The obvious downside to the DSP 9200 BT is the reliance on your smartphone. If you don't have a smartphone or your smartphone is dead, as is so often the case, you're limited to simple alerts. If you're in an area where there's no cell signal, you don't benefit from GPS and community sharing. The only controls on the device are for volume and mute.

The Cobra DSP 9200 BT's Bluetooth features are great, if you don't have any problems pairing it to your phone. With it, you can redirect the alerts to your Bluetooth-compatible car stereo or headset. It also connects you to your smartphone to use the GPS features and to integrate with the Cobra iRadar app, which is used for community threat sharing.