By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Radar-detector suppliers are beefing up detection in the popular Ka band this year by extending range and adding POP detection.
In addition, suppliers are updating styling with new "Fast & Furious" designs and blue lighting.
Cobra, Beltronics and Escort have increased detection range in the Ka band with Cobra noting that 50 percent of the radar guns in use operate on the Ka band.
Escort claims its new 8500X50 and 7500S detectors offer as much as 50 percent more range on both the K and Ka bands. The new units are also available now with blue LEDs. The top-end model 8500X50 also adds POP detection of new "instant-on" Ka-band radar guns, at an estimated price of $339.95 for the blue LED version, and $299.95 in the standard red. The 7500S, without POP, lists for $229.95.
Beltronics is offering POP in its top- and mid-line Vector series models 995 and 965. The units feature sleek redesigned housings at $299 and $249, respectively.
Cobra said it improved sensitivity on the Ka band throughout its new six-model line, but especially on the top two models, which also offer POP detection.
But while POP is becoming an important feature, it is used by only a small portion of law enforcement.
"I don't think POP is the driving force for selling detectors," said Tony Kainuma, Cobra product manager for navigation and detection products. "Right now 50 percent of the guns out there are Ka. X [band] is going away and now only the state police in New Jersey use it. And local police mostly use K. We think laser use is less than 5 percent," Kainuma explained.
At least one gun manufacturer is now using POP on the K-band, he said, noting that other gun suppliers may follow suit. Kainuma said most radar detector suppliers already provide POP detection in both the K and Ka bands.
Whistler is more aggressive on POP and is now offering POP on lower priced units in the $149 range. In addition, the company is launching a new Pro series line, which includes remote radar detectors aimed at 12-volt installers. All units have updated, "Fast & Furious"-type styling, POP detection and blue LED lighting, said the company.
The remote Pro 3450 can be mounted vertically or horizontally, and the LED readout can switch to a vertical display as well. The 3450 has a five-year warranty and outdoor temperature/battery voltage indicator at a suggested retail price of $329.95. The two Pro series portable models ship with hardware kits to allow for permanent installation. They come with two-year warranties. The Pro 58 has a numeric signal-strength indicator, and the Pro 73 offers voice and text alerts. Suggested retail prices are $169.95 and $199.95, respectively.
Cobra said it is looking into offering an installer model in its Road Ready series aimed at car dealers. Cobra's new retail lineup includes the top-end models XRS 9700 and XRS 9600. Both are 11-band units with POP mode detection and a new false-alert reducer that offers three settings for "City Mode." The 9700 features a voice alert. Suggested retail prices are $189.95 and $169.95.
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