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      04-03-2015, 09:17 PM   #140
3er
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Drives: 2015 BMW M3
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Houston, TX

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Escort Passport 9500ci Review
Pictures - 04/05/2015
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DINANTRONICS Stage 1 Review
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Harris Hill Raceway - First Ever Track Event
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Charcoal Filter Delete
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Escort Passport 9500ci Review - Magazine Layout











Escort Passport 9500ci Review - Traditional Layout


Research & Options

There are many options when looking for effective radar detectors. I used an Escort Passport 8500 X50 in my 335i prior to my M3 purchase that was quite effective. However, I grew very tired of constant false alerting. Given that my car is driven in Houston 99% of the time, options like the Valentine 1 just werenít tempting (even with SAVVY, etc.). I diverted my focus to GPS-enabled options to ultimately eliminate (or significantly reduce) false alarms. The Escort Passport MAX 2 was initially the unit I most wanted. I also had my eye on the Escort Passport 9500ci due to the unitís concealment and laser shifting capabilities. However, after finding that laser shifting is illegal in Texas, I was concerned about the severity of such fines. After much research, I came to the conclusion that running laser shifters is no worse than receiving a speeding ticket should law enforcement notice.

At the time, Amazon and other vendors were not discounting the ďnewĒ 9500ci because Escort recently upgraded their laser shifters to Laser Interceptorís model, but just licensed and rebranded. I was thrilled when they did this, as LI is very reputable and well received amongst ďradar aficionados.Ē Ultimately, Anti-Laser Priority, or ALP, is recognized as the very best. However, I wasnít too fond of sourcing multiple components to build a system and preferred that everything be one consistent package. From what I understand, the only downside to Escort licensing LIís laser shifters is that when LI releases an update, Escort will likely lag behind by some measure while they incorporate the update in the 9500ci.

Back in January, my good friend pointed me to a slickdeal.com coupon code in which Escort was discounting every product by a whopping 40%. I immediately jumped on Escortís website and purchased a new 9500ci for $1,200. On a side note, my buddy purchased the Max 2 for $350. Oddly enough, the discount code I used was ďCES15Ē and intended to be used by those that attended the CES fair. Fortunately for me, I ordered the unit perhaps 30 minutes before Escort pulled the code down after realizing it was leaked to SlickDeals. I applaud Escort for committing to the order.

More 9500ci pictures here.
http://f80.bimmerpost.com/forums/sho...9&postcount=22



Why Pay So Much?

Many people donít understand why someone would spend so much money on a radar system given that the cost of a ticket averages around $300. For me, itís all about insurance/peace of mind and, well, I wanted it. In Texas, among many other states, cops can charge one for reckless driving based on your speed. How much over the speed limit must one be going? Well, that will depend on the mood of the officer. Reckless driving can land one in jail. While I am certainly not one to speed around at ludicrous rates, I do open my car up from time to time if there is no traffic. Itís on occasions like these that I expose myself to getting tagged by an officer. Avoiding any possibility of jail time for going 25 mph over the speed limit, for instance, easily covers the money I spent on the system. Now, Iíll be quick to admit that such a situation is very unlikely to occur, but Iím conservative.


Installation

After receiving the unit, I was amazed at the size of the control and display modules Ė they are very discreet. I ended up having the unit installed by Gary Smith @ GMS Tinting, but actually sourced the work through BMW of Houston North (i.e., BMW of Houston North uses Gary for their 9500ci installs). Because of that, I paid a premium of $450 for the install. For me, paying an additional ~$100 by going through my dealership offsets some risk that I may have taken by going around them. In the unlikely event that the system messes something up, for whatever reason, I can at least point to the dealer and say, ďyou did it!Ē Remember my comment above? Yes, I am very conservative, LOL. Gary did a fantastic job with the install. I believe he works with another person to do the install, but his QA checks are spot-on and the quality of the install indicates that Gary is as OCD as I am (this is also clear with this tint jobs). I wonít point to specific threads or posts on this forum because I think itíd be disrespectful, but Iíve seen some 9500ci installations in which I literally cringed due to my perception that the install was of very low quality.







My dog didnít come with the package .
















Control Module


Display Module


GPS Receiver




USB cable for updates. It looks like it hangs low, but my foot never touches it.




My Settings

Updated April 30, 2015: I disabled RDR and setup Ka band segmentation. According to RDFORUM, Texas runs Ka 33.8, 34.7, and 35.5.
  • GPS On
  • AUTOLEARN ON
  • SPEED ALERT 0FF
  • METER STD
  • AUTOMUTE ON
  • UNITS ENG
  • VOICE OFF
  • BANDS MOD
  • X OFF
  • K ON
  • KaSW OFF ("OFF" to enable band segmentation)
  • Ka1 (33.388 - 33.708) OFF
  • Ka2 (33.713 - 33.888) ON
  • Ka3 (33.888 - 34.208) OFF
  • Ka4 (34.206 - 34.589) ON (for frequency creep)
  • Ka5 (34.588 - 34.804) ON
  • Ka6 (34.808 - 35.166) ON (for frequency creep)
  • Ka7 (35.166 - 35.388) OFF
  • Ka8 (35.388 - 35.625) ON
  • Ka9 (35.628 - 35.848) OFF
  • Ka10 (35.848 - 36.008) OFF
  • POP OFF
  • SWS OFF
  • LSR SHFT
  • RDR OFF
  • rCAM ON
  • sCAM ON
  • TRAP ON
  • OTHR ON

Effectiveness

Iíll be very upfront here. I havenít yet been tagged by a cop to provide feedback on the laser shifters' effectiveness. However, I will be sure to come back and update the review when I do (itís only a matter of time). As for the radar performance, it seems very good. No longer am I constantly false alerted. There were a few initial cases in which I was false alerted, but the system will learn and block the alert after three falses from the same source. As a result, the system very much acts as ďset and forget.Ē Escort recently enabled KA band segmentation in which you can review which radar your state uses and program-out bands that are not used. One can determine the applicable bands by going to http://www.rdforum.org/wiki/index.ph...aphical_Survey. Not only does this help eliminate false alarms, but it also helps your 9500ci perform better since it doesnít have to sweep as many KA bands. By default, Escort sets the laser shifters as ďreceive,Ē so youíll want to set them to ďshiftĒ if youíd like them to shift the copís laser. I have also been very pleased with the radar sound/alert. For whatever reason, I can set the volume of the unit much lower than my 8500 X50. This is likely due to the, in comparison, lower frequency of the alert in which itís easier to hear over music, etc. I installed the control module next to the blinker stalk and the display module on the upper left side of the windshield, which is just enough to catch my peripheral vision. Between that and the alert tone/clarity, I couldnít be happier with it. The control module is also in a convenient location in which I donít have to take my eyes off the road for but a second to make a change. For instance, one situation where one may use it is when getting tagged by a laser gun. The idea is that the system detects the signal and blocks it. At that point, slow down and double-tap the Mute button to disable the laser shifters for 30 or 45 seconds (I canít recall the exact number). This will allow the officer to get a read on your speed. Although this situation is not always feasible, it may work in most cases.

Final Thoughts

In summary, Iím very pleased with the system. I no longer receive false alarms and the system is so well concealed. I canít speak to the laser shifting performance just yet, but I will after coming across this situation. Thereís no doubt that the $1,650 ($1,200 unit, $450 install) is expensive, but I do believe the Escort makes a quality product that demands the price. Now that they have adopted LIís laser shifting technology, the poor laser shifting performance of older 9500ci systems is no longer relevant. Couple that with GPS capabilities and an incredibly well concealed system and I think Escort has a very effective and cost-justified product.

Last edited by 3er; 01-01-2016 at 02:48 PM.