Beltronics V995 Vector Radar and Laser Detector (Black/Silver)
Includes full X, K, SuperWide Ka, Ku, and Safety Warning System radar capability as well as front and rear laser detection Varactor-tuned receiver provides long-range protection against all radar threats New AutoScan mode intelligently reduces unwanted false alarms Ultra-bright text-display provides easy to read information from any angle Immune to VG-2 radar detector detection, so law enforcement cannot detect its use
Click the image to get a closer look at the Vector 995’s features.
While it’s appropriate to make comparisons with the Escort 8500 X50, it’s especially relevant here, as Escort and Beltronics, the maker of the Vector 995, recently merged all of their manufacturing and design. Apparently, many of the internal components and technology in the 995 are essentially the same as those found in the 8500, and as you’ll see, our testing bears that out.
Mounting the 995 in a vehicle couldn’t be easier. A small suction cup bracket slides into the unit’s release mechanism and easily attaches to the windshield with light pressure. The unit is housed in a sturdy plastic case that’s low profile and compact–in fact, it’s a good deal sleeker and smaller than the box-shaped 8500. The rear of the unit is dominated by a receiver window. There’s also an additional laser detector window that faces the passenger compartment, which is designed to detect laser signals emanating from behind the vehicle.
Another great attribute of the 995 is its easy control layout. Four buttons on the top of the unit control power, city mode on/off, display brightness, and volume/mute settings. Two of the buttons also double as selection buttons when the unit is in programming mode. During normal use the red, horizontal LCD display graphs the intensity of the radar and laser signals the unit detects, as well as the detector’s sensitivity mode. Power is supplied by an included 12-volt cord, which plugs into a cigarette-lighter power socket. Unfortunately, the 995 doesn’t ship with the very cool SmartCord that is included with the Escort 8500. Branded as the SmartPlug on the Beltronics side of things, it features an alert LED, as well as a built-in mute button built right into the power plug. Sadly, it’s only available as a $30 option for the 995.
|Choose the standard display mode for a graphic representation of radar threats…|
|…Or use the “Tech Display” to see the exact frequency of incoming signals.|
The 995 covers the gauntlet when it comes to protection from speed trap technology. While detection of the radar bands currently in use in North America–the X, K, and Ka bands–is standard for detectors these days, the devil is in the details when it comes to on-the-road performance. Thankfully, the 995 has some extra mojo built in that makes it both more sensitive to radar signals, and smart enough to select out false alarms. The unit also features detection diodes for laser detection, and an add-on system that installs on the exterior of the vehicle, the LaserPro 905, offers enhanced laser detection, as well as laser-jamming capabilities. On top of all this protection, the 995 adds optional sensitivity to the Ku band, which is commonly used in Europe.
In addition to good multiband radar and laser sensitivity, the 995 is designed to detect the latest highway menace, POP radar (queue scary music here). POP radar guns, while still relatively rare in police departments, are used to identify speeding vehicles in heavy traffic that typically confuses other types of radar. They provide little warning as the radar signal idles at a low frequency until it transmits an extremely short, high-frequency burst to “pop” a target. The 995 is equipped with a highly sensitive receiving system and a digital signal processor designed to pick up POP signals from a safe distance. POP detection is enabled by default on the 995, unlike on the 8500–a good thing for people who don’t want to mess with customization menus. While enabling POP detection can increase the number of false alarms (due to the increased sensitivity required of the unit), and it’s probably why Escort decided to disable it unless the user wants it, Beltronics has obviously decided the added protection is worth a few extra bogus alerts on the 995.
And what about the alerts on the 995? In addition to audio tones, the 995 also has digital voice alerts that tell you what kind of danger lies ahead. If you’re not into the Knight Rider thing, i.e., a computerized voice in your car, the audio tones do a good job, as well. In this mode, a unique tone or chirp is assigned to a specific kind of radar threat. The 995’s AutoMute feature automatically lowers the volume level of an alert after a period of time, so you can drive without going completely batty to the sound of alerts.
For those who like a little more control, the 995 can be customized via a fairly straightforward interface. In the programming mode, the LCD acts as a menu system that lets users control display brightness, automatic mute, audio tones, and power-on modes. There are also settings for disabling detection of selected bands (be careful with this one!). A mode called Tech Display shows the numeric frequency of the radar signal being received.
For those living in states that prohibit use of a radar detector, the 995 does include VG-2 radar-detector detector protection, which is designed to both alert the driver and shut down the unit’s oscillator.
On the Road
False alarms are one of the major annoyances of radar-detector use. In our tests, the 8500 was pretty good at minimizing false alarms from home garage door systems, as well as from home and commercial security systems that commonly operate on X-band radar. While false alarms were slightly more common with the 995 than with the 8500, the error rate was acceptable, and it is likely due to the 995’s default activation of POP radar sensitivity.
The 995’s city sensitivity setting decreases sensitivity to X-band sources, while the highway setting does not. With this unit, though, you’ll quickly find that neither setting is necessary. Instead, we found the unit’s powerful AutoSelect mode the most accurate, as it dynamically filtered all types of radar signals and usually identified which sources were a legitimate threat. With that kind of simplicity built in, we were comfortable just firing up the 995 and forgetting about it, until we really needed it.
- Performance roughly equivalent to the Escort 8500 X50
- Just turn it on and go. AutoSelect feature automatically filters highway and city false alarms.
- Pop radar detection enabled by default
- High-caliber, multi-band sensitivity puts this one in the top tier of detectors
- No included SmartCord
- Slightly more false alarms when measured against Escort 8500 X50