If you enjoy driving as much as we do, you’ll be glad to know that someone came up with the bright idea of combining a GPS device with a radar/laser detector. This stroke of absolute genius is a major leap forward in the radar/laser detection world. This rules out the cluster of suction cups and 12-volt power hungry devices on the windshield- or at the very least thins the crowd. The engineers over at Escort developed the Passport iQ as a solution to this quandary. Not only is it a fully functioning GPS with everything you would expect from a Garmin, TomTom or any other GPS unit, but they
went the extra step and included the added benefit of integrating a radar/laser detector into the unit as a seamless package detecting in the X, K, Ka, and Ku bands.
I’m sure Escort will never say it, but another added benefit, and the one everyone is thinking- is the fact that this unit, to the non-discerning eye would not be able to tell the Passport iQ apart from a regular GPS or navigation unit. In states like Virginia (for private and commercial vehicles) and Illinois, New York and New Jersey (for commercial vehicles) this is a tactful advantage, but be weary… the men in blue also read blogs and have the internet. It’s only a matter of time before they catch on as well. The Passport iQ also comes with SmartShield VG2 Immunity, which prevents VG2 radar detector detectors from sensing the detector. The VG2 radar detector detector is used by police agencies throughout the United States and Canada, along with other countries in the EU to detect the use of a radar detector. The SmartShield VG2 Immunity is not completely fool proof however, and it should not solely be relied on to protect you from the prying eyes of the law. The only way to never get caught speeding is to never speed. It’s as simple as that. But I won’t say that this doesn’t provide some peace of mind, and an increased amount of protection.
The navigation unit is supplied with Navteq maps and free 90-day trial subscription to Escort’s Defender Database system which includes icons and warnings for known speed traps, red light cameras, and speed cameras. After the free trial expires there is a subscription fee to access the database. However, you may make notes and references on the maps as you travel to include personal observations of speed traps, cameras etc. The Navteq software has the options of viewing maps in a birds-eye view, or plan-view 2D mode. The Passport iQ captures the unique function of being able to record all of this data as you travel and save it for future reference. The iQ also displays the posted speed limit (where available) and sounds a warning when you exceed 10 mph above the posted limit (this is generally the bottom line for prosecutable ticket range in most areas). The display also posts your real time speed as determined by GPS, which has proven to be more accurate, especially on older cars equipped with a cable driven speedometer.
Radar Receiver/Detector Type
SmartShield VG2 Immunity
The only drawback that seems to be discussed about the device is the disconcerting bounce that results from the weight of the device when mounted to the windshield via suction cup. Since it is the amalgamation of 2 different devices into one, the weight is fairly substantial. The other option (and for states like Minnesota and California where affixing devices to the windshield is prohibited) is the dash mount method. The drawback to this method is the obstruction of the rear facing laser detector that needs to be mounted high enough to “see” out the back window above the rear seats. But despite the mounting issues, the unit seems to be quite impressive and the rumors from Escort are confirming what the critics are hoping for in future models. The future models could possibly be equipped with real time traffic information as well as Bluetooth support. If it is released, it will be somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 premium, most likely from Navteq.
The unit retails at $650 USD, which some might say is a bit high, but if you factor in a speeding ticket (most people who buy detectors usually do so after being burned at least once.. depending on the severity), and then a good navigation unit, plus the radar/laser detector, the price is well worth it. We might even suggest waiting for the next generation to come out with live traffic and Bluetooth, as that would prove to be an invaluable option.