Review Cobra XRS 9955 Radar Detector
Those of you that have following me for any length of time know that in the past I have not been a big fan of Cobra radar detectors and one of my most critical reviews was during the Fireball Cross Country race in 2007.
During this event, as I was “Fireballing” down I-10 just outside of Baton Rouge, I powered up Cobra’s first GPS based unit. But only fifteen minutes later, after listening to continual false alerts, I pealed it off the windshield and tossed it to the rear of our car.
This year, while I was at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) checking out their new line up (their gorgeous assistants and radar detectors) something inside of me told me that perhaps I should give the Cobra brand another shot and do a full review of their products for 2009. So last week a case of various Cobra radar detectors arrived at my office.
The first thing that caught my eye as I pulled each unit out of the box was Cobra’s claim of their new units having “fifteen band detection.”
I’m sure that you’ve had a difficult time believing someone after you caught them in a “little white lie” as I feel the same way too. But giving them a chance to explain I read the fine print on the back.
Two Safety Systems:
Safety Alert and Strobe Alert, ok, I’ll agree to these two. The Strobe Alert is a great feature that alerts to the flashing strobe emitters of emergency vehicles. And then Safety Alert, although not in widespread use is a great feature that warns of approaching hazards.
Six laser signals?
Listed are six models of laser guns that the XRS995 detects, all of which are within the same spectrum (band).
Seven radar signals?
Ok I can see listing X, K, Ka and even Ku, even though it’s not used in the USA. But listing VG2, the Spectre 1 and the Spectre IV?
But I maintained an open mind as I stuck the XRS9955 onto my windshield for six days of driving around the Phoenix area.
During my radar detector tests I always try to keep the unit programmed in the highway mode. This mode offers the best sensitivity to pick up police radar at longer distances. However in this mode you often are bombarded with false alerts which are the chief complaints of radar detector owners.
However, I was pleasantly surprised of the low quantity of false alerts I did receive with this unit. Sure when I was in close proximity of a grocery store or other establishment that had the automatic door openers the unit did alert. But I do not consider these alerts as false, as they transmit on the same frequencies of police radar.
Also when operated in this mode the Cobra XRS 9955 performed well at sniffing out police radar traps encountered on K and Ka that were a respectable distance away.
I found that the “DataGrafix” display was very easy to see even in Arizona’s blinding sun. The graphic alerts and notification was also a cool feature showing an image of a radar gun and band as it was alerting along with a signal strength meter that has multi colored balls.
One persistent problem I did have with the XRS9955 that I would attribute to Cobra’s small suction cups and the stiff suspensions of my truck, that the detector would frequently fall off the windshield.
Overall I would rate my driving experience over the past six days with the XRS9955 from fair to good in radar performance.
So today I decided it was time to see how the XRS9955 would fair against my arsenal of laser guns on the airstrip in front of my home. The detector did a fair job in identifying the laser alert when vehicle was over 800 feet away. But as I would expect with any dash mounted radar detector, as the vehicle came in closer proximity to the laser source and the beam width narrowed, the detector had difficulties in alerting.
Next the Spectre testing, I have both the Spectre II and the Spectre III. The only reason I even considered doing this test was to validate Cobra’s claim of complete undetectablilty to the Spectre I and its ability to alert to the Spectre I through IV.
Well I’m disappointed to report that both my Spectre I and III sniffed out the XRS9955 and that the Cobra never chirped an alert.
But overall, I can honestly say that the XRS9955’s overall performance is compatible other radar detectors in its price category and that the added features of its compass and display are an added bonus.
Radar Roy’s Rating – Three Stars