“The Passport IQ from Escort is a game changer….” – Radar Roy 2010
When I was first introduced to the Passport IQ last at Escort’s headquarters I was so impressed that the first words out of my mouth was, “this is a game changer…” Escort has integrated the very best in radar detection technology into a fully functional GPS.
What Escort has done with the Passport IQ is basically create a device that includes a high performance radar detector that is on par to their Escort 9500ix, with a full color five inch display GPS while also offering optional blue tooth capabilities for hands free calling, live traffic reporting and also designing the unit so it can integrate with other services that are planned for the future.
For the past four weeks I have had the honor of being one of the first to do an independent review of the Passport IQ prior to the unit becoming available to the general public, here are my findings;
Radar Detection Performance:
How Escort was able to integrate a radar detector into the body of a GPS while still being able to offer a high sensitivity and performance in radar/laser detection is a story onto itself, as this was one of the most difficult engineering feats I’m sure the Escort engineers have ever faced.
During the past several weeks I have tested the Passport IQ against our own arsenal of radar and lidar guns in a controlled environment while also logging over 1200 miles in real world driving throughout the southwest.
In a nut shell, I would rate the performance and sensitivity of the Passport IQ on par with the Escort 9500ix and slightly below that of an Escort 9500ci.
In every instance during our real world driving test, the Passport IQ alerted almost at the same exact time as the Escort 9500ix. One particular alert that stood out was an instance of an Arizona Highway Patrolman operating a Ka gun in instant mode several miles in front of us.
Both units began chirping for a few seconds then stopped and then a few moments later they both began alerting again for a few seconds and stopped. I suspected from the nature of this alert that there was an officer up ahead operating his radar gun in the instant on mode by only activating his radar gun when he had his victims within range.
A few miles later my hunch proved correct as again both units went to full alert as I spotted the highway patrolman hidden in the median.
Photo Enforcement Capabilities:
This I would certainly say is one of the strongest points for the IQ as Arizona is littered with those photo enforcement cameras that snap your photo and send you a ticket in the mail.
One thing that stood out to me during my review is that the Passport IQ only alerted to cameras that were pointing in the direction that I was traveling, case in point Chino, Arizona.
The Chino Police Department has several fixed photo speed enforcement cameras on each side of the highway at different locations. The Passport IQ only alerted to those cameras that were on the same side of the road that I was approaching and ignored those on the other side of the road that were not a threat.
What also impressed me was that the type of photo enforcement camera was also displayed on the GPS screen with its exact location; example red light for red light cameras and photo camera for fixed photo radar locations.
I’ve owned several dash GPS units from Garmin and Tom Tom and one of my chief complaints with all of them has been that annoying “nag screen” that always pops up when you turn the device on. This “nag screen” will also pop up the first time you use the Passport IQ but what is nice there is an option from that point forward to deactivate it, which I have done.
The large five inch full color screen is very easy to read even in bright sunlight and the unit is very easy to program and will get you to the address or location you want to go to.
Mounting: The suction cup mounting system that is offered with the IQ is very stable and capable of holding the unit in place on your windshield.
Menu System: There are three separate menu systems for the IQ making programming a snap. Simply touch and navigate though it’s simple and easy to follow menu system to:
- Program the advanced features of the radar/laser detector
- Map features view maps and current location
- Go To touch and go to create a route, get directions or find thousands of points of interest.
Driver Information: To have this much data at your fingertips on a five inch screen is amazing!
- Current vehicle speed and posted speed limit; Useful to know if you’re exceeding the posted speed limit in real time.
- Mark Location; Is there a certain location that you would like to mark such as a speed trap in your area? Just press a button, the location is marked for future reference.
- Current Location and Route of Travel; Stay on course to your destination with easy to follow voice and visual prompts.
- Photo Enforcement; Alerts you of approaching photo enforcement cameras in advance.
- Radar and Laser Alerts; Displayed with a bright red LED with numeric frequency of the threat displayed on the five inch screen. You can also select the type of audio alert from tone alert to full voice alerts.
Optional blue tooth capabilities for hands free calling and live traffic reporting will be offered for the Passport IQ sometime during the 1st half of 2011.
Guys, if you think that you can keep this detector all to yourself you are WRONG! Even though my wife is married to the “Radar Roy” she hates having a radar detector mounted on the dash of her SUV and hates all those annoying false alerts those other radar detectors have. So once she saw the Passport IQ her first question was “where is mine?”
Another issue is having the cord dangling down from your windshield into your cigarette lighter. Those of you that already own another Escort/Beltronics product who have hard wired your detector will be happy to know that the Passport IQ also uses the familiar RJ-11 power plug. Those of you that have never hardwired a radar detector and are interested in learning how, I would recommend that you watch our video on YouTube on how to direct wire your radar detector.
The Passport IQ is truly a game changer for the radar detector industry in that it combines a high performance radar detector, a GPS and more into one unit that easily mounts to your windshield.
What are your thoughts about the Passport IQ? Please have your voice heard by leaving a comment in the comment area below.