Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Valentine One Radar Detector Review – 2018 Update

Very much enjoying my new project. These radar detectors have been absolutely fascinating to review. The tech used is interesting, the features on the builds are clever and well integrated, and the ease of use is so good that I don’t even have a section on it in my article template, they are that easy to set up and use. This week I got to play around with the now venerable Valentine 1, henceforth referred to as the V1. I say venerable as this build has remained physically unchanged for a number of years now, and honestly it is getting a little left behind. Let it not be said that the fine folks over at Valentine are flagging horrible, far from it, the software is more than a match for the highest end Escort, but the core features are lacking when it is compared to the Escort or the Cobra range.

The V1 is an entry level product, but in this market that just means it does everything you want a radar detector to do. It lacks bells and whistles, and for the right kind of consumer that can be a good thing. Not me, I like a full feature set, but even I can understand that cell phone integration is an unnecessary, but amazing, feature. Valentine do not market any other radar detectors. They sell just the one model, and I think that speaks volumes about the company in general. They know that the Valentine One’s tech is superb, and see no need to release a cut rate version of the product. They have years of experience in this field, and they have honed the Valentine 1 to perfection.

All that said there are a number of key areas that I feel the V1 is a little less impressive in, so let’s get down to the review.

Valentine One Radar Detector Design and Build Quality

I feel it is best to start out in a less important area, the look of the build. The Valentine One is a sturdy piece of kit, but it is far from the sleekest thing on the market. I realize that the aesthetics of the tech is almost of negligible importance, but I think how something was designed can tell us a little bit more about the product in question, and the designer. This is a work horse of a radar detector. Look at it, it looks like it can take a bump, though I do not recommend you go at it with a baseball bat. The position of the mute button is an issue for me, it’s on the body of the Valentine One, so when you need to shut up a false positive you have to reach over to your windshield to hit the button. Not the safest option in the world in my opinion. I know there are models on the market that put the mute switch on the charger cable, making it a little safer.

The sound of the Valentine One is annoying. All radar detectors make a high pitched modem alike noise when they detect any kind of signal, but the V1’s grates on me more than the two others I have heard. This is very much a personal thing, as I am sure there are people out thee who hate the ones I can stand etc. The mounting bracket that comes with the V1 is probably the best on the market. They have been iterating this thing for the last two decades, so when you set the V1 up it will not shake.

The Valentine 1’s tech is shockingly impressive considering it’s age. On board we have two sensors, front and back, allowing the V1 to give you a far more accurate location estimation. The on board laser detector is super sensitive, both a good and bad thing in my opinion. The filtering algorithms used in the Valentine One are some of the most refined on the market, it is able to distinguish false positives on its own, if there is a car in front with a parking sensor for example, it will not go off, but still remain sensitive to the real deal. The range is astounding. The dual sensors allow the V1 to remain accurate over range even in difficult terrain. Worst case scenario you can see up to 2 miles ahead, best case you are looking at maybe 5 miles.

Now I mentioned earlier that the V1 is a little lacking in the bonus features department, largely as a result of the design being so old, but the folks over at Valentine have been modernizing the software. There are a few apps out there that expand the feature list a little, an official one that I found a little awkward to use, and the amazing YaV1, which is far more robust and super easy to navigate. You do have to buy some extra gear to run it though. The V1 lacks both Bluetooth and GPS, and the connector cable for iOS or Android, not both, will cost you $49. If you want to make the most of your V1 it is a must buy. In addition there is the Savvy. It is an add on for the V1 that monitors your speed and adjusts volumes on the fly. Not all that useful from my perspective, but you may want to at least check it out.

Overall, this is still the standard in terms of core features. There are builds out there that surpass it in range, features and price, but the reliability of the Valentine One is without peer. The combination of clever use of tech and excellent pricing makes this a real contender, even in the current market. To get the V1 at a discounted price via Amazon.com you can click here. Free prime shipping and returns aren’t a bad deal either!

Valentine One Radar Detector Legality and Pricing

There has been no other product range that I have reviewed where I have had to talk about the legality of ownership before. Radar and Laser detectors are a bit of a grey area. A greyer area is Laser jammers, but thankfully I have yet to run across any of those in my review pool. In the US across all states ownership of Radar detectors is legal, how, when and where you can use them is another matter. Mostly you are covered by the Communications Act of 1934, so long as you are not using the detector in a commercial vehicle. There are broad spectrum bans, Military basis, Virginia and Washington DC all ban their use at all. If you are in Minnesota or California you can use them, but you cannot mount them to your windshield, due to prohibitions on obstruction of view in a motor vehicle. Radar jammers are illegal in every state. For international readers it is pretty safe to assume they are illegal. I mean, you can’t even use them in Canada, so be careful crossing boarders.

Now we get to look at the price. The V1 can sell itself on being one of the most reliable low priced models on the market, and you can find them in the $400-500 range. You cannot find them cheaper than that, unless you want to go second hand. There are cheaper builds out there, but few can match the V1 in terms of core tech. Your best bet at getting it for the best price online is by clicking here to check for any discounts at Amazon.com.

The warranty is fairly standard, meaning I hate it. Valentine offer only a one year non-transferable limited warranty. It covers manufacturer faults only. If the V1 breaks down under normal use within a year you can get a replacement or your money back. It seems to me that good warranties are few and far between these days, unless you are a mattress company obviously. There is one final issue to point out with the Valentine 1, customer support and their website.

Go to Valentine1.com and come back. Done? Good. What was that? The site looks like it was designed in the nineties. The resolution is poor, to the point that on a 1920 x 1080 screen everything looks grainy. On cell phone it is worse, the site doesn’t resize itself and you are left unable to read half of what is on the page. Sloppy in this day and age. I know that Valentine does not market themselves as a bleeding edge firm, but I would like to see some hustle on their end in this area. I know for a fact that there are numerous options out there for storefront design, I spent six months testing them all out after all, and if they don’t want to go with a third party firm, like Shopify, they should at least hire a small team to work on a Magento site for them.

Sorry, rant over.

Valentine One Radar Detector Conclusion

At the end of the day I know who the Valentine company are aiming for. The bare bones user. The kind of person who wants to buy a radar detector and not have to upgrade again. The Valentine 1 is sturdy, well put together and does everything you want it to out of the box. For more advanced users there are options, even if accessing those options is a little cumbersome. Overall, a good price and a well put together product.

As of right now Amazon.com has the best price online for the Valentine V1.  You can get it with all coupons and discounts applied by clicking here. 

Barry W Stanton
Irish born writer who drinks too much caffeine and reads too much Terry Pratchett. I enjoy long walks on the server and Korean cuisine.
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2 COMMENTS

  1. I made the mistake of buying a second-hand Valentine 1 for $250. The software can’t be upgraded as they freely market. The problem is, you can’t program out the K band, so it just goes off all the time. Every new car that drives down the road uses K. To upgrade, I have to ship the unit to V1, and the replacement cost is $289 for a version to accept the latest software upgrade, that filters out K band. They should of rebranded the V1 if it in-fact can’t be updated, without going to a new hardware device. Their website as you point out is horrible, and quite frankly I feel misleading to the after market buyer.

  2. This reviewer doesn’t know much about radar detectors and that’s obvious. “but the core features are lacking when it is compared to the Escort or the Cobra”…umm Cobra sucks and has forever. “The range is astonishing…dual sensors enable at best 5 miles, at worst 2 miles.” First it has front and rear facing antennas…they don’t add to the range…they are used in combination with the arrows (which I don’t even recall this guy speaking to) so the detector can alert you if the signal is in front, back, or to the side of you. Maybe on a flat Desert road you might get 2-3 mile detection but this is not anything you’re going to experience on your daily commute. 5 miles..,ha good luck. Oh, the last thing “you can find around 500, but no cheaper than that”….ummm this detector sells for currently on Valentines website for $399. My God, if you’re going to do an review on something, please research what you’re talking about before doing so.

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