Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Beltronics V6 Radar Detector Review

Finally, a Beltronics build that I can really get behind. The V6 would even have been a prime contender for my top ten review, if only it were so legacy as to be nearly impossible to find on the market right now. I was able to get a hold of someone who does have one, so for a change I won’t have actually held the build, but a thorough look at the specs, combined with my good primary source is more than enough to make me fall in love with this build. The key difference with this older model is the Escort Live app integration, something that only around three Beltronics models can boast. It means the V6 is cheap, feature packed and hard wearing, giving us the trifecta of radar detector traits.

I spend a lot of time researching the product lines I review before I start. no matter what it is, there is always a wealth of information to absorb before writing any articles. Knowing the key players on the market, knowing the consumers they target, the core feature set, and the evolution of the hardware. With pretty much everything else I have reviewed the hardware evolution has been the most interesting for me, not the case with radar detectors though. The actually physical hardware has changed very little over the last decade or so, just look at the V1 from Valentine. The real changes have been in the software and the integrations. Refining the signals that come in, to increase the effective range and better filter the false positives is the biggest concern of the firms at the moment. App integration is the new thing, and by new introduced five years back. With a community app you gain access not only to the results of your own detection, but everyone else on the roads as well. It’s why app integration has been such a sticking point for me when I reviewed the other Beltronics models, without it they are just less useful than even the cheapest of Cobra models.

I am so happy to be able to have a positive review of a Beltronics build. It feels almost unfair to review older models from the firm after being exposed to the latter day mdoesl from the likes of Escort and Cobra. But, the market has changed, and the fact that some of the other Beltronics models are still being sold near full price is a travesty. It’s one of the benefits to this being a second hand only model, it means that the price is amazing, even if you sacrifice the warranty. So let’s jump right in, first a look at the aesthetics and build quality. hardly the most important aspect of the build, but when there are other models in this price range, with similar feature sets, it can be a bit of a tie breaker.

Beltronics V6 Radar Detector Design and Build Quality

The V6 is a simple looking build, follows on from the almost CD player look of the other Beltronics V series models. I am not a huge fan of the aesthetics, but I appreciate that this is an older build, and so I shouldn’t expect a Rembrandt. The display is the older big LED style as well, putting you in mind of an 80s clock radio. They are cheap, run forever and easy to see in most conditions, but less pleasing to the eye. Again, this is an older model, and the price right now is very low, so we shouldn’t expect top of the line display settings. Overall this is as expected.

The feel of the build I am assured is solid. The listed weight is right in the range I want to see, and the fit of the parts is flush. The mounting bracket that came with the V6 at launch was less than ideal though. The click bracket and suction cup mounts are good, but not great. There are third party options that still fit this model, and I recommend you source one before sourcing a V6. The prices I have found for this one are low enough that you could buy a new bracket and a subscription to Escort live and sitll come out at sub $150, so it is well worth it.

Beltronics did a smart cable with their builds, but I am sad to say that finding it is hard, and it isn’t compatible with the V6 anyway. Not good, as this means that in the event of a false positive you cannot safely turn off the alert. It is mounted to your windshield, and the mute button is all the way over there, leaning forward is dangerous while driving, please don’t do it. Thankfully there is the automatic alternative, auto mute, and it works fine. This is what Cobra did too, and while it is a nice alt, I much prefer manual control over my muting.

The range of the V6 is pretty good, averaging at around 1.5 miles in the inner city, depending on the city mode selected, and the noise in the area, and a little over 2 miles on the highway. There is the usual VG2 filtering mode, that protects from detector detectors, and 2 city modes to choose from. Which one is best suited to your area depends, so experiment with both. Band range is standard, covers all the bases. You will want to look into the kind of radar guns used in your area, as many places have stopped using the older X band radar guns, meaning you can turn that search mode off, saving you a few false alert induced head aches. Makes for a smoother day to day.

The core feature set is pretty small, right off the bat we can see this is a bare bones build. It detects radar and that’s pretty much it. No GPS static alert system, no smart learning feature, no smart cable. But the integration of the Escort Live app gives us access to a few more choice features, foremost among them is the community aspects of the app. Escort Live provides the user with updates based on the readings of every Escort radar detector on the road. it means that the effective range of this model is far longer than the sensor range, and you will know where all the false alerts are too. It goes a long way to making day to day use of any radar detector painless, almost entirely removes false alerts, and that is the biggest issue plaguing radar detectors these days.

The last feature i a going to talk about is the laser eye. All the radar detector firms are pushing this feature as an answer to the use of LIDAR speed detection tech. LIDAR speed detection is not used everywhere, but it is phasing out radar in some areas. I think it’s great that the radar detector market is paying attention to the evolving needs of their consumer base, but I also think that Laser eyes are not quite to the level they need to be yet. it’s all about the way LIDAR speed guns work, and how lasers differ from radar. Radar sends out a wide band wave, one that refracts and travels very well., Even the short burst poop waves can be picked up miles in advance. With LIDAR you are more likely to be warned after hit, or at least within line of sight, limiting the utility somewhat. This is true for all of them, not just Beltronics. There is an alternative, but I will go into that later, in the legal section of the review, as there are a number of issues with owning said alternative.

It is so nice to be able to be complimentary to one of Beltronics builds. Honestly, The warranty section kind of kills their models too, not just the lack of features at a price point I find questionable. their site is a bit of a mess, so the fact that we have to get this one second hand or nothing means I can ignore that issue as well. Overall, a good core set of features, buoyed by the app integration. Excellent.

Beltronics V6 Radar Detector Legality and Pricing

Know the law. It is important when thinking about picking up a radar detector. no other product line I have reviewed has so many caveats regarding where you can and cannot use them. In the US so long as you are not in a commercial vehicle you can use your radar detector with impunity in 47 states. Virginia ban them outright, and so too does Washington DC. They are also prohibited on US military bases. Two other states limit where you can put your radar detector. California and Minnesota have obstruction of vision laws, meaning you have to find an alternative place to mount your radar detector. Be careful when traveling, while I cannot find the legal information for Mexico I know for a fact that most Canadian provinces ban the use of radar detectors. If you are reading this outside of the US then know that radar detectors are probably illegal in your country.

I mentioned that there was an alternative to the Laser eye feature earlier. LIDAR jammers. They are provide you with a brief window to correct your speeds before deactivating, and they work 100% of the time. Far greater utility over simple detection systems. Know that Radar jammers are illegal everywhere, do not confuse the two. For full coverage get a radar detector and a LIDAR jammer. I have read some reports of folk being pulled up on obstruction of justice charges due to using LIDAR jammers, but none in the US. Make sure to pay attention to any changes in the law, anything that has communication in the act name will likely cover radar detectors and LIDAR jammers.

You can find the V6 second hand for around $60, that is an absolute steal for an Escort Live compatible radar detector. If you find any of the V-series Beltronics builds you should aim for that price point, you will not be disappointed.I imagine if they were a little easier to find the price would be higher, as there are numerous Beltronics legacy builds still being sold in any places, at massively inflated prices. Be careful and research what you are buying.

The warranty that comes with Beltronics builds is only one year, but even were it longer I would be wary of it. The Beltronics site is a bit of a mess, with dead links and spelling mistakes all over the place. It makes it difficult to trust the firm, and a warranty is built on trusting a stable long term company. Thankfully that is less important with this model, as second hand models are not covered by the warranty. Getting a broken V6 repaired is difficult though, but there are a number of independent repair shops that can do it, best to keep an eye out if you decide to go fro this one.

Knowing the law is important when it comes to owning anything like a radar detector. Pay attention to where you are traveling, and keep an eye out for new legislation and you should be fine, as stated, anything with communications in the name of the act. the price here is excellent, but it is second hand. You would be hard pressed to find one of these new, unless you have a shop that specializes in car hardware and they have a backlog of old Beltr4onics gear. The warranty is terrible, and the online presence of the firm is abysmal, but seen as this is primarily an after market item that is not really all that important.

Beltronics V6 Radar Detector Conclusion

The V6 is one of my favorite models, it is a sturdy little trooper, made more impressive with the app integration. the only issue is finding one is difficult, so difficult as to be next to impossible. If you are lucky enough to have one now, treasure it, if you find one at a yard sale, or on eBay, then snap it up. Hopefully Beltronics will fix up its site, streamline some new models, and make something like the V-series again soon.

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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