Sunday, April 22, 2007

How to achieve 'jaw dropping' performance from the Beltronics STi Driver

It's pretty late Sunday night and I just got back from a day's worth of driving testing out the relative performance of both the Bel STi Driver (vA4.M9) and the Valentine One (v3.826) and I am pleased to share my recent experiences with you.


I have now driven with this detector for several weekends over recently and have accumulated almost 1600 miles on this new detector and all I can say is, WOW! What a difference a year makes. It's very clear to me that the 'boys' at Beltronics know what they are doing.


The very first model I drove with showed a solid detector in the making, but appeared to be in some need of should we say, 'some sorting out.' Well. it appears that in the interim of 12 or so months, that Beltronics did just that - they sorted this detector out. I have driven throughout four states with this detector - Florida, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania - and have encountered all forms of police radar with this detector (X, K, Ka (33.8Ghz), Ka (34.7Ghz), Ka (35.5Ghz) with most of the speedtrap encounters being of the instant-on kind and I believe it's safe to say that the Bel STi Driver's performance on these fronts in many cases appears to actually exceed the performance of the mighty Valentine One, particularly on X & K band and particularly with this detector set at its default radar reception operating mode of POP RADAR detection OFF*.


In this mode we have found that we are being notified sooner and farther away from known drone radar sources than with the Valentine One and on a regular basis.


Even without POP mode enabled, we are finding that it's X-band reception performance outperforms the Valentine One sometimes dramatically so - for example, we once received a full seven second plus advanced notification - to an instant-on speedtrap using X-band on I-195 Westbound outside of Trenton, NJ. A seven second advantage to [the Valentine One on] an instant-on trap - when one is traveling at 85-90mph - is pretty huge. To be sure, those types of margins didn't and don't always occur and oftentimes they essentially tie, but to see these types of advantages appear more the once over the course of three weekends and about 1600 miles is notable, indeed.


Valentine has pretty much dominated X-band performance, historically, with the RX-65 Pro almost essentially equaling it in many cases. With the new STi Driver, it appears the Beltronics has actually raised the bar a bit on this reception frequency and its is simply breathtaking to behold, really.


Both K-band and Ka-band reception appears to benefit further by leaving POP disabled on this detector. K-band reception also appears to exceed, on a regular basis, the capability of my Valentine One. We need more time with Ka encounters before forming an opinion, but I am going to look forward to putting some serious miles on this detector to ferret out those details.


Does that mean, to me, that the Valentine One is going away any time soon? Not on a bet, but it is truly marvelous to experience this level of performance from another radar detector manufacturer. I always liked the Beltronics RX-65 Pro from the first day I drove with it and it is quickly becoming apparent to me that Beltronics is not going to sit on its laurels in any way shape or form. They are pushing the envelope and we enthusiast drivers are the beneficiaries.


Forget about the stealth-nature of this detector (immune to VG-2 and Stalcar/SPECTRE III RDDs) - that's just a nice bonus. The levels of performance this radar detector is achieving is absolutely stunning!


My recommendation to the serious driving enthusiasts out there, is add this radar detector to your arsenal, now.


We'll [You'll] have more, when we get it...


*Thanks to Steve (co-founding member of the Guys of Lidar) - who suggested that I try out the latest version of the STi Driver on highway mode with POP disabled - I can share these results.

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