Friday, December 19, 2008

Cobra XRS R10G, R8 & Cobra XRS 9960G, XRS 9955 GPS-Enabled Radar Detectors

Cobra XRS 9960G & Cobra XRS R10G

Cobra XRS R10G/Cobra XRS R8 & Cobra XRS 9960G/Cobra XRS 9955 New GPS-Enabled Radar Detectors

Update: 08 MAR 09

Our Full Review: Cobra XRS-9960G Review

It's clear to me that GPS-enabled radar detectors—able to alert to the presence of nefarious speed cameras and red light cameras—are here to stay and Cobra certainly gets this as evidenced by their introduction of new gps-enabled radar detectors, including the Cobra XRS R10G and Cobra XRS 9960G.

For 2009, Cobra will continue following the lead established by Escort (two years ago with the Passport 9500i) with the introduction of newer, smaller, and more capable GPS-enabled radar detectors than previous Cobras, including their new flagship Cobra XRS R10G and Cobra XRS 9960G.

These new detectors, like the Cobra XRS 9960G ($389) and Cobra XRS R10G ($469), will feature Cobra's proprietary and extensive Aura photo enforcement (red light camera & speed camera) database covering the United States, Canada, and Europe with claimed 100% verification of fixed speed cameras, red light cameras, known speed trap locations, and dangerous intersections.

The accretive Aura Camera and Driving Hazard database is the latest incarnation of the former U.K. company Performance Products Limited's technology—whose highly regarded Snooper® European GPS models were equipped with the enigma database—which was acquired by Cobra in 2006.

Like other gps-enabled detectors offered which utilize another proprietary and highly regarded Trinity database (Beltronics GX65, Escort Passport 9500ci, Escort Passport 9500ix, Cheetah GPSMirror, Cheetah C100), these new Cobra models promise to provide a much higher level of accuracy and lower false rate as compared to those offered by devices relying on hobbyist provided data, since proper identification and classification of photo enforcement technology really requires trained professionals to do well.

These new GPS detectors will utilize newer, much smaller, and easier to use/update GPS modules that directly connect to the detectors and is a far more elegant solution as compared to the earlier Cobra XRS R7/Cobra XRS R9G and Cobra XRS 9950 models which required a separate cable and windshield-mounting location for their larger external GPS modules.

These smaller GPS modules (RDA GPSL55) offer the convenience of being directly connectible to your PC (via a direct USB port connection) for automated updating (SYNCing) from Cobra's online web portal on as frequent as a daily basis without the need for the entire radar detector to be removed from the vehicle, to do so. (Beltronics and Escort models have their GPS capability built-into the detectors themselves to take up less space on the windshield and are a "cleaner" approach as a result, but require the complete detector to be connected to the PC for updating).

A total of 10 radar detectors will be able to benefit from the incorporation of the Aura camera database: Cobra XRS 979, Cobra XRS 999, Cobra XRS 9845, Cobra XRS 9945, Cobra XRS 9955, Cobra XRS 9990, Cobra XRS 9860G, Cobra XRS 9960G, Cobra XRS R8, and Cobra XRS 10G.

The three Cobra models ending with a G designation, the Cobra XRS 9860G, Cobra XRS 9960G, and the Cobra XRS 10G include the GPS module and come with a lifetime subscription to the Aura camera database at no additional charge, a very nice feature, indeed.

The other seven models, the Cobra XRS 979, Cobra XRS 999, Cobra XRS 9845, Cobra XRS 9945, Cobra XRS 9955, Cobra XRS 9990, and Cobra XRS R8 will require the purchase of the GPS locator which retails for $99.95 and will require an annual subscription fee of $29.95 for continued database updates after the initial 12-month period of free updates, expires.

If you expect the need for GPS detection anytime in your future (you should), then I would recommend the purchase of one of the G designated models as the cost savings, over time, will be signficant.

Cobra's Information-Packed OLED Displays: Industry Class Leaders

Several of these Cobra radar detectors are in a class by themselves when it comes to display panels with the incorporation of the latest advancements in display technology—the OLED—which can be easily configured to suit the color schemes of most vehicles.

I only hope that the high-gloss display (which has been far too reflective)—on the windshield-mounted radar detectors—gives way to a more low-glare surface that will be easier to view in a wider variety of lighting conditions.

Cobra will also join the ranks of Beltronics, Escort, and Whistler with the augmentation of voice alerting into several of their new models.

Getting A Lot Of Things Right

If these new Cobra models continue to show real-world performance improvement with police radar, police laser detection and false-rejection (not an unreasonable expectation considering the somewhat lofty price points) I would expect them to have the potential of being compelling offerings.

In any event:

GPS-enabled radar detectors are the wave of the future.

Frankly, everything else is beginning to feel outmoded.

Happy and Safe Motoring!

Trustworthy Purchasing Source:

Related Discussion:
Veil Guy


Anonymous said...

Once again another great read VeilGuy!!

If only Cobra would step up the performance of their radar detectors, I'd consider using them!

Also, I wish they'd drop that marketing nonsense about 12 or 15 band detection. Give me a break!!!

Keep up the good work Veil!

Veil Guy said...

Certainly a radar detector has to be good at, well, detecting radar (doh!).

But, I am pleased to have observed some performance improvements, particularly with police laser with certain Cobras of late.

If they would improve the following critical issues:

* Close range X-band versus K-band distinction
* Reduction of Ka falsing
* Detection of short triggered instant-on radar

Then, I believe they would have something of real merit for the serious driver.

Let's keep our fingers crossed with these news models.

Anonymous said...

COBRA hasn't been known for building serious detectors. Only noisy ones.

With the amount of energy they must be pouring into GPS and ergonomics I can only hope they work on improving RADAR performance.

What makes you think they are going to this time around?

Veil Guy said...

I certainly can understand your cynicism and pre-dispositions.

And please don't get me wrong, I merely stated they have the potential to be compelling models, which I believe is accurate. Time will ultimately tell...

But, it all depends on the underlying ability of their radar detectors, of course.

I will continue to keep an open mind about new models, regardless of any possible preconceptions or predispositions.

With the free and open flow of knowledge that the Internet affords us: between my real-world reviews, those of the GoL, the open-discussions on the forums, I remain open to the possibilities of real change, for the better.

It's no coincidence that the likes of RMR are having a tougher time selling their 'passive' scamblers and new models from Beltronics, Escort, and Whistler have come with user-requested features.

Why? Because the Net can be effective at bringing about illumination and positive change and the manufacturers (VEIL included) are reading and listening.

The educated consumer is a powerful thing to be reckoned with, indeed.

Anonymous said...

What happened to your Speed Trap Hunter blog, you haven't posted there since JUNE!!!

Veil Guy said...

Good point and thanks for noticing!

I sure have more stories to tell (and pictures to share) out West and since then.

To be sure, there are only so many hours in a day! :)

I really love STHing, especially with Steve (STH Ohio) and we have been planning a winter STH experience, as well.

We've since conducted some additional tests/reviews even though we haven't published the results, yet and we're planning on some STHing in Photo Enforcement Capital of the US (greater Phoenix/Scottsdale Metro Area).

Also, if you have been following the VGB, I've been passionately fighting against the sham of photo enforcement.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately it is impossible for Cobra's claimed speed camera location database to EVER be accurate on any given day... in the US **or** Europe. The cameras are mobile, and now they move them! The only viable solution to GPS alerts is a real time, crowdsourced, solution. Power of the people. Don't believe for a minute that they could actually get day by day information by contacting municipalities. Marketing jibberish.

Veil Guy said...

That is an excellent point.

Nor do I believe that it is practical that owners would be updating their models on a daily basis, either.

My article wasn't meant to suggest or imply that the Aura database was potentially more accurate (or the most accurate) by being updated/updateable on a daily basis versus monthly such as the highly regarded Trinity database (as manifested in the Cheetah C100, GPSMirror, Escort 9500ci, Escort 9500ix, and Beltronics GX65).

The quality and the accuracy of any database certainly goes beyond the mere "appearance" of being "current."

I am pleased, to see the detector industry respond (with innovative new products) to the growing number of photo enforcement systems being deployed.

The more individuals familiar with the technology, the better we will collectively be.

So, in that respect, I welcome the marketing efforts (even accompanied with a little hype) to help raise the overall level of awareness of the technology. And, on the shelves of consumer electronic stores is as good as any place to do so. N'est pas?

To be frank, I find the ever-increasing number of reported bands, soon to be at 15 by Cobra (what ever happended to 13 and 14?) to be completely pointless, only serving to re-enforce the ignorance of the consumer with a completely meaningless "capability" which I believe to be (ultimately) insulting.

That I find more annoying than their potential implication that their database is the "most current."

Anonymous said...

Hi , i am verry courious to make test againts low emision K banda traps in Europe. Now, Cobra have minus 5 m range of detection against Gatso K band....maybe in the future with these 15 new models.....with 15 bands....

Alex said...

After two weeks of using the Cobra XRS 9960G, all I can see is a glitzy eye-catcher. X and K band performance was unable to meet that of a Cincinnati Microwave Passport from the late 1980's in my experience. The old Passport X and K band reporting out-classed the Cobra every time with far better distance reporting - with both units set for "highway" (higher sensitivity). The Cobra radar detection/reporting was insufficient for any proper reaction time to prevent a ticket. The Cobra also didn't show any fewer false reports than the aged Passport. I found this simply too incredible.

GPS features and some Laser reporting is all this unit truly offers to my estimation. At least the GPS gave excellent reporting of traffic cams during approach. But what the hell is Cobra thinking about radar detection? They sure don't seem to be looking out for their customers in this area. I expect this unit to come far down in price - and quickly.

You made a good review here, but I have to wonder if the other units you've reviewed could also beat the radar monitoring of the Passport from Mike Valentine's days at Cincinnati Microwave. As an electronics engineer, I have to wonder where the improvements to radar detection are standing since say 1990. I think folks at Cobra must be asleep at the wheel this time.

Veil Guy said...


In fairness to Cobra, one could make that claim about quite a few number of radar detectors that are being manufactured today (versus those of nearly twenty years ago).

But taking your comments in that context, much has changed since then.

1) We now have a proliferation of X and K band door openers that simply did not exist in the good old days of these early-model detectors.

2) Superwide Ka band wasn't being used in traffic enforcement at the time.

While I certainly acknowledge that Mr. Valentine's V1 maintains it's sensitivity to X (and K band), many other radar detectors (which are very very good in their own rights) have been subject to an intentionally (if not slightly) reduction in X-band (and to a lesser extent K-band) for the purposes of reducing complaints by customers from the vastly larger number of X and K "false" sources.

Cobra is no exception, and arguably (as I indicated in my review) has gone a bit too far in this regard.

On the ever important Ka-band, I believe these new Cobras, in fact, perform quite well (in terms of sensitivity). My issue with them is that their engineering department has designed their alerting system to be (for lack of a better word) "sluggish."

If one were to closely examine the (relative) performance of even the latest flagship windshield-mount radar detectors from Beltronics or Escort (as I have), one would notice that even the Pro GX-65 and the Passport 9500ix are not quite as "sensitive" in alerting to X and K band as much as say the Beltronics Pro RX-65 was or the earlier Escort Passports.

It appears to me that the priority for these companies today continues to be Ka, police laser, and now photo enforcement.

The other point to consider (and again this is not an excuse for any of these companies) is the Cobra is manufactured in Asia where X and K band, I believe, do not exist as traffic enforcement bands.

I have repeatedly pointed out that I would prefer that RD manufacturers reverse their trend of "de-emphasizing" the older bands like X and K.

But, in the final analysis, there are plenty of good/great radar detectors to choose from today and I have tried my level best to inform would-be consumers as to the relative strengths and weaknesses of each.

For drivers like myself, who routinely, encounter X band traffic sources in states like New Jersey and Ohio, X and K are important. For others who don't, X (and K) may be less a priority.

Nothing wrong with having choices.

For drivers wishing superior X and K band reception there are choices like the venerable V1, the Beltronics STi-R, Escort Passport 9500ci, and possibly "older" Beltronics Pro RX-65.

It all really comes down to where you drive and what you encounter.

Finally, if given a choice (and I have been) I'd choose these newer radar detectors over the old ones every time for today's driving environment than that of two decades ago.

But, I do appreciate your commentary.

Veil Guy

Veil Guy said...


A follow-up point. Early models of radar detectors did not even have Ka band, so if you happen to be driving with such an early detector, of course it would be less likely to false on Ka, as it wouldn't be able to even detect it.

I assume you already knew that and that you were referring to an early model (that actually had Ka reception), so this comment was more for those not at intimately familiar with these nuances.

However, it's also probably fair to say that today's detectors are far better in sniffing out low-power Ka sources than their predecessors.

Hell, this even holds true for the Valentine One, as good as it's always been...

Veil Guy

N3TEE said...

I have a question on Veil G4, will it prevent a redligh camera from getting a readable plate number?

Veil Guy said...


Only if the camera system utilizes IR imaging (ie; flashless).

Anonymous said...

I have an Audi TT and i drive at about 70-110 miles per hour everywhere i go, at any given point in time i am usually going at least 15 over the given speed limit. Is a Cobra XRS 9990 a good enough radar detector to keep me from getting tickets? ( is the range and detecting ability, far and accurate enough to give me enough warning to slow down? )

Anonymous said...

Yeah Veil,
What about the new Cobra 9990?