Cobra iRad vs Rad 480i

Drivers buy and use Cobra radar detectors to avoid being ticketed for exceeding the speed limit. However, using a radar detector is not an invitation to break any traffic laws. While some drivers speed on purpose, the vast majority of us try to follow the laws governing speed limits and are actually surprised when the flashing lights come on behind us and we are pulled over and ticketed.

The cost of a speeding ticket, $150 on average in the U.S., is just one part of receiving a ticket. You have to add in what may happen to the price of your auto insurance as well as the points that will accumulate against your driver’s license. Too many points and your license may be suspended. That’s where owning one of these two Cobra radar detectors will pay off.

The Cobra iRad and the Cobra RAD 480i are both top notch radar detectors. In this review we will explore what features are important in choosing a radar detector as well as which of these two detectors may be the best choice for your driving situation.  In our opinion, the Cobra RAD 480i is a slightly better option (>>> Find on Amazon)

Cobra iRad vs Rad 480i side by side:

Cobra iRadCobra Rad 480i
RangeExtreme Long RangeLong Range
Built-in GPSNoNo
False FilterIVT FilterNext Gen IV Filter
Red Light & Speed Camera AlertsYesYes
Speed-based Auto MuteNoNo
Bluetooth connectivityYesYes
Price Find on Amazon Find on Amazon

Detection Range

The detector’s main purpose is to detect and warn you of the signals that radar guns emit while they are being operated in your general vicinity. Naturally, the further away from you that your radar detector can detect a signal, the more time you will have to react to it. So detection range is critical, the longer the range of detection, the better.

Better Cobra Detector for Range of Detection: Cobra RAD 480i Laser Radar Detector


The detector’s sensitivity will determine the effectiveness of the unit. High sensitivity allows the detector to pick up weak radar signals at greater distances. Sensitivity can be a double-edged sword, however. Without the ability to adjust the detector’s sensitivity for different driving conditions, the detector could become an absolute “beeping” nuisance.

Better Cobra Detector for Sensitivity: Cobra RAD 480i Laser Radar Detector

GPS Capability

Having GPS capability allows the detector to be programmed to remember and block out stationary radars that you come across on your daily drives. You don’t need to be informed the drugstore’s door opening system is coming up on your right. The same goes for the grocery or department store. Another great function associated with GPS is that it can help notify you of sudden speed limit changes or automatically change the detector’s mode of operation, say from city driving to highway driving.

Better Cobra Detector for GPS Capability: Neither Unit Has GPS

RDD Shielding Technology

Radar Detector Detectors, or RDDs, are being used by police in localities in which it is illegal to operate a radar detector. This legality issue isn’t restricted to state laws only, some towns and cities also prohibit the use of a radar detector and you may not be aware of that fact. Having the ability to “hide” from RDD units can be an important feature. Receiving a ticket for using a radar detector while driving at or below the speed limit just doesn’t seem fair.

Better Cobra Detector for RDD Shielding Technology: Neither Unit Has RDD Shielding

Cobra iRad Laser Radar Detector

Cobra iRad

The Cobra iRad is an affordable, entry-level, radar detector. Its features are easy to understand and it has a high-contrast OLED display that is easy to read under all lighting conditions. What it doesn’t have is the elite range of detection of the more expensive detectors on the market. It will identify the band of radar detected and the signal strength, which will help you determine how close the radar unit is to your vehicle. This detector will keep an eye on what’s ahead of you as well as behind you, as long as it has an unobstructed view. So make sure to mount it higher on the windshield.

One feature the iRad does have is Bluetooth connectivity that allows you to connect to your smartphone and Cobra’s iRadar app. Being able to connect to your smartphone makes up for the iRad’s lack of GPS technology. Connecting to the iRadar app allows you to keep up to date for real-time threats from red light cameras, speed cameras, and speed traps from other Cobra owners.


  • Very affordable
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Easy to read OLED display


  • No GPS capability
  • Voice alerts are not loud enough
  • iRadar requires a subscription (annual or monthly)

Cobra RAD 480i Laser Radar Detector

Cobra RAD 480i

The RAD 480i has a bright, OLED display that is easy to read and understand. It will identify the radar band detected and the strength of the signal being emitted. It uses Digital Signal Processing (DPS) technology for faster alert notifications. It also has twice the detection range of similarly priced competitors, allowing you plenty of time to react to any radar threat.

Equipped with Cobra’s IVT technology, false alerting is greatly reduced, especially radar signals coming from newer vehicle Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) systems. With adjustable sensitivity settings, you will be able to dial down or up the device’s sensitivity for either in town or highway driving.

Having Bluetooth capability allows you to connect to smartphones and access Cobra’s iRadar app, where you can receive real-time traffic alerts from other Cobra owners.


  • LaserEye technology for front and rear detection
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Improved IVT filtering
  • Alert volume is adjustable


  • No WiFi
  • No directional arrows
  • iRadar is subscription-based


Both of these radar detectors are excellent entry level detectors and cost less than the fine associated with just one average-priced speeding ticket and court appearance. Life moves faster and faster these days and using a radar detector does not guarantee that you won’t get a speeding ticket, but it is a great way to avoid most speed traps and police radars.  In our opinion, the Cobra RAD 480i (>>> Check price on Amazon), priced the same as the iRad, is the superior detector due to its range, sensitivity, and its sensitivity and alert volume adjustability.


Similar Articles