Radar detection technology always strives to stay one step ahead of the devices in use by law enforcement throughout the U.S. In recent years, the adoption of driver assist technology has massively increased the number of radar signals your detector will capture, often flooding you with warnings and alerts that don’t serve a purpose.
If you are using an old Valentine V1 Gen1, you need to upgrade to the Uniden R7 immediately. (>>> Check on Amazon)
Head-to-Head Uniden R7 vs Valentine One
|Uniden R7||Valentine One|
|Range||Insane Long Range||Long Range, 360° Protection|
|False Filter||Advanced K /KA Band Filter||K band BSM Filter|
|Red Light & Speed Camera Alerts||No||No|
|Speed-based Auto Mute||Yes||No|
|Price||Find on Amazon||Find on Amazon|
How a Radar Detector Works
Many people who are not familiar with radar detectors don’t fully understand the technology. In basic terms, a radar detector works by capturing scattered radar signals at a distance, providing an audible alert letting you know that a device is in use. Radar moves in a wave form, like light and sound. There are several different wavelengths of radar in use for various purposes. Your detector can identify the source of radar, providing you with a warning alert that includes the type of radar.
The most common types of radar in use are K, Ka, and X-band frequencies. Ka-band is the type most often in use by law enforcement departments that still use the technology. The newest tech cops use to catch speeders is called LIDAR, and it is a combination of a laser signal and radar that is nearly impossible to evade, has a very high success rate, and doesn’t produce scatter. Detectors capable of identifying LIDAR do exist, but generally once you are alerted of the use of this tech, it’s too late.
Other common uses of radar include automatic doors at convenience stores, lane-keeping and speed-regulating cruise control, speed cameras, and red-light cameras. Many of the types of radar in popular use that your detector will alert on are not threats. You probably don’t need to know about the gas station up ahead or the car two lanes over with a distracted driver behind the wheel. A good radar detector can filter out false signals, providing you with the information you need and not a bunch of chatter.
- Directional indicators give you a heads up
- Detects multiple bands, even the most modern frequencies in use today
- Firmware updates to eliminate false alarms
- Takes some practice getting used to the audible warnings
Limitations of All Detectors
Some people buy a detector expecting that it will alert each and every time a police car is nearby. Unfortunately, this isn’t possible. A radar detector can only detect radar that is in use. If a police officer is visually monitoring traffic, you won’t get an alert.
Filtering False Signals- How They Compare
Both devices capture the same radar bands that include every common type in use today. They also feature technology designed to reduce false alarms, providing you with a usable alert when you need it. Many people new to radar detectors often buy a product that claims to provide “100% filtering” and other such claims, only to be disappointed with the performance out of the box. In order to get your new detector to provide the most accurate alarms, you will need to customize various settings. Detectors that don’t provide customization will alert frequently when there is no actual threat.
The Uniden R7 is the clear victor, simply because it is capable of catching the most modern frequencies around.
Uniden R7 False Filtering
The Uniden R7 uses dual antennas to capture signals originating from the front or rear of the vehicle. There are several settings you can turn on or off to eliminate many false signals, however most of the work is done behind the scenes. Uniden regularly provides firmware updates that address emerging radar bands in use by auto manufacturers to reduce unwanted alarms. Each auto manufacturer uses a distinct frequency that is like a fingerprint. The device must be regularly updated so that it can identify the fingerprint and not send alerts when encountered.
Valentine One False Filtering
In its day, the V1 was respectable for false filtering abilities. To some degree, it is still better than a cheap radar detector. However, as car manufacturer technology has progressed, an increasing number of cars use radar frequencies the V1 won’t recognize. Firmware updates are no longer available. Instead, Valentine is offering an upgrade to the current model.
- Directional arrows are easy to read
- Excellent range
- Good choice is someone gives you one
- No longer available and updates will not be supported in the future, so it has a limited lifespan.
- It looks like it belongs in the 90s
Identifying Radar at a Distance- Which One is Better?
In order for your radar detector to function well, it needs to provide you with enough warning to slow down. Cheap radar detectors often provide little to no warning before you are on top of a police officer using radar to catch speeders. Both the Uniden R7 and the Valentine V1 advertise long range. Numerous things can impact the effective range of your detector, including obstacles like buildings and trees, traffic, and weather conditions.
Neither unit was a stand-out, and both have excellent range. If you already have a Valentine One, you won’t see a big difference in the range.
Uniden R7 Range
Uniden boasts of “insane range” with this detector, and users point out that it seems to be very good. Some reviewers even state that their detector can identify a radar signal from three to five miles away. Range with the Uniden R7 seems to be excellent, with no reports of issues regarding signals that were not quick enough.
Valentine V1 Range
The original V1 was widely regarded as the longest range detector around. This still holds true today. The technology that made the Valentine V1 a top choice for cross-country racing still works as good today as it did years ago when this product was available.
Direction- What You Really Need to Know
A limitation to many devices is that they only notify you of the presence of in-use radar. They don’t have the ability to tell you where the radar originated. Knowing the difference between a signal in front, behind, or off to one side is vital information you’ll want to protect yourself.
The Valentine V1 Gen1 offers better visibility of the directional arrows, making it the winner in this category.
Uniden R7 Direction Indicator
The Uniden R7 lets you know which direction radar is coming from using the front and rear antennas. It informs you of the type and direction of the radar using chirps and lights on the screen. Users report that the directional system with the R7 is adequate to fairly usable.
Valentine V1 Direction Indicator
Valentine brought directional notifications to the radar detector world nearly 20 years ago, and they continue to be the industry leader. This is the classic design everyone else is chasing, and it still works fine after all this time.
Display Screen- Quickly Getting the Info
The display screen is the most vital part of these detectors. On it, you’ll see the direction and the type of radar in use. The screen must be bright, legible, and easy to see quickly to prevent you from being distracted or taking too long to react.
While both screens are nice, the Uniden is a modern OLED screen with better lighting.
Uniden R7 Display
The display uses OLED technology to provide you the information you need. The largest portion of the screen tells you the type and frequency of the detected radar, while a small side box indicates the direction. The screen is bright enough to use even on sunny days, but is not very clear in bright light. It also takes too long to identify the direction, since the box is so small.
Valentine V1 Display
This unit shows its age when you look at the display. It has all the fanciness of a 20-year old design. The directional arrows are still the biggest feature, and because of the size and instant legibility, this display edges out. In this day and age, the LCD screen is just pathetic, though.
If you are in the market to buy a radar detector, it only makes sense to buy something that is with the times. The Uniden R7 is going to provide you years of service with regular updates, while the V1 is simply going the way of the dodo (>>> Find on Amazon). If you already have a V1, take the upgrade offer from Valentine and get the new Gen2, it is better than the R7 in many significant ways.