Beltronics RX65 Radar and Laser Detector Review

Beltronics RX65 Professional Series Radar/Laser Detector Review

It is more important than ever to avoid getting a speeding ticket. On average, insurance rates rise about 53% after a driver has received a speeding ticket. Additional costs will also mount and could eventually reach $1,000 or more over a 3-year span. Being more aware of the posted speed limit and actively monitoring your speed are the first steps to avoiding a speeding ticket.

However, most drivers need additional help to keep abreast of all the ever-increasing amounts of speed traps and other speed monitoring equipment on the roads. Purchasing a high performance radar and laser detector is the logical next step in your defense against being pulled over for speeding. A professional quality radar and laser detector doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated to use. Considering the costs associated with just one speeding ticket, purchasing a radar detector, such as the Beltronics RX65 Red Professional Series radar detector (Bel Pro RX65), is well worth the investment. Continue reading for a review of the Bel Pro RX65 and see why it is worth every penny to fight against receiving speeding tickets.

Description

The Beltronics RX65 Professional Series Radar Detector is designed to detect all speed enforcement on all bands of radar and laser. Through advanced digital signal processing, the Bel Pro RX65 offers superior radar detection range and reduced false alerts. False alerts can also be further reduced with the City/Highway feature and programmable band on/off settings. The RX65 features an ultra-bright 280 LED display that can display and track multiple radar threats along with their signal strength. The display can also show up to 64 safety warning messages which can be transmitted through the Safety Warning System.

Important Features of Beltronics RX65

Detects all bands of police radar

The Bel Pro RX65 provides long-range speed enforcement radar detection of all frequency bands used for radar. This includes X, K, Superwide Ka, and Instant-On.

The X-band radar guns were being phased out of service over 20 years ago. It is almost unheard of to see X-band radar used in a city setting but occasionally it is used in long distance monitoring of traffic. X-band radar is now used for automatic door openers, motion detection security devices, and microwave towers. Most people ignore X-band radar alerts; but until you are sure if there is a police presence or not, it is best to make sure your speed is within the posted limits.

K-band radar alerts may be caused by traffic radar but probably not. The K-band is now being used for automatic door openers and security motion detection devices almost as much as the X-band radar. Other sources of false K-band signals can come from radar detectors (mostly Cobra and Whistler), the Adaptive Cruise Control found on newer vehicles (Ford, GM, Hyundai, Jaguar, Kia, Mazda, Mercedes, and others), and Safety Warning Systems. Although, K-band radar is being used much less nationwide, it very possible police in your area may still be using K-band radar equipment.

As a whole, North American law enforcement has switched over to using Ka-band radar detectors. When a Ka radar alert is sounded, this is police radar in use nearby and immediate action should be taken. It is worth noting, that some cheap radar detectors also emit Ka-band signals that can be detected. However, it is better to be safe so it’s best to assume the threat is from police radar until otherwise proven wrong.

The RX65 also can detect digital POP (a.k.a. Instant-on) radar guns. This technology generates a quick burst of radar which doesn’t last long enough for advanced warning – usually under 0.5 seconds. Although the Bel Pro RX65 is capable of detecting POP radar, once the radar has targeted you, there will not be enough time to react before being tagged by the police. POP radar detection may not save you from a ticket if you are the target. But it can alert you to POP radar being used on other vehicles ahead. When the alert is triggered, it is best to make sure your speed is within the limit and hope for the best if you were speeding.

Front and rear laser detection

Commonly known as laser, LIDAR (light detection and ranging) is growing in popularity among law enforcement in North America and abroad. The rear panel of the RX65 (facing toward the windshield) contains both the radar antenna and laser lens to monitor radar and laser being aimed at your vehicle from the front. On the top, upper-right side is the rear laser port for sensing laser aimed at your vehicle from behind. While this is not 360 degree protection, it does protect the front and rear of your vehicle.

Laser must hit your vehicle straight-on either in front or in the rear to be most effective for the police. Laser hitting your vehicle from the side or at an angle, produces an error for the police laser gun and cannot determine your speed. Unfortunately, the police will aim the laser beam low on your car to avoid being detected. Laser only needs about 0.2 seconds of contact to determine your speed.

One important thing to remember about laser is that it does not trigger false alerts. When the RX65 indicates a laser alert, it is real. Laser has most likely already targeted your vehicle. If you are speeding you most likely will be stopped. The best case scenario is that the RX65 picked up a scattered laser signal and you weren’t the target yet.

Ulta-bright 280-LED alpha-numeric display

The display has four brightness levels: Maximum, Medium, Minimum, and Dark. Pressing the BRT button repeatedly cycles through the brightness settings. When in Dark mode, the display will show only one two-letter code: AD, CD, or HD. The A is for AutoScan mode, C is for City mode, and H is for Highway mode. The D indicates Dark mode. While in Dark mode, the RX65 does not display any alerts. Only audible alerts will sound. Plus, the red alert light on the SmartPlug will flash.

The 280-LED alpha-numeric display shows “X”, “K”, or “Ka” for the type of radar threat being detected. “Laser” is displayed for Laser. Along with the type of threat being detected, the RX65 will display a bar graph of the signal strength. If multiple signals are detected at once, the RX65’s internal computer will display the most important threat. This is the default setting called “Signal Strength Meter”.

For more experienced users, the display can be switched to the “Threat Display” option by changing the RX65’s settings. The Threat Display is a mini spectrum analyzer that can display multiple signals at once. The display will show the letters X, K, or Ka along with a signal strength number. For example, Ka9 K3 X1 will be displayed to show three different signals being detected. The Ka radar signal is most threatening with a strength of 9. The other two radar threats are weaker showing K radar with a signal strength of 3 and X radar with a signal strength of 1. The band designators will remain on display for a few seconds after the alert has ended so you can see which bands were detected for brief alerts.

For the even more advanced user, there is “Tech Display” mode. This mode of operation will display the radar signal band being detected along with its frequency. In the case of multiple threats detected at once, the display will show the threat deemed most important by the RX65.

Program Mode

The Bel Pro RX65 allows the user to change 7 different user-selectable settings by using Program Mode. This mode allows you to review and change the following settings: Pilot, the type of power-on indicator; Voice, toggle on or off; Power-On Sequence, standard or fast power-on display; AutoMute, toggle on or off; City mode sensitivity, select one of three sensitivity levels; and Bands, select all bands or modify which ones to detect.

AutoScan, Highway, and City modes

The Bel Pro RX65 uses AutoScan to provide long-range warnings of detected radar signals. The digital signal processor constantly analyzes signals and intelligently adjusts the sensitivity. Selecting Highway mode puts the RX65 at highest sensitivity which is more helpful on the highway but could produce more false alerts. Switching to City will reduce the sensitivity for X-band radar detection to help reduce false alerts caused by automatic door openers and other X-band generating devices. City mode can be further changed by selecting one of three different sensitivity levels in Program Mode.

Audio and Voice alerts

The Bel Pro RX65 has three distinct radar detection tones: X-band, a chirping tone; K-band, a buzzing tone; and Ka, a double chirping tone. The time between alert sounds will increase as the signal gets stronger – indicating the signal is getting closer. The laser alert sound is a full tone (instead of the increasing tone) since all laser signals are possible threats no matter how far away. For Safety Alert signals, the RX65 will sound a double buzz alert.

If Voice announcements are enabled, the digital voice will read the corresponding text message for the alert. The RX65’s digital voice will also announce the radar band or laser being detected. This feature can be toggled on and off by changing the settings in Program Mode.

Mute and AutoMute

By default, the Bel Pro RX65 will sound an audible alert when a threat has been detected. Then after a few seconds, the alert volume will be reduced in order to keep you informed of the threat but not be annoying by a loud alert sound. This setting can be turned off and the alert volume will not be lowered.

To temporarily silence alerts, simply press the MUTE-VOLUME button during any alert. Once the threat has passed, mute will be reset and the next threat will be heard as usual.

Alerts can be permanently muted by changing settings in Program Mode.

Performance

Right out of the box, the RX65 is already setup for provide the average driver with the best possible professional performance. But before the RX65 can be used, it must be installed properly. The suction cup mount should be stuck to the center of the windshield as low as possible to allow the RX65 to have a clear view forward and backward. It is important that the RX65 not be installed behind windshield wipers or tinted sections of glass. When installed correctly, the top edge of the RX65 should just touch the windshield. The metal bracket can be bent to allow the radar detector to touch the windshield. This radar detector can be easily removed from the windshield mount and moved to another vehicle or put in its carry case for safe keeping.

Once affixed properly to the windshield, the SmartPlug plugs directly into a 12-volt DC cigarette lighter socket or accessory power outlet. The other end of the cord plugs into the right side of the RX65. This end looks like a telephone connector, if you remember what that looks like. Don’t have a free accessory outlet or want a more professional looking installation? The SmartPlug is also available in a direct-wire version.

Once plugged in, press the PWR button to power up the RX65. It will go through a PowerOn Sequence by displaying “BEL RX65”, “Laser”, “Ka-band”, “K-band”, “X-band”, “Safety”, and any changes to factory settings. The PowerOn Sequence can be changed to Fast mode by going into Program Mode which is outlined in more detail further in this review.

After the PowerOn Sequence is complete, press and hold MUTE-VOLUME to adjust the volume of the alerts. The Volume level will be displayed as a bar graph on the screen.

As with all radar detectors, it is important to realize that they are not police car detectors. In other words, the can only detect radar and laser that is actively being used. A police car can drive behind you and clock your speed the old fashioned way using a speedometer. You won’t get any warning from your radar detector since no radar or laser was used. But you will be pulled over and possibly ticketed.

With that said, the RX65 comes to you setup in AutoScan mode to provide long-range protection against radar and laser threats while helping to eliminate false alerts. AutoScan constantly monitors for any radar signals and intelligently adjusts the sensitivity accordingly.

To have sensitivity set at its maximum, switch the RX65 into Highway mode. Simply repeatedly press the CITY button until Highway is shown on the display to switch to Highway mode. Highway mode sets all bands to their maximum sensitivity and can detect radar signals from two to four miles away.

When driving in an urban area, it is best to switch to City mode. Simply press the CITY button until the word City is shown on the display. There are three levels of sensitivity for X-band detection in City mode: City STD, City LoX, and City NoX.

City STD is the default setting. This mode simply lowers the RX65’s sensitivity to X-band radar. If too many false X-band alerts are received, the RX65 can be switched to City LoX where the X-band sensitivity and range are further reduced. This setting must be changed from within Program Mode. To enter Program Mode, hold CITY and BRT for 2 seconds and release. Use the RVW button (CITY button) to move through the categories until CITY STD is displayed. Use the CHG button (BRT button) to change the setting to City LoX. Now either press the PWR button or wait 8 seconds for the change to complete. The display will show “Complete” and the RX65 will beep.

X-band detection can be turned off completely by selecting City NoX. Repeat the steps above but select City NoX instead of City LoX. Remember to wait 8 seconds or simply press the PWR button to complete the settings change.

By default, the RX65 is set for Signal Strength Meter mode which will display only one radar or laser threat at a time. The DSP will assess multiple threats and determine which one is the most important to display. Obviously, Ka and Laser threats that have a high signal strength have top priority. The RX65 will display the type of threat detected along with a bar graph showing its signal strength. When a laser gun has been detected, the RX65 will display the word “Laser” without showing a signal strength bar graph.

Once becoming accustomed to the RX65, more experienced users may want to switch to Threat Mode. In this mode of operation, multiple threats and their signal strength will be shown. This mode can display up to three threats on screen. The most important threat is shown at the left followed by less significant threats. For example, the display will show Ka1 X9 shows a weak Ka-band signal and a strong X-band signal. Thus meaning the Ka signal is further away but still most likely the most important threat since Ka does not give false alerts. The strong X-band is most likely a motion sensor nearby. While the X-band signal is most likely not police radar, it should be of a concern to the driver until it is determined there are no police cars close by.

The RX65 can be switched from Signal Strength Meter mode to Threat Mode by using the same method for entering program mode as outlined earlier. This time, watch for METER on the display. Then use the CHG button to change from STD to THT. Press PWR to complete the change or simply press no buttons for 8 seconds.

For those who are really advanced in the use of radar detectors, Beltronics has created the Tech Display mode. In this mode a single radar threat type is displayed along with its frequency. In a multiple threat situation, the RX65’s computer will determine which is the most serious threat and display its information on screen. Use program mode to switch to METER TEC for the Tech Display mode.

The Bel Pro RX65 also has the ability to turn off specific radar band detection. For instance, if you find K-band signals constantly give false alerts in your area, you can turn off K-band radar detection if you are sure no police use that radar band. In program mode, hold down or repeatedly press the RVW button until you see “Bands” on the display. By default, Bands ALL is set which enables all bands of radar and laser. Seeing the Bands MOD display tells you one or more bands has been altered.

Press CHG to move through the band types until you reach the desired band. X is the first band on the list. X ON is the default. Press the MUTE-VOLUME button to toggle bands OFF or ON. Then use CHG to move on to the next band on the list or press PWR (or wait 8 seconds) to accept the changes.

You will notice the Ka band has several settings possible. There is USA mode used for North America; Intl used for locales outside North America, and OFF. Turning Ka-band detection off is not recommended since most police radar these days uses Ka-band signals.

Other band settings beside X, K, and Ka include: POP and LSR. Both POP and LSR are set to ON by default but can be toggled off or on by using the MUTE-VOLUME button. It is highly recommended by Beltronics that LSR and POP should be left on.

Also SWS (Safety Warning System) can be changed here. SWS OFF is the default setting but can be changed to on by pressing MUTE-VOLUME when SWS is displayed on screen. Read more about SWS in the Additional Features section of this review.

TSR can also be toggled off and on here. TSR is Traffic Signal Rejection and is further discussed in the Filtering section of the review.

There are several other settings that can be changed in Program Mode. The voice alert can be enabled or disabled. Simply use RVW while in Program Mode to locate Voice. Use CHG to toggle it off and on. AutoMute can also be toggled off or on. Locate aMute on the setting menu by pressing RVW. Use CHG to set it to OFF or ON.

The PowerOn Sequence can be changed too. Select PwrOn from the Program menu. Use CHG to select STD for standard or FST for fast. In standard mode, the RX65 will display its name and all the active laser and radar bands along with any factory settings changes made by the driver. Switch to FST mode and the RX65 will make a brief tone and only show non-factory settings. Most users will want FST mode once they become accustomed to using the Bel Pro RX65.

Filtering

When it comes to radar detectors, none of them are 100% accurate. However, they tend to err on the side of caution and sound more false alerts than users would like. Beltronics has done their best to help eliminate false alerts with the addition of digital signal processing (DSP). The DSP part of the RX65 continuously analyzes signals to determine which ones are most important and should be brought to your attention.

The AutoScan feature of the RX65 continuously checks incoming signals for type, signal strength, and frequency to determine which ones are a real threat. In AutoScan mode, the X-ban radar detection sensitivity is adjusted automatically to help reduce false alerts caused by automatic door openers and other device that use X-band radar.

Another increasing source of false alerts is traffic monitoring systems. These systems generate X-band and K-band radar signals to monitor traffic flow. The RX65 has Traffic Signal Rejection (TSR) software that helps eliminate excessive X- and K-band alerts by intelligently sorting, ranking, and rejecting these monitoring systems automatically. This feature is turned on by default but can be disabled by changing the user-selectable settings.

The RX65 can also filter out false alert sources through AutoScan and City modes. Highway mode sets all radar detection levels to maximum and can sometimes generate excessive false alarms, especially near shopping centers. By placing the unit in AutoScan, the RX65 can intelligently analyze all incoming radar signals and adjust the sensitivity to produce the least amount of false alerts. Beltronics recommends AutoScan for most driving situations.

City mode can be used to further reduce the amount of X-band false alerts. The City STD (standard) mode setting decreases the sensitivity of X-band radar. The City LoX (low X-band sensitivity) mode setting further reduces the sensitivity and range for detecting X-band radar signals. To completely turn off X-band detection, switch to City NoX mode. In this mode, X-band radar will be ignored. So make sure there are no X-band police radar sources where you drive before choosing this setting. The X-band sensitivity is only affected in City mode. AutoScan and Highway mode do not change the sensitivity of X-band detection.

Additional features

The Bel Pro RX65 has a few more very useful features. The RX65 is capable of receiving SWS transmission. SWS or Safety Warning System uses a modified K-band radar signal to transmit a coded message that can be received and decoded by the Bel Pro RX65. Emergency vehicles, road hazard signs, and railroad crossings can be equipped with this transmitter to help warn motorists in advance of upcoming hazards. Currently this system is not used nationwide but the number of SWS transmitters in use is increasing every day. Your area may not have this technology yet.

Displayed text messages include warnings for highway construction and maintenance, highway hazard zones, weather related hazards, fast or slow moving vehicles, and travel information and convenience. The RX65 has 64 individual messages that it can display. By default, the RX65 comes with SWS alerts disabled. You can enable SWS alerts by changing user selected options in Program Mode.

The Bel Pro RX65 is immune to VG2 Radar Detector Detectors (RDD) used by police. An officer using a VG2 type radar detector detector cannot tell the RX65 is in use inside your vehicle. Even if the officer can tell radar detectors are being used, the RDD cannot determine the exact vehicle using a radar detector, especially when there are many vehicles on the road. When a VG2 RDD unit is detected, the RX65 will display VG2.

Radar detector detector immunity isn’t all that important to most drivers since radar detectors can legally be used in 49 states across the U.S. Only Virginia and Washington, DC, have outlawed the use of radar detectors. Most provinces in Canada also do not permit radar detects to be used. Since 1995, radar detectors cannot be used on any commercial vehicle. It is also worth noting, VG2 technology was developed in the early 2000’s and is not the current RDD technology.

Another helpful feature of the RX65 is the coiled SmartPlug. The SmartPlug has a green power-on light that shines only when the RX65 is on. In addition, it has a bright red alert light which signals a radar or laser threat. This light is especially useful when the RX65 is in dark mode and the display doesn’t show any threats at all. Plus, it has a mute button which is very handy when the radar detector is a stretch to reach all the way in the center of the windshield. This cord is partially straight and partially coiled. It measures about two feet in length.

This SmartPlug can be replaced with the compatible Escort SmartCord Live which will allow the RX65 to communicate with your smartphone and the Escort Live app. The Bel Pro RX65 does not have Bluetooth technology and needs the SmartCord Live in order to interact with a smartphone. The Escort Live app is a free download from Apple iTunes or Google Play Store.

Once installed on a smartphone, ESCORT Live members will receive “Police Spotted” speed trap alerts, mobile and fixed-position speed camera alerts, multiple map and dashboard views on their smartphone, the ability to share their threat reports with the ESCORT Live network, and receive automatic reminders of previously marked locations.

From within the ESCORT Live app, the driver can choose to purchase the Premium upgrade for $4.99 per month or $49.99 per year. A free one-year subscription to the premium upgrade is included with the purchase of the SmartCord Live.

ESCORT Live Premium provides the driver with real-time alerts from other radar detector users in the area. Drivers will also receive detailed threat information including time-sensitive color-coded warning icons on screen; GPS-guided information about vehicle speed, posted speed limit, over speed limit alerts, and compass and directional headings.

Accessories

The Bel Pro RX65 comes with the quick release windshield mount, coiled SmartPlug, and hard shell metal case. Some packages have a padded zippered case instead of the metal hard shell case. Optional accessories include a rear view mirror mount kit, visor mounting kit, long straight cord SmartPlug, and direct wire SmartPlug. Optional accessories can be purchased directly from Beltronics or from many retailers who carry radar detectors.

Dimensions & Weight

• Height: 1.25″
• Width: 2.75″
• Length: 4.75″
• Weight: 4 oz

Pros

• Detects X, K, SuprerWide Ka, Digital POP, and Laser
• Safety Warning System capable with text display and voice message
• Advanced intelligent AutoScan processing for increased range and reduced false alerts
• Easily customize up to 7 options for your specific driving style
• Immune to VG2 radar detector detection
• Windshield mount with quick release
• Ultra-bright 280-LED alpha-numeric 8-character display
• Threat display tracks and displays multiple sources at once along with signal strength
• Tech display shows type of radar and exact frequency of the threat
• Compatible with Escort Live

Cons

• Only forward and rear Laser protection
• VG2 radar detector detector immunity is old technology
• Firmware cannot be upgraded
• No built-in Bluetooth technology
• Must purchase the SmartCord Live in order to work with ESCORT Live network

Consumer Ratings for Beltronics RX65

While reviewing this Beltronics RX65 Red Professional Radar Detector, a check of popular online retailers shows that this model averages around a 4.3 out of 5 stars with over 80% of reviewers giving a 4- or 5-star rating. In fact, around 65% of reviewers felt it performed well enough to deserve a 5-star rating. Reviewers found it easy to use and it performs well enough to prevent drivers from being ticketed.

About 1 in 10 reviewers giving the RX65 low ratings have stated the detector has only lasted a short period of time ranging from several months to about 13 months. Many customers have had their RX65 fail shortly after the 1-year warranty has expired. Once out of warranty Beltronics will repair the unit for about $100. Most consumers would choose to purchase a new radar detector instead of spending $100 to fix a radar detector which has been used for over one year.

Beltronics RX65 Price

This review has been about the Beltronics RX65 Red Professional Radar Detector. It is called “Red” since its LED display is red. It’s also available in blue. Both models do exactly the same things except one has a red display and the other has a blue display. Online retail prices range from around $120 to over $220 with the average being around $128. At less than $130, if the RX65 can prevent even one speeding ticket. It’s well worth the expense. On average, one speeding ticket can raise insurance rated by 53% and can cost $1,000 or more in fines, court costs, and insurance increases of a three year period.

Conclusion

The main reason for buying a radar detector isn’t to get away with speeding. Although some drivers do rely on their detectors to allow them to speed when not being monitored by police. These drivers will speed no matter if they have a detector or not. With a radar detector onboard, even the driver with the heaviest foot will take notice when an alert is sounded. Once the driver has become aware of radar in the area, they do slow down. That’s the main goal of the Beltronics RX65 Pro radar detector – get drivers to slow down and take notice of their vehicle and their surroundings while protecting them from getting a speeding ticket.

Beltronics RX65 Professional Series Radar/Laser Detector

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