Utilizing a dash cam to remedy wrongful accidents or speeding tickets is a reactive way of protecting yourself, but have you thought about being proactive? Being proactive means you stop incidents from ever happening. While a dash cam can show you what has already happened, it will never stop you from being able to change your fate in an instant. This is where radar detectors come into play. Radar Detection allows the vehicle owner to be immediately notified if you are in a speed trap and a cop is pointing their speed gun at you.
- Records in 1080p with loop recording and picks up X, K, and KA bands for full coverage
- WiFi Enabled allowing you to review footage or change settings via smartphone app
- Front and Rear Antennas for multi-directional coverage
What is a speed gun? A speed gun, or a radar gun is a device that is used to measure speed of objects that its pointed at. It uses the Doppler Effect to measure the frequency response of the returned signal on objects such as moving cars, or other high speed objects like baseballs.
Fighting a speeding ticket that is caught with a speed gun is an uphill battle. You might be able to cite inconsistencies or a poorly calibrated speed gun, but it is more an objective measurement than a police officer’s eye. If you ask, how can I not get a speeding ticket, I’ll ask, how fast can you react? With a radar detector, along with a dash cam, you can be immediately notified that you are under surveillance and drive perfectly. Most cops won’t pull you over for speeding for a few seconds; so if you have the knowledge, you can make the correction.
Cobra Road Scout Dash Cam and Radar Detector
The Cobra Road Scout is the gold standard when it comes to the 2 in 1 Combo, dash cam and radar detector. Form factor wise, it is relatively small for handling the needs of 2 devices and looks like small binoculars. This is the only recommended option that has the 2 devices built into one.
The Cobra Road Scout is accurate and precise when it detects a laser being pointed at your car. Besides speeding, the radar detection functionality includes a GPS database with location-based alerts that will inform you of common or live speed traps, red light cameras and more.
As far as the dash cam aspect, the Cobra Road Scout didn’t skimp on the features. It records in high quality, 1080p resolution and comes with its own 16gb microsd card. We do recommend upgrading this as the card will get full within a day. That being said, this unit also has loop recording which will allow your dash camera to override old footage you no longer need. Before, the dash cam would just stop recording! We also like that this has WiFi capability, allowing you to control all of the settings via smart phone and ultimately review or download footage.
Escort iXc Radar Detector & Escort M1 Dash Camera
This next is technically two different devices, but compliment each other well. Many Escort Radar Detectors allow you to add on the Escort M1 Dash Camera as an accessory. This offers some positives that you can always decide later on if you want the extra security. And while they are two separate devices, they have a mount where it still looks like 1 unit.
First, let’s talk about the radar detector. We love that it has both front and rear antennas so it can pick up lasers from multiple directions. Some radar detectors have only front sensors, but having the back sensor ensures that there’s coverage if the police are behind you.
Next, the dash cam films in 1080p, 30fps. The dash cam doesn’t have all the features like GPS or telemetry, but the basics are excellent. It films high quality video and is able to withstand extreme temperatures. The viewing angle is 160 degrees, which is great for an entire front window. Loop recording is standard. We like that his can be controlled via WiFi, through a smartphone app. This makes it really convenient when reviewing footage, or changing radar sensitivity.
Whistler Mfu440 Multi-Functional Radar Detector
The Whistler is a product which we recommend if you are on a budget. It lacks in some areas, but for the price I think it’s still worth consideration. The price of the Whistler is comparable to the price of a radar detector or a dash cam, but it includes both. It makes some sacrifices which we will touch upon. Because it does lack in some areas, you’ll have to be the judge if those areas are deal breakers to you or not.
First off, the dash cam records in HD 1080p and supports WiFi, meaning you can review or transfer footage through your phone. The form factor is amazing here and is the best in terms of compactness across all of our options. Whistler did a nice job embedding the dash cam into the radar mount. It does have GPS capabilities meaning you can get the latest location data on red light cameras or speed traps. It also is helpful in that it has voice alerts so you won’t be distracted while on the road.
Where it falls short is night vision. Whistler sacrificed night vision quality for a smaller form factor and had to opt for a smaller lens that would fit in the radar detector case. While this might be a deal breaker for some, it may not be as big a deal for others.
When looking for a dash cam and radar detector combo, you’ll want to keep an eye out for certain features that are must have. Some combo devices will exclude important features from one device or the other.
The first thing I look for when looking at combo devices is the form factor and how that pairs with my ideal setup. In this 2-in-1 combo, you’ll find a mixture of different setups.
For one, the most common setup is the dash cam or the laser detector are two separate units, but are linked together, typically for power and data transfer. The positives to this, is usually each device is made for its own purpose, so it has a lot of features you would expect of them if they existed as a stand alone device. Having a device that is made for the purpose of recording the road is going to be engineered differently than if a dash cam was decided to be an add-on to a radar detector.
The downsides to this setup is that it is a bulkier and typically takes up more space in your car. Having a dash cam or radar detector by itself wouldn’t draw as much attention as having two devices near your rear view mirror. Some people like being discrete for security reasons, while others may not have the same reservations. It really depends on what you are personally comfortable with.
When I’m judging a radar detector, the first two features I’m looking at are the radar sensor location and what their coverage is. The best radar sensor location is both front and rear sensors. While there may be a chance that a front sensor will pick up a speed gun from the rear, you don’t want to take that chance with only half coverage. Look for laser detectors that have at least two sensors.
Next are double checking what radar bands the device picks up. There are 3 main ones that should be included in your detector, X band, K band and Ka band. These three bands should cover the past 50 years of versions of radar guns.
If you live in the city, I recommend turning off X band. X band are radar waves between 8GHZ and 12GHZ and isn’t used commonly today. Many other electronics use this frequency so driving through a city will raise a lot of false alarms.
K band are for more recent radar detectors that are between the frequency of 18GHZ and 27GHZ. K band alerts tend to be a good indication you are being monitored but it’s not 100% accurate as other devices can be giving a false positive. That being said, we always recommend slowing down when the K band signal pops up.
Ka band exists between 33.4GHZ and 36GHZ and is the most recent frequency that law enforcement uses for speed guns. A Ka band alert really makes me drive cautious as there’s a high probability of cop presence. This is because there aren’t any other devices that emit this frequency. This band is what your radar detector needs to be able to record.
Dash Cam Features
In all of the products I’ve researched on dash cam/radar detector combos, there aren’t any viable options for dash cams that have the full suite of features. Don’t be discouraged though, I still feel that there are plenty of options that fulfill the driver’s basic dash cam needs.
Starting with features you shouldn’t expect; don’t expect G-sensor or Parking mode, where the dash camera will lock crash footage or detect motion. If you don’t find yourself parked outside much, then parking mode isn’t necessary. Otherwise, you might find luck with getting two separate systems.
You also won’t find dash cams with 4K resolution or quality night vision. It seems like that’s where manufactures have decided to cut corners.
But, in terms of features we should expect from the current selection of cameras, we need to be looking at Loop Recording and Field of View. Loop Recording is the process of the camera recording over older footage as not to run out of memory on the SD card. This is helpful so you don’t have to keep swapping out SD cards and chances are you would have already saved the crash footage before it gets overwritten by newer footage.
Field of view is a lens feature that describes the camera’s coverage of the road in front of it. For example, around ~160 degrees field of view is sufficient for front window coverage.
There are several options you can choose from that can match your needs for a dash cam radar detector combo. You have to decide which form factor suits you the best and go from there. We recommend the Cobra Scout, or the Escort M1 combo.