The Beltronics Vector V955 Radar Detector is one of Beltronics best-selling detectors of all time. The price for this radar detector is listed at under $200, so while it isn’t an “economy” radar detector, it isn’t top of the line, either. It’s also worth noting that this unit was released many years ago.
The model became popular in 2005, and while it was certainly considered a great deal back then, I can’t promise that the device can still catch up with the technological advancements of today.
Scroll on to read my Beltronics Vector V955 Radar Detector review and find out why I’m not all that impressed.
Remember, my standards when it comes to radar detectors are higher than most. I wouldn’t waste my money on a sub-par radar detector and that’s exactly what I thought about this unit… it’s sub-par. Unless I can trust the unit I have suctioned to my windshield, it’s not even worth having. The trust level I have in this radar detector is not that high.
Good Price But Outdated Unit
For a basic radar & laser detector, this unit does a pretty good job… if it was 2005. Compared with the newer GPS enabled radar detectors on the market, like the Passport 9500ix, this unit is a paper weight. But to be fair, the Passport 9500ix costs over $400 and this unit is under $200, so I’m comparing apples to oranges here. The issue I have is with new technology such as photo enforcement, this radar detector is useless. There is also very little protection from false alarms. The more false alarms you get, the less likely you are the trust the unit, and if you can’t trust the radar detector all it becomes is a flashy noise maker in the car. What’s the point of that?
Additionally, while they’ve recently installed an auto-mute feature on the V955, it only activates after 5 agonizing seconds of the device blaring an annoying alarm. One alert should be enough for any driver to understand that there’s a possible threat in the area. This type of distraction can easily turn into a cause for an accident.
What The Beltronics Vector V955 Radar Detector Is Good At
Compared to other radar detectors in its price range, it actually does a very good job. In fact, it does a great job compared side-by-side with the Escort Passport 8500 and that unit is much more expensive. I’d say this is one of the better radar detectors priced under $200 and maybe even the best unit priced at under $200. This unit picks up all of the major radar bands and can pick up laser as well. If you live in a state where radar detectors are illegal, or if you plan to use this device in a commercial vehicle (tsk-tsk), it also has VG-2 protection (VG-2 is basically a detector of radar detectors).
As far as the alerts are concerned, I found that the alert range for this unit is better than expected for a unit designed in 2007 and price under $200. You do get a full 360 degree protection with a sensor facing the front and the back. The rear coverage isn’t nearly as good as the coverage up front, but it doesn’t really have to be, either. I also like that you can adjust the settings to show the frequency instead of just the signal strength. Once you learn the exact frequency police departments in your area are using for their radar, you can quickly glance and see which alerts are real and which are just interference.
The size of the unit is perfect and the display is easy to read. You even get a direction indicator so you know where the radar signal is coming from. This is a popular feature first seen in the Valentine One radar detector which costs significantly more for about the same quality protection.
What The Beltronics Vector V955 Is NOT Good At
If you want to be alerted to the thousands of photo enforcement cameras out there, this unit wont do it. Newer units include a database with all known locations of photo enforcement cameras and you can continuously update the database. This is seen in the newer Escort Passport 9500ix. With the Beltronics Vector V955, you will have absolutely no protection from speed cameras or red light cameras. It’s also worth noting that the laser detection is rather useless. If your laser alert goes off, it means you’ve already been clocked. Too late.
While Beltronics gave it a good effort, the number of false alarms are just too high. If you live out in the country or want to mainly use this device for driving on the expressway, it will probably provide you with pretty good protection against most radar. If you plan to drive with this device in the city… forget about it. This unit will go off constantly and there is no way to “mark” locations known to give false signals. You can, of course, decipher the signals based on what the frequency readout is, but not only is this annoying, you have to know the frequencies range for all the police departments in your area. A frequency guide is provided with this unit which will help you determine the false alarms from the real alerts, but I find this to be less than adequate. The Beltronics V955 Radar Detector does provide a highway and city setting, and you can even disable certain radar modes, but when all is said and done, the city setting doesn’t do much to help with false alerts and also reduces your warning time for real alerts.
In terms of physical features, the Belctronics Vector V955 has a housing made of matte aluminum, several black buttons, and a large raised 955 marker in bright chrome. When exposed to sunlight, the device emits a substantial amount of glare that can significantly affect vision and clarity. You’ll find yourself staring at a mirror image of the V955 on your windshield all throughout your drive, which can be inconvenient and distracting.
Lastly, the Beltronics Vector V955 comes with a telephone-type connection with a lighter socket adapter. No batteries — just an annoying wire. If your car model doesn’t come with a lighter socket (some Honda models don’t have this feature) then the V955 is absolutely useless to you.
Again, if you aren’t able to trust your radar detector, it is useless. I found that this radar detector gives off so many false alarms, it isn’t worth having.
Do I Recommend The Beltronics V955 Radar Detector?
That depends. Do you want to get a traffic ticket? If so, then you should definitely try out the V955.
All joking aside, the features they offer just aren’t worth the money.
It’s time to come up with a GPC-enabled radar detector — sorry, Beltronics.
On the other hand, if you are deciding between the Escort Passport 8500 or the Beltronics V955, I would go with the Beltronics V955. It has about the same performance, but it’s listed much lower and offers more features.
While I fully understand this radar detector is priced much lower than GPS-enabled devices (half the price in most cases), I just don’t see why anyone would want the sub-par protection the Baltronics V955 provides. Either get a good one or don’t get one at all. I’m sure the Beltronics V955 Radar Detector was a great unit back when it was first released in 2005, but it’s way too outdated at this point. Therefore, I would tell everyone to pass. If you can’t afford one of the higher-end and more recent radar detectors, don’t get one at all. Trust me. If you cheap out on your detector, you’ll just be disappointed. In this day and age, the only option is a GPS-enabled radar detector.
Best Alternatives To The Beltronics V955 Radar Detector
While you can check out all of my radar detector reviews here, I do not have any recommendations for a radar detector under $200. They are all junk. There are several things you must have in a radar detector today if you want to enjoy adequate protection. For starters, you must have a GPS enabled device. With a GPS enabled radar detector, you not only get alerts for photo enforcement cameras, but in many cases, the radar detector will automatically detect false alerts and store them into a database so you never get the false alert again. This is the case with the Passport 9500ix. Don’t cheap out on a radar detector. Saving yourself from one ticket could pay off your investment, so just get a good one.