Whether we like to admit it or not, many of us are guilty of breaking the speed limit on a daily basis. We all do our best to abide by the posted speed limit as we make our way to and from work or school, but driving in the modern world is full of distractions. Whether we’re talking to friends on the phone, listening to the radio, or just zoning out as we run through our to-do list in our heads, we unknowingly go over the speed limit.
The vast majority of drivers do not speed dangerously through their local area, but that doesn’t mean law enforcement won’t catch them in the process and issue a ticket. With a radar detector on your dash, you’ll receive a subtle reminder when radar guns are in use in your area. This can not only serve as a warning that law enforcement is looking for speeders, but it can also be a reminder to keep your speed in check (if only for the time being).
Researching and selecting a radar detector can be time-consuming, especially if you’ve never owned one of these devices. What features should you be looking for? Which brands are the best? How much should you spend? We’ve done the hard work for you and reviewed the Whistler CR85 in this post. In the following paragraphs, we cover the features, pros, and cons of the Whistler CR85 and offer an honest assessment of its value in the end.
Whistler CR85 Updates for 2023
Before we get into the details of the Whistler CR85, know that it is not available at the moment.
In the Whistler website, it is marked as SOLD OUT. And has been for a while.
As for Amazon and Walmart, there are no results for the Whistler CR85.
With that in mind, let’s continue with the review.
Features of the Whistler CR85
Alongside Cobra Electronics, Whistler is one of the preeminent manufacturers of radar detectors for commercial consumers. The Whistler CR85 is one of the latest radar detectors manufactured by the company. It is extremely similar in capability to the Whistler CR90, but lacks the GPS functions of the Whistler CR90. Nevertheless, the Whistler CR85 is a high-performance detector capable of consistent, accurate warnings when radar and laser signals are in use around you.
The Whistler CR85 is capable of detecting all the major radar and laser signals used by law enforcement in the US and Canada, and can even detect the new POP Mode radar gun used by police. The POP Mode radar gun proved difficult for older radar detector models to handle because it did not emit a constant signal that was detectable. Newer models like the CR85 have POP Mode detection capability that allows them to quickly detect these instant-on devices used by law enforcement.
Whistler’s CR85 also has various filters that help minimize false alerts from your radar detector. The CR85’s filter mode is particularly effective at filtering out radar signals emitted by devices that measure traffic flow on roads across the country. In dense settings, such as urban and suburban neighborhoods, these devices are widely used. Rather than dealing with constant alerts from these radar signals, the Whistler has the capacity to filter these out and focus on speed-detection signals to provide you with reliable feedback.
One unique feature of the Whistler CR85 is its Stay Alert feature. Numerous radar detectors have safety features that alert drivers to upcoming road hazards or approaching emergency vehicles, but few of them have the Stay Alert feature. This feature helps test driver awareness on longer road trips by emitting tones that catch the driver’s attention and require interaction with the device to stop tones.
Pros of the Whistler CR85
The Whistler CR85 lives up to its promises to provide early detection. Drivers have noted that the average time between warning and visual contact with law enforcement is one minute. While there are devices available that offer even greater range and more warning time, one minute is more than enough time to take your foot off the pedal and allow your car to naturally slow down without slamming the brakes.
Another source of praise for the Whistler is its mounting hardware. It may seem like a minor issue, but perhaps the biggest complaint that users have with all radar detectors are annoying or altogether faulty mounting hardware. Manufacturers are accused of using low-grade hardware, building devices that are too bulky, or simply giving mounting hardware too little thought in the long run.
Many drivers are pleased that the Whistler CR85 not only stays mounted without issue, but that it can also be mounted and dismounted with ease. Again, it seems foolish to focus on this, but usability is important.
Last but not least, the CR85 is successful at detecting a wide range of radar and laser signals. Many devices boast the ability to detect up to 16 different signals, but in reality they only detect a handful. The Whistler CR85 makes modest claims about the variety of bands it can detect, and with good reason. It may cover fewer bandwidths than other detectors, but it does so with great effect.
Cons of the Whistler CR85
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows for the CR85 radar detector. Consumers are not shy in complaining about the range of the Whistler CR85. The manufacturer does not make any promises as the exact range of the CR85, but many drivers note that it fails to provide a signal until visual contact is made with law enforcement. In many cases, this is too late as police have already tagged the vehicle for speeding.
The Whistler has also been knocked for failing to reliably minimize false alerts. Although it succeeds in wide-open areas, it does provide an annoying number of false alerts in dense urban areas where garage door signals, traffic signals, and other leaky radar devices are identified by the device.
Finally, there appears to be a consistent stream of complaints regarding the general quality of the Whistler CR85. It’s a fact of life in manufacturing that not every product lives up to quality standards. However, when there are multiple issues with performance, usability, or battery life, it raises a red flag.
Honest Assessment of the Whistler CR85
The Whistler CR85 is the perfect device for average drivers looking for an affordable radar detector. This device does not have immense range, is prone to an annoyingly high number of false alerts, and has issues with faulty units. However, if a budget model is what you are looking for, you will be hard pressed to find another affordable model that performs with the consistency of the Whistler CR85.
Whistler CR85 Alternative
Best Bet: Whistler CR73 with 4.3-star rating (68 Reviews)
Priced at $79.99, the CR73 features Whistler’s FDSR (Field Disturbance Sensor Rejection), the most recent advancement to combat new vehicles equipped with Frequency-Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) K band. These are blind spot and collision avoidance devices that clutter nearly all of the K band, causing a normal radar detector to alert continuously. The CR73 is also the first radar detector of its kind to offer bilingual (English/Spanish) Real Voice Alerts.
- High Performance
- Icon Display with Signal Strength Indicator
- Total Laser Detection
- Bilingual (English/Spanish) Real Voice Alerts
- Traffic Flow Signal Rejection (TFSR)
- Field Disturbance Sensor Rejection (FDSR)
- Unit Dimensions 1.26 in. H x 2.83 in. W x 4.46 in. L
- Unit Weight .31 lbs.
What’s in the box?
- Laser Radar Detector
- 12V Power Cord
- Windshield Bracket Kit
- User Guide
Feedback from Customers:
“Seems to me like all of the modes (Highway/ City/ City 1/ City 2) are about the same – you get alerted for the same stuff regardless, but I had a very active first use of this device. I am in a mid-size city. “
“The detector 100% without a doubt detected a police officer radaring passerbys, so I know it works. Sorry I dont have video to prove it, I was driving 😉 but I swear to you as a fellow consumer that I witnessed the thing work. “
“The suction cups are decent, make sure you don’t lose the tiny black rubber piece which prevents the detector from tapping against the glass of your windshield. It came falling out of my box – so keep an eye out for it.”
“I like the device. I like the sounds it makes as I start my vehicle (I am a dork like that), and it appears as though it will save me from getting tickets. I drive a car where I actually NEED this thing to keep me out of trouble.”
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