It happens to us all on a weekly basis. As we drive to work, to the kids’ soccer practice, or up to the cabin for the weekend, we inadvertently drift over the speed limit. Restrictions on speed on American roads are meant to keep everyone safe, but there is nothing worse than trotting slowly down the road when you are driving through the middle of nowhere. The natural reaction is to push the limits a bit and inch over that speed limit.
This often leads to the unpleasant sight of law enforcement officers trailing behind you with their lights flashing and sirens blaring. You’ve just been busted for speeding, but it didn’t have to happen. If you had a radar detector in your car you would have been alerted to the presence of that officer before you were nabbed for speeding. Of course, you don’t have time to research every device out there, so we’ve done it for you.
In this review, we look at the features, pros, and cons of the Whistler XTR 130 radar detector. We’ve sifted through the information from Whistler, compared the features to other devices, and read all the consumer reviews available to bring you an honest assessment of this Whistler radar detector.
Features of the Whistler XTR 130
The Whistler XTR 130 is one of the most affordable radar detectors available on the market. The average price for a new Whistler XTR 130 is $60, though it is possible to snag one in new condition for $15 to $20 less. This models offers full-band protection against the seven common radar signals used by law enforcement in the US. The power of this device is aided by Whistler’s 360-degree detection technology that helps pick up signals in front of and behind your vehicle.
Whistler offers an adjustable Quiet/Auto Quiet mode on the Whistler XTR 130. As you’re driving down the road, pressing QUIET before a signal is detected engages the Auto Quiet feature. This means that you’ll receive one audio alert at the current volume setting, with subsequent alerts reduced to a lower audio setting. Pressing QUIET during an encounter with radar/laser signals mutes the device and provides you with visual cues to keep you informed.
One particular feature that sets this device apart from other radar detectors is the alert priority feature. If your device picks up more than one signal at a time (for example a safety radar and a speed radar), the device will override in favor of the more important alert. In this case, the Whistler XTR 130 will mute the alert for safety signals in the area to alert you to the presence of a speed radar.
This particular model from Whistler comes with a number of other common radar detector features. Among those other features is a safety warning system to keep you informed of highway safety hazards, vehicle battery saver mode, and City/Highway modes that boast a 3-tiered mode for the City mode.
Whistler’s XTR 130 includes the company’s patented VG-2 cloaking technology. Numerous radar detector manufacturers offer VG-2 and other cloaking technologies, but Whistler’s uses its own system for protection. Known as a radar detector-detector, VG-2 devices are special receives used by law enforcement to detect signals from commercial radar detectors. This feature not only alerts you to the presences of VG-2 devices, but cloaks your device from detection.
Pros of the Whistler XTR 130
The Whistler XTR 130 receives high marks for actually delivering on its promise of early detection and 360-degree protection. The vast majority of consumers praise the ability of the Whistler to detect police radar and laser signals before visual contact is made. The 360-degree protection is particularly useful in urban settings where multiple cross streets make it easy for police to hide on side streets to nab those drifting over the speed limit.
Whistler makes no claims on the effective range of the Whistler XTR 130, but numerous consumers have noticed that the detector was capable of effectively identifying police signals from as far away as two miles. The Whistler XTR 130 seems to perform at optimal levels on its highway setting, which is all the more impressive given the higher rate of speed and greater potential for missed signals.
Finally, consumers seem enthralled by the extra features on the Whistler XTR 130. The Quiet/Auto Quiet mode offers great one-touch control over the audio alerts the XTR provides, making it easier for drivers to keep their focus on the road and not on pushing a bunch of buttons on their radar detector.
Cons of the Whistler XTR 130
There are few consumers that have complained about the range and effectiveness of the Whistler XTR 130. In fact, the greatest single complaint has been with the quality of the product. While most drivers find their device extremely reliable, there are a handful of drivers complaining about devices that died after moderate levels of use.
Other consumers have complained about the overall performance of the device, noting that it provides too many false alerts. This is particularly problematic in urban areas where the device picks up a range of other radar and laser emitting devices that are unrelated to law enforcement activities. With that said, it is always better to have a device capable of detecting a wide range of signals than it is to have one that remains silent on city streets.
Honest Assessment of the Whistler XTR 130
At the end of the day, we’ve found that the Whistler XTR 130 is one of the top performers in its price range. It cannot beat the performance of more expensive models, but when the average price is between $40 and $60, you need to be realistic about the capabilities of the device. It is worth noting that comparable models in this same price range, most notably those manufactured by Cobra, offer similar levels of performance. What it comes down to at the end of the day is the set of features a driver prefers. In our opinion, the Whistler XTR 130 is a solid investment for those looking for reliable protection.