There is a certain obsession with the open road and automobiles in the United States. Few countries in the world have more miles of highways, byways, and interstates than those found in the US. Roads across the country have speed limits assigned to them to inform drivers of acceptable speeds along that given stretch of road. Speed limits are set to protect not only drivers, but bystanders in the local area.
Many drivers are guilty of violating speed limits on a daily basis. Some people do it willfully because they simply do not have the patience or desire to drive the speed limit. They want to get where they are going as quickly as possible, and they care little about the speed limit. Other drivers simply lose focus because the radio is on, they are consumed by thoughts of work, or the kids are yapping in the backseat. These drivers tend to drift over the speed limit by just a few MPH.
Whatever the reason for speeding, law enforcement officials are likely to pull them over and issue a citation for speeding. Both types of drivers could avoid a potential speeding ticket with the help of a radar detector. If you’ve ever considered purchasing a radar detector you are no doubt aware that there are countless models available on the web today.
How can you know which models are best? How much time are you willing to devote to researching these devices? Fortunately for you, we’ve done all the legwork. In this review, we look at the features, pros, and cons of the Whistler XTR 540 radar detector to provide you with an honest, unbiased assessment of its performance and value.
Features of the Whistler XTR 540
A good radar detector offers features that provide drivers with advanced warning of radar and laser signals, identify signals by type, and offer additional features that allow the driver to enhance the device’s performance based upon driving conditions. The Whistler XTR 540 meets all of these needs with a device that operates cordlessly and provides additional features that put it above the competition.
The Whistler XTR 540 comes with full-band protection, laser detection, and 360-degree identification capability. This means that you’ll receive early alerts that give you plenty of time to adjust your speed. The full-band protection is capable of detecting all major radar and laser signals in use today in North America, including X, K, and Ka. The 360-degree detection capability of this device allows it to pick up signals emanating from both the front and rear of your vehicle.
Whistler’s XTR 540 also comes with patented POP mode detection. Traditional law enforcement radar guns emit a constant signal as they are used to identify speeding drivers. POP guns use a modern instant-on technology that is more difficult for radar detectors to identify. The Whistler’s POP mode detection performs rapid sweeps of the area and detects these instant-on signals before police catch you speeding.
The unique low-profile periscopes and multiple alerts on the Whistler XTR 540 mean you’ll always receive notification when signals are detected. Traditional tone alerts inform you via voice and beeps that police radar or laser signals have been identified. If the radio is up loud or the windows are rolled down, the alert periscopes use two bright, flashing lights to inform you that radar and laser signals have been detected.
Other features of the Whistler XTR 540 include stay alert, quiet and Auto Quiet modes, and alert priority that ensures you are always made aware of the most important radar or laser signal in use in your area. Does the Whistler XTR 540 live up to the hype?
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Pros of the Whistler XTR 540
Cordless electronic devices tend to create a bit of concern among consumers. Everyone wants to have the cordless device because it looks cleaner and there is a less of a tangled web of cords. However, far too often those battery-powered devices fail to deliver on usage times as promised. Whistler states that the XTR 540 can operate for up to 15 hours on three AA batteries. The beauty of the XTR 540 is that it not only matches that usage time, but the included batteries are rechargeable. When the batteries begin to die, simply plug the available charging cord into your cigarette lighter or 12V outlet and you can recharge the batteries.
Simple as it may sound, the Whistler XTR 540 has also been praised for its standard window mount that actually works. Far too many radar detectors have poor suction cups or shaky window mounts that make the unit look and feel cheap, not to mention annoy the driver with its constant rattling. Numerous consumers have pointed out that this model’s mounting hardware not only works, but that it does so without creating a lot of extra noise in the vehicle.
Cons of the Whistler XTR 540
The most common complaint about the Whistler XTR 540 involves the display screen. While Whistler boasts about its bright display with blue LED lighting, numerous drivers have complained that it is impossible to see the screen in bright conditions. Even though it is possible to change the display settings, most drivers report that the changes bring no positive impact or improvement. Visual alerts are great, but they don’t work well if drivers cannot see them in all driving conditions.
Whistler’s City/Highway mode function on the Whistler XTR 540 is another source of frustration for many drivers. Although it promises to minimize false alerts with the help of various filters in City mode, the XTR 540 fails to deliver on that promise. Numerous drivers have noted that radar-based traffic monitors used on interstates in big cities are a constant source of false alarms.
Lastly, there are a number of consumers that complained about the life of the rechargeable batteries. While these individuals were able to recharge the batteries when they died, a number of them had issues with units that would simply fail to recharge after 4 to 6 months, leaving them to purchase a brand new device or leave their “cordless” radar detector plugged in all the time.
Honest Assessment of the Whistler XTR 540
There are a lot of radar detectors available that have the same list of features that the XTR 540 offers. Although this is not the most expensive model available, at the end of the day you would probably find your money better spent on another device. The Whistler XTR 540 does perform well, but it has some significant issues with features that perform well on other comparably priced units.
Whistler XTR 540 Alternatives
Best Bet: Whistler Z-11R+, Priced at $59.99
The Z-11R+ features an Optimum Performance platform and internal GPS.
The GPS provides locations of speed and red-light cameras in North America.
The database is updateable via the included USB cable.
What’s more, the Z-11R+ is technology packed with the most popular features including FDSR, TFSR, and bilingual voice and text alerts.
It also includes multiple filters for eliminating false alerts and an external audio jack.
- High Performance
- Icon Display
- Total Laser Detection
- Traffic Flow Signal Rejection (TFSR)
- Field Disturbance Sensor Rejection (FDSR)
- Total Band Protection
- POP Mode Detection
- Setting Saver
- Dim/Dark Mode
- Alert Periscopes
- 360 Max Coverage
- 3 City Modes
- Highway Mode
- Quiet/Auto Quiet Mode
- Alert Priority
- High Gain Lens
- Vehicle Battery Saver
- VG-2 Protection
- Unit Dimensions 1.23 in. H x 2.85 in. W x 4.44 in. L
- Unit Weight .34 lbs
What’s in the box?
- Laser Radar Detector
- 12V Power Cord
- Windshield Bracket Kit
- User Guide
Check the Owner’s Manual here.
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