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Valentine One Radar Detector: $400
Valentine One Radar Detector: $400

Unlike its rivals, the Valentine is equipped with two antennae - one for the front, one for the rear - and two laser sensors. It's a state-of-the-art system that tells you which direction the radar is coming from, a crucial feature on highways with multistage speed traps. The Valentine's boxy design hasn't changed since the first model was released in 1992, and at six by four inches, it still takes up too much dashboard space.

But here's the cool part: You can send your Valentine back to the company at any time, and the manufacturer will update it with the latest software and hardware for a small fee, depending on the parts. That's a huge benefit, because law enforcement is constantly upgrading its technology. The Valentine is one of the most expensive radar detectors out there, but considering the company's commitment to the product, it's probably worth the price.

Of course, a radar detector's value is measured by how well it works - and the trouble it saves you from. During the many years I've used the Escort, I have never been blindsided. The Valentine also performed flawlessly during my trial.

Bottom Line: For me, the Escort wins, based purely on familiarity and loyalty to a product that has served me well. But I can't deny the appeal of Valentine's lifetime-upgrade policy.

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