Although never having a speeding ticket - I decided it was time to purchase a radar detector. Not because it was needed, but because it was a radar detector which interfaced with iPhone. Said radar detector was the Cobra iRadar, I was sold.
After owning the unit for a week, and completing a 17-hour holiday trek from Chicago, to Houston, how did the unit perform?
Features & Design:
Priced at $129.99 retail, the iRadar unit can be considered a lower mid-range unit. Cobra touts the unit as the most advanced “smart detection” unit on the market.
The unit itself is a sleek piano black (read: light-reflecting) unit with a single visible light to indicate Bluetooth pairing status. The included car charger also houses a USB port, which is a nice touch for a device intended to be used with a smartphone.
Beyond basic radar alerting, a majority of the products performance is courtesy of the iRadar app. Since there is no physical display on the radar unit, all alert data is displayed within the app. While triggering an alert, a brief prompt is displayed allowing a user to mark the reading as “true” or “false”. This feedback is then geo-tagged (using the phones GPS) and sent to Cobra who maintains a record of these false alarms for better accuracy. Alerting during highway driving was spot-on. City driving however, still produced a number of false alarms for security systems and roadside speed indicators.
Other functions of the iRadar app include a digital speed readout and voltage reading for the connecting 12v outlet. While the later seems frivolous, a number of user reviews point out that the unit alerted them to various battery or alternator failures through its low voltage warning.
Overall, the iRadar, and companion app are top notch, if a tad distracting. It was disappointing to see that the app still used the phones GPS while running in the background – meaning a large impact on the phones battery life. It didn’t take long before my phone, Garmin GPS, and iRadar occupied every port in the car (including an iPod cable hanging haphazardly from the glove box).
At the completion of the trip, the iRadar unit proved to be a well-rounded performer, and an excellent value considering the added features enabled by a paired iOS device. While completely distracting in use, the iRadar is a definite recommend, only for those who appreciate the sheer novelty of having yet another connected product, to control via their iDevice.