Welcome to the Testing Ground.
This section of the Speedtrap Bible was opened to the general public in February 2000 and last updated 23rd July 2010. The idea is that I test as much "anti-speedtrap" and related equipment as I can get my hands on.

We are now also testing generic GPS Navigation Systems as most of these now have integrated location based speed trap warning capability. We have now extended our approach to testing units and as they get more complex they need more than a few minutes to give a real world review. Many reviews on the web (and in magazines) seem to be based upon very little real experience of actually using the thing. We feel that if we are to give a fair and balanced "real" view, then we need to really use it thoroughly and hence for our first GPS test we took the units on a 3,000+ mile trip around Europe to see how well they actually work.

Units that are just detectors are much simpler than full GPS units and so these will continue to be tested over our traditional minimum of a 500 miles test. We test all of the detectors/devices using the same method to ensure a consistent and accurate result. Each unit is used for a minimum of 500 miles to count the number of false alarms per hour and to measure its sensitivity. It is driven on Country, Urban and City roads and its results are recorded for each environment - as you may only drive in the city and want the best city detector. All tests are conducted using a Bel 990 or a Bel 966 as a control, so that we have the "new test unit" alongside a known device. We can then compare which device gives a warning first and which gives the most false alarms. Whilst the sensitivity and hence the early warning is very important, we also see that this should be set against the number of false alarms the device gives. If its constantly giving false alarms, then you are likely to ignore a real alarm and the device will have failed to do its job. To work out which is the overall best unit, we take the average false alarms per hour and minus this from the Total warning time to derive a weighted score. The higher the number the better the unit, as it must offset false alarms against its rapid response to real radar sources. As the devices improve in future, the false alarms should decrease to almost zero. As of 2006, any score over 11 indicates that its one of the best detectors on the market and we would recommend it.

Whilst radar detectors are one way of finding speed cameras and the accident blackspots that they are supposed to be helping with, another approach is to use one of the new breed of GPS (satelite) devices. These constantly know where you are, using the GPS satelites, and have a database of all know camera, speed trap, accident blackspot locations and warn you as you approach them. They dont pick up radar, so they dont give you false alarms. As more Gatso's etc are added every day (4,300 of them in March 2004) the manufacturers need to keep updating their database to keep your list upto date. Most of these GPS devices also record the common places for mobile speed traps. As they dont pick up radar they wont defend you against a policeman using a radar gun in a new location, but they will against the 4,300 cameras that are currently installed. All of the devices need to be connected to the manufacturers every few weeks to update their data with new sites. They all do this by using a modem to connect to the internet/direct and downloading the new data. Some of the units come with a modem and others assume you have one.

So which should you get a radar detector or a GPS based unit? To some extent it depends where you live and travel. If you are in an urban area then you are much more likely to encounter fixed site camera and the GPS is best. If you live/travel mostly in country areas then you are more likely to encounter a manually operated radar or laser gun and a radar detector may be better. If the false alarms from detectors annoy you then go with a GPS unit.

So which of the many GPS units is best. We have been testing all of them for the last couple of months and have received feedback from hundreds of people on the Speed Trap Bible Email group. So for the first time ever - a definative review. As with all our testing we have used each unit for a minimum of 500 miles in a variety of road conditions.

Geodesy.

These were the first people onto the market and started the whole GPS based unit industry going. In over 1,500 miles of testing it only falsed once and only failed to warn me of a camera once (a new one near Exeter). Its the smallest of the units and its also designed to fit on a motorcycle. It warns by simply beeping and flashing coloured LED's.

 

 

For the best deal on this unit visit;
http://www.speedtraps.co.uk

Road Angel.

Larger than a Geodesy and about the size of two packs of cigarettes. Road Angel were the first people to take the GPS units one stage further and add in the locations of the most common accident black spots - so you can be warned and be aware of the danger. It also has all of the camera/common speed trap sites stored in it and in addition to warning you with beeps and lights also displays your speed on a small screen. This speed is your real speed as calculated by the satelites and is more accurate than your vehicle speedo. No false alarms and no sites missed in almost 2,000 miles of testing - very impressive. This is the unit we use ourselves.

For the best deal on this unit visit;
http://www.speedtraps.co.uk

Origin Bluei.

A small box like unit about the size of two packs of cigarettes. In over 1,300 miles of testing we had no false alarms and it did not miss a camera. A nice feature is that you can set it to only warn you when you are travelling faster than the limit as you approach a hazard. In addition to giving your speed it also tells you your direction of travel to help a bit with not getting lost.

For the best deal on this unit visit;
http://www.speedtraps.co.uk

 

Which were the best GPS units pre 2005

Morpheous Geodesy Plus
Road Angel
Origin Bluei
Annual Subscription
12 months free then
12 months free then
6 months free then
£50 per annum
£49 for year 2
£50 per annum
£79 for year 2/3
£99 Life Subscription
Updated via
built-in modem
PC via internet
modem
Finders fee 
£50
£0
£50
Alert Range
0.3-1.7 miles
250m-1000m
200m-2000m
False Alarms
No
No
No
Audio Alerts / Voice Alerts
Yes / No
Yes / No
Yes / Yes
Accident Blackspots
No
Yes
No
Alert for static cameras
Yes
Yes
Yes
Alert for mobile cameras
No
Self Programmable
No
Speed, speed limit, direction & road info
Processes info but does not display it.
Processes info but only displays your speed
Yes, inc. road no.
Below speed limit, Auto mute, Speed Sensitivity
Yes
No
Yes
Camera zone visual speed limit warning
No
No
Yes
Radar Detector head interface
Yes (cost option)
No
No
Laser Diffuser head interface
No
Yes
No
GPS Data Screen
No
Yes, part, no. of satellites
Yes, part, no. of satellites
Remote GPS Antenna
Yes (cost option)
Yes (cost option)
Yes
Directional Feature
No
Yes
Yes
Speed camera type - Display
No
Yes
Yes
GPS Database coverage
UK (Benelux option)
UK
UK
Mounting
Car: Dash-antenna extra
Car: Dash or window
Anywhere- 5m cable supplied
Bike: Fairing
Bike: Anywhere suitable
Power Source
Car: cig. lighter,
Car: cig. Lighter
Car: cig. Lighter
Bike: direct wire
Bike: direct wire
info n/a
Price
£ 320.00
£ 373.00
£ 385.00
RRP
£ 320.00
£ 379.00
£ 399.95

GPS Units - Summary and which to we use

After testing all of them and using them for months, we are now using the Road Angel. We use the Road Angel as its the easiest to use and move from car to car and the Bluei with its included remote GPS antena in a car where we dont want a unit sliding all over the dashboard and have space elsewhere in the car to put the display unit. In 22,000 miles of usage (to June 2004) the Road Angel has given 4 false alarms and has failed to warn of 3 Gatso's. So whilst the Road Angel itself is excellent, they could do better to keep the database up to date.

 

Which is the Best Radar detector

Device
£
False Alarms Per Hour
Warning in seconds
Total
Score
Overall Rating
C
o
u
n
t
r
y

U
r
b
a
n

C
i
t
y
A
v
e
r
a
g
e
Gatso Point-ing
away from you
Gatso Point-ing
towards you
Radar gun point-ing
towards you
A
v
e
r
a
g
e

Bel
Euro
550

449
1.4
1.8
4.5
2.6
7.5
19
19
15.1
12.6

A dashboard mounted unit.
Designed specifically for the UK.
Bands: X, K, Ka, Ku and Laser.
Overall the best unit in the test, plenty of warning and minimal false alarms. We use one.

For the best deal on this unit visit;
http://www.speedtraps.co.uk

Bel
966
499
1.6
2.5
4.8
3
7
17.5
17.5
14
11

This units sensor is installed at the front of your vehicle, probably around/inside the radiator grill. A small control unit is installed inside the car and connected to the sensor by wires. Nothing is left on the cars dashboard so nothing is really visible - so you have nothing to hide/remove when you park the car. The little control unit inside the car gives you a visible and audible warning of radar sources. It is the second most sensative device we have tested and we have one installed on our test car. It can be fitted by a competent DIY mechanic or by a garage in an hour or so. If you venture into mainland Europe, where detectors are mostly illegal - this is probably the best option as even in use it can be hidden from prying eyes and potential large fines. This can also be fitted to a motorcycle and integrated with a laser jammer. We use one.

For the best deal on this unit visit;
http://www.speedtraps.co.uk

Snooper
S5
399
1.7
2.6
4.6
3
6
16
16
12.7
9.7

A dashboard mounted

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