Both are have gotten excellent reviews, however, I've found a detector that has, for me, far more real-world usefulness, than either of the aforementioned: UNIDEN GPSRD.
Fact: it's a mediocre radar and laser detector. Either the Passport or Val. 1 will destroy it in detection of radar/laser.
Fact: constant radar warnings due to false signals, etc. renders any detector a "little boy who cried wolf", meaning after a while, what do you believe?
Here's why I love my GPSRD. It got GPS Satellite mapping! It maps out false signals in your area (where you drive repeatedly), and over time, will begin to silence itself, revealing only NEW sources as they are found. This is VERY useful. That automatic door opener down at the 24hr STOP-&-ROB won't set it off after it has learned that this is a false signal. How do you teach it? Easy - DO NOTHING! If you spot a real radar threat, hit a button marking it as a trap. In a few days, all those false alarms that set off your V1 or any other non-GPS unit, will go away. Silence is good.
It's not as sensitive as the top two, but, you know something - so what.
99% of the time I pass troopers on the side of the road who are not blasting X or Ka band because they typically use the INSTANT ON function anyway. No 8500 or V1 can save you from INSTANT ON, or laser for that matter.
But the GPSRD has something to help you avoid a nasty surprise. It allow YOU to manually mark locations where a trooper sits, a trap, with his radar off. So the next time you get close to that spot it warns you that a radar trap is up ahead.
It also has GPS navagation, albeit not the fancy moving map screen type, but it's there nonetheless. Headed for Fresno? Just push a button or two and it' will tell you, by cardinal points on the compass which way to go, and how long it should take you, given your current speed, to get there - and "as the crow flies" distance to your destination. It's got a database of over 1200 cities in the US. It's a speedometer too, with instantanous, average, and TOP speeds TOO!!!
Try THAT with your V1.
Truth be told, the GPSRD saved me from an instant on trap last night. I had previously marked a spot on the interstate where I saw a trooper hiding blind, but could see in the rearview. When the GPSRD warned me last night about the approaching trap, I moved out of the fast lane, begrudgingly, and into the middle. The tailgator behind me was more than happy to fill the void with a speeding mass of radar reflecting metal. BAM! The GPSRD started screaming, getting hit from behind, and I watched in amazement at how the GPS trap mapping saved me from INSTANT ON.
Again, try THAT with your 8500.
Do I like my GPSRD. No. I love it. If you gave me $300 to buy either of the "top" detectors, I'd buy another GPSRD, pocket the difference, buy some good cigars and light one every time I saw one of you "top" detector dudes pulled over with an astonished and stunned look on your faces.
You can get the GPSRD for about $200 if you poke around on the net.
That's just my opinion. If someone knows of a better solution to the problem of falsing, or INSTANT ON, please lets us all know.
Chuck, to be honest with you, I guess the alerts just don't bother me that much yet. I've only used it when I'm on the open road basically, so other than when I passed through (or by in some cases) some towns and the things started giving falsies (which are indicated by the arrows btw) all I had to do was hit it once for each separate alert. One punch of the button will silence the alerts from that one signal, each signal must be acknowledged individually.
I have no personal experience with Uniden.
I should acknowledge here that I am overly cautious much of the time, so I really have no need for it on a regular basis. The way I drive around here in LA anyway, if I'm in the mood, if they saw me they'd bust me; I'd be just too friggin' obvious! :eek :L
FWIW, I replaced my Valentine 1 with the Passport 8500 when I bought my Z06. This decision was based on the results of a review I read in one of the car magazines and information available on-line from several detector-test sites.
The Valentine 1 was (when I bought it several years ago) state of the art in terms of sensitivity and low number of false-positives. The directional arrows were very useful since signals detected at a 90 degree angle are harmless (police radar works by measuring the change in range to the target over time which is speed: radar aimed at you from a 90 degeree angle will not show any change in range, ergo no speed information). If the arrow pointed to the side it was a 7-11 or a Walmart (it picked up every Walmart between Glen Rio, Texas and San Bernardino, California on one trip). Its ability to tell me if the signal was behind me also proved to be very handy since highway patrol cars will target cars behind you and the Valentine would alert me to the fact that a threat was approaching from the rear by detecting reflected energy from the target vehicle.
The Passport 8500 however takes advantage of newer technology and has amazingly good sensitivity and detection range. It can pick up the reflected energy from instant-on radar targeted for a vehicle ahead from as far away as three miles (plenty of time to slow to an approximation of legality). It saved me much grief on my last trip to Arizona on I-40 by detecting radar set up to nail drivers transiting construction zones where the fines are tripled for speeding.
Normally I only used a detector on out-of-California road trips, but since the California Highway Patrol was quietly given authorization to use radar on California Freeways I have used it daily with great success, especially on the new toll roads we have in Orange County.
It's not any easy decision. You give up the directional notification of the Valentine for the incredible range (and added frequency coverage) of the Passport 8500.
I don't recall what I paid for the Valentine (it wasn't cheap), but the Passport 8500 was purchased at Best Buy for $299.
There are several web sites devoted to testing radar detectors and several car magazines have published comparison tests. Read the available information before you make a decision. Don't make the mistake of thinking that any detector is better than no detector. A poor one will lull you into a false sense of security.
BTW, not to get off topic here, but has anyone heard of a device that long-haul truckers have which trips radar detectors (for fun and amusement because of course you slow drastically when it goes off) when you pass them? I have heard apocryphal tales about these devices but started to notice that occasionally when I passed an 18-wheeler in the middle of nowhere the detector would come alive as if I were over Hanoi. I know that cheap detectors in other vehicles send out signals which will cause an alert but not of the intensity that I noticed on a recent trip to Utah.