Escort MAX 360c MKII Review: Longer Range & Better False Alert Filtering, But Is This High-End Radar Detector Worth The Money

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Escort MAX 360c MKII Crash Course

  • The MAX 360c MKII is the successor to the original MAX 360c radar detector.
  • New dual-antenna platform provides increased range detection.
  • Upgraded digital signal processing technology minimizes false alerts.
  • Compatible with Escort’s radar-mounted dash cameras and laser shifters. There have also been marked improvements to the Drive Smarter app.
Escort MAX 360c MKII 17 scaled
Escort MAX 360c MKII
Range Detection
False Alert Filtering
Drive Smarter App
Learning Curve for First-Time Users
Wi-Fi Feature May or May Not Benefit You

Our Review Process for Radar Detectors

Automoblog is a member of the Radar Detector and Countermeasures Forum to ensure truth and accountability when covering radar detectors. The Forum has members with years of experience testing and validating radar detectors. Those members can provide additional context and insight if you have more in-depth questions about a specific radar detector.

Whether we receive a radar detector from a manufacturer to review or purchase it with our own money, there are four main points we consider, listed below. Our primary driving areas with any new radar detector include the Detroit metro and the Ohio Turnpike.

  • False Alert Filtering: While no radar detector is entirely immune to false alerts, units that prioritize a quiet drive, alerting only when absolutely necessary, receive an extra feather in their cap during our review process. In and around Detroit, we deliberately drive past shopping plazas, industrial areas, places with digital signage, and other locations with sources of non-police radar while evaluating a given radar detector. These locations can and will produce a false K band alert. Some radar detectors do better than others, as they have embedded technology to address and mitigate alerts caused by non-police radar.   
  • Range Detection: During our radar detector evaluations, we drive roadways in the Detroit area with regular high-volume traffic. Our go-to roads include Woodward Avenue, Telegraph Road, I-696, and M-10 during afternoon rush hour. In these areas, we are looking for the most advanced notice possible of police radar. We pick high-volume traffic times as law enforcement vehicles in Michigan are often nondescript Ford Explorers and Chevy Tahoes, which blend in easily in traffic and can be hard to spot visually. Our friend Vortex Radar from the Radar Detector Forum has the most comprehensive range testing, documenting everything in charts and graphs. We often follow his guidelines when it comes to range detection.
  • Price & Value-Added Features: We look at the cost of each radar detector versus the amount of features it offers for the money. Examples of value-added features include Bluetooth connectivity, segmentation filters, and directional arrows.
  • Ease of Use: The best radar detectors should provide a seamless user experience, whether you are a first-time user or have owned a radar detector for years. Ease of use becomes more critical in our evaluation process as the price and feature set of the radar detector in question increases.
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Escort MAX 360c MKII Review Summary

The Escort MAX 360c MKII is the successor to the brand’s top-selling MAX 360c radar detector. When it debuted in September 2022, Escort said the MAX 360c MKII would provide better false alert filtering and a 50 percent improvement in detection range versus the original MAX 360c.

After careful evaluation and more than a month’s worth of driving across the Detroit metro and down the Ohio Turnpike, I’m confident the Escort MAX 360c MKII is one sequel that’s better than the original.

Below, we will cover the main features and specifications of the MAX 360c MKII, including the key differences between it and the original MAX 360c.

Escort MAX 360c MKII
Get Best Price

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Upgraded dual-antenna platform provides increased range detection, especially in heavy traffic.

Blackfin DSP chip minimizes false alerts, prioritizing only the most relevant threats.

Compatible with Escort’s radar-mounted dash cameras and laser shifters.

Save $50 with the promo code AUTOMOBLOG50 on Escort’s website.

Escort MAX 360c MKII & MAX 360c Differences

At first glance, the two radar detectors look exactly the same, save for the darker gray hue of the MKII.

The immediate difference you will likely notice is the price, which is about $50, not counting any sales or specials. Usually, the original MAX 360c retails for $650, while the MKII goes for $700. Here is what the extra $50 gets you.

More Muscle

I set the Escort MAX 360c MKII and the original MAX 360c on a small kitchen scale I use while making coffee. The original MAX 360c weighs 9.87 ounces (just shy of 280 grams), while the MKII weighs 10.05 ounces (about 285 grams).

Even with this makeshift home test while making coffee, it’s obvious the MKII has more internal circuitry.  

Better False Alert Filtering 

Escort is using a new Blackfin DSP (digital signal processing) chip to increase the level of false alert filtering. Supplied by semiconductor company Analog Devices, the Blackfin is a family of embedded microprocessors designed for a wide range of applications. 

With regard to the Escort MAX 360c MKII, the embedded Blackfin DSP chip helps the unit better decipher between any number of different radar signals in a given area, which ones are real threats versus false alerts, and what should be prioritized on the display.

When the MAX 360c MKII detects a radar source, the Blackfin DSP chip analyzes and presents it on the display screen, showing vital information like signal strength, band types, and frequency. The ability of the MAX 360c MKII to quickly analyze and sort radar sources to this depth translates to a quieter drive with fewer false alerts versus the original MAX 360c, especially on the K band frequencies. 

When you look at the spec sheet for the original MAX 360c, you will see the term “digital signal processing,” so it does have this capability to some degree (and it’s among the reasons why it’s still a top-tier radar detector today). However, the MKII takes things a step further with the more robust Blackfin DSP, putting it on par with other premium offerings from Escort that also feature the chip, like the MAXcam 360c and Redline 360c

Digital signal processing is a fascinating and in-depth topic, and Analog Devices provides this helpful beginner’s guide if you want to learn more. While no radar detector is entirely immune from false alerts, Escort cuts them down tremendously with the integration of the Blackfin DSP. 

Additional false alert filtering comes from Escort’s proprietary IVT Filter, or “in-vehicle technology” filter. The IVT Filter decreases the number of false alerts caused by collision avoidance and adaptive cruise control systems of other vehicles, which are radar-based.

The K Notch filter can be activated in the settings menu for the same reason, reducing false alerts caused by certain cars and their radar-based collision avoidance systems (between the frequency ranges of 24.190 and 24.210 GHz). Here in Detroit, I have the K Notch filter on.

Range Detection 

While the Blackfin DSP provides excellent discernment when separating real threats from false alerts, Escort’s next-generation, dual-antenna platform translates to increased range detection for the MAX 360c MKII.

Like the original MAX 360c, the MKII also has directional arrows thanks to the dual-antenna platform, which identifies if the threat is in front of or behind you. However, the difference in range detection between the two detectors is noticeable while navigating high-traffic and well-patroled areas here in Detroit, like I-696 and Telegraph Road.  

Not that we had any complaints in the range department with our original MAX 360c, but our new MKII picks up Michigan State Police and Wayne County Sheriff Deputies running constant-on Ka band from a bit farther out, which has been a pleasant but welcome surprise. 

On Telegraph Road specifically, law enforcement will stay in the far left lanes, so it’s easy for them to whip around via a Michigan Left and catch speeders heading towards them. With the wider expanses, hills, and turns on Telegraph Road, it’s relatively easy for law enforcement to hide in plain sight in heavy traffic with a non-descript Ford Explorer or Chevy Tahoe patrol vehicle.

The upgraded dual-antenna platform of the Escort MAX 360c MKII makes it well-suited for areas like this, providing more advanced notice versus older Escort radar detectors if an officer is traveling toward you. 

Escort MAX 360c MKII in Auto Lo K sensitive mode, M-10 North, Detroit.
Escort MAX 360c MKII in Auto Lo K sensitivity mode, M-10 North, Detroit. When connected to the Drive Smarter app, the MAX 360c MKII will show the speed limit of the road you are traveling on the far left (55 mph in this case). To the right of that is our current speed, which is eight over. This feature is especially nice when you are traveling someplace new and maybe didn’t see the speed limit sign. Photo: Danielle Anthony.

Escort MAX 360c MKII & MAX 360c Similarities

Perhaps the most significant similarity is the “connected” aspect of these two radar detectors, which is what the “c” stands for. Essentially, the original MAX 360c and the newer MKII can connect to Wi-Fi via your home router or mobile hotspot for two primary reasons: firmware and database updates and accessing Posted Speed Limits (PSL) and Live Alerts without turning on Bluetooth.

When paired to Drive Smarter, your phone will receive real-time threat notifications in your area, be it a radar source, red light camera, or police patrol, as reported by other Escort owners using the app (more on the Drive Smarter app further down, including its compatibility with Mapbox, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto).

I’ve always viewed the Wi-Fi capability (and Drive Smarter app) of the MAX 360c detectors as a helpful, peace-of-mind companion if you want to squeeze every ounce of juice out of your countermeasure setup. For example, each time the MAX 360c MKII connects to a Wi-Fi hotspot, it automatically checks for firmware updates, which can be advantageous if you are driving in an area you are not accustomed to. For those who wish to drive without the app and still have access to PSL and Live Alerts, the connected option offers this capability.

In addition to performance tweaks, firmware updates from Escort will often include updates to its ongoing red light and speed camera database, which is also helpful if you are driving for a few days in a new area. If a firmware update is available, the MAX 360c MKII can do it automatically once the Wi-Fi connection is established.   

I still prefer to perform firmware updates on my desktop via Escort’s website. Firmware updates take less time with a hardwired connection to your computer than over Wi-Fi. However, I lose the advantage of real-time, on-the-fly firmware updates if I am not at my computer for whatever reason (I’ve done firmware updates while waiting in the cell phone lot at the airport for family to arrive, for example, when I know I have some extra time on my hands).

If you want to experiment with the Wi-Fi connection for firmware updates and the Drive Smarter app, turn the Wi-Fi option on via the detector’s settings menu and enable your hotspot, either in your vehicle or on your phone.

Escort MAX 360c MKII
Get Best Price

Automoblog may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Upgraded dual-antenna platform provides increased range detection, especially in heavy traffic.

Blackfin DSP chip minimizes false alerts, prioritizing only the most relevant threats.

Compatible with Escort’s radar-mounted dash cameras and laser shifters.

Save $50 with the promo code AUTOMOBLOG50 on Escort’s website.

Escort MAX 360c MKII In-Depth: What It Offers

The MAX 360c MKII comes with a 12V power cord, a suction cup windshield mount (Escort calls it an “EZ Mag Mount”), a carrying case, and a quick start guide (you download the complete owner’s manual from Escort’s website).

The 12V power cord has a USB port on the backside, so you can still charge your phone. It’s a nice feature if your vehicle doesn’t have a wireless charging pad.

Along with increased range detection and better false alert filtering, here is a summarized list of some other top features of the Escort MAX 360c MKII.

Band Detection: Ka, lidar, Mesta Fusion

The Escort MAX 360c MKII will alert you to X, K, and Ka radar bands and laser (lidar) guns. Likewise, the unit detects MultaRadar CD and CT, often written as MRCD and MRCT for short. MultaRadar is usually associated with traffic light cameras and other photo enforcement devices.

Unlike a standard radar gun, MultaRadar changes frequency, making it harder to catch, especially for older radar detectors. The default setting for MRCD and MRCT is off, but both can be switched on via the settings menu under the “Band Enables” tab. 

The Escort MAX 360c MKII also detects Mesta Fusion, a long-range, multi-lane, and multi-target enforcement strategy supplied by French technology company IDEMIA. Mesta Fusion towers, which combine a Doppler radar and high-resolution camera, were deployed in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, after city officials received a demonstration from IDEMIA in 2017.

Escort enabled Mesta Fusion detection on the MAX 360c MKII as the technology has the potential to also be used in the United States.   

Sensitivity Modes

The Escort MAX 360c MKII offers four sensitivity modes: Highway, Auto, Auto No X, and Auto Lo K, the latter being my preference here in Detroit.

Highway is the maximum sensitivity mode, which essentially “opens the radar detector up,” so it’s more likely to alert to potential threats. In Highway mode, K band sensitivity is at its maximum. I use this setting, but only on the open road, usually on a longer trip.

Auto sensitivity is convenient as it reduces X and K band sensitivity according to your speed, while Auto No X does the same for K bands but shuts off the X bands.  

I run my Escort MAX 360c MKII in Auto Lo K sensitivity mode, which lowers K band sensitivity at all times. I turn the X bands off separately through the settings menu, so I tend not to use Auto No X. However, if you buy a MAX 360c MKII, experiment and see what works best for you and what your preferences are.  

Segmentation Options

Under the “Band Enables” tab in the settings menu or through the Driver Smarter app (covered more below), you can experiment with four different K Narrow and 10 Ka Narrow segmentation options or “custom sweeps” to dial in the detector’s response time. 

Turn either K or Ka Band detection off to activate the segmentation options (done either through the settings menu or the Drive Smarter app). This enables the “selectors,” which you will also see in the settings menu or the Driver Smarter app. 

Although it seems counterintuitive, turning off Ka band detection doesn’t mean you are leaving yourself exposed to the most common form of police radar. It simply means you can now work with the segmentation filters.  

When we deactivate the Ka bands, Escort’s factory default Ka Narrow settings take over, allowing our MAX 360c MKII to scan from 33.700 to 35.600 GHz. That aligns with law enforcement radar guns, not just here in Michigan, but all properly and legally tuned U.S.-spec police radar guns. 

Out of the 10 available Ka Narrow settings, the MAX 360c MKII will have 2, 5, and 8 turned on by default. It breaks down like this: 

  • KA Narrow 2: 33.700 to 33.900 GHz
  • KA Narrow 5: 34.600 to 34.800 GHz
  • KA Narrow 8: 35.400 to 36.600 GHz

The idea behind band segmentation is to imagine looking through a row of windows. It takes less time to look through three windows than 10, and the idea here is similar with band segmentation. A radar detector operating in a narrow segmentation versus a wider setting will alert quicker because it’s not scanning or “watching” the entire available frequency range.  

AutoLearn Technology (Auto Lockouts)

AutoLearn analyzes fixed-location radar over time to determine whether such alerts are legitimate or false. Should the MAX 360c MKII encounter the exact frequency in the same location approximately three times—and that frequency is deemed false—it automatically locks it out and flashes a “Stored” message. The MAX 360c MKII uses Escort’s TrueLock GPS Filter to lock out and store fixed-location false alerts in its memory bank.

Although you can still manually lock out false alerts, Escort’s AutoLearn feature has become synonymous with its MAX family of radar detectors, and it can be a convenient tool while driving. To lock out a false alert manually, tap the Mute button on the 12V power cord. When encountering a previously locked-out location, it will display in gray but not audibly alert.

Mark Locations

The MRK button on top of the unit will flag a location and then notify you the next time you are about to pass it. Unlike the lockouts (manual or automatic), the Mark Location feature is intended for areas with legitimate threats.

When marking a location for the first time with the Escort MAX 360c MKII, you can specify what it is, from red light and speed cameras to speed traps. You also have an “other” option if you need to mark a location for another reason.

Drive Smarter App

Escort has considerably improved the Drive Smarter app for the MAX family of radar detectors. When connected to Drive Smarter, your phone will receive real-time threat notifications in your area, be it a radar source, red light camera, speed camera, or police patrol, as reported by other Escort owners using the app (i.e., shared alerts).

Likewise, you can issue an alert for others via the app if you notice something like a speed trap or stationary patrol car.

In addition to sending and receiving alerts, Drive Smarter lets you adjust a host of settings for the MAX 360c MKII from your phone, including display colors and brightness, sensitivity modes, and more.

Connectivity & Crashing Issues

In the past, we experienced Bluetooth connection and crashing issues between the app, the detector, and our Motorolla phone with an Android-based operating system. However, with the release of the MAX 360c MKII came a revised Drive Smarter app, and Escort has continued to refine its performance, especially for Android operating systems. 

Customer Service

While working on this review, we interfaced with customer service reps from Cedar Electronics (you can contact a support rep through the Drive Smarter app). The reps we exchanged e-mails with about our issues were prompt and courteous.

As of early 2024, all of the connection and crashing issues we had with Drive Smarter have been resolved, including minor glitches like how the speed limit in a given area might display as 74 mph on the app when it’s actually 75 mph.

Even with these fixes and improvements, Escort reps tell us they are continuing to refine the overall performance and functionality of the Drive Smarter app for their customers.   

Drive Smarter app integration with Apple CarPlay.
Drive Smarter app integration with Apple CarPlay. Real-time threat notifications from Drive Smarter will appear on the vehicle’s touchscreen, meaning Escort radar detector users will not have to glance down at their phones.

Apple CarPlay, Android Auto & Mapbox

The revised Drive Smarter app is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and has Mapbox built-in.

On your vehicle’s touchscreen, you will see all of the normal Apple CarPlay or Android Auto features alongside any real-time threat notifications from Drive Smarter. Similarly, Escort has added Mapbox functionality, meaning Drive Smarter effectively doubles as a navigation app. 

While Drive Smarter is optional and not necessary for the MAX 360c MKII to detect police radar, running it can increase situational awareness and may serve to better maximize your countermeasures setup. If your vehicle has a wireless charging pad, use that to help save your phone battery while running Drive Smarter.  

Escort MAX 360c MKII
Get Best Price

Automoblog may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Upgraded dual-antenna platform provides increased range detection, especially in heavy traffic.

Blackfin DSP chip minimizes false alerts, prioritizing only the most relevant threats.

Compatible with Escort’s radar-mounted dash cameras and laser shifters.

Save $50 with the promo code AUTOMOBLOG50 on Escort’s website.

Is The Escort MAX 360c MKII Worth It?

If you are a radar detector enthusiast, like Escort products in general, or want the latest and greatest stuff for your vehicle, the MAX 360c MKII is worth the money. If you are running an older radar detector and want to upgrade to something with more features, the MAX 360c MKII won’t disappoint.

Escort has also overhauled the Drive Smarter app, resolving a lot of the connection and crashing issues found in prior versions of the app. Drive Smarter is more user-friendly than before and should make playing around with the settings on the Escort MAX 360c MKII more intuitive and enjoyable.

By contrast, if you still need a solid radar detector but don’t necessarily need all the extra features, consider something more straightforward like the Uniden R4Radenso DS1, or Cobra RAD 700i. I proudly own all three of those radar detectors, and they get the job done. When I want a good “grab and go” unit for my drives around Detroit, I pick one of those three.

Otherwise, if you purchase a new MAX 360c MKII and have questions, join us on the forum, and we can point you in the right direction. 

Carl Anthony is the Managing Editor of Automoblog and the host of AutoVision News Radio and AutoSens Insights. As a respected automotive industry thought leader, Carl has appeared on numerous podcasts and radio shows, including Wrench Nation, Cars Yeah, The Car Doctor, and Brains Byte Back, in addition to appearing as a regular contributor on MotorMouth Radio on WHPC 90.3 FM. His work can also be seen and heard 24/7 on the Automoblog YouTube channel.

Radar Detectors FAQ

Are Radar Detectors Legal?

Using a radar detector in a privately owned passenger vehicle is legal in the U.S., with the exception of Virginia and Washington D.C. Radar detectors are illegal in commercial vehicles. See this guide to radar detector laws for all 50 U.S. states if you have additional questions.

How Do Radar Detectors Work?

While proprietary technology can differ between each radar detector manufacturer, think of a standard radar detector in terms of receiving and deciphering.

Every radar detector has a “horn” or antenna (sometimes more than one) and an internal microprocessor. The antenna picks up or receives the police radar gun, and the microprocessor deciphers it, ultimately showing on the display screen important info like signal strength and band type.

Radar detector manufacturers build on that basic principle with their own hardware and software to achieve increased detection range with fewer false alerts.

Will My Radar Detector Alert to Laser Guns?

Yes, all radar detectors will alert to police laser guns, meaning your radar detector is also a laser detector by default.

Some radar detectors are compatible with an accessory called laser shifters, but those are different from laser jammers, which are illegal in some states. Police laser guns use a technology called lidar, which stands for light detection and ranging.

What Is The Best Radar Detector For Me?

The best radar detector for you will depend on where and how you drive and how much you want to spend.

If you love having the latest and greatest gadgets, you might enjoy the features a high-end unit will provide. By contrast, if you only need a gentle reminder of police radar in the area, you can find something more basic but still of good quality.

Popular radar detector manufacturers today include Cobra, Escort, Radenso, Uniden, Valentine, and Whistler. Some high-performance radar detectors, like the Escort Redline 360c, are compatible with a smartphone app that shares user-generated alerts.

I Saw a Police Car, Why Didn’t My Radar Detector Alert?

Sometimes, a patrol car will have its radar gun off, meaning there is nothing for the radar detector to alert to. Traffic officers also use an enforcement strategy called “Instant-On” radar, where they only use their radar gun at certain times (think like the storied image of the officer on the motorcycle hiding behind the billboard).

If this happens, traffic officers will only target one vehicle at a time. Most high-quality radar detectors will alert to Instant-On radar with plenty of advanced notice, although it’s still possible to get a ticket via Instant-On if you are not careful.

Photos: Danielle Anthony.