COBRA 0180003-1 iRAD OVERVIEW
The COBRA 0180003-1 iRAD is probably one of the best detectors one could get for under $150. But it doesn’t have lots of features. It doesn’t have a GPS, or a display, or a multi-alert system. It doesn’t even have an auto-mute setting. Despite all this, it is a good budget option.
The iRad uses the COBRA iRadar app on your phone to push out warnings, alerts and uses the phone’s GPS for location data, speed maps, and red light cams. This is probably why iRad is a better option for the driver who would rather not spend $500-$600 on a radar detector but is it actually worth it?
- Bluetooth enabled unit pairs quickly and easily with iPhones.
- Full 14 band protection from X Band, K Band, Ka Band radar, POP mode, VG-2, all size laser types and Safety Alert.
- Visual Radar and laser alerts displayed on iPhone.
- AURA Speed and Red Light Camera Database included. Provides iPhone users continuously updated access to Cobra’s verified data.
The packaging on this thing isn’t anything groundbreaking, just the standard stuff. It comes in a cardboard hard shell covering plastered with plastic and its the first thing you see once you open the box. Beneath the device, you will find the necessary documents like a ‘Quick Start Guide’ and the ‘Warranty Card’. With this, it also includes a device registration card including instructions on downloading the iRadar app from the App Store. Alongside all this, it also includes the necessary smart power cord which goes into the charging dock in your car. Its designed to allow you to charge your other devices while still being able to use the detector flawlessly.
Quoting COBRA, “The iRad combines industry leading radar, laser and speed /red light camera detection technology with the power of the iPhone.” We tend to agree with this statement considering the detector really does use just the iPhone for all its tasks, keeping in mind the price tag. But one thing I’ve noticed over time is that you get what you pay for regarding range. This detector doesn’t have the best range. In fact, its just enough for you to save yourself in the nick of time. But the very fact of using your own iPhone as a radar detector seems very convenient, and it even works (for the most part of it). So if you’re looking for an ultra-portable device, this should be your go to.
The detector mainly houses a simple, shiny black box with no display or switches (except the power on/off and a lousy mute button) and some antennas that only work one-way. Although it really can be used just as a stand-alone detector, the functionality the iPhone provides it with is unmatchable. It’s basically just a device that beeps every time it catches some interference without the iPhone. And without the iPhone’s GPS, it can’t even detect false alarms and will beep anyway. All this really does come into play when you’re a veteran and are choosing a radar detector. I assume the target audience of this product to be mainly the new or not-so-tech-savvy crowd.
The range while driving on freeways was more or less bad considering range while on freeways is really what it comes down to. However, it was not bad while driving around the city. One particular thing I liked about COBRA 0180003-1 iRAD is the alert system. Too many alerts and you’re probably gonna switch the thing off. Too few alerts and its no use having this around. This just gave the adequate amount of alerts even while missing the GPS. The iRadar app further boosts its accountability by actually showing how far the source of the radar signal is with the direction. You can even set up a waypoint on the coordinates where you encountered a speed gun. This can be done as a contribution to the community and notifying other drivers right through the app. But the number of drivers using iRadar is comparatively low with regard to the EscortLive app.
One major mess up we found – its immune to the X-band radars. It didn’t push out alerts until we were 734 feet. By then the authorities already got a lock on our speed. In its defense, a VERY few numbers of highway patrols are still using the X-band sensors, so its no hiccup now.
The rare mess up of the radar detector, lack of a display, a mute button accompanied by a lack of GPS are very major compromises. While the COBRA 0180003-1 iRAD is a clever concept, its execution was sort of rushed. Don’t get me wrong. This is brilliant device for the starters. I just don’t think it’ll receive a warm welcome by the veterans.
- Simple to use.
- Pairs with your iPhone (handy).
- Compact and simple design.
- Not the best with range.
- X-band hiccups.
- Lack of GPS.
- No display.
- Almost junk without the counterpart app.
It isn’t the best performing radar overall. It’s not loaded with features or radar bands or even a GPS. But with its $120 price tag, it’s the most budget-friendly option. And when paired with your iPhone, it’s a bang for the buck. It should get the job done.