In the era of disposable cellphones, the Valentine One s 22-year-old design can t hide its age. Don t write it off, though, because the simple shape packs clever, enduring engineering. You can install, adjust, and remove the mount with one hand, and the front-facing controls are smartly canted toward the driver.
Inside the magnesium case, Valentine has updated the V1 s internals throughout the years to preserve its reputation as the most sensitive radar detector on the market, a title we re not about to rescind. (Admittedly, we haven t put it up against Escort s hyper-paranoid RedLine detector.) In each of our range trials, the V1 provided generous warning, and its second, rear-facing antenna an exclusive in this test gives it a leg up in rearward detection. The V1 also reported POP radar and laser alerts more consistently than the Passport Max.
One annoyance is incessant false alarms the Valentine s filtering isn t very effective. On our 22-mile loop, the V1 called out 53 threats in its most selective mode, which reduces but doesn t eliminate X-band alerts. Turning off X-band is an involved process that you wouldn t bother with on an interstate exit ramp. Determining what s a cop and what s not is left to the driver, who faces a steep learning curve to decipher the V1 s bogey count, band indicators, signal-strength meter, and the signature arrows at a quick glance.
To reduce its chattiness, the V1 can be reprogrammed to ignore any radar band or to quiet K-band signals that are weak or located behind you, and a $69 peripheral that plugs into your car s on-board diagnostics port mutes the detector below a set speed. Also, there s a $39 concealed display that provides a mute button closer at hand. Still, none of this is as convenient as the Max s intelligent lockouts, auto mute, and standard plug-mounted mute button.