Smartphone Radar Detector Apps – Are They Just As Good As The Real Thing?


Given the abundance of mobile apps that act like radar detectors, many drivers are pondering whether they should get a smartphone application rather than invest in the actual hardware. After all, with so many free apps out there, why go through all the trouble of reading numerous radar detector reviews? Who knows, you could end up with a highly expensive piece of equipment that also requires professional installation and maybe it won’t even get the job done. The best radar detector 2018 apps on the other hand, merely require you to launch the radar app, do not raise suspicions when a patrol stops you and doesn’t involve all the hassle of installation.



Is This Thing Even Possible?

Considering that radar is essentially radio technology and that smartphones do feature radio transceivers, yes it is possible to develop an app that can perform the duties of a radar detector. However, it is important to note that while the mobile phone operates on as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 3G/4G, the radar detector unit utilizes different radio wavelengths. In fact, as you will find out from various radar detector reviews these devices are built to pick up the frequencies commonly used by law enforcement officers to pick up speeding vehicles, namely X, K and Ka.


Playing with Frequencies

For more than thirty years, police squads have mostly worked with the X and K band frequencies. The X band includes frequencies of 10,5 to 10,55 GHz and is perhaps the most commonly employed device by in speed limit areas. The K band features frequencies of around 24 GHz (24 to 40) and is essentially a handheld version of the X band radar guns. However, as they have been used for so many years, they soon became vulnerable to radar detectors. In short, almost any radar detection unit can know pick up and alert the driver in time on both the X and K band.

However, the police departments needed to come up with something stealthier to catch the speeding drivers, so the Ka band able to capture frequencies between 34,2 and 35,2 GHz was “born”. While the tech is highly efficient and, as you will learn from unbiased radar detector reviews that very few such devices can actually pick up the signals in time, it is necessary to mention that such gadgets are also very expensive. In fact, not many police departments throughout the United States can actually afford to invest a great percentage of their budget in acquisitioning these advanced radar guns. In the light of these facts, you can understand why a smartphone with a finely tuned app at 2.4 GHz transceiver is not a match for the modern police radar guns.


Can Radar Detector Apps Pass The Tests?

In the eventuality that you are shopping around for a radar detector, then you surely read some guides and found out about the importance of the scores that the units you intended to buy had on the road tests. While the radar detector units’ popularity (as given by numerous user written radar detector reviews) and price are perfectly justified by their ability to sniff out various speed traps on highways and city roads, the cost of the app – especially the ones that are free to download – says is all. In other words, when it comes to selecting a radar detector app for this purpose you will get what you paid for.


Are These Radar Apps Reliable?

It is necessary to mention that in order for the radar detector apps to work it needs to be granted access to the on-board GPS or a similar app you have installed on your smartphone. However, the GPS function generally consumes a large amount of the smartphone’s resources and drains your battery rather quickly. Simply put, unless you keep your mobile phone charging throughout the trip, it will eventually run out of juice and power down.

A Final Thought

I’m not saying that all radar detector apps are poorly made and are not worth your time, but rather that most of them are bogus. In addition, what the really good apps actually do is track the speed of the automobile accurately, so at best you could employ them as a speedometer. If you need a reliable tool to help you avoid speed traps and the associated tickets, then my recommendation is to shop around for a suitable radar detector unit.