In your search for cheaper radar detectors, you may have come across the Escort Passport S55. The brand has many esteemed radar detectors in its array of products, but this one does not seem familiar. It IS from Escort, and the reason you may have not heard of it is because it has been eclipsed by newer equipment. The S55 was released as a cheaper version of the Escort Passport X80, which we may take to mean as it being stripped off of the features that make the latter a good choice for a radar detector.
In 2019, both the S55 and the X80 are using an older platform, which comes with many disadvantages. But is the S55 still something we’d recommend? Well, we’ll walk you through its features and help you decide.
During its initial release, the Passport S55 seemed modern, but we don’t think that statement holds anymore. Compared to other models in production, it seems simple and outdated, although to its credit, the plastic it is made out of feels sturdy enough to withstand instances where others would easily break.
This is not the same observation though for its mounting bracket which seems insufficient in supporting the radar detector. It might force you to purchase a different, stronger mount instead of relying on sticky suction cups and magnets that come with the package. To be fair though, this is a complaint on one too many Escort radar detectors.
You can expect ease of use on the Passport S55 though—you would not have to fiddle with it too much to make it work. If you want to adjust it based on your preferences, that can be easily done even without reading its user manual.
Brightness (which has four options), volume, dark mode and types of laser and radar bands to detect could be adjusted with a few presses. The meter for interpreting data could also be switched into different types such as Standard, SpecDisplay and ExpertMeter, and do not take much to understand.
There are a few things missing that are apparent on the first look, however: there is no audio jack, which means that you would have to rely on its average audio alerts (more on that later), and no USB port, which means there is no possibility of upgrading firmware in an easier manner. These are parts that are already a given in most radar detectors currently available, and for a good reason: they make using the device a little easier.
Laser and radar detection
The Passport S55 employs what Escort calls a V-Tuned receiver. Through this technology, the radar detector can supposedly receive long-range alerts on all radar bands such as X, Superwide Ka, and K. It is enabled with Digital Signal Processing (DSP) which maximizes the possible range of the S55. Like with the X70, laser guns can also be detected by the device, although this is pretty much useless because you would have already been detected once the radar detector alerts you of it.
The Passport S55 does not come with GPS, but it has an existing system to lessen false alarms, which is the Auto-Sensitivity mode. Through this, speed traps could be identified. This works alongside the device’s Travel Signal Rejection (TSR) which also weeds out false alarms from signals emitted by traffic flow monitoring systems.
It is, however, susceptible to alarms caused by Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) systems which use K-band frequency, so drives wouldn’t be as quiet as the ones you would have with newer Escort models. Unfortunately, there is no way for the device to differentiate these harmless signals from actual threats.
When you’re driving, you cannot just take your eyes off the road so that you can read the alerts on your radar detector. This is where sound alerts should come in handy. The beeps you will hear from the Passport S55 are audible enough and tell you which band is detected, except in very loud settings where it can easily be drowned by other sounds. Thankfully, the bright display makes up for it, although ideally this should not even be a problem.
This is convenient especially for a device like the S55 that can potentially be set off by many signals in an urban setting. Through this, the radar detector lessens the volume of the alert until they are no longer annoying.
Undetectable by the VG-2
This is convenient depending on your location, but most radar detectors now are shielded from the VG-2 as well as other radar detector detectors (RDDs).
What is it missing? Although the Passport S55 and X80 use similar platforms, the cheaper model of the two lacks bluetooth. This is necessary for connection to the crowdsourcing app Escort Live, which other users can depend on for identifying locations of radar and laser guns, speed traps and red-light cameras.
- Its plastic case feels durable
- The detector is intuitive even without referring to a user manual beforehand
- Dark mode is available for concealing the radar detector
- Different driving modes are available, like with the more advanced model
- Bright display
- Presence of V-Tuned receiver for long range detection
- Availability of AutoMute option
- Very cheap and can still be bought at a discounted price
- Suction mount is flimsy
- No audio jack
- No USB port for updating firmware
- Vulnerable to BSM
- Not Bluetooth- and GPS-enabled
- Not Escort Live compatible
- Unprotected against newer RDDs
Q: Does the Passport S55 come with voice alerts?
A: No, it does not. Audio alerts are only in the form of beeps.
Q: Can I go cordless with the Passport S55?
A: No. It is plug-and-play.
The Escort Passport S55 can help detect many radar bands and even lasers, as well as adjust its detection capabilities based on your driving. However, it lacks many useful features, such as bluetooth and GPS. It is also vulnerable against most RDDs and BSM systems.
We understand the appeal of its price. After all, most Escort products are on the higher end when it comes to price point. However, that is not enough reason to buy the Passport S55 when there are more radar detectors that come at a few dollars more without compromising features. You’ll get better value for your money elsewhere.