Just like the Whistler CR90 that came before it, Whistler CR93 is one affordable flagship radar detector that stands out from the rest because it is among the few to have a built-in GPS despite retailing below $300.
It also employs other useful features present in its predecessor, such as the Stay Alert feature that keeps you accountable for your safety on the road. But despite an attractive offer and a slew of features promising to keep you speeding ticket-free, it has been criticized for its poor build, hard to use interface and subpar false alert filtering system.
If you’re eyeing this radar detector and are willing to look past those areas for improvement in order to grab a great deal, then you may want to inspect a little further on what the Whistler CR93 can do for you.
Those who have previously used earlier models such as the Whistler CR90 we reviewed will not find the appearance of the Whistler CR93 new. Its dimensions are just right at 4.9 x 3.1 x 1.3 inches, and it is not the heaviest of radar detectors you will see out there as it only weighs 2.4 pounds.
Even the material of the radar detector is similar, which is low-gloss resistant plastic (which isn’t to say that you would not experience glares while it is mounted on your windshield).
It also uses a windshield mounting device although many have found that it doesn’t stick strongly. The bright, high contrast OLED display remains and goes highly recommended for its legibility in different lighting conditions.
There are only four buttons atop the Whistler CR93, which should not give you a lot to be familiar with. But what happens to be not the case with this radar detector because the buttons and the display are not clearly labeled and do not feel intuitive.
You would think that you’d get more from reading the manual but even then the information provided feels scant compared to the possibilities of the CR93. Even the simple task of marking locations can take a while to learn, which is not something you have time for when you’re driving.
Meanwhile, power, volume adjustment, and headphone jacks are located on the sides. The USB port is also there, something you’d need every once in a while to update stored data on your radar detector.
Average detection range
Whistler maintains the detection capabilities of its predecessors, as it can detect K, Ka and X bands. There are some improvements and compromises with the model, though. The detection of Ka-bands is okay, but not so much with the K and X bands.
The latter is affected by the improved off-axis detection, which should help the Whistler CR93 detect threats behind the vehicle and when turning. When used in certain states, this might not be much of a problem especially when the majority is dependent on the Ka variety.
Comparing it side by side with other detectors does not bode well for the CR93 though, which consistently has fallen behind other brand flagship models. It also lacks a long enough range when driving on highway mode, and beeps often for city mode.
Whistler CR93, just like the CR90 that came before it, boasts of the wide range of police lasers that it could detect. As per its manual, the CR93 is capable of picking up Laser Atlanta Stealth mode, LTI Truspeed S and Laser Ally. It also features Radar Signature ID (RSID) and Laser Signature ID (LSID).
Quick alerts system
Detection is almost useless in the absence of a quick notification process. The Whistler CR93 may not have the widest detection range, but you can count on it to give you alerts ahead of time. For police lasers, the Whistler alert duration is noted at the upper two-second range. Immediate alarms are also applicable to radar bands.
Alerts are clear and reliable on the Whistler CR93, including voice alerts. You do not have to take a brief look just to figure out what your equipment is getting. The voice also informs you of your speed once a signal is detected.
Field Disturbance Signal Rejection (FDSR)
Sometimes it can be difficult to discern whether an alarm you’re receiving is a harmless signal picked up or is an actual police signal. With the FDSR, the Whistler CR93 can inform you if it is identifying K-bands from collision avoidance systems in vehicles and just how strong it is. However, this compromises radar detection capabilities, a disadvantage that is not unique to the system.
The Whistler CR93 comes with GPS capability, which lets the radar detector gain access to a database that details locations of red-light and speed cameras, as well as speed traps. The device will alarm you once you are near one so that you can slow down. To work at its best, the radar detector’s database needs to be updated through firmware updates, and this can be done through USB.
Whistler is one of the few brands to employ a Stay Alert feature which is useful when you’re driving on long periods as well as during the night. This is, of course, on the Whistler CR93. It would require you to press a button on the device within 5 seconds after beeping and would emit a loud sound if you fail to do so.
- Improved off-axis detection
- The OLED display is readable under any lighting conditions
- Doubles as a laser detector
- Has crisp and clear voice alerts
- Has FDSR that informs you when K-band from collision avoiding systems is interfering with your radar detector
- Has built-in GPS with a database of both radar and non-radar threats
- Those taking road trips and night drives will benefit from the Stay Alert feature
- The range on highway mode is not long enough
- Does not have an Overspeed alert
- Does not use digital signal processing
- The build of the radar detector is of poor quality
- Compromises detection of X-band because of off-axis detection
- Detection of K-band is not as good as with Ka-bands
- The user manual can be improved
Q: Can I use the radar detector in another language besides English?
A: Yes. You can switch to Spanish for both text display and voice alerts.
Q: What should I expect to find on my package upon ordering Whistler CR93?
A: You should have the Whistler CR93, a dash pad, a windshield bracket kit, a direct wire kit, a 12V power cord, and a user manual.
The Whistler CR93, despite the price, can deliver in detecting K-bands promptly, identifying laser signals, protecting you from non-radar threats and keeping you awake through the Stay Alert feature on long drives. However, it is lacking DSP and long-range on highway mode and is not very easy to use.
The very affordable radar and laser detector already have built-in GPS, a feature that is not commonly found with others within the same price range. But with its repute for a poor build, you might be better off with other detectors that are meant to last.