Cobra iRadar Atom detector slims down, buffs up

Cobra's new-generation iRadar is smaller than the previous generation, but it also claims double the sensitivity.

Cobra iRadar Atom
Cobra's new iRadar is just as sleek as the previous model, but also notably smaller. Antuan Goodwin/CNET

LAS VEGAS--Cobra showed off an improved version of its iRadar detection system ahead of CES 2013 with the debut of the new iRadar Atom hardware and a version 3.1 update to the corresponding iRadar app for smartphones.

The new hardware sticks with the sleek aesthetic established with the previous-generation iRadar 200 detector . The glossy black box still lacks a display of its own outside of a few LED indicator lights and still can be used both with and without the aid of the iRadar smartphone app on a paired Android or iPhone device. However, the new iRadar Atom is 35 percent smaller than the previous model, taking up less visual space from its perch on your car's windshield.

Cobra is also claiming double the radar detection performance and sensitivity from this new Atom model, which means that you should be able to detect radar-scanning law enforcement from farther away.

Cobra iRadar app
The iRadar app also gets a corresponding update. Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Additionally, the Cobra iRadar app for iPhone and Android will be receiving an update that adds a few new features, most prominently a Car Finder function that marks the GPS location of your car upon disconnection from the iRadar hardware and provides walking directions back to your ride when you need them. Other updates largely consist of a more streamlined interface with larger onscreen buttons for reporting speed traps and hazards that are easier to tap from arm's length and new sliding menus for secondary options that are revealed with a swipe.

The new Cobra iRadar Atom and the updated version of the app are expected to be available in Q2 2013. The app is free, but the detector will run you about $200.

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