Cobra iRadar (IRAD 200) review: Cobra iRadar (IRAD 200)

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MSRP: $129.95

The Good The Cobra iRadar works with or without a connected Android or iOS smartphone. Its car charger has a powered USB port for the paired smartphone. A free app helps you fine-tune the iRadar's sensitivity and discern between actual alerts and false positives, as well as monitor for traffic cameras and speed traps.

The Bad We still ran into a number of false positives during our testing, requiring quite a bit of interaction with the app for the first few days.

The Bottom Line The Cobra iRadar justifies its entry-level price as a good radar/laser detector. And when paired with a smartphone running the iRadar app, it becomes a much more flexible and useful speed management tool.

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7.7 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 9
  • Performance 7

Review Sections

The Cobra iRadar unit appears at first glance to be a fairly basic radar/laser detector. About the size of a deck of playing cards at 1.15 inches deep by 2.92 inches wide by 4.22 inches long, the unit is, for the most part, composed of nearly featureless black plastic. The newer IRAD 200 that we're discussing today has a matte black finish with a silver band wrapping around its equator, as opposed to the glossy black of the older IRAD 105.

It may appear featureless, but there are a few physical landmarks. Along the left edge of the unit are the input for the 12-volt charger, the power/volume dial, and the new iOS/Android toggle switch. Select the white dot for use with an iOS device and the green dot for Android. The top surface is home to the unit's loudspeaker and round, concave Mute button. Around back is a slot for connecting the iRadar to its dual-suction-cup windshield mount -- which holds the unit quite securely despite being of the lick-and-stick variety. When the iRadar is powered down, there are no obvious indicator lights, but once activated an LED indicator light glows red from behind the unit's leading edge. What would be the back of the unit, a large glossy black panel, is actually the main radar receptor array, so you'll want to point the shiny end toward the front of your vehicle.

iRadar on the dashboard
The simple iRadar hardware notifies the driver of speed detection with audible alerts. Antuan Goodwin/CNET

The LED indicator glows red showing that the device is active. In this state, it will beep and speak audible alerts for any of the radar and laser bands it senses with its 360-degree receiver, much like any of Cobra's radar/laser detectors. The unit features X, K, Ka, Ku, and VG-2 band detection and POP-mode warnings for instant-on detection. There is also a mode that notifies the user when approaching safety cameras. Additionally, the iRadar device monitors the voltage flowing through its 12-volt adapter and can notify you if your car's voltage ever runs low.

The iRadar's power cable is worth noting. This 12-volt adapter not only powers the iRadar unit, but also features a powered USB port for juicing your connected smartphone. You'll have to bring your own dock connector or Micro-USB cable, but this is a great addition to the iRadar's feature set.

The iRadar connected to my Android phone via the Bluetooth connection. After flipping the device's phone mode switch, the pairing process was as simple as locating the iRadar IRAD 200 device in the Bluetooth settings menu and pairing with the four-digit PIN supplied in the owner's manual. In the case of my Android device, entry of the PIN wasn't even necessary thanks to its simplified paring functionality. Additionally, I was able to take advantage of my phone's ability to pair with multiple Bluetooth devices to preserve the hands-free and audio-streaming connectivity with my car's audio system.

Once paired, the normally red status light on the face of the iRadar device glows blue, indicating that it's ready to connect with the iRadar app.

The iRadar app is a free download in the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store. It can be used independently of the iRadar hardware, but works best when paired with the device.

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