Escort MAX 360 MKII Review: Cool Blue Radar Detector Offers Red Hot Performance

Escort MAX 360 MKII 19 scaled e1693573157983
Escort MAX 360 MKII
Range Detection
False Alert Filtering
Digital Signal Processing
Learning Curve for First-Time Users

Affiliate Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, Automoblog earns from qualifying purchases. The Escort MAX 360 MKII here was supplied by Cedar Electronics, an affiliate partner. Commissions from Amazon and other affiliate partners come to us at no additional cost to you. Automoblog is a member of the Radar Detector and Countermeasures Forum to ensure truth and accountability when covering radar detectors. 

The Escort MAX 360 MKII is the successor to the popular MAX 360 radar detector. When it debuted in March 2023, Escort said the MAX 360 MKII would provide a higher degree of false alert filtering for a quieter ride and a 50 percent improvement in detection range. A Blackfin DSP chip and a revised dual-antenna platform drive these performance enhancements and give the Escort MAX 360 MKII an edge over the original MAX 360.

If you are in the market for a high-end radar detector, we will cover the main features and specifications of the Escort MAX 360 MKII here, including the key differences between it and the original MAX 360.

Escort MAX 360 MKII vs. MAX 360: Primary Differences

Aside from the sleek blue hue of the MAX 360 MKII, the price will likely be the first noticeable difference. Aside from any specials Escort might periodically run, the original MAX 360 goes for $500 on Amazon, while the MKII retails for $600 on Escort’s website. Here is where that extra $100 comes from.   

Better False Alert Filtering 

Inside the Escort MAX 360 MKII is a new Blackfin DSP (digital signal processing) chip to increase the level of false alert filtering. Supplied by semiconductor company Analog Devices, the Blackfin is a family of embedded microprocessors designed for a wide range of applications. 

With regard to radar detectors like the MAX 360 MKII, the embedded Blackfin DSP chip allows the unit to more quickly and accurately decipher between all the different radar signals that could be present in a given area. The Blackfin DSP chip determines which radar sources are real threats versus false alerts and what should be prioritized on the display. When the MAX 360 MKII detects a legitimate radar source, the Blackfin DSP chip presents it on the display screen, showing vital information like signal strength, band types, and frequency. The ability of the MAX 360 MKII to analyze and sort radar sources to this depth translates to a quieter drive with fewer falses versus the original MAX 360, especially on the K band frequencies. 

The original MAX 360 has digital signal processing, but it’s the degree to which DSP is applied for false alert filtering. With the Blackfin DSP, the MKII has a greater degree of false alert filtering versus the original MAX 360, putting it on par with other premium offerings from Escort that also feature the chip, like the MAXcam 360c and Redline 360c

Digital signal processing is a fascinating and in-depth topic, and Analog Devices provides this helpful beginner’s guide if you want to learn more. While no radar detector is entirely immune from false alerts, Escort cuts them down tremendously with the integration of the Blackfin DSP. 

Additional false alert filtering comes from Escort’s proprietary IVT Filter, or “in-vehicle technology” filter. The IVT Filter decreases the number of false alerts caused by collision avoidance and adaptive cruise control systems of other vehicles, which are radar-based. An additional K Notch filter can be activated in the settings menu for the same reason, reducing false alerts caused by certain cars and their radar-based collision avoidance systems (between the frequency ranges of 24.190 and 24.210 GHz).

I run my Escort MAX 360 MKII with the K Notch filter on.

Longer Detection Range

While the Blackfin DSP is separating real threats from false alerts, Escort’s next-generation, dual-antenna platform provides increased detection range. Like the original MAX 360, the MKII also has directional alert arrows thanks to the dual-antenna platform, which identifies if the threat is in front of or behind you. However, the difference in range detection between the two units is noticeable while navigating high-traffic and well-patroled areas here in the Motor City, like I-696, M-10, and Telegraph Road.

On Telegraph Road specifically, law enforcement will stay in the far left lanes, so it’s easy for them to whip around via a Michigan Left and catch speeders heading towards them. With the wider expanses, hills, and turns on Telegraph Road, it’s relatively easy for law enforcement to hide in plain sight in heavy traffic with a non-descript Ford Explorer or Chevy Tahoe patrol vehicle. The upgraded dual-antenna platform of the Escort MAX 360 MKII makes it well-suited for areas like this, providing more advanced notice versus older Escort radar detectors if an officer is coming toward you. 

Physical Construction & Display Screen

The Escort MAX 360 MKII looks and feels more like the original MAX 360c and MAX 360c MKII, which can connect to Wi-Fi for automatic firmware updates (that little “c” stands for “connected,” meaning the original MAX 360 and MAX 360 MKII cannot connect to Wi-Fi, so firmware updates are done with a hardwired connection via the Detector Tools Portal on Escort’s website).

Since the Escort MAX 360 MKII shares its physical design with its connected brethren, the directional alert arrows are positioned around the center display versus the right-side cluster like the original MAX 360. The display screen of the MKII has an arguably more modern font versus the seemingly blocky text of the original MAX 360.  

The original MAX 360 (left) has its directional alert arrows in the right-side cluster, versus the MAX 360 MKII (right), which has them positioned around the display screen.

Escort MAX 360 MKII In-Depth: What It Offers

The MAX 360 MKII comes with a 12V power cord, a suction cup windshield mount, a carrying case, and a quick start guide (you download the full owner’s manual from Escort’s website). The 12V power cord has a USB port on the backside, so you can still charge your phone. It’s a nice feature if your vehicle doesn’t have a wireless charging pad. Along with increased range detection and better false alert filtering, here is a list of other top features.

Band Detection: Ka, lidar, Mesta Fusion

The Escort MAX 360 MKII will alert you to X, K, and Ka radar bands, laser (lidar) guns, and MultaRadar CD and CT, written as MRCD and MRCT for short. MultaRadar is often associated with traffic light cameras and other photo enforcement devices. It changes frequency, making it harder for older radar detectors to catch. The default setting for MRCD and MRCT is off, but both can be switched on via the settings menu under the “Band Enables” tab. 

The Escort MAX 360 MKII also detects Mesta Fusion, a long-range, multi-lane, and multi-target enforcement strategy supplied by French technology company IDEMIA. Mesta Fusion towers, which combine a Doppler radar and high-resolution camera, were deployed in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada after city officials received a demonstration from IDEMIA in 2017. Escort enabled Mesta Fusion detection on the MAX 360c MKII as the technology could be used in the United States.  

Under the Band Enables tab, you can experiment with four different K Narrow and 10 different Ka Narrow segmentation options or custom sweeps to really dial in the detector’s response time. Here in Michigan, Escort’s default Ka Narrow settings work for me, which allows my MAX 360 MKII to scan from 33.700 to 35.600 GHz. That seems to align with law enforcement radar guns here in Michigan, but your area might be different. If you want to experiment with segmentation filters and custom sweeps based on where you drive, Vortex Radar has an excellent guide on the topic

Sensitivity Modes

The Escort MAX 360 MKII has four sensitivity modes: Highway, Auto, Auto No X, and Auto Lo K, the latter being my preference here in Detroit. Highway is the maximum sensitivity mode, which essentially “opens the radar detector up,” so it’s more likely to alert to potential threats. I use this setting, but only on the open road, usually on a longer trip. Auto sensitivity is convenient as it reduces X and K band sensitivity according to your speed, while Auto No X does the same for K bands but shuts off the X bands.

I run my Escort MAX 360 MKII in Auto Lo K sensitivity mode, which lowers K band sensitivity at all times. I turn the X bands off separately through the settings menu, so I don’t use Auto No X. However, if you buy a MAX 360 MKII, experiment and see what works best for you.

Escort MAX 360 MKII

Upgraded dual-antenna platform provides increased range detection, especially in heavy traffic.

Blackfin DSP chip minimizes false alerts, prioritizing only the most relevant threats.

Compatible with Escort’s radar-mounted dash cameras and laser shifters.

AutoLearn Technology (Auto Lockouts)

AutoLearn analyzes fixed-location radar to determine if it’s legitimate or false. Should the MAX 360 MKII encounter the exact frequency in the same location approximately three times – and that frequency is deemed false – it automatically locks it out and flashes a “Stored” message.

Although you can still manually lock out false alerts, Escort’s AutoLearn feature has become synonymous with its MAX family of radar detectors, and it can be a convenient tool while driving. To lock out a false alert manually, tap the Mute button on the 12V power cord. When encountering a previously locked-out location, it will display in gray but not audibly alert.

Mark Locations

The MRK button on top of the unit will flag a location, then notify you from about a mile out the next time you are about to pass it. Unlike the lockouts (manual or automatic), the Mark Location feature is intended for areas with legitimate threats. When marking a location for the first time, you can specify what it is, from red light and speed cameras to speed traps. You also have an “other” option if you need to mark a location for another reason.

Drive Smarter App

Escort has considerably improved the Drive Smarter app for the MAX family of radar detectors. When connected to Drive Smarter, your phone will receive real-time threat notifications in your area, be it a radar source, red light camera, or police patrol, as reported by other Escort owners using the app (i.e., shared alerts).

In the past, we experienced Bluetooth connection issues between the app, the detector, and our phone (and if we could get a connection, it would sometimes crash). In the case of the MAXcam 360c, where Drive Smarter is responsible for maintaining essential features of the dash camera, it was especially frustrating.  

However, with the release of the Escort MAX 360 MKII came a revised Drive Smarter app. Most connection and crashing issues have been addressed and resolved, although it may take a bit the first time you pair the MAX 360 MKII to your phone (that was the case for us, but it’s been working fine since). We hope Escort will continue to refine the app, as it can be beneficial for increased situational awareness and maximizing your countermeasures setup. 

One thing to note – at least at the time of this writing – is how you can only store two Escort devices in the Drive Smarter app. If you have a third Escort detector, you need to remove one of the existing two before pairing it. 

Escort MAX 360 MKII

Upgraded dual-antenna platform provides increased range detection, especially in heavy traffic.

Blackfin DSP chip minimizes false alerts, prioritizing only the most relevant threats.

Compatible with Escort’s radar-mounted dash cameras and laser shifters.

Is The Escort MAX 360 MKII Worth Buying?

If you are running an older radar detector and want to upgrade to something with bigger muscles and more features, the Escort MAX 360 MKII is a solid option. If you have one of the original MAX 360 radar detectors, the MKII provides a marked improvement in false alert filtering and detection range. Or if you just like Escort products in general, the MAX 360 MKII is a must-have for your arsenal.  

By contrast, if you want a high-quality radar detector but don’t necessarily need all the extras, consider something more straightforward like the Uniden R4Radenso DS1, or Escort MAX 3. I proudly own all three of those radar detectors, and they get the job done. When I want a good “grab and go” radar detector for my drives around Detroit, I pick one of those three (usually, the R4 is my first choice). The more robust internal circuity of the Escort MAX 360 MKII will provide better false alert filtering than the R4, DS1, or MAX 3. However, that might not be a deal breaker if you want something at a lower price point. 

Not counting any deals that might be running, the MAX 360 MKII is available for $600 on Escort’s official website and for the same price on Amazon. If you purchase a new MKII and have questions, join us on the forum, and we can point you in the right direction. 

Carl Anthony is the Managing Editor of Automoblog and the host of AutoVision News Radio and AutoSens Insights. As a respected automotive industry thought leader, Carl has appeared on numerous podcasts and radio shows, including Wrench Nation, Cars Yeah, The Car Doctor, and Brains Byte Back, in addition to appearing as a regular contributor on MotorMouth Radio on WHPC 90.3 FM. His work can also be seen and heard 24/7 on the Automoblog YouTube channel.

Photos: Alex Hartman.