Last October I reviewed the Cobra iRadar iOS 200 radar detector. This system is a combination of an iRadar application and accompanying hardware. It is an interesting solution in that the radar detector itself works quite well on its own but becomes far more powerful when paired with and connected to a mobile device. It obviously impressed me since I continue to use it on a daily basis. (You can read the full review here.) Now the company has come out with the next generation of the hardware/app combination. The iRadar ATOM radar detector is smaller and more powerful. Let’s take a look at the two radar detectors side-by-side and then run through the actual specifications and use of the new version.
As you can see the iRadar ATOM is significantly smaller than the iRadar 200 we reviewed last fall. That, however, is only one of the differences between the two units. The second difference is the price. The iRadar 200 has an MSRP of $129.95 while the iRadar ATOM has an MSRP of $199.95. That’s a $70 difference and it is pretty obvious that to justify the price jump there must be more of a difference than simply size. There is.
The Atom may be smaller than its big brother but it is actually more powerful. It is, to use Cobra’s own words, “Cobra’s highest sensitivity radar/laser detector packed into the industry’s most compact design”. This little unit is able to detect all radar and laser guns while providing 360 degree protection. In addition it has 4 different City/Highway Modes that can be customized to reduce false alert.
Here’s a quick comparison of the Cobra iRadar 200 and the Cobra iRadar ATOM.
It doesn’t look like much of a difference but the ATOM is supposed to be far more sensitive.
What makes Cobra’s iRadar line stand out is the way it leverages its connection to a smartphone and allows drivers to rely on a community of detectors. This, in turn, helps insure they will be alerted in as accurate and reliable a way as possible.
The smartphone connected to the radar detector isn’t just the detector’s display. It provides warnings of upcoming red lights and speed cameras while enabling access to the “iRadar Community”. The importance of this social aspect of the iRadar device is found in users being able to report and warn others of with regard to a variety of issues. There is even an automatic process that takes place whereby an iRadar that has triggered a radar or laser alert will automatically share that information with the rest of the iRadar Community. Think of it as an interconnected network of iRadar devices and users all speaking to one another without the drivers having to actually do anything. In Cobra’s words, this provides “superior situational awareness”.
The iRadar app is available for both iOS and Android. In my use of it while testing the iRadar ATOM I found it to be faster while also offering a nice, clean map view.
The free Cobra iRadar App will:
Automatically records radar and laser alert information and notifies users when they are entering high-threat areas
Allow for manual reporting of live police and caution areas, which are shared with the iRadar Community
Alert the driver to speed and red light cameras, known speed traps, and dangerous intersections
Display visual alerts from the detector on your smart phone
Controls radar detector settings from your smart phone
In all the Cobra iRadar ATOM is a nice upgrade from the iRadar 200 I have been using since last fall. Sure, it is small but it is not like the iRadar 200 is exactly large. The extra accuracy and the added ability to “automatically record radar and laser alert information and notify users when they are entering high-threat areas” are a big deal however. To my mind these two features justify the extra expense. After all, if you are going to purchase a radar detector don’t you want the most powerful and accurate one possible? You can learn more and order yours here.
What I Like: Small footprint; Increased accuracy from its larger sibling; Automatic sharing of threat alerts; Works with or without the iPhone or Android app
What Needs Improvement: A $70 increase over the iRadar 200
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample