Cobra Electronics SPX 7800BT Review


If you are looking for high performance military grade radar detectors, extra long detection range, local based alerts and many other advance features, the Cobra Electronics SPX 7800BT will be the right choice.

In this article, we’ll be looking at Cobra Electronics SPX 7800BT review, its features, the pros and cons and our verdict on this radar detector from Cobra.

Cobra Electronics SPX 7800BT Review


Cobra Electronics SPX 7800BT Review

The SPX 7800BT is the culmination of Cobra’s over 30 years of experience in building quality, high-performance, detectors. The game changing SPX Series nearly doubles the detection range, and warning time, of previous models!

Quality Product

Cobra Electronics SPX 7800BT maximum performance radar/laser camera detector

The Cobra SPX 7800BT uses the latest technology, military grade components, and the best design practices in the world to pack this phenomenal performance into a sleek detector nearly half the size of other detectors in the market.

Additionally, the super-fast sweep circuitry provides extra detection range and the best possible advance warning to all radar/laser guns currently used in the United States and Canada, including POP Mode (Super-fast) Instant-on Radar guns.

Editor’s Note: For details on how to select a radar detector, read about our Radar Detector Guide.

Powering Up

Cobra SPX 7800BT radar detector

To power up the SPX 7800BT, simply plug in your detector using the included cigarette lighter adapter. Do take note that the adapter includes a USB port that can be used to charge your smartphone or tablet using the manufacturer’s charging cable.

Once it is plugged in, turn your detector on/off by pressing the Power/Volume switch on the side of the unit. The unit will light up.

Color OLED Display

The color OLED display in SPX7800BT provides clear indication of the signal being detected as well as current mode of the detector.

This detector includes the Color Theme feature that allows you to customize the display screen color scheme to match your car’s dash illumination: Multi-Color, Red, Blue, Orange, White or Green. The factory setting is Multi-Color.

The display illumination intensity can be adjusted to suit driving conditions with five levels and Dark Mode:

  • Factory default is Bright, then Display Timeout after 1 minute.
  • Dark to blank the screen for discreet use. In this mode, alerts will sound but not show. (The display scanner bar will move slowly back and forth near the bottom of the screen to indicate the unit is turned On).

You can adjust the illumination by pressing the Dim button and then use the and buttons to step through the levels.

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Display Timeout Mode

The Cobra SPX 7800BT detector has a Display Timeout mode. When Display Timeout is turned On (factory default is 1 minute), the screen will change to Dark from Bright, Dim, or Dimmer after the time interval selected in Menu mode.

The Display Timeout setting can be changed so the display is always On. In Display Timeout mode, the display scanner bar will move slowly back and forth near the bottom of the screen to indicate the unit is turned On and detecting.

Note: While at the Dark level under timer control, any alert will turn the display back on at the last brightness setting (Bright, Dim or Dimmer). Touching any button will also turn On the display.

SmartPower Mode

The SPX 7800BT includes the SmartPower feature that, when turned On, will put the unit into Low Power mode 15 minutes after the car’s engine has been turned Off.

Before SmartPower enters Low Power mode, you will hear three beeps and SmartPower will flash on the display. To return the unit to Normal Power mode and exit Low Power mode, start the car, press any button or turn the unit Off and then On again. The factory setting is SmartPower On.

Low Battery Alert

In addition to displaying system voltage, the SPX 7800BT can provide a warning that battery voltage is low so that timely steps can be taken to correct the problem.

The Car Battery Low alert is triggered when the voltage drops below 11.9 volts. Following the alert, the unit enters SmartPower mode to avoid further draining your car battery.

Signal Detection 

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The Cobra SPX 7800BT is capable of detecting the following signals – X, K, Ka, Ku-Band, instant-on signals, POP, Laser signals and signals emitted from emergency vehicles (safety warning).

When a signal is detected, the display will show the type of signal detected as well as the signal strength. With Ka-band, you will also be notified of the actual Ka-band radar gun frequency being used.

If laser signal is detected, you will always receive full alert and pulse rate (PPS) of the corresponding laser gun being used.

Cobra Electronics SPX 7800BT Review – Settings

You can set the radar detector to different settings for different purposes.

Under Highway Mode, this setting will provide full immediate response to all signals detected. Use this mode when you are driving on interstate highways.

If you are driving around urban or highly populated areas, the automatic door openers, microwaves and other equipments that emit X and K-band frequencies, will cause your radar detector to have false alerts.

To minimize unwanted false alerts in an urban environment where these sources exist, use one of the City Filtering Modes below:

  • City X: Automatically mutes X-band audible alert until signal strength reaches level 3 or above.
  • City X+K: Combined with City X, automatically mutes K-band audible alert until signal strength reaches level 2 or above.
  • City Plus X+K+Ka: Combined with City X+K, adds filtering to Ka-band.
  • City MAX: Maximum filtering against urban false signal sources.

The City modes can also be adjusted by pressing the City button for 2 seconds.


IntelliMute allows you to avoid audible alerts you don’t need to hear because you are stopped or moving slowly. By sensing the RPMs of your engine, IntelliMute knows when you are at low speed and automatically mutes alerts. You can set your preferred engine RPM activation point and/or turn on/off IntelliMute by following simple steps that appear on your unit screen, under User Settings and then IntelliMute.

Note: IntelliMute may not work with some vehicles, especially hybrids or EVs because the detector cannot sense the engine RPMs. In such case, Quad-level IntelliShield City Filtering or Auto Mute can help reduce unwanted audible alerts.

IntelliMute Pro

IntelliMute Pro prevents detection by radar detector detectors (RDDs) such as VG-2, Spectre I and Spectre IV when traveling at slower speeds. It is intended for use by experienced users only.

When IntelliMute Pro is turned On and engine RPMs are below the IntelliMute Pro Activation Point, your detector’s radar detection circuits are turned Off to prevent detection by RDDs.

IntelliMute Pro cannot be turned on until IntelliMute is turned on and set. The IntelliMute Pro icon will appear in the display when IntelliMute Pro is On and the Activation Point has been set. Whenever engine RPMs are below the Activation Point, the arrow points down with the “i” blinking. When RPMs are above the Activation Point the arrow points up with the “i” blinking.

Auto Mute Mode

When Auto Mute is On, the audio volume of all alerts is automatically reduced after 4 seconds. The signals will remain muted for as long as the signal is detected. When Auto Mute is Off, the alerts will sound at full volume for as long as the signal is detected. The factory setting for Auto Mute is On.

Voice or Tone Mode

You can set the SPX 7800BT to sound alerts and confirm menu settings with either a Voice or a Tone Alert. Voice Alert provides voice messages in addition to tones. Tone Alert provides tones only. The factory setting is Voice Alert.

VG-2, Spectre 1, & IV+ Alert

The law enforcement officer uses radar detector detectors (RDDs) to spot users of radar detectors in a commercial vehicle. The SPX 7800BT detector is able to identify signals from VG-2, Spectre I, and Spectre IV RDDs and can provide alerts when any of these or similar devices are in use near your vehicle. You have the options whether you want to be alerted to VG-2, Spectre I, & IV RDD signals.

Note: This feature is especially useful if you are in states where radar detector is illegal.

Bluetooth Technology

Cobra SPX 7800BT bluetooth


With bluetooth technology, you can pair the SPX 7800BT with your iPhone/Android smartphones to provide Location-based alerts (LBAs), using Cobra’s proprietary national database for AURA Speed/Red-light Camera, Known Speed Traps, and Dangerous Intersections.

The detector uses the GPS in your smartphone to connect to and obtain the latest LBA’s and alert you to them. Vehicle speed and compass headings use your phone’s GPS as well.

Before pairing with your smartphone, you need to download the iRadar App from iTunes or Google Play.

AURA® Location-based Alerts (LBAs) and iRadar Community

Cobra SPX 7800BT LBA Alert

The SPX 7800BT detector is capable of providing you with LBAs and iRadar Community threat sharing data when connected to iPhone or Android phones. The detector uses the GPS in your smartphone to connect to and obtain the latest LBA’s and alert you to them. Vehicle speed and compass headings use your phone’s GPS as well.

iRadar Community

Cobra SPX 7800BT iRadar Community


When you, or any other iRadar user, detects a radar or laser signal the alert information is anonymously sent to Cobra’s cloud servers. Within seconds, that information is processed and displayed on your map as part of a Threat Area.

As you approach a specific Threat Area you will hear a short beep and then the app will indicate the Cobra’s assessment of the reliability of the threat.

High-Threat Area means multiple reports have confirmed a legitimate threat in the area recently.

Medium or Low-Threat Area means signals have been detected but have either not been confirmed or have not been reported lately.

Paying attention to threat areas will allow you to be warned of potential threats before you enter radar detection range. Community Radar/Laser alert sharing means that you have an entire network of users working to keep you and your wallet safe.

With 40,000 user-generated reports per day and nearly one million users, the iRadar Community is one of the largest and most active detection communities in the world, and is the ultimate tool for driver awareness and threat avoidance.

Drivers receive access to its advanced real-time community threat sharing capabilities while receiving AURA® speed and red light camera notifications, verified user-reported alerts of upcoming live police locations and other real-time traffic threat information.

Cobra iRadar App Version 4.0 also includes music control, background alert notifications and distance countdown to alerts.

Additionally, users also benefit from additional mapping and simple navigation performance features i.e. the new Live Traffic Data Integration which shows real-time traffic information directly on the map, allowing users to avoid congested areas.

With the Get Directions feature users can enter an address and iRadar will plot the best route to the destination on the map. This simple navigation can be a supplement to, or even replacement for, running a separate navigation app. Coverage Map View allows users to see where iRadar alerts are concentrated and spot isolated alert locations on long stretches of road when zoomed out.

Note: When connected to the iRadar community, you can continue using your smartphone to receive and make calls.

LBA Alert

Cobra SPX 7800BT LBA

When a threat has been detected, size of the icons for different alert types will become progressively larger as you approach the Location-based Alerts (LBA) Area.

The alert types are:

  • Photo-enforced Areas (Red-light & Speed Cameras)
  • Known speed trap areas
  • Caution areas (High accident areas)

LBAs will start as you approach the actual location. If both a radar and Location-based alerts happen at the same time, both will be displayed side by side.


Cobra SPX 7800BT Mounting Position

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The Cobra SPX 7800BT detector should be mounted on the windshield or dashboard of

your vehicle. It is recommended to mount it as low as possible (above windshield wipers) because typically laser would be aimed at your front license plate. You may also mount it higher on the windshield (horizontally) making sure it is not tilted up or down

Two mounting options are included:

Suction Cup Mount – The best option for portability and moving the detector from car to car. Make sure to thoroughly clean the suction cups and windshield mounting area to insure a tight seal.

Hook and Loop Fastener – Included for dashboard mounting are : Suction cup mount, hook & loop fastener.

You need to make sure that the detector is mounted so that it is oriented parallel to the road.

The suction cup mount comes standard bent at a 45° angle and the metal is designed to bend without breaking. You need to adjust the angle carefully so when mounted, the detector is level with the road.

When mounting the radar detector, you are to avoid blocking the detector’s view by windshield wiper blades or dark tinting at the top of the windshield. Mounting behind these objects will block the signal detected by SPX7800BT and hence affect its performance.

Note: Do not attempt to bend the mount while the detector is attached.

You can’t mount it at the rear of your vehicle as you need to pair it with your smartphone to get all the advance features to function.

Is Radar Detector Legal?

Radar detectors are completely legal to use in non-commercial vehicles in 49 states. Virginia and Washington D.C. are the only places in the United States that currently ban radar detectors. Radar detector use in commercial vehicles has been prohibited in the U.S. since 1995 and radar detectors are also illegal in most Canadian provinces. 

What’s in the Box

SPX 7800BT Radar Detector, Suction-Cup Mount Windsheild Bracket Kit, Coiled Power Cord, Documentation


3.7 x 2.4 x 1.5 inches

Cobra Electronics SPX 7800BT Review – Customer Reviews 

At the time of this writing, the rating for Cobra SPX 7800BT is 4 out 5 stars which is quite a good rating. As a matter of fact, a lot of these ratings are concentrated on the high 4 and 5 stars indicating that many users are satisfied with this product. 


  • High performance and detects all major signals in S.
  • VG-2, Spectre 1 and IV Radar Detector-Detector
  • 2014 Innovations & Design Engineering Award
  • Military grade components
  • Color OLED display
  • Bluetooth technology
  • Location based alerts (LBAs)
  • iRadar Community
  • 8 point GPS compass
  • City / Highway mode
  • Set speed warning
  • IntelliShield false signal rejection
  • Small & compact
  • 1 year warranty


  • No built-in GPS and need to rely on the phone’s GPS
  • Need to pair with smartphone to use all the advance features
  • Can drain your phone’s battery quickly
  • Learning curve – Need time to learn all the features
  • Does not support Windows based smartphones
  • No AutoLearn feature to filter out false alerts automatically
  • Can’t mark locations to filter out false alerts 


The Cobra SPX 7800BT does what it is suppose to do as described despite having some shortcomings.  For example, the device does not have its own GPS and need to rely on the phone’s GPS; take away the GPS, and you take away the powerful features of this radar detector. If you did not pair it with your smartphone, you can still detect radar and laser signals but will not be able to use the LBA and iRadar features.

For the LBA, it is not able to pinpoint the exact location of the red light camera and speed cameras but will only show that you are in the ‘threat area”.

In terms of detection range, it is not the furthest but sufficient for you to act and slow down in time. During my drive with this detector, I notice that it does not pick up certain Ka signal; it is alright in picking K band but not so effective with Ka band.

If you are always driving on the highway, then you should go for the Escort Redline, Valentine One or the Escort Passport for maximum range detection. If your area is hilly and have many curve roads, the Valentine One will be the good choice but if it is flat like most of the US, the Escort Redline of Passport will be good.

In terms of iRadar community or online sharing, it is not as good as the Escort Passport Max2 – the Escort Live. If you have the budget, I will advice going for this ultimate and modern radar redactor from Escort.

If you do a lot of city driving, I would recommend a radar detector with GPS features so that you’ll be able to mark locations with false alerts and filter them out in future. Unfortunately, the SPX 7800BT does not have this feature which is very important for city driving.

Overall, the SPX 7800BT is still good although we suspect many of its features is copied from the Escort Passport Max. You basically pay for what you get.

Do take note that the radar detector is not a device for you to speed and endanger the lives of others. It is simply a tool to help you conscious of your surroundings and to avoid getting a ticket.

If you are speeding and a polica patrol car is following behind you, you will still be busted.

End of Cobra Electronics SPX 7800BT review.

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Cobra SPX 7800BT controls

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