Whistler CR85 Review | Whistler CR85 Laser Radar Detector




The Whistler CR85 is Whistler’s top range non-GPS radar detector. This high performance detector is able to detect all new lasers used in the United States and features KA Max Mode.

In this Whistler CR85 review, we’ll be looking at the device’s main selling point, its pros and cons and our verdict on this unit.

Whistler CR85 review




Whistler CR85 Review


In terms of design, there is really nothing fancy about the design with the usual all black housing and without the chromed buttons. This design is practical as it will not cast any reflection into windshield on a bright sunny day.

Signal Detection

In terms of signal detection, the Whistler CR85 is able to detect all signals used by the law enforcement agency in the United States for example: X, K, KA and super wideband Ka detection, instant-on (pulse) detection, POP and laser mode.

The CR85 is able to provide protection on 360 degree, detecting signals from all directions.

Laser Tips:

If you are the targeted vehicle, a laser gun can often determine your speed within a few seconds after you receive an alert. In this situation, there is generally no time to safely adjust your speed. However, if you are traveling near or behind the targeted vehicle and receive an alert, response time should be sufficient. Any laser alert, regardless of duration, requires immediate action.

Alert Priority

When two or more signals are received at the same time, the CR85 will set alert priority according to the following:

  1. Laser 2. Speed Radar 3. Safety Warning System

Example: If X band is alerting, then suddenly a laser signal is detected, the laser warning will override the X band alert.


In terms of display, the Whistler is dominated by a blue OLED text display that’s larger and higher-contrast than many such designs. The display is simple and easy to understand and remains readable even when the sun is shining brightly. Whenever any signal is detected, all the info is displayed on the OLED screen, augmented by two dazzling blue LEDs. This display can be programmed, through the Option Select Mode to: 1. flash for all alarms, 2. remain on, or 3. turn LEDs off completely.

Auto Dim

The Auto Dim feature automatically switches the illumination of the text display between the bright and dim settings according to varying light conditions so that the text display will always be easy to read. To manually override the auto dim feature, use the dark button on the unit. Enter Option Select Mode to turn off the auto dim feature.

Dim/Dark Mode

You can set the CR85 to dim/dark mode to reduce the illumination of the display. When this is set, whenever any signal is detected, the display will go dark for as long as a signal is being detected and for 20 seconds after, then the display returns to the dimmer setting.

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

Whistler CR85 laser radar detector reviews

Control Buttons – Click to Enlarge Image

Whistler CR85 control buttons

Description of Control Buttons – Click to Enlarge Image

Voice Alerts

Whenever any signal is detected, the voice alert will be heard to inform you the type of signals being detected. This is a great feature common in many modern detectors and you do not have to take your eyes from the road to look at the display. You can set the volume of the voice alert according to what you are comfortable in hearing. Do take note that if you constantly play loud radio, you may have to set the volume to a higher level.

Auto Quiet Mode 

With the Auto Quiet Mode, the alert volume will be reduced to level 1 approximately 5 seconds after a radar or safety warning system signal is detected. The alert for any new signal within 20 seconds will resume at level 1.

You can also manually cancel the alert audio by pressing the Quiet button.

Simple Operation

The Whistler CR85 is simple and easy to operate. Just unbox it, plug it in and you are all ready. There are however 16 user settings that you can set to fine-tune the detector according to your driving behavior.

City and Highway Mode

For those driving around the urban or highly populated area, switching to the City mode will lower the false alerts as it lowers the sensitivity of the X-band caused by items such as door openers and microwave there are common in these areas.  There are three different settings for the City mode which progressively lower the X-band sensitivity or totally disable it.

On the other hand, if you are driving on a highway, it will be to switch it to Highway mode to maximize the detection range.

Traffic Flow Signal Rejection (TFSR)

With more and more states using the radars (mostly K-band) to monitor the traffic condition, radar detectors without the ability to reject these signals will have one hell of a problem – tons and tons of annoying false alerts will be generated.

However, for radar detectors with the TFSR function, it will be intelligent enough to ignore and reject these signals and hence completely cut out the annoying false alerts.

Radar / Laser Signature ID

The CR85 also features RSID and LSID signal identifiers to display details of an alert. RSID identifies Ka Band 33.8, 34.0, 34.3, 34.7 or 35.5 and LSID indicates the Pulses Per Second (PPS) transmitted by laser.

This is a great feature as it verifies when a Ka-band radar signal is coming from a police radar gun and not one of the innumerable other sources that pose no threat. This feature lets a driver glance at Ka RSID and know instantly whether the alert is bogus or coming from, say, a Stalker police radar gun over the next hill. The concept was pioneered by Escort but its system operates differently from Whistler’s KaRSID system. Escort and subsidiary BEL (Beltronics) detectors merely display a five-digit number, out to the third decimal place.

For example, you may see 34.696 (expressed in gigahertz or GHz, meaning billion cycles per second. But few outside the police radar industry have any clue what these numbers mean. Whistler simplify this task and offers two types of display – non-police signals show only the band and signal stregth, the latter with arrows that grow more numerous as signal strength rises. This also is denoted numerically, an approach that’s relatively tough to misinterpret, even by non-native English speakers.

Genuine threats are depicted by an abbreviated, three-digit frequency and to its right, the band and numeric signal strength.

Feeling confuse about this feature? I can assure you that after using the CR85 for a day or two, all this will become very familiar to you.

For the LSID or Laser Signal Identification, it will identify the Laser gun’s pulse rate or PPS (Pulses Per Second) that is transmitted by the speed laser gun. LSID may also be used to identify other forms of laser sources such as LACC (Laser Assisted Cruise Control) systems found in some high end vehicles.

If the Laser PPS information displayed is due to another source such as local airports or LACC, LSID allows you to Lock Out this rate from giving you the continuous audio alert during this and any new encounter of the same rate. To Lock Out a PPS, press the Quiet button during the Laser alert. This will place an * on the screen beside the PPS rate and Lock Out this signature ID. Any new encounter with the same Laser Signature ID will provide the display information and two quick beeps.

Note: Common Laser PPS rates used in the USA are 100 / 125 / 130 / 200 / 238 / 380Hz. Other Laser PPS rates used outside the USA include 600Hz.

Caution: Do not lock out a PPS rate if it is close to known speed laser guns.

Another advanced feature is called Segmented Selectable Laser Receiver. This divides laser detection bandwidth into three segments and allows one or more to be deactivated, reducing false alarms from non-police laser signals. In factory-default trim all three are engaged, but the exceptionally adventurous are allowed to experiment.

Laser detection is a task where the Whistler CR-Series models excel. The CR85 and its siblings proved unusually adept at spotting lasers, including several new laser guns that outwitted some of the best radar detectors on the market.

Whistler CR85 best price

Whistler CR85 – Stealth Mode / Invisible

The CR85 has low emission to minimize detection from VG-2 and Spectre radar detector detectors (RDD). What this simply mean is that the CR85 will remain undetected if the police officer is using the VG-2 and Spectre to detect radar detector detectors.

The Interceptor VG-2 or simply VG-2, is one type of microwave receiver used by Police to detect signals radiated by the local oscillator of a radar detector. Because its purpose is to identify persons driving with radar detectors, these devices are known as a “radar detector detector” (RDD).

An RDD is the primary tool used by the police to identify radar detector equipped vehicles. If caught in a state or country where detectors are illegal, drivers risk losing their radar detector and receiving a fine. In addition, instant-on radar is almost always used in combination with an RDD, leaving unsuspecting motorists vulnerable to receive two tickets; one potential for speeding, and the other for possession of a detector.

Stay Alert Feature

The Stay Alert Feature is designed to test a driver’s alertness. To engage (when the unit is not alarming) :

  • Press and hold the City button for approximately 2 seconds. Release the button during or immediately after the alert is given.


Within 30-60 seconds, two beeps are sounded; to show alertness, the driver must press either the City, Menu, or Quiet buttons within 3-5 seconds. If a button is pressed within 3-5 seconds, the cycle is repeated. If a button is not pressed within 3-5 seconds, an alarm sounds.


  • Press the Dark button to exit the Stay Alert feature.

WARNING!!! Stay Alert is NOT intended as a substitute for adequate rest. You should NOT operate a vehicle if you are drowsy. During extended periods of vehicle operation, you should take frequent breaks. Improper reliance on the Stay Alert feature may result in vehicle damage, personal injury or death.

Battery Saver Mode

The Vehicle Battery Saver Mode automatically shuts off your detector within 3 hours. The timer is reset if the detector is turned off, unplugged or any button is pressed before the timer has expired. You’ll be alerted with an audible and visual alert before it shuts off.

During this warning, you can momentarily reset the timer by pressing any button. If the unit has automatically turned off, press the Power button to turn the unit back on.

Whistler CR85 Best Buy


When mounting the CR85, mount it to the center of the vehicle and as low as possible.  Caution and do not mount it behind wipers, ornaments, mirrored sunscreens, and etc… as this can affect the performance of the detector.

If you vehicle has an Instaclear™ or Electriclear™ type coating, which affect radar signals do consult your dealer or the owner’s manual to determine if your windshield has this coating.

When leaving your vehicle, it will be good to conceal your unit to reduce the possibility of theft.

 Intellicord Ready (Optional)

The optional INTELLICORD power cable allows the user to remotely control Power, City, Dim, Quiet and Auto Quiet functions with the press of a button located on the power cable’s plug.

Are Radar Detectors Legal?

In Most States YES.

Laser-Radar detectors are legal in every state (except Virginia and Washington, D.C., which have local regulations restricting the use of radar receivers in any vehicle) when used in automobiles or light trucks (under 10,000 lbs.).

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) issued a regulation, effective January, 1994 which prohibits radar and laser detector use in vehicles over 10,000 lbs. Prior to the FHWA regulation, laws existed in New York restricting the use of radar detectors in trucks over 18,000 lbs. and in Illinois in trucks over 26,000 lbs.


2.2 x 7.8 x 6.1 inches

What’s in a Box

The Whistler CR85 comes equipped with a power cord, a windshield mount, and reference guide.

Whistler CR85 Review – Customer Review 

At the time of this writing, the rating for the CR85 is 4 out of 5 stars, which is a very good rating. Most of these ratings are concentrated around the 4 and 5 star region which is an indication that many users are satisfied with this device.


  • Ability to detect all signals used by the law enforcement officers in US
  • Traffic FlowSignal Rejection (TFSR)
  • 360 degree detection
  • VG-2 and spectre stealth mode
  • Clear blue OLED display
  • Radar / Laser signature ID
  • City and highway mode
  • Volume control
  • Value-for-money
  • One year warranty


  • No GPS
  • Will need time to learn all the functions
  • Unable to mark locations for false alerts
  • No database of red light cameras and speed traps
  • No over-speed alert


If you are looking for a decent radar detector with no GPS function and value for money (under $150), the Whistler CR85 will be a good choice.

With good detection range, great blue OLED display, real voice alert, the ability to detect all signals used by law enforcement in the United States, the ability to intelligently filter out traffic flow signal and radar / laser signature ID, the Whistler CR85 has almost  everything you need to avoid getting ticket while driving.

If you are always driving on highway, the CR85 will be a good choice. However, if you want maximum detection range, do consider the Escort Passport Long Range radar detector, Escort Redline or the Valentine One. If you area is hilly and curvy, the Valentine One will perform better but on a straight and flat highway, all this three – Escort Passport, Escort Redline and Valentine One will have almost similar performance.

On the other hand, if you have a higher budget, consider getting radar detectors with advance GPS functions i.e. Whistler CR90, Escort Passport 9500ix, Escort Passport Max and Escort Passport Max2.

Radar detectors with GPS will be a good choice if your driving environment has many red light cameras, speed traps and many false alerts.

For the best all rounder – long detection range with GPS features, consider the Escort Passport Max2.

Note: When selecting a radar detector, always consider it as an investment. Just a couple of saves and you’ve got all your money back. So choose wisely the radar detector that suit your needs, don’t speed and drive responsibly.

End of Whistler CR85 review.

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Whistler CR85 Radar Detector Reviews




Whistler CR85 specs

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