I purchased the Passport 8500 X50 when I purchased my VT in September, 2012. I am still stinging from the ticket I got last weekend (62 in a 45 zone...and the limit had just dropped...prick). I'm in the metro Atlanta area and do most of my driving between Atlanta and Athens (GA) and South Carolina. The Passport rated very well in the reviews I read, which included many consumer reviews from owners. The issue with even the best radar detectors is that the cops have learned to outsmart them with method. Down here at least, they set their guns at such short range that the detector won't throw an alarm until the cop already has your speed locked.
The Passport 8500 does have POP and VG2, by the way. Overall, it's a good unit and it has absolutely saved me at least 4 tickets, but tickets are best avoided by:
1. Not driving like an idiot (even when nobody is looking)
2. Rely on the detector only to do what it was designed to do; give you time to decrease your speed to the speed limit before the cop has a lock on you (i.e. it's impossible to slow from a 90 MPH cruise speed to the 40 MPH speed limit in time to avoid going to jail, as well it should be).
3. Pay attention to the hot spots on your daily drive. In the places where you know cops to hide out, just go the speed limit and pretend like you don't even have a radar detector.
Yes, all of this sage advice from the guy who is still pissed about the ticket he got last weekend.
This post is probably more of a retrospective and lessons learned for me than anything.
I'll add briefly that the Passport also does two other things very well; detecting lidar/laser and also avoiding false alarms and noise.