Baofeng supply great radios for the price, I've had a few now and have never been disappointed. Sure, you pay for what you get but I personally think you get a whole lot more and these radios are crammed with loads of useful features. Choosing a radio from Bafoeng is complicated as I say but I've put a chart below which I've borrowed from the Baofeng website (no copyright intended) to help you try and decide.
Certain models are not included as they are either reproductions or clones by other manufacturers under license such as the UV-82L or UV-89. Hope it helps you when choosing your new Baofeng radio.
Note, some other radios are not mentioned because vendors have paid to reproduce them but not include any extra features except misleading labels and badges as a marketing ploy. Some examples are the UV-89 and UV-82L which have no difference except labeling when compared to the UV-82. It is best to avoid these vendors as they are misleading and may not sell radios at the same quality as official Baofeng dealers.
Of course there is the BF-888s. I have a pair of these and they're about £12 new on eBay and I can't fault them either! They are 16 channel programmable radios which fit the regular Baofeng programming lead, microphones, ear pieces and antennas etc. They feature 50 CTCSS / 105 CDCSS codes, VOX function, emergency alarm (useless as it is not transmitted), intelligent charging, battery save, low voltage alert and time out timer. Frequency range is 400-470MHz, power 1 watt on low, 5 watts on high and a 3.7v 1500mAh battery.
These radios are pretty fool proof, easily programmable and quite rugged for a small, cheap handheld. They are ideal to throw in your pocket in a rush and perform well on the air. I've used these on my local repeater with good reports but like with any radio, you get what you pay for.
Lastly there is the Baofeng UV-3R and UV-3R+ model which is a slightly revamped version of the UV-3R. Some people have commented that the RX and TX quality is better than the UV-5R but the lack of a keypad makes it harder to programme. I have a UV-3R first but sold it to buy a UV-5R solely due to the keypad however I'd highly recommend the 3R too!
So Which Is The Best?
It seems even Baofeng can't decide! They have chosen the 3 radios listed below but it depends on what you're looking for. I bought a GT-3 and it has noticeably better RX and TX quality than my UV-5R. I think everybody has their own views and opinions on which radio they prefer.
- According to Baofeng, the best overall is the UV-82 series because it features the highest quality PCB board, heavy duty casing, most ergonomic case and keypad, a louder 1 watt speaker, and overall better RX and TX than other models. The series includes the only current 220mhz Baofeng; the UV-82X and the only commercial use approved Baofeng UV-82C.
- The best radio in UV-5R family (third generation) is the BF-F8HP because it is the only tri power radio with 1, 5 and 8 watts of power. It also features the high gain V-85 antenna, the second generation PCB board from the UV-5R, it is compatible with all UV-5R accessories, and expanded frequency range.
- The most economical radio according to Baofeng is the BF-F8+ because it is the cheapest variant from the chart above (does not include the BF-888S or the UV-3R. It also features the second generation PCB board from the UV-5R andis compatible with all UV-5R accessories.
Thanks for reading!
73's, Lewis M3HHY.