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Showing 1-10 of 906 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 960 reviews
on December 27, 2013
I own three UV-5RE+ radios, and they're absolutely excellent transceivers at this price point. Heck, even at twice the price they'd be great radios.

They have a feel of quality that's unexpected. In other words, they don't feel flimsy at all. The plastic is thick, and under the battery cover there is a metal plate/chassis. The buttons click more loudly than expected, but they give reassuring tactile feedback. The power/volume knob even has a reasonable amount of firmness to its movement preventing accidental adjustment, and it doesn't wobble at all.

I won't get into all the features because you can review the description/literature for those, but suffice to say it has most of the features of a Motorola, Kenwood, or Icom that would cost you over ten times as much. (That being said, it is in no way a direct replacement for commercial-grade transceivers made by those manufacturers).

Audio quality is good, though the speaker is a bit tinny and doesn't provide much response on the low end. It is loud, however. The mic is adequate; Not what you'd find on its big cousins, but much better than comparably priced blister-pack radios that you'd get from a big box retailer.

Reception is also surprisingly good. It's just about as good as many more expensive radios and scanners out there. I haven't done much transmitting, but a few tests did again show surprising range.

It has a scan function, but I'd estimate it to scan one channel per second. If you have more than a few channels programmed you can miss entire transmissions in the time it takes to cycle through. So if you're thinking about buying one as a replacement for a proper scanner, just don't.

However, you can monitor two frequencies simultaneously. There is no appreciable lag in reception of either one, so it is a quite effective two-channel scanner. One bit that bothers me is that when you key up (transmit) it will transmit on the last of the two channels that received something. (There may be a setting for this, but I'm not sure). That can be an issue if you want to monitor one while transmitting only on the other.

If you don't know much about radio communications, some of the settings are going to be daunting in the sense that their menu descriptions are extremely shortened abbreviations or initialisms, and the included manual doesn't shed much light on them.

I would give one piece of advice: Buy the programming cable, or buy a package deal that includes the programming cable. Even though the software is a bit, shall we say, hodgepodge, it does work. Each channel is entered in a separate line in a spreadsheet type of arrangement, and can include a text label in addition to all the other settings. Even though the software doesn't have a "professional" feel to it, programming is quick and easy.

The antennae I received were different from the one pictured. They are about 25% longer, much thinner, and more flexible. (One of my radios has the stubbier variant that's pictured). I prefer the ones I received for their flexibility.

Even the battery life is quite good! I've been using the radios mostly for monitoring, and I've yet to actually drain one of the batteries, despite occasionally leaving one on overnight. (In case you're wondering why I have three of them, it's because they're so cheap that I keep one at my office, one in my basement, and one in my jacket -- I mean, why not?)

The one downside of BaoFeng is the quality of their accessories. With my first radio I got a speaker mic. It felt flimsy, audio quality was horrendous, and the cable worked its way loose of the housing after one day of barely any use. The earpiece/mic included with these radios also has a flimsy feel to it. I haven't bothered using them, so I can't comment on audio quality. The charging bases are reasonably well-made, but are very lightweight and have a lower quality feel than the radios themselves. But again, at this price you can't even get another radio with charging base and lithium ion batteries, so it's not a real problem!

One design weakness (which is not unique to the BaoFengs) is that the base doesn't provide power to the radio. If you leave the radio on while it's in the charger it will drain the battery. Once the battery is drained below the level at which the charger no longer thinks it's full, it will start charging it. This makes for a very short discharge/charge cycle that will probably shorten battery life.
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on September 9, 2016
This is a surprisingly well-built and versatile radio. I had expected much worse when I bought a two-pack of them (bought two in case one was DOA). Instead, I have solid audio, good transmit and receive, solid heft and tactile impression, and accessories I had not remembered were included (headset, belt clip). It is not as intuitive as radios USED TO BE, but if you have ever tried to program a Yaesu VX-3R, it takes a user's manual as well, and the latest batch of offerings have more in common with this little radio than with those "old days" HTs that actually were intuitive and easy to use.

I think this radio must have a history of being applied to business radio and other "disposable" environments before it found its way into the Ham market. It is clearly evident that effort has been made to address durability and ease of (pardon the phrasing) dumb-monkey use (ie. Push the button and talk. Don't touch anything else unless you're told), while the user interface for Hams, who require much more access to their radio's operation, seems... less well thought out.

I would not hesitate to recommend this radio to new or experienced hams in need of a 2m or 7cm HT.
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on February 12, 2014
I had seen reviews of these radios before but I have been taking a break from the ham community for a while. Besides, I still have a perfectly good, barely used Kenwood TH-71 so why would buy another? To be honest, they looked cool and they were cheap. I ordered one, then I ordered a second one, aftermarket antennas and a programming cable.

To cut through the BS, these radios are amazing. I really didn't expect this level of quality for the price. They are not perfect, but they can compete with the major brands that cost 4 times as much. Each came with a charger base, a wall wart to power the base, a lanyard, a dual band antenna with a male SMA connector, and a ear piece, microphone thingy so you can look like a secret agent dude. Anyway, here is what I thought.....

Pro: Quality feel, not cheap plastic junk like I suspected. Battery capacity is 3 times the capacity of the stock battery in my Kenwood...1800 maH at 7.4 volts. When operated at low power, this should give the radio a long battery life. The frequency range seems to cover not only the 440 and 2m bands, but also GMRS, FRS, MURS and business band. It is completely programmable using the CHIRP software (and the cable). You can also download the entire local repeater list and copy it to the radio. The radio can also be programmed manually as to repeater offset, and tone using the keypad. DTMF is also possible using the keypad. It has a dual VFO and can scan in VFO or memory mode. The output is rated at 1 or 4 watts. I don't have the right adaptor to verify that, but that's what the manual claimed. Power can be switched between high and low from the keypad.

Semi-pro?: The display acts as a mode annunciatiator, meaning that the color changes to show if the radio is standing by (dark) transmitting (orange) receiving (blue) and purple (standby, not in power save). All these colors are changeable through the menu. There is also a mode light which I'm sure would have been adequate, but to each his own. As an added gee wiz feature, it has a flashlight and a strange alarm mode. The radio will receive the commercial FM band also. I almost forgot, it talks. There is a voice that tells you what mode you are in (vfo or memory) and what channel you are on. Interesting, but it gets annoying sometimes. Im not sure if it can be turned off.

Con: The radio has a 4 watt maximum output. While this is probably adequate, 5 would have been preferred. My Kenwood puts out 5 on the battery and 6 on external power. The choices on this radio are 1 or 4 as claimed by the manufacturer. I would imagine that this is related to the battery voltage which is also lower than the 9.6 volts of the Kenwood. The only real problem I have with the radio is that the secondary functions on the keypad cant be used to program the radio unless you are already in the menu mode. Its best to use the cable. I would prefer that the flashlight, and alarm thing weren't there. Its a radio, not a disco light.

Over all, this is an incredible value. If you are looking for a cheap way to get started in ham radio, this is it. With the right adaptor, this could be used as a mobile or base radio. All you need then is an external antenna.

I wont get into the legality of operating one of these radios without the proper license. Just 3 weeks ago a guy got caught operating on 2m without a license, he was fined and his equipment was taken. The licensed ham he was talking to got a warning letter for even talking to him. All the info is available on-line. You can take the practice tests on-line. The tests are like 10 bucks. Most people in the community love to help newbies. Its just not that hard to do it right. Ok, I have preached enough.
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on April 14, 2016
Once again I find it amazing how inexpensive this radio is, including the shipping at this low price. The big name radios are ten times as expensive, and although they might be a little better than this, they aren't ten times better. The UV-5RE is the same radio as the UV-5. Only the front grill is different. Although the radio feels solid and durable, I'm not fond of the silver front grill. The older UV-5R looks better, but it's five bucks more for basically just a black grill.

It's no secret this radio, like all the Chinese radios, is hard to program on its own. You really do need a programming cable to save yourself a day of manual programming. Download CHIRP for free and you're all set to program and copy from one radio to the other with ease.

The radio has two VFO memories, but only one PTT button. The blue button on the front switches the VFO or memory channel from A to B. The orange button switches between VFO and memory.

I haven't found any serious deficiency in the radio itself compared to the expensive models. The antenna is the weak point, but other antennas are available. The sound is crisp and loud for a radio this size. Battery life is quite long. I can use this all day on a charge. The charging base is flimsy feeling and needs proper alignment to get the radio into the slotted fitting, but it works well.

Sure, I like the Japanese radios better, but I don't think the extra 200 bucks buys much more than a name. Chinese products usually aren't made very well, but Baofeng seems to be an exception. I have no complaints with any of their radios, and I own three different models. All are reliable and durable as any of the big name radios.
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on March 9, 2017
Item arrived on time. Shipped very quickly.
One radio came in a package that appeared open as some of the plastic was cracked.
Programmed both radios in about 20 minutes.
Both radios worked great. I actually told one of my friends this was probably the best deal I've bought in the last decade.
1 hour later one radio stopped working. It made very loud screeching sounds.
The voice that says channel/frequency mode was replaced by the loud screeching sounds as well.
Keying the working radio's mic also caused it to screech.
Reset the radio by traversing through the menu's. Same problem.
Returned both radios. Worked great for that hour though.
I'm guessing the defective radio was returned by another customer and shipped to me as the packaging indicated it had been used before.
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on June 21, 2016
I have held an amateur radio license for 30 years. I think this is one of the best values I have purchased. This little radio does not compare to the name brands that have been around for years of course but for the price you can take it with you anywhere and not worry about it being stolen, getting wet, falling form a high place or any other hazard. not because it is rugged (which it is not bad) but the cost of replacement.
The radio functions well with clear audio and a decent range. The antenna leaves a little to be desired as well. I think I have 8 of these now. in my car, my office, my truck and my go bag and .....My handheld before this was a Kenwood and no this does not compare for clarity and range but, battery life is actually better..
If you are not a licensed amateur it is illegal to transmit using this radio (possible large fine). So if you just want to listen you are welcome, But if you want to talk on these frequencies please study and pay the the few dollars to get your license all the test questions are on the internet. And this is an inexpensive first rig to get your feet wet with.
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on July 15, 2014
I cannot hit repeaters that are 3-5 miles away, even on "high power" (4-watts), (though signal can be heard from nearer radios). Other Baofeng users can hit the similar repeaters. I have an obviously transmit power problem, and cannot get the radio repaired/replaced because it is a few days outside of the "30-day return window". (As a new ham, It took me a few weeks to be 100% that I was absolutely configured properly for the repeaters). Now I'm stuck with a useless radio.
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on March 5, 2014
Ok, as been said, the instructions are not real user friendly (reduced one star for this issue). However I used a youtube video and figured out what I needed to. Was able to listen in to conversations from inside the house from operators on the outskirts of town. I live in A large city in southern texas, and had no issues. I coulnd't track down a repeater, however on the scan i was able to hear some broadcasts.

I used the stock antenna, and the broadcast locations were over 15 miles away. Again, not a HAM guy.. still very very new at this.. but I liked what I heard. I think this would be fine for my needs.

Delivery was great, packing was great, and no other issues.

I ordered a longer antenna, and plan to order a disposable battery adapter for regular batteries, and rechargeable batteries. I also ordered a car charger for this item for greater mobility. (personal choice for me just in case)

Great little piece of gear.. Amazing piece for for the price...
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on February 27, 2017
I have bought a lot of these radios. They are a great little two meter radio. I use them to scan local police chatter and they work well. They are not the fastest scanning radio but if you don't put a lot of channels in, it works well. I would certainly recommend anyone buying a radio to buy a programming cable as well. It makes programming multiple channels a breeze. They have been very durable for me and I have dropped mine many times. Battery life is great. If you don't transmit a lot, you are good for the day on a charge. I have worked stations on the satellite SO-50 with just the stock antenna. They are a great starter radio and for the price they can't be beat!
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on September 16, 2015
I know these get a lot of mixed reviews and mostly about how hard they are to program.

Those other reviews only inspired me to learn how to manually program this!

Along with learning how to manually program the radio, I learned how to modify the charger base for extending the external power supply for a variety of voltages.

The instruction manual that comes with this is pretty much garbage, however, there are multiple manuals online and my favorite was a list of the menu options, what they are, how they work and what settings should be set for HAM radio use.
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