Top critical review
Great Radio, Lousy Charger, and Warranty Requires Return of Entire Package and Invoice
on September 4, 2017
It took a couple of weeks for this radio to arrive. Charged up fine when I first got it. Used the radio for 3 days. Charged it up a 2nd time and worked for 3 days, no problem. Charged it up for the third time, charger died. Charger base works but the 10 volt power supply stopped working. Baofeng warranty requires returning the item to authorized seller or repair center. So you have to send the whole radio back with packaging and original invoice, and maybe you get YOUR radio back or you get a refurbished one, or you get a new radio. Since I only have $25 into this, shipping it would cost half of what I paid for it. Useless warranty actually. That said, the radio works great when coupled with an original Nagoya NA-771 antenna. Stubby that comes with it has terrible losses, so you might as well order an NA-771 antenna. The stubbie does work great when placed atop a mini UHF adapter and mated up with RG59 with an air wound 1:1 choke/balun about 14" wound around a 6" in form and then raise it 10 to 15 feet in the air and you have a nice antenna. On the radio itself the stubbie stinks. The NA-771 appears to have been made for this radio so its a good fit.
Now on for the rest. Programming is great when using CHIRP but you need a cable for it. Order OEM Baofeng and you won't be disappointed. Order from someone in mainland China who says its OEM Baofeng and you may or may not get OEM. I got a knock off which required so much work that I ended up buying OEM and having it shipped priority. The knock off is a 10 year old version of the chipset and the UV5R uses a modern chipset that downloads the drivers automatically without further install of driver software.
The radio performs well, expect that you will put 4 watts out ONLY if you have an adequate groundplane. Your arm is not an adequate groundplane so figure keep it on high power and using it handheld will get you about 1 to 1.5 watts out. Maybe 2. Hits repeaters well on VHF, iffy on UHF depending on distance, line of sight, and what's between you and the repeater. Simplex works, but you will maybe get 25 miles with nothing between you and the other unit. Maybe. Not a shoe in. Works good with mobile antennas, and Nagoya makes one for this unit that matches it well.
All in all, don't count on the charger. There are numerous complains about it bouncing around the net. Mostly the biggest complaint is it needs 10 volts into the cradle to charge it. You can purchase step up USB cables and step-down cigarette lighter plug adapters on eBay just be prepared to wait.
Also, go for the BL-5L 3800 mah battery. It will give you double the life. All in all for $25 the radio is worth it but the charger is junk.