BaoFeng UV-5R Plus Review: a better, yet Cheap Handheld Radio from BaoFeng

It was only recently I had reviewed BaoFeng UV-5R. BaoFeng is known for producing amazing variants for their successful products.

One such cosmetic variation of 5R is BaoFeng UV-5R+. I have heard a lot about this while inquiring about the performance of its predecessor.

It didn’t take much time for me to get my hands on the product. I really wanted to test it to compare how it’s performance is with respect to 5R.

Before we dig into the review, here is an overview of my test results of BaoFengu UV-5R Plus

Performance

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

For less than 30 bucks, you cannot beat UV-5R+ in terms of transceiver and antenna performance.
Features

⭐⭐⭐⭐

UV-5R+ boasts a fantastic HD color LED, comes with a durable shell, and has exceptional battery life.
User-Interface

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

While manual programming may seem a pain; besides that, the radio is easy to master in no time!
Value for Money

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

BaoFeng represents excellent value for money and UV-5R+ is a worthy entrant in our list of low-cost transceivers!

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Who Should Use BaoFeng UV-5R Plus?

BaoFeng UV-5R Plus

UV-5R plus is a compact HT with all the best functionalities of BaoFeng – all at an economical price. It supports FM, VHF, and UHF bands. Adding to that is the high-gain stock antenna, which provides the user with a decent range.

If you’re looking for advanced features without paying a fortune, UV-5R+ won’t disappoint!

While the original design of the classic UV-5R is maintained, the UV-5R+ supports extended batteries. Additionally, the upgraded LED steals the show with its exquisite clarity.

Be it road trips, contests, emergency operations, or other events; the 5R+ offers outstanding outdoor usability. Its sturdy exterior surpasses that of its predecessors. It is encased in a well-built metal shell with higher durability than that of UV-5R and 5RA.

Its lightweight and versatility forced me to test it as a portable HAM radio transceiver.

What You Should Know: BaoFeng UV-5R+ Specs

Many of UV-5R+ features are similar to those of the other variations of the UV-5R generation. Here’s a list of what you’ll find in this powerful handie-talkie:

      • 136-174/400-480 MHz frequency range
      • Dual-band frequency and dual-band display
      • Built-in VOX
      • Fashionable frame
      • Time-out timer
      • LED flashlight
      • 128 memory channels
      • Emergency alert
      • Selectable power (1W/5W)
      • Long battery life

Keeping these traditional elements aside, the UV-5R+ varies in its cosmetic features from the original model. Some of the cosmetic variants (like UV-5R+) are not compatible with the original UV-5R accessories.

It varies from UV-5R in terms of the frequency range where UV-5R+ receives and transmits at 136-174/400-480 MHz. On the other hand, UV-5R covers a range of 136-174 and 400-520 MHz.

Range

This portable HAM radio transceiver covers 136-174/400-480 MHz. The radio comes with an exceptional stock antenna that does its job well.

However, operators looking for long-distance communication may not be too impressed. In that case, you will need a better quality whip to cover the extensive distance.

With 4 watts of output power and a high-gain external antenna (Diamond or Nagoya), you can expect to reach 20-30 miles. If you live in a densely populated area surrounded by hills and trees, you may need to cut that figure to half if you do not have an external antenna. With the UV-5R Plus stock antenna, you can expect to hit about 5 to 10 miles.

Your radio’s performance will significantly depend on your geographical location. If you’re in between tall buildings or a hilltop, your terrain will affect the propagation. It will also subsequently impact your need for an external antenna.

UV5R+ Use Phase

If you have prior experience of using the UV-5R, you will have absolutely no problem operating UV-5R+. Both the devices share the same firmware and are operationally similar.

Both the models offer quite a different ‘feel’ in hand. While the original model has a military look, its variant, UV-5R+, has a more retro feel with its shiny metal front.

In terms of instructions, the user manual failed to impress. It isn’t very well-written and may not be helpful for many amateurs. You can instead use online platforms to get more information on the knobs and functions.

Manual programming by hand is also quite challenging. Programing repeaters into the radio will easily take up hours! Purchase a USB cable and install CHIRP to get around this problem. You can also use the software to disable TX through simple programming.

Results

At about 1.2 pounds, the transceiver is a clear winner in terms of portability. The HT is compact enough to fit into a pocket to accompany you on your outdoor adventures.

The audio was crystal clear on all bands, and I had no problems functionality wise. The battery lasted quite a bit, surprising me there.

You may want to opt for a better ham antenna if you’re looking for long-distance communications. This one only gets you a few miles, depending on the surroundings.

If you need a hobby transceiver, we recommend it 100%. However, it will only perform as a backup if you are only looking for a weather radio with TX ability.

There are transceivers with better power and abilities than UV-5R+. For this price, we doubt you’ll find something as good as this one; there are no two ways about it!

Overall, the product has plenty of community support and delivers decent performance.

Pros Cons
  • Outstanding stock antenna performance
  • Sturdy construction
  • Adequate battery run time
  • Excellent frequency band coverage for emergencies
  • The free, included-in-the-package software isn’t the best for programming
  • Needs better quality accessories

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Final Thoughts

Buying a durable and highly capable portable transceiver can be a daunting task, especially when you’re shopping under a specific budget. Many users equate a lower price with a product less powerful or of low quality. But, that’s not the case when you have a brand like BaoFeng!

UV-5R+ is proof of this statement. It is packed with the best features in a robust construction, all for merely 30 bucks.

This is a great choice for people looking for good handheld ham radio at an affordable price tag.  It will work just fine for newbies and hobbyists.

Bear in mind that the BaoFeng UV-5R+ is neither the most powerful nor the most feature-rich device on the market. Despite that, you will be satisfied with what you bag at a reasonable price like this one.

To make programming easier, install the CHIRP software and use a programming cable.

Overall, we reckon the BaoFeng UV-5R Plus is just as good as the other variations. While it certainly offers exceptional sound and signal reception, we aren’t entirely sure about its accessories. We would like to see a better antenna plug, improved squelch, and a high-quality internal mic.

Last update on 2020-09-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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