Baofeng BF-F8+ Plus Dual Band Radio Review

Baofeng BF-F8+

The Baofeng BF-F8+ a probably the best UV-5R variant I have ever tested. Is it a fluke or has Baofeng upped their game? Read on to see!

There are a lot of radios that are based on the UV-5R in some way. What I mean with the Baofeng BF-F8+ is that it is basically the same radio; plastics, battery, accessories, etc, but upgraded.

Isn’t that what the UV-6R, BF-F8HP, UV-5RA, and all the others are? Not really, read my reviews of those radios to see what they really are. Once I started putting the Baofeng BF-F8+ through my tests I started getting excited, this looked to be the replacement for the venerable UV-5R we have all been waiting for.

Let me start with what caught my eye almost immediately when I turned it on. You know those pictures of Baofeng radios with the black screen and lighter text, reversed from all the other Baofeng radios out there? Yes, the ones that when you get the radio in it never has? Yeah, the Baofeng BF-F8+ has that screen, no kidding.

Baofeng BF-F8+ screen

I have wanted one of these screens since I first saw the evidently photoshopped image of one for sale, but the radios never had one when they arrived. I have lost count of how many times that has happened. The Baofeng BF-F8+ has finally delivered.
With the backlight of the Baofeng BF-F8+ on the screen is what you see in the image above, almost white on dark blue. When the backlight turns off, the background turns jet black and the text stays that not quite white, grayish color. I will admit in low light it is a little harder to read than the standard UV-5R screen, but in good light or with the backlight on, it is awesome.
When comparing the Baofeng BF-F8+ vs UV-5R visually, the screen and sticker on the bottom are the only differences you will see. Of course, it even uses the same Baofeng BF-F8+ programming software, CHIRP. Comparing the Baofeng BF-F8+ vs BF-F8HP shows exactly what Baofeng can do when they have a little time as this radio suffers from none of the things I hate about the BF-F8HP.
The menu system on the Baofeng BF-F8+ seems identical to the UV-5R so it is easy to find what you are looking for. In fact, the manual for the radio literally is the UV-5R manual, go figure.
The transmitted signal from the Baofeng BF-F8+ is nicer than most Baofeng radios and just a tiny bit off dead accurate at 446Mhz. In addition, it adds some power behind that signal just about on par with the F8HP, 5RA, and 6R. All three of those radios however have dirtier signals than this one so my guess is this one will actually get you a usable signal further down the road.
Note that the BAND button is missing off the Baofeng BF-F8+ like most of the newer Baofeng radios. I was never really sure why that button was there anyway and someone there seems to have been equally as confused since it has been axed from just about all their radios.
My only complaint is that the Baofeng BF-F8+ I received has a rough spot in the power/volume knob. It is not that bad really, and it does not affect performance at all, but it is still a little irritating. If this was more than a $30 radio I would send it back but as it is I will just keep it. It will probably loosen up over time anyway.
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Photos

Baofeng BF-F8+ Test Results:

Screen readability Very Good
In-hand feel Good
Included antenna Very Good
Construction quality Good
Belt clip Good
Programmability Good
Transmit audio CLICK TO LISTEN
Maximum power output (2m/70cm) 4.5 watts / 2 watts
Size 241 * 59 * 44 mm
Actual weight 7.4 oz
Baofeng BF-F8+ manual CLICK TO DOWNLOAD
Programming software CLICK TO DOWNLOAD
Baofeng BF-F8+ Overall score
Baofeng BF-F8+ VNA Antenna Test
Baofeng BF-F8+ VNA Antenna Test
Baofeng BF-F8+ SRD spectrum analysis
Baofeng BF-F8+ SRD spectrum analysis
If you are interested, click here for an article on how I test radios.

 

FEATURES:
  • 25KHz/12.5KHz Switchable (Wide /Narrow) Band
  • 128 Memory Channels
  • 50 CTCSS /104 DCS Tones Transmit
  • Power Selectable (1W /5W)
  • VOX and OFFSET Functions
  • Dual Standby /Dual Watch
  • A/B band independent operation Transmitter
  • Time-Out Timer (TOT)
  • Busy Channel Lock-Out (BCLO)
  • 65-108MHz (FM Receive only),
  • 136-174MHZ and 400-520MHZ (TX/RX)
  • Mode of Operation: Simple or Semi-Duplex
  • Modulation Mode: 16k F3E /11k F3E
  • Maximum deviation: 〈5kHz (Wide) 〈2.5kHz (Narrow)
  • CTCSS/DCS deviation: 0.5+/-0.1kHz (Wide) / 0.3+/-0.1kHz (Narrow)
  • Intermediation distortion:〈10%
  • Stability: +/-2.5ppm
PROS:
CONS:
  • Uses the same accessories as UV-5R
  • Uses the same programming as UV-5R
  • Much better screen than most Baofengs
  • Excellent power output
  • Better transmission signal than most cheap radios
  • Power / Volume knob has a rough spot in it
  • Not that great of an antenna

Conclusions

Every radio up until the Baofeng BF-F8+ I have compared to the UV-5R improves one thing but takes away something else. I can honestly say they got this one right, it is in my opinion the best radio out there in this price range except maybe the UV-9R Plus.
If you are looking to buy any Baofeng radio, look really hard at the Baofeng BF-F8+.
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I hope you enjoyed my Baofeng BF-F8+ review!

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