The Baofeng UV-3R Plus is a small dual-band radio whose design was the predecessor to the ever-popular UV-5R. Is it as impressive a radio for the price as its offspring?
Depending on who you talk to, and what market you are talking about, the original Baofeng UV-3R came out sometime in 2010 or very early 2011. This version is much newer but still has the same basics of the original radio.
Overall the Baofeng UV-3R Plus feels like a toy with very lightweight plastics and small proportions. The screen however is pretty large given the overall size of the radio and it is more than enough to see two lines of frequencies easily.
One interesting feature that I have not seen in another radio is the knob on the top of the Baofeng UV-3R Plus does not turn when you first grab it and try to twist. You need to pull it up away from the body of the radio first and it will click, then you can turn it as you would expect.
The first time I ran into this I almost broke the knob right off the top of the Baofeng UV-3R Plus trying to twist it, yes, I am hard-headed. After figuring it out I thought it was a pretty nice idea making it impossible to change the frequency or adjust the volume unintentionally.
Like most Baofeng radios, the Baofeng UV-3R manual is a joke. You will probably get more out of this Baofeng UV-3R review than out of that manual. Heck, you would get more out of a UV-3R cheat sheet than the manual.
The Baofeng UV-3R programming cable is the same cable used with a lot of Baofeng radios including the UV-5R. And of course, you can program the radio with the freely available CHIPR programming software.
While it keeps the radio running for a pretty good while the Baofeng UV-3R battery is pretty small and lightweight. I have seen larger batteries available for the radio but am not sure I would want one. There is no reason I would be transmitting on this little thing for hours on end and one of the absolute best features is the small and lightweight factors. A larger battery would eliminate some of those factors while gaining virtually nothing.
The little Baofeng UV-3R Plus does a pretty good job for a small radio but unfortunately with new technology, you can get better radios for less money. Just off the top of my head, comparing the Baofeng UV-3R vs Baofeng UV-5R, I would go for the UV-5R which is just a little bigger and much more powerful. Even looking at price alone comparing the Baofeng UV-3R vs UV-5R there just isn’t much of a difference at all.
That being said, if you have a Baofeng UV-3R Plus or can pick up some used ones cheap, then they are perfectly serviceable radios for keeping in touch with someone within a few miles. They are not quite as useful for long-range or emergency use but the Baofeng UV3R will fit pretty much anywhere so it is better than not taking a radio at all.
I have managed to find original UV3Rs, Baofeng UV-3R mark ii, and even the occasional Baofeng UV-3r+ on eBay for really cheap, many of them included lots of accessories making them even more of a deal. Do watch out though as I have seen some people selling them as-is with some pretty serious problems. One of them had a screen you could barely read it was so scrambled, another worked fine except they had managed to destroy the programming port so you were stuck with whatever frequencies they had already programmed. Needless to say, I passed on those.
Baofeng UV-3R Plus Test Results:
|Transmit audio||CLICK TO LISTEN|
|Maximum power output (2m/70cm)||1 /.4 watts|
|Size||174 * 55 * 40 mm|
|Actual weight||5.2 oz|
|Baofeng UV-3R Plus manual||CLICK TO DOWNLOAD|
|Programming software||CLICK TO DOWNLOAD|
|Baofeng UV-3R Plus Overall score|
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