Baofeng UV-5R+ plus Review, a better UV-5R?

Baofeng UV-5R plus

Baofeng UV-5R plus Review

I have lost count of the number of radios that have been released as “updated UV-5R!” or some such statement. Most of them are simply gimmicks to get your money, some, however, are actual improvements over the classic. Which one is the Baofeng UV-5R plus?

Starting with the basics, the Baofeng UV-5R plus shares all the same accessories with the UV-5R including a drop-in charger, antenna, battery, microphone, speaker, headset, and pretty much anything else you could name.

This is actually a smart move for the Baofeng UV-5R plus even if this is an upgraded version of the old UV-5R as the market is ripe with accessories for these radios. Online you just about can’t find a place that carries handheld radios that doesn’t have accessories for the UV-5R.

Turning on the Baofeng UV-5R plus has that same old familiar beeps and voice we are used to. Nothing exciting, and the menu structure is exactly the same. This too makes sense. Keep the things that make it a classic.

The buttons are an interesting mix as the PTT is noticeably better on the Baofeng UV-5R plus than the old UV-5R, but the VFO/MR and A/B buttons are much worse. I am not sure how they pulled that off but I really don’t like the feel of those buttons at all. Fortunately, the rest of the buttons and the dial on top seem about the same on both.

Testing the antenna shows something interesting, the antenna on the Baofeng UV-5R plus is much worse than the one that came on the UV-5R. It looks like the antenna is meant for a quad-band radio, or more likely just someone’s attempt to make it semi-functional on so many bands they can sell it to any radio manufacturer for any radio.

The transmitted audio on the original UV-5R was not bad for what you paid for the radio. No, it won’t stand up to the transmitted audio on my Yaesu FT3DR, but then again I could buy about 12 UV-5Rs for what that Yaesu costs so for the price, it was very good. This Baofeng UV-5R plus improves on the original here minimizing the distortions and high clipping. Still no match for my Yaesu or Kenwood radios, but I’ll be danged if they aren’t inching closer.

When you look at the spectrum analysis of the transmission you can see why the audio is better, because the signal is substantially better. My guess is that the actual internal audio portion of the Baofeng UV-5R plus is probably the same as the older UV-5R but when they cleaned up the signal being transmitted that really helped the audio as well.

Since we are talking about the transmitted signal I should also point out that the Baofeng UV-5R plus put out 5 watts on my meter compared to the 3 watts of the UV-5R. This means that not only is this radio putting out more power than the old version, but it is also putting out a cleaner one too. It doesn’t get much better than that.

One other nitpick I have is that silver front face on the Baofeng UV-5R plus, not a fan. I think they thought it made the radio look more futuristic, I think it makes it look more like a cheap toy.

 

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Photos

Test Results:

Screen readability Good
In-hand feel Good
Included antenna Poor
Construction quality Good
Belt clip Good
Programmability Good
Transmit audio CLICK TO LISTEN
Frequency accuracy 146.520 @ 146.520
Maximum power output (2m/70cm) 5 watts / 1.1 watts
Actual weight 7 oz
Radio manual CLICK TO DOWNLOAD
Programming software CLICK TO DOWNLOAD
Overall score
Baofeng UV-5R plus VNA test
Baofeng UV-5R plus VNA test
Baofeng UV-5R plus spectrum analysis
Baofeng UV-5R plus spectrum analysis

 

If you are interested, click here for an article on how I test radios.
FEATURES:
  • Channel Step: 2.5/5/6.25/10/12.5/25KHz
  • Antenna Impedance: 50Ω.
  • Operating Voltage: DC 7.4V.
  • Mode of operation: Simple or semi-duplex.
  • Dimension(W x H x D): 100 x 52 x 32 mm.
  • Weight: 250g (including battery, antenna).
  • Modulation Mode: 16kΦF3E / 11kΦF3E.
  • Maximum deviation: <5kHz(Wide) / <2.5kHz(Narrow).
  • Spurious Radiation: <7μW.
  • Adjacent Ch. power: ≤-65dB(Wide) / ≤-60dB(Narrow).
PROS:
CONS:
  • Improved signal quality
  • Improved audio quality
  • Better PTT button
  • VFO/MR and A/B buttons are mushy
  • Poor antenna

Conclusions

I was pretty much expecting the Baofeng UV-5R plus to be just another UV-5R with a facelift to sell to people who thought they were getting something new and improved. I was wrong.

Is it worth upgrading to the Baofeng UV-5R plus if you already have a UV-5R? Maybe. The best argument for that is that it has more power and a far better signal making you more likely to be heard and understood when it counts. Take the antenna off your old UV-5R and put it on this radio to make sure you have the best signal.

Would I buy the Baofeng UV-5R plus instead of a standard UV-5R? If that were my only two choices, yes. I think I still prefer the UV-9R or BF-F9V2+ over this one if I had a choice but don’t read that as this is a bad radio, it is not. For the money, this is an excellent radio that makes real improvements over its predecessor.

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I hope you enjoyed my review of the Baofeng UV-5R plus!

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