The Yaesu FT-4XR is Yaesu’s new entry-level Chinese made dual-band radio? How does it compare to other Yaesus and is it worth upgrading from a Baofeng? Read on to find out!
Let me start with what the Yaesu FT-4XR is not. It is not something to be compared to higher-end Yaesu radios such as the FT-60R, VX-8GR, VX-6R, or Yaesu FT-70D. All of those radios are Japanese built and this and it’s bigger brother the FT-65R are Chinese built. Even with the country of manufacture set aside, the radio is not in the same league, sorry. A better question might be how the Yaesu FT-4XR vs Baofeng comparison looks.
On its own, however, the Yaesu FT-4XR is still a very well built and capable radio at an amazing price for a radio from the legendary Yaesu.
For starters, the radio feels very solid in your hand. With the Yaesu FT-4XR there is nothing you feel like you might break. From the solidness with which the antenna screws into the top to the lack of sideways play in the belt clip, there is no doubt this is not a cheap radio.
All of the buttons, keys, and knobs on the Yaesu FT-4XR feel good and are very responsive. I particularly like the knob on the top being used as both power and volume, as it should be. While I like their FT-70D I just really wish it had a power/volume knob.
I will mention that the keys on the front of the Yaesu FT-4XR are pretty small. They are much smaller than it’s larger brother the FT-65R and smaller than most Baofeng radios as well. This can be a challenge if you want to do much programming in the field and either have larger hands or are getting older and have a harder time seeing them.
Programming the Yaesu FT-4XR from the front panel is perfectly doable, but is a little weird. For those new to amateur radio, it probably will be just fine but those of us who have been around a while will notice that the programming system works just like a Baofeng in that you scroll through a menu system and select the option you want, then change that option. The menu items use the Yaesu terminology but gone are the quick keys on the front of the radio allowing you to set items like duplex, power, and tone with just a couple of key presses. Like most radios these days, it seems the Yaesu FT-4XR just isn’t really field programming friendly.
The battery on the Yaesu FT-4XR vs FT-65R is about the same although slightly smaller coming in at only 1750mAh, but I have no reservations thinking this is a true 1750mAh battery as it is quite hefty and lastly quite a while. It also brings over the battery latch system from the FT-65R which I do not like, but such is life. The release is small and just about requires you to use your fingernail or a tool to slide it over to swap batteries.
Looking at the LCD on the Yaesu FT-4XR shows the new blueish backlighting although they moved back to the segmented LCD display like on older radios like the Yaesu FT-60R instead of the newer dot-matrix on the FT-65R. It is still a much nicer screen than you will find on just about any of the cheap Chinese radios.
I use the freely available CHIRP for the Yaesu FT-4XR programming software and it works quite well.
One last really nice feature of the FT-4XR is the belt clip which is strong, well designed, and can easily go over a standard belt or even a thick duty belt.
FT-4XR Test Results:
|Screen readability||Very Good|
|Included antenna||Very Good|
|Construction quality||Very Good|
|Belt clip||Very Good|
|Transmit audio||CLICK TO LISTEN|
|Maximum power output (2m/70cm)||3.1 watts / 3 watts|
|Size||250 * 62 * 48 mm|
|Actual weight||8.8 oz|
|Yaesu FT-4XR manual||CLICK TO DOWNLOAD|
|Programming software||CLICK TO DOWNLOAD|
|Yaesu FT-4XR Overall score|
The Yaesu FT-4XR is a nice basic radio. If you are looking for a well built and solid analog radio with no real frills, then this might be a perfect radio for you. While my review might not really sound like it, I like this little radio. It feels so much more solid in my hand and is much slicker to use than my Baofengs.
In the end, will the Yaesu FT-4XR actually do more than a Baofeng UV-5R? Not really. Think of this radio as a stripped-down Cadillac where the Baofeng is a well equipped Kia. The Cadillac is a lot nicer to tootle around in, but it doesn’t really do anything the Kia won’t. It is just a matter of if you are willing to pay for something nicer or not.