Yaesu FT-4XR vs FT-65R, which is right for you?

From a quick glance, comparing the Yaesu FT-4XR vs FT-65R they look virtually identical and the specifications look like they are the same as well. The question is, are they the same or is one a better choice? Read on and find out!

Yaesu FT-4XR vs FT-65R pic1

Since both of these radios are the current offerings from the company and they both seem to be dual-band handhelds in roughly the same price range, it is only natural to compare the Yaesu FT-4XR vs FT-65R. When I saw them both in the catalog that was the first thing I wondered, how were they different?

The first difference you see when you compare the Yaesu FT-4XR vs FT-65R is that the 65R is slightly taller. This allows them to put two more buttons on the front; P3 and P4. It also allows them to put a slightly larger battery in; 1950mAh vs 1750mAh. Lastly, you can see they added a LED light to the front of the 65R which absolutely will blind you in the dark when you turn it on to realize it shines right straight out from the keypad  (who thought that was a good idea?).

When looking at the Yaesu FT-4XR vs FT-65R transmitted audio you find something really interesting. The 65R is louder, but they both have some distortion on the edges. I would have assumed that much of the electronics inside the two radios would have been similar, and that distortion on the edges seems to support that. My guess is that the louder volume is just a difference of factory adjustments.

This is borne out when looking at the spectrums of the Yaesu FT-4XR vs FT-65R side by side where you clearly see that the 4XR has a nice, tight, well-defined signal and the 65R, well, let’s just say it does not.

Yaesu FT-4XR vs FT-65R pic 02

Speaker output of the Yaesu FT-4XR vs FT-65R seems very similar with perhaps a slight nod to the 65R, but you really have to pay attention to see any difference. I am pretty sure I would never notice a difference in actual use. As it is I listen to the same transmission being received by both radios, one on my left and one on my right, then I swap them in a quiet room.

One thing I was not expecting was the difference between the antennas on the Yaesu FT-4XR vs FT-65R which shows that the 4XR has quite a bit better performance on 2m and slightly worse on 70cm. They look the same on the outside so I am not sure what is causing the difference, it could just be sample variations but the numbers seem a little far off for that. Perhaps I can get someone else to test theirs and send me their results for comparison.

The screens in the two radios share the new blue backlighting although the 4XR seems a little more towards the purple side while the 65R leans more towards white tint. A bigger difference between the two is the technology driving the screen itself. The screen is a segmented LCD in the Yaesu FT-4XR vs FT-65R’s dot-matrix screen which is far sharper. This was probably a cost-saving move and although there is no doubt that the FT-65 screen is a lot nicer, the FT-4XR is still plenty clear enough and easy to read.

Both of the radios use the same software and cable for programming. In fact, when you look at the configurations of the Yaesu FT-4XR vs FT-65R in CHIRP it looks like you could export from one radio and import it into the other. I am not brave enough to try it, nor would I suggest that you try it, but they sure look the same to me.

While we are talking about programming differences in the Yaesu FT-4XR vs FT-65R you would expect that programming them from the keypad would be virtually identical, you would be mistaken. It seems the 65R has some more options and has a clearly superior menu interface even though the idea is the same.

One example of front programming differences between the Yaesu FT-4XR vs FT-65R is to set the repeater shift on the 4XR you go to menu item 31 RPT.SFT and you can set the shift to +, -, or SIMPLEX. On the 65R you go to menu item 24, REPEATER, and on this one menu item you can turn ARS on and off, set the mode which is +, -, or SIMPLEX and also set the frequency shift, all on one screen.

Conclusions on Yaesu FT-4XR vs FT-65R comparisons

Overall both radios are excellent and comparing the Yaesu FT-4XR vs FT-65R may just come down to which one feels better in your hand. For me personally, the Yaesu FT-65R is a better radio but is nothing compared to my Yaesu FT-60R if I want a larger radio. It also fails compared to the Yaesu FT-70DR if you prefer a dual-band radio with Fusion digital. Where the FT-4XR shines is it is really small and makes a perfect radio to throw into a glove box or overnight bag.

So, if you are going to buy a primary radio that you will use in the field and/or will be pretty much your everyday carry, then the Yaesu FT-65R is a better choice. If on the other hand you will program the radio from a computer and carry it as a secondary radio, perhaps while traveling, in a glovebox or overnight bag, the Yaesu FT-4XR is probably a better choice.

I hope you enjoyed my article on the Yaesu FT-4XR vs FT-65R!

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