Zastone M7 Dual Band Handheld Radio Review

Zastone M7

The Zastone M7 is a dual-band (2m/70cm) DMR radio which is probably the most under-rated radio in its class available today. Read the review to find out why!

I have to admit right up front, I am a serious Zastone M7 fanboy. I have loved this radio since I first opened the box. There wasn’t even any need to turn it on, just the look of it, nice. I haven’t felt that way about a radio since my old Kenwood TH-79a.

Then I turned the Zastone M7 on and that amazing reversed screen (light digits on a dark background) came on sending a shiver up my spine. Turn out the lights in the bathroom and look at that dark blue glow behind the keys, wow. Whoever the designer for this radio was designed so they could use it, not to sell to someone else.

From the belt clip that opens wide and has a little hook at the bottom to keep it from falling off to the knurled end on the antenna where it screws onto the top of the radio, someone spent a lot of time refining the Zastone M7 and I for one really appreciate it.

So besides making me drool, how does the Zastone M7 actually stack up against other radios? Extremely well, with one downside, it doesn’t work with CHIRP. ACK!

Zastone M7 programming from the keypad is reminiscent of a Baofeng radio except you use some fantastic keys on the front. Press the MENU button and scroll through the list using the large up and down arrows, then menu to select an item or EXIT to back up.

Many of the Zastone M7 menu items are virtually identical to a Baofeng menu system making it really easy to get used to, at least if you have any experience with Baofengs. Even if not, the screen is easy to read (even for my aging eyes, which is really nice) and key presses are very responsive, unlike some radios where you have a noticeable lag.

The knob on the top of the Zastone M7 is very smooth with a nice click to turn on and off (I much prefer that to a button). My only complaint here is that I wish they put a shield up on the right side of the knob so if something brushes against it, the volume didn’t get changed.

As long as we are talking about complaints, the Zastone M7 does not work with the CHIRP programming software and although the Zastone programming software works just fine, it launches in Chinese so you have to switch it over to English before you can use it. This requires you to look at the top of the screen, click on the third tab over then click on the only item that drops down below it. The screen that appears will have one readable item on it with a radio button next to it, that one item reads English. Tick that radio button and click the big button at the bottom of that screen and the program will switch to English.

The Zastone official website seems to offer all the downloads you need as well as a way to contact Zastone support, should your Zastone M7 malfunction.

Other than the little issues of no shield for the volume knob (most radios do not have one) and not being compatible with CHIRP, there is really nothing to not like about this radio. I have had one person tell me that the transmitted volume is a little low, and that is true, however, the clarity of the transmitted audio is well above average so there is no issue with the Zastone M7 as far as I am concerned.

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Photos

Zastone M7 Plus Test Results:

Screen readability Excellent ++
In-hand feel Excellent
Included antenna Very Good
Construction quality Very Good
Belt clip Good
Programmability Very Good
Transmit audio CLICK TO LISTEN
Maximum power output (2m/70cm) 4.2 watts / 2 watts
Size 271 * 62 * 45 mm
Actual weight 10 oz
Zastone M7 manual NOT AVAILABLE
Programming software CLICK TO DOWNLOAD
Zastone M7 Overall score
Zastone M7 VNA Antenna Test
Zastone M7 VNA Antenna Test – Click to enlarge
Zastone M7 SRD spectrum analysis
Zastone M7 SRD spectrum analysis – Click to enlarge
If you are interested, click here for an article on how I test radios.

 

FEATURES:
  • Output Power: 8W,Channels :250
  • Frequency Range: VHF/UHF 136-174MHz/400-480MHz
  • Channel Interval:25KHz(Wide)/12.5KHz(Narrow)
  • Working Temperature:-20℃ ~ +50℃
  • Working Voltage: DC7.4V
  • Battery Capacity: 7.4V–2600mA/H Polymer lithium battery pack
  • Modulation System:16KφF3E(Wide)/1KφF3E(Narrow)
  • Dual Bands Receiving Status
  • CDCSS/Continuous Digital Controlled Squelch System
  • Special CDCSS (frequency hopping function)
  • Scrambled Voice
  • Compress and Decompress
  • Low Power Alarm
  • Glare Flashlight
  • Digital Service (cluster function)
  • 2600 mAh battery
PROS:
CONS:
  • Excellent screen
  • Good in-hand feel
  • Excellent keys, buttons, and knobs
  • Excellent audio
  • Does not work with CHIRP

Conclusions

I love the Zastone M7, bet you couldn’t have guessed that, right? But seriously, for a radio that I have seen for sale under $50, there is just no radio I have ever used that I prefer to this one except in very specific cases (such as I need something waterproof or disposable). How this thing is not the best selling dual-band HT out there is a complete mystery to me.
Buy the Zastone M7, love it, thank me later.
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I hope you enjoyed my Zastone M7 review!

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