The Baofeng BF-F9V2+ a probably the second-best UV-5R variant I have ever tested coming in just a tad behind the BF-F8+ Is it another fluke or has Baofeng upped their game? Read on to see!
Technically I suppose the Baofeng BF-F9V2+ might be the best-tested radio I have done so far and just not my favorite. Going just by the specs, it probably is but the screen in the BF-F8+ is just a lot nicer since it is that inverted screen everyone wants and is used in half the Baofeng radio ads yet never seems to be what you get.
To start with, the Baofeng BF-F9V2+ is a little different than the UV-5R as it is missing the BAND button and has a four screw grill over the speaker assembly. With these two minor differences in mind, the rest of the Baofeng BF-F9V2+ is virtually a xerox copy of the UV-5R.
Where things get different initially is this Baofeng BF-F9V2+ actually delivers on the 5W power output that most of the other Baofeng radios claim yet never seem to come close to. Well, it gets really close anyway at 4.7W and 4.9W on VHF and UHF respectively. This may not seem like that big of a deal until you realize that the UV-5R puts out 3W and 1.4W while the big and powerful F8HP (HP standing for High Power) does 4.9W and 2.5W. The Baofeng BF-F9V2+ is the closest I have seen at hitting 5W on both bands.
I also kind-of like the fact that the Baofeng BF-F9V2+ comes with a slightly larger battery at 2100mAh vs the standard 1800mAh you see in most radios this size. I say kind-of because while it gives you more time between charges, it also makes it a little more difficult to carry on your belt if you have a thick leather belt as the clearance between the battery and clip at the top is massively reduced. If you carry on the edge of your pants pocket or in a pouch, this isn’t an issue.
The antenna on the Baofeng BF-F9V2+ is better than most and almost equally good on both bands. It has a slightly, and I mean every so slightly better response at 446MHz than it does at 146MHz as shown in the chart below. This is not enough to mention and the only reason I did was to emphasize how balanced this antenna is, which is unusual. Since I use the supplied antenna as the load when testing power output, the antenna being this balanced is partially responsible for the very even power output on both bands. If I were to put an antenna that wasn’t as well balanced then you might see a little more shift towards something like most radios charts look like with lots of power on one band and very little on the other. Fortunately, they gave us a good antenna on the Baofeng BF-F9V2+.
The one thing I really do not like about the Baofeng BF-F9V2+ is that they put a shiny face on it. The grill is a little shiny, but the screen is very glossy and I hate reflections when trying to read the radio’s display. The standard UV-5R has a fairly matte screen as does my favorites, the UV-9R and BF-F8+. The screen in the Baofeng BF-F9V2+ can be hard to read in harsh lighting or at night when you have some bright lights nearby.
I should also point out that the quality of the audio transmitted by the Baofeng BF-F9V2+ is not as good as radios like the BF-F8+ but on par with the UV-5R and some others. It isn’t really bad, but if you listen to the audio below you will see it is a tad weaker than many and a doesn’t control the pops in your voice quite as well as some others.
Other than that, the Baofeng BF-F9V2+ is very much like a standard UV-5R or other radio. The Baofeng BF-F9V2+ programming software and cable is the same as is the same batteries, same belt clip, same antenna (but this one is better!), and most other of the same accessories work on the Baofeng BF-F9V2+. Even if you want to do it from the front panel, you can program Baofeng BF-F9V2+ exactly the same as a UV-5R or use the chirp Baofeng BF-F9V2+ combination, whichever.
The bigger battery makes it tough for thicker belts
Overall I really like this Baofeng BF-F9V2+ as a UV-5R replacement. It improves on the original in signal strength and a little in clarity, gives you a bigger battery, and removes the useless BAND button. The only problem they introduced in the process really was the addition of a gloss screen which may or may not bother you.
For me, I might instead of the Baofeng BF-F9V2+ pick up a BF-F8+ for the better screen or stick with my overall favorite cheap Chinese radio, the Baofeng UV-9R+ because I like the waterproof radio along with the better belt clip and little shield for the knob, but that is just me.
The Baofeng BF-F9V2+ is clearly a good replacement or upgrade for the UV-5R and certainly one to keep your eye on.