The Baofeng UV-5R V2+ is a slightly grown-up version of the UV-5R, adding a couple of updates to the chassis and the ability to use a larger battery. Bottomline up front: there isn’t a HUGE difference between the two models, but as you will read below, it is probably worth the few extra dollars to grab this ‘V2+’ over the 1st Gen. Let’s get into it!
When receiving the 1st Gen UV-5R I kind of felt like it was just a piece of equipment in a cardboard box. This time around Baofeng has stepped it up and shipped the radio with an attractive, consumer-level package. When the UV-5R V2+ arrived on my doorstep I was pretty amazed that the whole thing cost less than $35 USD! This radio comes bundled with everything its previous iteration had, however the instructions manual has seen some major updates. One of the problems many hams had with the 1st Gen UV-5R was, in fact, it’s bare-bones manual. I’ve even seen ‘consumer-created’ manuals on the internet, a sign that the manufacture clearly hadn’t provided enough documentation along with the product! Anyways, the new manual includes a more in-depth look at the radio’s menu and functions, and it reads much more naturally than some other foreign radio manuals I’ve read.
Parts and Pieces
Similar to other Baofengs the UV-5R V2+ requires female SMA antenna connections, which is somehwhat of a break in industry norms. It’s not a huge deal because the vast majority of Baofeng owners are not utilizing the radios for high-performance, precision applications. The Female SMA antenna that is provided with the Baofeng has been perfectly adequate for me, and I think most users would say the same. If one did want to upgrade the antenna, there are still several options available, with the Comet SMA 24J being the frontrunner. Overall, I don’t think the Baofeng’s antenna situation is a major problem, but it’s something to be aware of.
Moving on, if you’ve read my review of the original UV-5R, you’ll recall my annoyance with the charging dock. Well, it hasn’t changed. The dock feels very cheap and lightweight–the sort of thing that might shatter if it’s bumped onto the ground. I’m just not convinced they spent enough time designing the dock. The radio doesn’t seat very well into it, and without the LED light I wouldn’t be able to tell if the battery was charging. Speaking of the LED, it still shares the same ‘always on’ problem with the last one model–the light on the charging dock flashes between red and green when there is no battery in the dock. It doesn’t. stop. blinking. So annoying.
So let’s take a look at the changes that have been made to the ‘V2+’.
First off is the chassis. While the overall design of the radio has remained the same, the body just feels like it was designed better. The speaker grill is now some sort of aluminum alloy, and they’ve also redesigned the display screen in a way that provides for easier viewing. Perhaps the most drastic change cosmetically will be the ‘Band’ button, previously found below and to the right of the speaker. This button has been completely removed on the UV-5R V2+, most likely because it was quite unnecessary. I appreciate when companies recognize ways to simplify their products.
Probably the biggest claim Baofeng has made regarding the ‘V2+’ model is that it is now compatible with their 3800 mAh extended batteries. They, of course, must be purchased separately, but they are very inexpensive, and more than double this radio’s battery life. For users who purchase the radio for emergency/contingency environments, this could add significant value. One positive observation is that the battery’s extra mass extends down below the bottom of the radio rather than sticking out the back. Many manufacturers offering extended batteries will add the extra mass behind the radio, resulting in a more ‘chunky’ proportion. In my experience this can really changes the way the radio feels in the hand and can interfere with belt-loop hooks, etc.
The final update I’ve noticed on the UV-5R V2+ is the speaker. Now, I’m not 100% sure about this, but I perceive a slightly better audio coming from the UV-5R V2+ compared with the original. I’ve spent a lot of time comparing the audio side-by-side, listening to both repeater conversations and commercial FM, and the V2+ seems to have a more full tone, not as ‘tinny’ as the original. Perhaps Baofeng is using a new part, or it could just be a fluke; but I can personally tell a difference between the two.
Everything else you need to know about the radio can be found in the original post, as this is simply a product ‘update’. Coming in at only $10 more, the V2+ seems to be the way to go. Updated chassis, more in-depth manual, extended battery compatibility–Baofeng already knows how to make an inexpensive radio, but as time goes on it seems they are learning how to add even more features at the same price-point.
ABOUT THIS REVIEW
Hopefully this review has been helpful to you! I’m certainly not a technical expert, but getting my hands on various equipment and considering it from a “user’s” point of view is something I like to do! Sometimes its just beneficial to hear what the ‘average guy’ thinks about a product. If at this point you are interested in purchasing the VX-6R, it would mean a lot to me if you clicked on one of the links on this page! I take a small cut out of any purchase you may make and it allows me to continue writing reviews!
Thanks for reading, and I’m all ears to any comment you leave below! If you have any questions about the product, feel free to ask below! I’ll respond to you as quickly as possible.
|UV-5R||UV-5R V2+||Icom V80||Yaesu VX-3R|
|Max Power||4 watts||4 watts||5.5 watts||1.5 watts|
|Battery Power||1800 mAh||1800 mAh||1900mAh||1000 mAh|
|Features||UV-5R||UV-5R V2+||Icom V80||Yaesu VX-3R|
|SQL Tail Elim||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Antenna Type||Female SMA||Female SMA||BNC||SMA|
Though the internals of this radio are by-and-large no different than its predecessor's, the few tweaks that have been made to this update make it worth the extra $10 price tag. Though the radio is still bare-bones, the additional capability of using 3800 mAh batteries increases it functionality significantly.