|The good news is that the hardware feels very sturdy. The FT2D is slightly higher, but a bit slimmer than its predecessor, the FT1D. There's a new volume dial on the top which is very welcome. The big new feature is of course the touchscreen, which sounds amazing at first glance. However you'll quickly come to realize that the screen is way too small to press anything but the biggest buttons when on the go, and worse, the display isn't too amazing. The contrast is even worse than that of the ID-5100, which is saying something. Seriously, when you get the device the first thing you'll try to do is to up the contrast, but no, that only makes everything go darker. The optimum viewing angle is about - 45 degrees, i.e. you have to look upwards from below to get the optimal contrast. The message LED is now on the top, which is actually sensible considering this thing usually clips on your belt. Reception is good, the speaker is definitely adequately loud if needed. The signal reports I got were very positive. The battery clip has been changed, it's more sturdy than on the FT1D.|
If you're coming from the FT1D like I do, then I have some good news and some bad news for you. The good news is, this is very much like the FT1D. The bad news is, this is very much like the FT1D ;)
Seriously, what Yaesu did here is take the firmware of the FT1D and modify it a little for use with a touchscreen. Individual buttons have been replaced with touchscreen buttons, most of the time on the very same positions. Text entry is a huge disappointment - there has been zero progress in terms of usability. You dial letters like on a 10 year old phone, just like on the FT1D.
Another thing, if you're moving up from the FT1D, you'd think you can just save your channel memories on the microSD card, and then put it into the FT2D and load up your stored memories, right? Nope. Nada. The FT2D just won't load anything from the FT1D without you messing around with the SD card. So having a save from my FT1 I decided to play around a bit, and I actually managed to flash a complete NAND "backup" of the FT1 on the FT2 by copying the backup file between directories on the SD card. Guess what happened: My memories have been successfully restored, however now the menu items are exactly as on the FT1, with some options changed and/or missing. Also, the volume and VFO knob are now switched around, i.e. the top knob controls the volume while the ring below changes frequencies and moves between menu items.
The radio version screen shows v1.0 for everything but the DSP, which is now at version v0.0 (!!)
Whatever you do, make sure the radio writes a backup file before you attempt any of this. And if you find yourself in this situation, do a factory reset by holding the BACK, DISP and BAND buttons while powering on. This will make the FT2 behave like an FT2 again.
Copying the MEMORY-CH backups would probably work, but I haven't tested this.
I got this radio because I wanted a better user interface, but frankly, so far it disappoints. It's a perfectly good HT in its own right, but if you think that tasks such as APRS message sending have become any easier or more logical, I have to disappoint you. Just about the only improvements are a context sensitive button that appears on some menus and lets you perform additional tasks, for example you can enable/disable auto beacon sending or get into the APRS message sending menu from the station list screen that way. I was so hopeful that sending APRS msgs would finally become a viable task to perform on a HT, but no, it feels like 1999 all over again. Text entry is a real pain, both because of the dialing entry system, the small size of the touch buttons, and many annoying software usability issues. For example, you know how pressing a different button during text entry moves you to the next character right? Well it does so here as well, except if you're switching to numbers. Then the number will overwrite your current letter instead of using the next character.
Operating the channel memory is just as cumbersome as before: You save the frequency first using a non-obvious long button press, then you dive into a 3-level menu to change the memory name. But oh, remember how naming your memory slots was useless on the FT1D because it only displays them in single channel mode? Guess what, it's the exact same as on the FT2D. They didn't improve a thing about this. Worse, some menus have apparently not been converted to touch control yet, and they require you to move a cursor with the frequency dial, and select values with the "Display" button (which is the new Enter button btw.) - I'm sorry, it just feels like an afterthought.
Alright, rant mode off. I'm sorry if I make this HT sound bad. It looks alright to me, it has a bigger 2200mAh battery despite it having the same size as the standard battery in the FT1D. I like the fact that it's a hair slimmer and the volume dial is really good to have. Oh and another good thing, it fits into the CD-41 desk charge cradle. If you're okay with the FT1D you'll likely be ok with the new model. In direct comparison, the downsides are higher price, a display that's less easy to read despite bigger numbers, and since it's a touchscreen you now have to lock the device anytime you put it on your belt, unlike the FT1D which I never really locked because nothing ever managed to press the buttons by accident.
I'm afraid I can't give this one a glowing review. It doesn't usher in a new era in HTs, and I honestly don't think it's worth the price of admission. The moment one of the manufacturers figures out that it might be time for an android-powered HT that has a modern UI, allows apps, and isn't just an android phone with a 2m/70cm transceiver connected via a serial connection like on those Runbo walkie talkie phones, the moment this happens nobody will look at this anymore. But those are my opinions, yours may vary of course.
I like the build quality of this radio, but the software is just embarassing.