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Reviews For: BaoFeng UV-5x3

Category: Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Hand-held

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Review Summary For : BaoFeng UV-5x3
Reviews: 12MSRP: 68
Inexpensive tri-band (144-22-440) Chinese handheld
Product is in production
More Info: http://
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
KI7MBR Rating: 2022-07-19
versatile unit, good price point, watch the quality Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Greetings all,

Short version: handy features, but does not meet FCC spurious emission criteria on 2m.

Time of ownership; ~2 years+, ham license since March 2017, now "General" license.

Antennas: tri-band Nagoya handier than the two that are supplied. The Diamond tri-band works better, subjectively, than the Nagoya and is a bit shorter.

Handiness & mobility; the small form factor fits in the side pocket of carpenter pants, whereas the stouter Icom T70a does not. With the 3800 mA battery the unit clips to the mountain bike's rear brake cable alongside the front tube and seems stable on the road.

Accessories; lots to choose from, the factory digital interface works a treat, also works with Easy Digi; the 3800 mA hour battery adds some nice heft and lasts a long time; the USB charger for it is handy, though the first one fried, the second one seems ok; plus all the other usual Baofeng UV5 accessories; speaker mic, etc.

Radio quality; programs easily with CHIRP; heads up on blocking Tx for non-ham channels appreciated; Surprised me by hitting a 1.25 repeater about 25 miles away, 3000' elev., line of sight, good conditions (Washougal WA Bi Mart parking lot to Larch Mtn 1.25 rptr). For UHF/VHF the Icom t70 seems to do better. Addn (20211024): compared to the Icom t70, the heard voice is not as loud although the radio shows the same number of power bars (no pun intended) at the receiving station about 6 miles away.

Manual; clearly written, have not attempted field programming so can not comment on that. So far manual has answered my questions.

Price point and dealer service. Now about $60. The first unit I ordered did not work, BaofengTech in SD very promptly sent another unit after they received the first.

Bottom line? It (is) _was_ the "daily driver" radio because of the tri-band feature, 3800 mA battery and low replacement cost. (please see below)

Hoping info is useful. 73 de KI7MBR

p.s. (20211024) Got concerned as to how FCC legal this unit might be regarding spurs. Our ARES EC (retired EE with years in telecom) has tester, hooked it up. Results;...close but no cigar. As he explained it, there are two criteria to be met; does the attenuation of the spurs meet a 40Db threshold and is the power of the spikes below a threshold?

At 1.25 m and 70 cm; very minor spikes barely above background noise. But, at 2m, whereas the Db drop was satisfactory, the power in the spikes was way excessive at the first and second harmonics. This includes spectra used by aviation and marine as well as 70 cm amateur.

Disappointing? Yes. The UV5-X3's handy features are negated by its not meeting FCC criteria. Being located near commercial air and water traffic as I am, it would be neither legal nor prudent to use this radio on 2m. BTECH would not exchange the unit because is was past the warranty date. Lesson here; if purchasing, check for spurs before warranty expires.
W6CJ Rating: 2022-05-09
More CB-toy junk from China Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Off-frequency, poor modulation, susceptible to intermod from other transmitters (unless you are miles from anything), tinny audio on receive, does not meet receive and transmit specs, bad documentation and support.

Questionable vendors and self-proclaimed ham gurus push these and other China radios as "great starter radios" or as good introductions to Amateur Radio....seriously? Bad idea. Why introduce someone to our great hobby with a piece of junk that sort-of works on a few repeaters?

Price is important to most of us - but the old adage "You get what you pay for" really applies to fengs and other China radios. Spend a little more on something that won't let you down.

I sent mine back for a refund.

N1FDX Rating: 2020-08-16
Well worth the $60 Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I purchased this unit to a 220 to the bag of tricks. Had a UV-5r given to me and seem to be pretty bullet proof.
This is a very simple HT and with the latest version of Chirp it so simple to program. Receive audio is very good and with dual watch I could monitor police and fire or our local 2m / 70cm at the same time.
Compare to the Yaesu FT-4XR I think the receiver is much better. With the squelch as tight as possible the Yaesu didn't do well in the shack with all the RF.
Menu system is straight forward and the manual is very well written. Not real fond of the 2 antennas and wish it had AM receive but for the price you can't go wrong.
VE3PTC Rating: 2019-01-04
works well. Time Owned: N.A.
i bought one about 6 years ago, and its still working fb, despite being dropped a couple times, once from the roof, as i was wkg on my rotator.
battery lasts for a long time, especially using 1w output setting.
tx audio is very good, and also with spkr mic. rx is pretty good too.
is it in the same class as yaecomwood handhelds, no, but for the princely sum of $28, it fits the bill.
i only use my h/held for hamfests, or vacation so i dont need a megabux radio.
it has some cons, but again for the price, its a good back up.
programming is simplicity its self, using chirp or any other program you desire.
programming from front panel is very easy too, although a bit tedious as there are a few button pushes to go thru.
someone on a local detroit repeater was going on about it would cost double the radio price to send away to repair if it went bad!.
no my friend, you just laugh and go buy another at that price!
i dont always buy the cheapest radio gear, but you cant pass this one up at that price, even for a back up.
check my qrz page for pics!
best 73 de bob. ve3ptc
W9MT Rating: 2018-01-05
Great radio. Ditch the two included antennas... Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
Programs very similarly to the UV-25x4 and older UV-2501+220 BTech mobiles.

Has the very desirable Frequency/Channel Name synchronization programming function that makes using the handheld a real joy. It is very true that the little "nits" in the other Baofeng handhelds have been "disposed of" in this radio.

I use the optional 3800mAH extended-life battery with mine and find it a great add-on accessory.

When I purchased my unit off of Amazon, I also bought the optional "Nagoya NA-320A (144-220-440Mhz) Triband (SMA-Female) Triband HT Antenna" to get away from the antenna swapping irritation. The Nagoya works well but is physically a too-long length for such a small radio. So, I recommend NOT buying the Nagoya antenna because its length makes standing the radio on a table or desk very top-heavy and prone to falls.

Instead, get the "Radioddity RD-301 Triband Antenna 144-220-440Mhz 2.0dbi SMA-Female HT Antenna 2M-1.25M-70CM" tri-band antenna for this radio. For less than ten bucks on Amazon, you get a shorter, yet efficient 3 band antenna that cures the top-heavy problem and doesn't make the radio "look weird".

The combination of the RD-301 antenna and extended-life battery make the UV-5x3 a real winner for standard FM communications on the 3 most popular bands.
WU6X Rating: 2017-10-29
Hard to Beat! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Okay, I'll say up front that my comments should be measured and judged with the additional consideration ... "FOR THE COST". I've now owned four Baofengs; a UV-3, two UV-5R, and a UV-5x3. The UV-3 is still going strong after 4 years. The others have all had to be replaced, the UV-5x3 just now after 14 months.

Having said this, the UV-5x3 is an excellent bargain, works well, programs easily using CHIRP (but not so bad from the keypad either, once learned), belt clip, stand-up charger, etc., easy-to-use new manual, and ... it actually compares well with the Japanese handhelds on a spectrum analyzer. Having said all this there are inconsistencies. So, if your's doesn't match up, send it back and get another. BTech customer support is very good and now US-based. It comes with a 12 month warranty ... just ask for another one and quit whining. BTech has come a long way since the UV-3R and I expect will continue to improve their products.

Also, I think the price-point competition has possibly caused Japanese HT manufacturers to re-think their margins and price some models at a more reasonable cost as evidenced by the FT-65R.

So, my final comment is I really don't expect to have this radio work forever like my ICOM IC-2AT (20 years). I expect to put it in electronic waste after a couple years, okay? But, I'm also NOT afraid to use it in any and all environments, even fishing in my float tube, as I consider it replaceable ... for the price! WU6X
N4IS Rating: 2017-05-07
READ BEFORE BUY Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Originally I really liked this product, it seemed to have perfect functionality and worked very well for the first few weeks. I bought 3 radios, spare batteries antennas, an external mic and a programing cable. It is easy to program , one file for 3 radios and the base radio BETCH 25x4. The mobile radio was the first to stop working after few days, the radio locks on TX, power is good but not returning to RX. Very disappointed for the first time, I returned the radio and on the very same day, the 2nd UV-5x3 drained the battery to zero. A few hours later I replaced the battery and a second disappointment: the radio lost power for no reason. I was able to talk with the radios inside my house but not able to open any repeater. Today, just few days after the second return, I when I was with my 3 grandsons at our family picnic,my idea was to show them the radio while talking with some friends on the local repeater. I was not able to talk with anybody. The RF TX was good and I was hitting all repeater I normally open with low power, the long 3 band antenna is quite long but has a excellent performance. To my surprise and 3rd big disappointment, the internal mic, just quit. NO TX AUDIO, just RF. Not a good impression for my 3 grandsons. Ham radio demonstration, or lets say frustration, I am just returning a BETCH radio for the third time in the last 5 days. I love this nice radio, but you get what you paid for, I have been in Ham radio for 46 years and majored in Electronic Engineering. I never experienced a sequence of failures like that.
There is a great possibility that all failures are related to the poor quality of the PTT/MIC jack. If you don't use the programing cable or the external mic, or just let the radio on display without using it. IT IS JUST NOT RELIABLE.
I really want to return all BETCH products I ordered. P.S. I forgot to mentioned the charger on the first radio also stopped charging the battery and I bought another one. Shame on me!

N3GBJ Rating: 2017-04-22
update to previous review Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Forgot to mention one or two things in previous review: This is the first Baofeng radio that I would feel comfortable recommending to a new ham on a tight budget. The other thing is that I recommend Chirp for programming if nothing else because Chirp makes it easy to disable accidental transmitting on "non Ham" frequencies such as NOAA Weather or other commercial radio services if one wishes to monitor those frequencies.
VA7QB Rating: 2016-12-29
Great for the price Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Very good for the price. A competent triband UHF/VHF radio with 220MHz. In my area I had front-end overload with the Kenwood tribander from an overpowered pager tower. No overload with the UV-5X3.

It may not be an issue for you, but the need to swap antennas for 220 MHz, then back for 2M/70cm use is a bit of a pain.

Programming of memories takes a bit of getting used to. Basically, for duplex (repeater use) both the receive and transmit frequencies need to be entered separately for each channel - making use of the non-intuitive 3 button to enter the transmit frequency. I'm unclear still if the CTSS tone needs to be re-entered even if it is previously set.

This set-up maximizes the key-presses needed, even when the proper duplex set-up is in the upper display.

If you have a Wouxun handheld, you'll recognize the way the menus are set out. But really, BaoFeng/BTech could have put a little more work into manual programming.

Still, the positives are the price - and if swapping antennas doesn't bug you (where do you store the antenna not used?), then this tribander is the ticket, with full output on 2M/220 MHz/70cm.

There's a dedicated button to turn on a mini-flashlight, as well as a dedicated button handy for the commercial FM broadcast band.

The manual is so-so, particularly in explaining the method to enter duplex freqs into memory.

I'd buy it again for the price alone.
N6BIZ Rating: 2016-11-17
GREAT Time Owned: more than 12 months.