Baofeng UV-5RC: different look, different shape

Meet the Baofeng UV-5R Curve.

The Baofeng UV-5R is now available in number of flavors. We have the Plus version, the A version, the B version, the E version, and the UU version. Electronically most of these varieties are identical inside, it’s mostly about the looks. Only the UU version, with its extended UHF range up to 520MHz, is different.

It’s impossible to deny that the Baofeng UV-5R is a big hit. Not without its flaws though. Some flaws were related to the hardware, some to the software. One small flaw was its rectangular, sharp-edged shape. According to most users the original UV-5R just doesn’t feel right in your hand. I tend to agree.

Limited UHF frequency range, latest firmware
Now the UV-5RC popped up. Strangely, the UHF frequency range is back to square one and can’t transmit above 470MHz. VHF range is unchanged. For Ham radio operators this doesn’t matter; the frequency range is way beyond what we’re allowed to use. The radio features the latest firmware to date, which is 291.

Improved ergonomics
Most striking about this radio however is its shape. No sharp rectangular edges here, but nice rounded ones. Now I know where the ‘C’ stands for – we witnessed the birth of the UV-5R Curve. The display looks much better too, thanks to the way the it’s smoothly integrated into the body of the radio.

The UV-5RC is expensive. On eBay I could only find one UK-based seller, which means there’s no competition. Paying ± €50 / $65 (which doesn’t include shipping) is a lot.

After reading the comment of Julian G4ILO, I did the math. When compared to the original UV-5R (shipped from China), the UV-5RC (shipped from the UK) is about 70% more expensive. I included all shipping and handling fees before calculating the difference.

However, this difference in price is only true when my package slips through customs unnoticed. This is the case for at least 90% of all shipments, but there’s always a 10% chance that I to pay VAT plus additional custom clearance costs. In such a case, my ‘profit’ as a Dutch citizen would be a meager €5. The guys and gals at don’t have this variety in stock yet. It probably won’t take long before this radio will be available elsewhere. If I missed a seller, please let me know in the comments.

I still like my UV-5R’s and can’t think of any reason to sell them. The promise of more comfort however might push me to this new version. The ‘limited’ frequency range is totally unimportant to me.

Whether the radio is technically different from its predecessors in other respects is hard to tell. My best guess is “No”, but I’ve been in for a surprise before.

If I can get hold of a review sample, you will be the first to know.


13 comments on “Baofeng UV-5RC: different look, different shape

  1. I don’t think £40 is expensive, when you consider it includes 20% VAT and comes with full EU buyer’s rights. But as someone who had a UV-3R and now has a UV-3r+ and a UV-5R I think I’ll stick with what I’ve got for the time being.

    Julian, G4ILO

    • Hi Julian,

      You’ve got a point. It depends on where you live, of course.

      I admit that I always compare prices to the ones asked on eBay when bought from a Chinese seller.

      • Buying on eBay gives you also the risk, you order wrong add-on items for a certain item, the 409Shop leads you to the correct ones. (this also a way of saving money)

    • The curve(s) is indeed nice, but you might also consider the previous model, for which you can buy an extentended form factor/power battery, which does’nt fit on this nice curve model… guess they keep inovating in all kind of ways, just to keep the cash flowing, how many models should one have from one product 🙂 ?

      • Only the lcd layout seems a bit different, but i could be wrong, i guess the elec. hardware is the same, I did notice that with the older previous models, the PTT switch was improved over time.

  2. I know that here in the US, Kight Radio sells it. They are a company with 2 offices, one here in the states and another in China. What i like about them, is because of this, with most items, you get the best of both worlds, the fast shipping of a dealer located here, with the pricing of a dealer located in china. There are some items though which they still ship from the chinese office, but the majority they keep in-stock here.

  3. I am becoming more and more amazed at what the PRC is making available on the ham market. Of course you’re aware of my AT-5555 (currently working very well on 10m AM/FM and getting very good readability reports with the WM-308 mic). I’m wondering when the first Chinese all-band HF transceiver and/or 1KW linear amplifier (price about £500 for either) will become available. It has to happen…


    • To the best of my knowlegde, any UV-5R with a firmware version *lower* than 291. For now, that is, the developers of Chirp are working on it.

      • My experience is, that you must be very carefull, even with the manufactors own firmwares these transceivers have no protection against wrong firmware files.

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