Review Baofeng FF-12P (UV-5X)

Probably because Baofeng is running out of letters (although I didn’t see the Baofeng UV-5Y or Z yet), there’s a new numbers game in order. The FF-12P is essentially a UV-5X and my sample came in…. silver.

Baofeng FF-12PThe radio houses the latest chip set and firmware. Pressing various keys confirm this: pressing ‘0’ for a bit more than a second shows the battery voltage, pressing PTT + Band generates 2100 Hz, PTT + A/B generates 1750 Hz, and PTT + VFO/MR generates 1450 Hz.

The display is of the inverse type, the antenna the short one we all learned to hate, “FF-12P” is printed on both the left and right side of the radio. Batteries / accessories aren’t compatible with the standard UV-5R. While I could find enough suppliers of the FF-12P and UV-5X, not a single one appears to sell spare batteries or any other accessory.

Charger / battery combination
I wasn’t able to charge the battery at first, because the battery and charger don’t match: the two indentations of the battery prevented it from being inserted in the charger. After scraping away enough plastic in the charger I got it to fit.

CHIRP recognized the radio as being a UV-5R and squelch thresholds could be modified without a problem.

A clip on YouTube suggested that the UV-5X / FF12P scans faster. This proves to be true: the FF-12P outperforms all other Baofeng radios I own, including the GT-3 Mark II. Scan speed is about 5-6 channels/sec.


Frequency accuracy of the sample: +2 Hz on VHF, -11 Hz on UHF.

Power output VHF: (@ 145 MHz): 4.1 Watts (high), 1.7 Watts (low)
Power output UHF: (@ 435 MHz): 3.6 Watts (high), 1.8 Watts (low)

TX Audio: Bright and loud. Very nice.

Harmonics: the usual peaks on VHF and UHF. Still not very impressive.



RX Audio: good.

Front-end: surprisingly good, just like the GT-3 Mark II. Nice.

Sensitivity: -127 dBm (VHF), -125 dBm (UHF). These are good numbers.

The FF-12P aka UV-5X is the typical Baofeng: value for money, but not without its flaws. Harmonic suppression is a mixed bag and the lack of accessories is a potential problem.

The fact that I had to modify the charger to make the battery fit is a dumb factory mistake. The short stock antenna just doesn’t want to die — put a few bucks aside to buy a better one.

The positive side of the radio is the good receiver, good TX audio and faster scan speed. And, if you care about such things, it comes in shiny SILVER!


28 comments on “Review Baofeng FF-12P (UV-5X)

  1. Looks nice and has buying appeal. But what does it offer over my UV-B5 and Intek KT-980HP. I think the only handset I really need now, is a small UV-3R for taking to rallies etc.

  2. I’ve been trying to make some contacts to get some US bound models for review but never hear back from anyone, and several months have passed with one contact I did make (signed confidentiality agreement) and still no review models. Oh well thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Mike,

      getting review samples can be hard. At a certain point in time they ask you, not the other way around. From what I understand manufacturers look at what you did in the past, for how long, how good you are at it, and how popular your website is.

      The best way to get things started is to ask local distributors if they would be willing to lend out radios for review. Try to keep the lines as short as possible; don’t expect Chinese manufacturers to be interested in you from day one.

  3. That 1970’s-ish looking cheap silver finish looks like it is just painted on. If that is the case, it will not wear well.

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  5. Where do you get those review radios?
    I also want to review some radios and I don’t know where I can get them.
    Thank you.
    Diederik van Duijn

    • When this blog started I had to buy the radios myself. Now I can borrow most radios, or get them directly from manufacturers and import companies.

      If you think you can just get radios for free because you want to review them: that’s not how it works 🙂

  6. I always purchase antennas and radios that I intend to review at retail. That way, there’s no “bias” that may appear in a review. I also drop all HTs from three feet into my kids’ bathroom sink to test for case “quality.” The only rig I have not done that to is the Kenwood TH-F6a. Its case material appears to not be a polycarbonate, and looks more “brittle” than most others. A classic “A versus B” argument that crops up every year is the “comparison” between the Arrow Satellite Antenna and the Elk Log Periodic for satellites. MOST of the “anti-Arrow” nonsense is written by folks who have never touched one, nor have purchased both in order to make their uneducated comparisons. More on that on the MY GEAR page on my Web site).

  7. It looks sharp. I’ve got the UV-5R. I busted the rubber ducky. Got new ones, but I can’t hear or transmit the 110.9 now for my repeater. Ideas?

    • Did you buy from a reliable supplier (even those often sell fakes if they don’t know what they’re selling) or did you get a cheapy from ebay or somewhere.

  8. I just received the very similar BF-UVB2 radio. It is also a silver model, and rather sharp looking (even sharper, in my opinion, than the FF-12), but the specs for it are heavily inflated. The specs state it’s an 8w output and 4800mah battery. Hans warned me about Baofeng’s tendency to… exaggerate. I didn’t actually believe the 4800mah claim, but I figured a number that large had to mean some sort of bigger battery. It’s not. It’s a standard Baofeng 1200mah battery. The radio itself is also a direct UV-5X clone, meaning it’s a 5w output. I don’t have the equipment to test the sensitivity, but even with the stock antenna, it was good. Quite good. Like on par with my beloved Quansheng TG-UV2. Looking at it objectively, I have to admit it’s a good radio. But while I expect exaggerations in specs, I didn’t expect the outright lies. The battery was one thing, but claiming it had the 8w transmitter when it doesn’t made me quite upset.

    One thing further about the silver models. The plastic isn’t silver all the way through. Anyone familiar with silver plastic toys through the 70’s and 80’s will recognize this plastic. It’s a silvery coating on black plastic. That means, drop the thing a few times, and any scratches and dings will show as black. While I like the look of the silver radios, they will look terrible in no time if you abuse your radios even a little.

    • It’s a pity that Baofeng/Pofung inflates specs, sometimes to the point that it’s plain silly — hams are not that stupid! Even worse in my opinion is the fact that many sellers copy those specs and paste it on their website without checking.

      This leads to unwanted fallout – people like you and me get questions like “Hey, why isn’t the range 60 kilometers like the seller promised?” or “Why isn’t there a difference in range when I compare my 4 Watt radios with my 8 Watt radios?”

      The GT-1 disaster made me realize that it’s time to write an ‘Inflation’ article and post it on

  9. Is it really shockproof and waterproof? If it is, I’d buy it in a heartbeat, but I haven’t seen anyone verify that claim.


  10. Hans,
    Thanks for the review. You mentioned that this radio has a similar performing front end to the GT-3 Mark II. Do you have any idea if all of the newest uv-5R versions share this improved front end now?

    • I assumed from the start that the new chip sets and firmware would ‘trickle down’ to other models. The only problem is that it’s impossible to tell if a certain model is up-to-date or not.

      • On the BF-UVB2 radio I just bought, I’ve noticed that CTCSS scanning doesn’t work. In all other ways it looks like an up to date firmware, including fixing the rounding error, so keep in mind that newer firmwares might not necessarily be better in every way.

  11. Hello. First of all thank you very much for sharing your experiences with the community .
    I ‘m looking for an economical dual band radio and in my country ( Argentina ), the Baofeng UV-B5 , the Wouxun KG-UV899 and Wouxun KG-UVD6P Baofeng have similar prices.
    I would be very useful recommendation on that team performs better , especially in RX. Thank you for your time and sorry if my English is poor. 73’s.

    • The Wouxun KG-UVD6P is one of the best performers under challenging conditions. Hardly any de-sensing(*) when there are strong out-of-band signals in the area.

      (*) There are 3 primary causes to de-sensing:

      1. Close physical proximity of transmitter and receiver antennas
      2. Close spacing of transmitter and receiver frequencies
      3. High power output from transmitters

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