There are now so many radios build around Baofeng UV-5R circuitry and software that potential buyers don’t know which one to pick. Most questions I get by e-mail are about choosing one of these three Baofeng radios: UV-5R (whatever variety), UV-82 and the new GT-3.
My personal opinion is: get the Baofeng UV-82.
- Big, professional looking radio, dual PTT key is located where it should be,
- Better overall performance thanks to more efficient stock antenna
- One Watt of extra power output on both bands (5 Watts VHF, 4 Watts UHF),
- Display located where it should be, doesn’t go dark after long transmissions,
- Better designed keyboard with the 0 (zero) in the right place,
- Better RX audio thanks to the bigger enclosure (improved acoustics),
- No issues with muffled or low TX audio,
- Battery life as good as the other two contenders.
- Poorly designed charger. If you buy a UV-82, be prepared to fix it from the moment you pull it out of the box. It’s an easy job, click here to find out why and how.
- Front-end just as poor as the other two, which means that the receiver overloads quickly. If you need a better receiver, buy a Baofeng UV-B5/B6.
- New and/or after-market batteries are often labeled and advertised incorrectly. Whatever the label says or whatever the seller says, the battery is 1800mAh, not 2800mAh.
This is a short list of findings after playing with the radio for a longer period of time.
- Some owners / sellers reported that the Baofeng UV-82 has a more sensitive receiver when compared to the Baofeng UV-5R. Technically that is not correct, but they aren’t lying either. The reason for the better reception is the antenna. The UV-82 stock antenna is technically identical to the one delivered with the UV-B5. If I swap antennas, the UV-5R shines and the UV-82 appears to be inferior.
- Battery life can’t match that of the UV-5R. The main reason is that the UV-82 delivers more than 1 extra Watt of RF output. Something has to give.
- Charging times are still erratic. I received a new charger, but that one isn’t very reliable either. Still looking into this.
The battery didn’t charge. Even after being in the charger all night the LED still glowed red. Yesterday I already noticed that the behavior of the LED seemed erratic. Sometimes it glowed red, sometimes orange, sometimes it flashed. Something was clearly wrong.
From the moment I unpacked the UV-82 the flimsy construction of the drop-in charger stood out. It’s thin, small, light and looks as if it could topple over any second. That first impression proved to be not far from the truth.
I opened up the charger to see if I could spot a problem. I couldn’t test the chip, but something caught my eye: there’s no hard wired connection between the contacts and the PCB. Instead this Baofeng charger relies on two large copper surfaces and contacts pressing down on them. If for some reason the connection between the two fails, the battery won’t charge properly – or not at all. Just a bit of remaining lacquer, not uncommon on a PCB, would spell trouble.
The charging contacts act like springs and the screws holding top and bottom together are horribly weak, so open up the charger while slightly squeezing top and bottom. You can let go after you removed all 4 screws.
Take a bit of abrasive material (or a sharp screwdriver) and make slight scratches in the copper material. Do the same with the top of the three contacts. Re-assemble the charger when done. Be gentle on the screws, don’t tighten them too much. The construction is such that you probably can do this only once. If re-assembly fails you’ll have to replace all 4 screws with new ones with a slightly larger diameter.
The erratic behavior didn’t resurface so far, and the battery appears to charge normally.
Some interesting comments cleared up things and confirmed my suspicions. The first one came from K7JOE, who lives in China.
“I live in China. I see these all over the place. The UV-82 Baofeng batteries that I buy are direct from Baofeng and are 1800 ma. Breaking the battery pack open (that’s what you do when they cost just $10 USD each) the cells are clearly 1800 mA Li Ion cells….). I fully suspect the 2800 mA batteries are just misprinted/mismarked. Interesting radio. I like the dual PTT switch on it — it’s handy when using multiple bands / dual receive. Great deal for the price.”
The second one comes from Martyn (radio-mart):
“I asked Baofeng and received conformation the battery is misprinted, they didn’t know until I pointed it out. The battery is 1800mAh.”