Read our review before buying a Chinese radio/Baofeng

review-buying-a-chinese-radio-baofengIf you want to buy a cheap Chinese radio, so if that’s you, stick around. Cheap Chinese radios have become very popular over the last few years but they are not completely perfect. There are some things you definitely need to be aware of when buying a radio from china.

These radios are basically made to do the job at the lowest possible cost and with the lowest possible effort for the manufacturer. This means that trade-offs are made. The performance of Chinese radios is usually sub-standard when compared to western or Japanese brands. They usually have some kind of problems like bugs in the software, or hardware issues like on this UV-5R for example the microphone is
too quiet so other people will struggle to hear you when the signal is bad.

Basically what I’m trying to say is that cheap Chinese radio manufacturers often cut corners. They don’t test things properly before releasing them, a lot of the time. They just release products, wait for the complaints and then make a new version after a while. If you bought the first version with loads of problems then it’s just too bad. Things are slowly improving in this respect
though and I have seen attempts by certain brands to test their products more before
releasing them for sale.

Attention to detail with Chinese radios is often not very good. You’ll often see spelling mistakes littered everywhere in Chinese radios, even on the outside of the packaging it comes in, and
especially on online listings. You’ll also often see errors everywhere that are simply down to carelessness.

Product specifications often seem to be just copied and pasted from older radios, so you never know if they’re correct or not. You’ll see contradictions in different places, like the manual will tell you one thing but the body of the radio or the online listing will say another. Don’t expect too much from the manual either. They are usually poorly written and quite difficult to understand. Sometimes sellers will downright deceive buyers in an attempt to sell more radios.

Take the DM-5R for example. That radio was sold as a tier 2 DMR radio, but it didn’t meet the specifications for it so it ended up causing major problems when people tried to use it on radio systems. Also you need to be aware of programming. The radios will come programmed to radio frequencies that are probably illegal for you to talk on in your country. You have to make sure to change this before using the radio.

BaoFeng DM-5R

If you want to be successful in buying a cheap Chinese radio, look for reviews before buying anything. Simply searching for the model number will usually find you a few reviews. However, keep in mind that many of the reviews on websites like amazon are from people with no other experience of radio equipment, so they won’t realise what’s bad about the radio compared to other, more expensive radios.

Look for reviews from people with plenty of experience with radios. is a good website for reviews. Admittedly this post has presented a fairly negative view of Chinese radios, but I wanted to inform you of the hidden problems with buying them. Don’t be mistaken, I’m not trying to dissuade
you from buying cheap Chinese radios.

The reason I write this review is so that you can make an informed choice. Instead of going in expecting the radios to be excellent quality and have no bugs, you can now go in armed with the knowledge that although these radios are not perfect, they do offer far better value for money than other brands. If you found this video useful, please make sure to click the like button and share if you want to see more review like this.