Uniden R3 Review
Pros: Adjustable X, K, and Ka-band sensitivity, super long range, built-in GPS, user friendly
Cons: Little memory, inadequate BSM filtering, trouble with MultaRadar detection, no directional arrows
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|Pros||Adjustable X, K, and Ka-band sensitivity, super long range, built-in GPS, user friendly||X, K, Ka-band and laser detection, good range, user-friendly, budget-friendly||Bluetooth connectivity, community shared information, adjustable sensitivity||Simple, inexpensive, impressive range for the price||Somewhat adjustable sensitivity, simple, IVT filtering|
|Cons||Little memory, inadequate BSM filtering, trouble with MultaRadar detection, no directional arrows||No MultaRadar detection, limited memory, false alerts, low-quality mount||No location lockouts, sensitivity adjustments cannot be performed individually, lots of false alerts||No GPS, limited filtering, little customization, lots of false alerts||No location lockouts, lots of false alerts, no GPS or Bluetooth|
|Bottom Line||A highly customizable radar detector with an extremely long range at a fair price||A simple radar detector with an impressive range for a very friendly price||A radar detector that has Bluetooth connectivity to an app on your smartphone but leaves out a few favorite features in exchange for a friendly price||An inexpensive radar detector with impressive range but limited filtering and lots of false alerts||A simple radar detector with low-level customization but also a low price point|
|Rating Categories||Uniden R3||Uniden DFR7||Cobra RAD 480i||Uniden DFR1||Cobra RAD 380|
|Ease of Use (20%)|
|Specs||Uniden R3||Uniden DFR7||Cobra RAD 480i||Uniden DFR1||Cobra RAD 380|
|Radars Detected||X, K, Ka, MRCT, MRCD, Laser||X, K, Ka, Laser||X, K, Ka, Laser||X, K, Ka, Laser||X, K, Ka, Laser|
|Display||Multicolored OLED||OLED||Not stated||Not stated||Not stated|
|Available Modes||Highway, City, Advanced||Highway, City, Advanced||Highway, City||Highway, City||Highway, City|
|Power Chord Type||12v||12v||12v||12v||12v|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Uniden R3 is a slightly more affordable radar detector with an impressively long-range. It comes equipped with some of the more important features available these days, most of which are highly customizable. From the built-in GPS to traffic sensor filtering and all-around user-friendliness, the R3 is a great option for those looking only to spend an arm, rather than an arm and a leg. Whether you drive a little or a lot, this handy device is sure to take the stress of getting a ticket off your plate.
Radar detectors can be expensive, and while their accuracy and range are extremely important, those two items are not what you are paying top dollar for — it's the features a device has to offer that set each model apart from the next. The Uniden R3 does a great job of giving you just what you need at a fair, albeit still costly, price.
One of the most important features the R3 has to offer is built-in GPS. This allows for features such as user marks and location lockouts. User marks are a great tool for those who drive locally. They allow you to mark known speed traps to ensure you are reminded, regardless of whether or not law enforcement is actively using radar. This way, even if there's a cop sitting in their usual spot with their radar gun off, you'll remember to slow down. The GPS location lockouts do the opposite. Once a stationary signal is locked out, that specific signal in that particular location will no longer trigger an alert. The R3's memory allows for up to 500 GPS location lockouts, which is less than Uniden's more expensive options but still a generous number. Since it has less storage than Uniden's newer model, future firmware updates may be too large for this device.
Law enforcement radar guns used a series of different frequencies. Some, like the Ka-band, are used widely while others, like the S-band, have been retired. The R3 picks up on X-band, K-band, Ka-band, MultaRadar, and laser. Since some of these bands are not used in certain places, having the ability to turn them off greatly reduces false alerts. Your neighborhood law enforcement may use Ka-band radar guns, but your local grocery store uses X-band for their automatic doors. In this case, it would be wise to turn the sensitivity of the X-band down or off on your radar detector. The R3 allows full control over the X-band, K-band, and Ka-band sensitivity but not the MultaRadar or laser.
A few honorable mentions in the features department of the R3 are low-speed muting (LSM) and its preset sensitivity modes. LSM automatically turns down the sensitivity of various bands. If you are driving well below the speed limit, you do not need to be notified of every frequency your detector may be picking up. This feature can be turned off if you would prefer to receive alerts regardless of your current speed. If the GPS connection is low, it is possible that your device will not pick up on temporary work zones or school zones, so it is important to keep that in mind while driving through those areas. The R3 has three different modes; City, Advanced, and Highway. These modes automatically adjust the sensitivity of each band to the appropriate settings for your surroundings. You still have full control over the X, K, and Ka-band while in any of these three modes.
Accuracy is a must when it comes to a radar detector, although there may be more to it than you realize. If you've never owned one of these nifty gadgets, then you probably haven't experienced a wave of false alerts that make your eyes dart back and forth in a desperate attempt to find the threat. This metric refers to both the detector's ability to properly identify a true threat as well as dismiss frequencies that are most likely non-threatening. The R3 does relatively well in the category; other devices in our test suit outperformed it, but they are less cost-effective.
The term 'false alert' does not mean that your detector just decided to go off for no reason at all. There is always a reason. An alert is considered false if the cause of said alert does not pose a threat. Radars are all around us, but not all of them are hungry police officers looking to fill quotas, so your detector needs to decipher between a real threat and a benign one. An example of radars that may trigger your K-band alert are automatic doors at your local grocery store or traffic sensor monitoring on select highways. That is where band sensitivity control, GPS, and traffic sensor filtering (TSF) come in handy.
Band sensitivity control is another feature that affects false alerts. Getting hit with an X-band radar these days is relatively rare, so turning this one completely off can be a good idea. K-band radar devices are still used in some areas, so turning this one off would be putting yourself at risk. Turning your K-band filter down to 30% sensitivity, on the other hand, will still alert you when there is a very strong signal close by, but will otherwise allow low signal K-band to whiz by without startling you.
Generally speaking, the R3 has pretty stellar accuracy, but it does have some shortcomings. Like many other Uniden detectors, the R3 seems to have some issues with going off in the presence of blind-spot monitoring radar. Many modern cars come equipped with sensors that alert the driver when they get too close to another object. These sensors often trigger the K-band alert. The R3 also seems to struggle a bit with MultaRadar (MRCT and MCRD). Rather than sending out one consistent frequency or band, the MultaRadar uses a modulating frequency. Unfortunately, the R3 just cannot pick these up as quickly as its more expensive competitors.
For an alert to be effective, the receiver of the alert must have time to react. Yelling "fore!" when the golf ball has already hit you in the head doesn't do much good, does it? It can be difficult to give a numerical value to range as many different variables can affect this metric. Radars can bounce off objects and be blocked by them. As you can imagine, the range is much lower when driving through winding mountainous roads than straight flat ones. Trees, buildings, and bridges are also radar blocking culprits. If the radar can't reach you, then your speed is not being recorded, but the closer you get, the less time you have to react, so your detector must work on whatever terrain you find yourself on most often.
The R3, like most of Uniden's products, is well known for its range. While testing it out against the other top-performing detectors in our test suite, the R3 was always one of the first to alert. The only other detectors that come close are also made by Uniden, which is leading the industry in regards to range by a landslide. On an unobstructed highway with zero hills, the R3 can pick up a radar miles out. On winding roads or in the city, its range is significantly lower, however, it still gives the driver ample time to slow down before the threat is visible, or more importantly, you are visible to the threat.
Ease of Use
Distracted driving is the number one cause of accidents, so your radar detector mustn't draw your eyes from the road. It should be easy to see and hear. It should also not need to be adjusted or touched, aside from muting and location lockouts, while driving. This metric refers to everything from how easy it is to set the device up, make adjustments as you get to know your device, and of course, how easy it is to understand the device while it is in use.
Overall the R3 is a very simple and straightforward device to set up and use. There are no apps, so any adjustments you make are done with the buttons on the device itself. These controls are very easy to remember and rather intuitive, but taking a glance at the manual makes it much easier. Customization is also a breeze, but there is no Bluetooth or WiFi, so you have to plug it into your computer to update the firmware. This is not too big of a hassle, as updates are far and few between. Adjusting the settings is simple, but it is important to adjust them in accordance with your location.
With clear voice alerts, customizable tones, and a bright auto-dimming OLED screen, the R3 is very easy to understand while driving. Unfortunately, there are no directional arrows on this device like some of its competitors. The arrows help locate where the threat is coming from and when you have passed it, but they are more of a luxury than a necessity. The R3 has a signal strength display, so it's not too hard to decipher when the threat is far enough away that it is no longer a threat. The only thing you should need to touch on your device while driving is to temporarily mute a signal or to use the GPS lockout feature, which requires a quick double-tap of the mute button on the front of the device. Overall the R3 is a very user-friendly device that won't distract you while driving or frustrate you during the setup.
The R3 is a step down from the high-end models both in cost and features but is well worth the money. If you don't need all the fanciest features that the radar detector industry has to offer but are still looking for a customizable device, this is a great pick.
The Uniden R3 performed highly across all four of our chosen metrics. Uniden equipped this device with all the essential features while making the price a little more affordable than its competitors. Its high level of customization, general user-friendliness, and middle-of-the-road price point make the R3 a great option for the average driver.
— Hayley Thomas
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