I picked up this radio after reading a post about it on Hans’ Blog last month. Apparently when Hans posted his article, it was a new radio which he couldn’t get ahold of yet. I found the article a few weeks after he wrote it, so I was able to find the radio on Amazon and order it the same day. That was 2-3 weeks ago, so I have had some time to use it and get a good idea of my opinions of it.
There is an entire yahoo group devoted to this radio (huge surprise – it seems there is a yahoo group for everything these days) – you can join the Yahoo group at this link.
Other than the color and shape of the radio, there isn’t much else that is different. This radio is advertised as being waterproof, but I highly doubt that it is. I haven’t wanted to test that theory and fry my radio, so perhaps it is, but I really doubt it due to some of the ports on the side of the case.
There are no additional functions that the BaoFeng GT-3 has over the UV-5R, at least not externally. Someone said that some of the inner-workings, control chips, etc are better – maybe that is so, but I haven’t noticed a difference in performance with it. It works good – but I wouldn’t say that it works better than any other Chinese HT.
The LCD backlight – what a joke. The backlight is white and the text display is black. So when the backlight goes off after a minute or 2, you can no longer see the display, even though it is in standby mode. There is no function to keep the backlight on, probably because of the battery drain it would cause, but there is also no function to change the colors of the backlight, display or text. The multicolor functions in the menu remain but appear to serve no function whatsoever.
The GT-3 comes with the same UV-5R antenna, which is junk. My advice is to replace it with a Nagoya NA-701 or a taller 16″ NA-771. Some people in the yahoo group are talking about a A-V85 antenna from Three Old Crows or a “generic” antenna from ebay or something. I’d be skeptical of these myself, but I haven’t tested them, so I can’t say for sure if they are any good or not. However, I have used Nagoya antennas in the past and own a few of them today, and they have always proven reliable.
The charger cradle is really too small for the radio. When seating the radio in the charger, if you have the belt-clip attached, you have to open the clip and hook it over the back of the charger. This is cumbersome and not very well designed. The charger works fine, but it really seems like Baofeng found a charger that was made for another radio, but somewhat fit this radio, and cheaped-out on designing one for this specific model.
The radio isn’t worth the $62 price tag, though I expect this to go down after it has been on the market for a while. I would rather have the BaoFeng UV-82 that is currently listed for $39 on Amazon. It performs better, has a better antenna, and is more sturdy than the GT-3.
My final assessment is that the radio works as expected, it small and light-weight, but is too expensive. Currently the UV-5R on Amazon is less than $30 while this one is still priced at $62. I’d say buy 2 of the UV-5Rs before spending money for a radio that is basically the same, but just looks different.