Design - 8.2/10
Range and Sound Clarity - 8.6/10
Features - 8.5/10
Price - 9/10
If you have ever read my reviews before, you know that BaoFeng devices are a bang for your buck. You should know that the BaoFeng UV888S is one of my all-time favourites when it comes to walkie talkies. Apart from that, the BaoFeng BF-T3 are some of the cheapest pairs of walkie talkies you can find on the market. This makes it a good competition to the non-name brands out there. Apart from that, there is not a lot differentiating these from the rest of the walkie talkies out there, apart from the range and sound quality.
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The BaoFeng BF-T3
The walkie talkies that I bought came in a plastich packaging which was clear on one side. On opening it up, we get two walkie talkies, and one user manual. There are no batteries here, which means that you will be spending money on buying more batteries. However, I have invested in rechargeable batteries, and I just plugged two of them in and they switched on no problems at all. For those of you on budget, this might be a setback. However, cheap alkaline batteries are also available, and if you dont plan on regular usage then they will work fine for you.
The device is made from plastic and does not have any premium feel attached to it at all. You know that it’s cheap the moment you get your hands on this unit. The large talk button is on dead centre, which makes it the obvious button to press. The power button is on the extreme left side, and the torch button is on the extreme right side of the unit. You have a menu button too, which also doubles up as the keypad lock on long pressing that button. The buttons have good travel but I won’t be wearing gloves and using this. There are other buttons on too, such as arrow keys and a dedicated button to switch the channel. There is a clip behind, in case you want to put it on a belt or a strap.
These are my favourite color.
Setting up this device is a breeze, and the included manual is good enough for most parents. The device has a backlit LCD display. The tone of the display is on the cool side, which means that using it indoors is not going to hurt your eyes too much. There is a total of three colour choices that you can choose from. You can choose the black one, which I prefer, or you could go for the green and yellow ones if you wish to do so.
This device isn’t jam packed with features. However, you get a choice of 10 call tones. What amuses me is that there are five caller tones that sound like animal voices. If you have a kid, you know that they will surely love it. Apart from that, when the battery gets low, you get an audible alert telling you that the battery needs a charge. Apart from that, the inclusion of VOX is very welcome indeed. I love using it when I need to make hands free conversations.
The BaoFeng TF3 has automatic scanning capabilities, so setting this up is quite a breeze. I have put a child lock on this, which helps when you have a fidgety kid that likes to push the buttons a lot. There is a push to talk button, which simply connects the call and works as intended. There is a built in mini torch, which has a blue LED. This is for the times you decide to go out in the evenings during camping. An LED is always helpful, even if you don’t use it a lot. There are privacy codes here too, which is actually really good. Living in an urban setting, I keep picking up radio chatter of construction workers, which I have come to hate. I would not like anyone snooping on my conversation as well.
You can use this device without a licence to broadcast on channels 12-22. The channels step up by 250 Hz for every jump. You get a transmission power of 0.5W/1W. The power depends on the channel that you choose. Note that using a higher power transmission guarantees you a larger range. However, that boost comes at the cost of a battery that is discharged at a rapid rate. Channels one through six and channels 15 through 22 offer the ability to use a higher power transmission.
I was definitely not expecting a legendary range from this walkie talkie, but for a name like BaoFeng, this has let me down a bit. It isn’t bad by any means, and for kids its fine, but I was expecting slightly more from this unit. Oh well, I suppose you cant have it super cheap and have a super range at the same time…
BaoFeng says that it has a range of 2 miles in an open field. I took it out for testing in an open field, and it worked for me about a mile and half. Beyond that, it was not usable as per my standards. In an urban setting, range takes quite a bit of a hit. The maximum range that you should expect from this is about a kilometre. You can stretch it to one and a half kilometres if you are lucky. Do note that range figures are never true for all settings, your mileage may vary depending on the kind of place that you live. The squelch on these is fine as well.
Even though it seems like I have talked about negatives only, there is nothing bad at all about this walkie talkie when you look at its price. The price at which you get the BF-T3 made it an impulse purchase for me. So far, they have held up really well, and I love how they work. The audio quality is actually not bad at all. To sum it up, you get a bang for your buck.