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BAOFENG products are often considered to be some of the best when it comes to two-way radio communication.
That’s why we wanted to put the BAOFENG BF-F8HP to the test to see how it performs under a variety of different conditions.
In this post, we’ll discuss its strengths and weaknesses, and also, judge how it performs compared to some of its competitors in the market.
This dual-band radio is incredibly versatile and comes with an impressive range that makes it perfect for a variety of situations. We were able to get great reception both in the city as well as in the countryside. Despite its superior range and high output power, it’s still priced quite reasonably.
Cobra MR HH350W FLT Handheld Floating VHF Radio
This waterproof product is a highly robust and powerful marine radio. With an IPX7 rating and a highly sturdy exterior, it’s sure to last you a very long time, even in harsh weather conditions. We stress-tested it by dunking it in water and it still worked perfectly.
Cobra RX680 Waterproof Walkie-Talkie
This robust two-way radio is not only highly durable but also very portable. You even get 24/7 access to NOAA weather channels as well to ensure you don’t get caught in bad weather. We took it with us on many camping trips and could barely feel it in our backpacks because of how lightweight it is.
Quick Summary of the Main Product
This durable handheld radio is very easy to use and we were surprised by how simple it was to set up during our tests.
The radio comes equipped with a Lithium-ion rechargeable battery that lasts you a very long time. On the low-power setting, the battery can last you up to 24 hours. On the other hand, on the high-power setting, it’ll last about 18 hours.
The battery life is fairly impressive and can be super useful for most commercial radio operators.
|Please note: This radio is not meant for use by regular citizens. If you want to use this radio to communicate over UHF and VHF radio waves, then you’ll need a technician’s license. |
A technician’s license can easily be obtained in the US by giving the FCC’s technician’s license exam. The exam itself is fairly easy and consists of 35 multiple-choice questions.
Features and Benefits
Three Power Output Options
Most importantly, this radio features three different power output levels that you can use according to the situation.
If you’re only communicating with other radio operators that are close by, then you can get away with using the radio at low power (1 watt). This will make the radio’s battery last longer.
On the other hand, when you need to communicate with people further away from you, you can switch to a higher output level.
The three output levels are 1 watts, 4-5 watts, and 7-8 watts.
Large Memory Bank
You can store up to 128 channels on this radio which makes it super useful for operators that need to save a ton of channels for easy access.
Each channel stores the following information:
- Rx and tx frequencies
- Six-character alphanumeric channel name
- Transmission power
- Group signaling information
- ANI/PTT-ID settings
If you ever find yourself in a situation where you need the radio’s battery to last longer, you can turn on its Battery Saver mode.
When the radio is in this mode, it smartly uses its resources to ensure that the battery lasts much longer. Please note that the radio’s reception quality and/or range might suffer when it’s in this mode.
The radio comes with a built-in scanner that can be used to detect UHF and VHF bands within your area.
Any channels picked up by the Scan function can easily be saved to one of the 128 memory channels.
Check out the latest brands of radios and their complete reviews here.
Factors to Consider Before you Decide to Buy the BAOFENG BF-F8HP
Range and Reception
The reception and sound quality of the radio are immaculate as long as the person you’re communicating with is within an acceptable range.
On its highest output power mode, the radio has a range of about 6 miles. This is fairly standard for two-way radio in this price range.
We were fairly impressed by the radio’s button layout and ease of use. All of the functions that get used regularly have corresponding buttons in easily accessible places that make the radio very convenient to operate.
It’s definitely a great radio to consider getting if you’re a beginner that just got their technician’s license.
The radio has an incredibly sturdy exterior body that is built to withstand the test of time. It’s weatherproof and waterproof which means you can use it as a camping radio as well as a marine radio.
We tested this radio for over a month under many different weather conditions and it barely showed any signs of wear and tear.
As mentioned earlier, the battery life depends on the output power mode that the radio is operating on. The higher the output power, the lower the battery life will be.
Here’s how the battery life corresponds to the three different power output levels:
- Low power (1 watt): 24 hours.
- Medium power (4 – 5 watts): 20 hours.
- High power (7 – 8 watts): 18 hours.
Despite its rugged exterior and seemingly heavy-duty build, the radio is actually fairly lightweight. It weighs a measly 10 ounces and you can easily store it in your pocket if you wanted to.
If your job necessitates you to move around and do different tasks, then this radio can definitely be a consistent partner. You can store it in your pocket and easily whip it out whenever you need it.
Pros and Cons
- Simple to use
- Three different power output modes
- Great sound quality
- Large memory bank
- Excellent build quality
- Decent pricing
- Range could be better
While we had a great time testing this radio out, we were curious about what other people’s experiences were like with this product.
That’s why we scoured Amazon reviews to find what people had to say. Most customers found the radio to be super easy to use and many were impressed by how clear its reception is.
Here are some of the reviews we came across:
Similar to the BAOFENG BF-F8HP (Recommendations)
#1: Best Waterproof Alternative – Cobra MR HH350W FLT Handheld Floating VHF Radio Review
This radio was on our radar (pun intended) for a while now and we finally got the chance to test it. We weren’t disappointed as this radio has some of the best reception quality we’ve ever tested, along with a sturdy body.
The exterior is fully waterproof with an IPX7 rating. Hence, you can easily use it as a marine radio and also, in rainy environments.
We were also quite impressed by its Tri-Watch feature which enables you to listen to three different channels at the same time.
It also has easy access to NOAA weather channels and NOAA weather alerts as well. This ensures that you stay ahead of the weather and are able to make the necessary arrangements if harsh weather conditions are expected to arise.
Factors to Consider Before you Decide to Buy Cobra MR HH350W FLT Handheld Floating VHF Radio
Range and reception: With an output power of 6 watts, this radio is able to transmit and receive radio signals anywhere between 3 – 6 miles. The reception clarity is quite decent and ensures easy communication.
User-friendliness: The radio is quite intuitive to use and the button layout makes it pretty convenient to use. We didn’t have a lot of trouble figuring out most of its functions without consulting the instruction manual.
Durability: As mentioned above, the radio has an IPX7 rating that makes it quite resistant to water damage. Furthermore, its rugged exterior ensures that it’s able to withstand other harsh weather elements as well such as snow, sunshine, and sleet.
- Can monitor three channels at the same time
- Easy to use
- Compact and lightweight
- Short range
Best Waterproof Alternative
The best waterproof alternative is the Cobra MR HH350W FLT Handheld Floating VHF Radio thanks to its sturdy exterior and IPX7 rating.
#2: Best Compact Alternative – Cobra RX680 Waterproof Walkie-Talkie Review
If you want a radio that leaves you unencumbered to do your work with ease without getting in the way, then this product is definitely worth considering.
It’s super lightweight and compact but at the same time, it’s also fairly durable. The body is not fragile and can easily stand up to drops and impacts. Furthermore, it’s weatherproof as well which makes it a great option for camping and marine trips.
You get 40 preset channels along with a built-in LED flashlight that can be very handy at night when you’re camping.
Furthermore, the radio even comes with an SOS function that turns the flashlight into a distress signal. It’s definitely a great tool to have on you in case of emergencies.
Factors to Consider Before you Decide to Buy Cobra RX680 Waterproof Walkie-Talkie
Range and reception: The reception quality is quite decent as long as you stay within its range. The range is where this product suffers since it can only transmit and receive signals within 3 miles.
Anything farther from that causes the signal to be distorted and unclear.
User-friendliness: The radio comes with an intuitive design that is super simple to get acquainted with. It will only take you 10 – 15 minutes of fiddling around to get used to all of the different functions it has to offer.
Durability: You can tell the radio is made from high-quality materials as soon as you hold it in your hand. It’s quite robust and also, weatherproof.
- Large memory bank
- Short range
Best Compact Alternative
The best compact alternative is the Cobra RX680 Waterproof Walkie-Talkie due to its low weight, small size, and user-friendliness.
Guide to Buy
Before you decide to buy a two-way radio, there are a few factors you must consider such as what features you absolutely need it to have. Instead of browsing through two-way radios online first, you should assess what your needs are.
- How far will you typically need to communicate?
- Do you need the radio to be weatherproof and/or waterproof?
- Does the nature of your work require that your radio have a large memory bank?
These are just some examples of questions you should ask yourself that will help you determine what the best two-way radio for you will be.
The factors you should consider before you buy a two-way radio include:
Range and Reception
To start off, you must consider how far the radio is able to transmit its signal and how far it can receive signals from.
Naturally, to determine the ideal range, you must consider the nature of your work. Will you typically need to communicate with others in a closed, relatively small setting? Or do you need to communicate over larger distances?
The higher the range of a radio, the higher its price will be.
If you don’t need to communicate too far, then you can easily opt for a two-way radio with a shorter range and save yourself some cash. On the other hand, if you need a longer range, then you’ll need to have a high budget for the radio.
When it comes to the reception quality itself, this is something you should never compromise on. Read online reviews for the radio you’re considering extensively to make sure it doesn’t have any spotty connection or reception issues.
Radios are communication tools that will allow you to do your job more efficiently. When you’re doing your job, you don’t want to be fiddling around with your radio and trying to figure out its different mechanics.
It’s very important that the radio you get is easy to use and intuitive to operate. This will ensure that you’re able to do your job with relative ease and efficiency.
|If you come across reviews for a two-way radio that state that some of its functions are needlessly convoluted or difficult to use, it’s a red flag. |
Always opt for radios that are self-explanatory for the most part and intuitive to use, even for beginners.
The button layout for your radio is also something that matters since you want the functions you use regularly to be easily accessible.
|For example, if your job necessitates that you scan for local frequencies regularly, then the Scan function for your radio needs to be easy to use. |
If the process for using the Scan function on your radio is time-consuming, then this can hurt the efficiency of your work.
Hence, consider what functions you’ll use regularly and buy a radio that not only has those functions but they’re also simple to use.
This is another factor where you must consider the nature of your work and what types of environments the radio will be exposed to.
Do you work in harsh weather conditions where the radio could be exposed to a lot of moisture? Then it’s a good idea to get a radio that is waterproof.
Do you work in environments that are really cold or where it snows a lot? Then, you must consider a rugged two-way radio that is consistently weatherproof. Read up on reviews for the radio you’re considering to ensure it’ll be able to withstand such weather conditions.
On the other hand, if this is not the case and you’re working in a fairly pleasant environment, then you might not need your radio to be so sturdy. In that case, you can just buy one with a standard body and possibly save yourself some money.
Battery life is super important to consider since you might not always have access to a power outlet when you’re out and about with your radio.
- Do you need your radio for outdoor trips?
- How long do they usually last?
- Will your radio be able to last the entirety of the trip?
- If it can’t, does it have some way of recharging remotely?
Make sure that you consider where and in what conditions you’ll be using the two-way radio. Will its battery be able to last throughout?
Lastly, you must consider how much you’re moving around. Will you be walking around a lot or do you need the radio for a setting where you’ll mostly be in the same place?
If it’s the former, then it’s important to buy a radio that’s designed for portability. This means that it has to be lightweight and also, compact. You don’t want to get tired carrying it around and it should be small enough to fit into your pocket.
This will ensure that you’re able to move around freely and do whatever else you need to do while having your two-way radio with you.
Check out the review for BAOFENG UV-5R.
|It’s important to note that some manufacturers who make “lightweight radios” often compromise on their durability. The radio itself might be easy to carry but at the same time, it will also be fragile. |
This is the type of product that you must avoid at all costs because while they may be lightweight, it’s because they’re made from cheap-quality materials.
You want to get a two-way radio from a manufacturer that has smartly designed their two-way radio to not only be lightweight but also, durable. Naturally, this is harder to achieve and may require higher-quality materials.
This is typically why such radios are usually priced much higher.
Wrapping Things Up…
So, that’s our BAOFENG BF-F8HP review.
All things considered, we had a blast testing this product since it offered so many different options when it comes to operating power. It was super fun to test it out in different environments and see how the different output power modes performed.
The battery life is super impressive too and its cheap pricing means that most people can buy it with ease.
What do you think of the BAOFENG BF-F8HP? Tell us in the comments section below.
Our experts have discussed about the latest radios and their accessories so please make sure to check that out.