Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, sometimes all you need is a straightforward, no-frills CB radio for your communication needs on the road. But even if you need a basic device, that doesn’t mean you’re going to settle for something that won’t last. That’s where the Uniden PRO505XL 40-Channel CB Radio comes in. Popular for its simple design and operation, this model is a great CB radio for beginners or for pros who want an inexpensive backup radio.
Useful for getting info on traffic conditions and emergency situations, CB radios are widely used by truckers, off-roaders, construction workers, taxi drivers, and emergency workers. Nevertheless, if you’re constantly on the road, CB radios are definitely a must-have for you to transmit and receive important updates.
This Uniden PRO505XL review looks at the features of this device as well as some pros and cons for you to see if it’s worth the purchase. But considering that it’s a Uniden model priced under $40, it sure has a competitive feature set compared to other entry-level radios in the market.
What’s in the Box
- PRO505XL CB Radio
- Mounting Bracket
- Mounting Hardware
- Printed Material
From the design alone, you can already tell that the Uniden PRO505XL requires basic operation with no training required. If you’re not yet familiar with advanced functions, using this radio would be no problem at all. The faceplate only has one switch, two knobs, and three buttons — yes, that’s it. There’s the squelch control knob and the volume knob which also works as the on/off knob. The three buttons include the emergency channel 9 access and the up and down arrows for channel selection. Lastly, the one switch is for toggling between CB and PA modes. Pretty straightforward, right?
The Uniden PRO505XL is housed in a small and compact casing at only 4.75 inches wide, a tiny difference with the palm-sized Radioddity CB-27. It’s easy to install in any vehicle even if you have limited space. With the mounting bracket and mounting hardware already included in the box, you have everything you need for a trouble-free installation.
As for the screen, the backlit digital display is easy to read both in sunlight and low light. You can easily see the channel you’re on as the digits are displayed bold and large. So even when you’re driving at night, you can operate the Uniden PRO505XL effortlessly. However, some customers find the display a bit lacking in terms of details and quality.
For a budget CB radio, the Uniden PRO505XL delivers well on the range. You will experience a good reception on the road and you’ll also be heard loud and clear on your transmissions. Keep in mind that CB radios are for short-distance communication though, so don’t expect any long-range coverage like the one that FRS/GMRS two-way radios provide. Nevertheless, users of the Uniden PRO505XL report that their transmissions can be heard from a good three miles away even amidst thick forests and mountains. That’s an impressive result for a basic CB!
Quality of the audio is one of the things that buyers should consider when looking for a radio. Of course, if the audio is weak and flooded with noise, it will be hard to hear and understand not only the transmission you’re receiving but also the one you’re transmitting. So if for example, you want to ask for help or get reports on weather conditions, the bad audio quality will definitely set you back.
But there’s no need to worry about that because the built-in speakers of the Uniden PRO505XL do a decent job. It’s crystal clear for both transmission and reception, making it reliable for those long-distance travel. However, it’s recommended that you buy an external speaker to amplify the sound. Connecting the Uniden PRO505XL to an external speaker is especially useful if you’re in a noisy vehicle or environment.
The stock microphone is standard-looking and easy to grasp. It has a four-pin connector and a CB/PA switch for easy toggling between CB radio and public announcement system. So if your hands are occupied with holding the mic, you don’t have to reach for the unit to change between modes.
If you want a completely handheld model, you can always check out the Cobra HHRT-50 radio.
The dedicated knob for squelch control allows you to adjust the amplifier’s gain, thereby reducing the noise. The squelch on Uniden PRO505XL is pretty decent, allowing you to listen to channels with your preferred signal strength. Essentially, squelch works to suppress low-level signals so you won’t hear the annoying channel noise when no transmission is being received. It has been a staple function for any radio, and some models like the Radioddity CB-27 even has manual and automatic squelch levels for more control.
Instant Emergency Channel
Since CB radios are meant to be handy in the event of an emergency, the Uniden PRO505XL didn’t miss out on including a dedicated button for Channel 9. Even with the simplistic design of the PRO505XL, it doesn’t compromise the functions that are most necessary to users. You can find the emergency channel 9 button right next to the up and down arrows.
Of course, this Uniden PRO505XL review will not be complete without discussing the price, as it’s one of the most affordable in the market. This CB radio is priced at $32.99 as of writing. With its straightforward interface, it’s one of the best entry-level devices you can get at this price point.
- Simple design
- Compact and easy to use
- The impressive range for a CB
- Sturdy and reliable
- Display issues in some units
- External speaker required for best audio quality
- No weather channels
Uniden PRO505XL Review Conclusion
The Uniden PRO505XL CB Radio is a solid option for beginners looking to get into CB. It offers a user-friendly interface, good range, decent audio, and instant access to emergency channel 9. Overall, the Uniden PRO505XL is a reliable and durable radio that will last you years.