Uniden R8 Review: New and Improved

08th Nov,2022

Launching at CES 2022, the Uniden R8 aims to replace its predecessor, R7 and brings advanced improvements like upgraded dual LNA design, improved button positioning and better range. It was first made available in April of 2022 and can also be considered a direct competition to radar detectors like the Escort Redline 360c and the Valentine 1 Gen2. 

This radar detector notifies you when you go over a certain speed limit thus helping you avoid a ticket. Given its hefty price tag and flagship specs, you would expect nothing less than best-in-class range and accurate alert filtering. See how it matches up against the best radar detectors in the market.

Is the Uniden R8 worth it? Let’s find out! 

Uniden R8: At a Glance 

picture of top view of uniden r8

PROS:
  • Updated platform with better button reachability
  • Auto mute memory
  • OLED panel with multiple color options 
  • Good range with false alert filtering 
  • Built-in GPS
  • Highly responsive both at close range and distance 
  • Can respond to quick radar bursts even with filtering on 
  • An excellent photo radar with MRCD, Gatso and MRCT

CONS:
  • Auto-lockouts do not work properly and fail to mute signals 
  • Not fully RDD immune & can be picked up by SPECTRE detectors at close range 
  • No bluetooth compatible apps released yet 
  • Lack of WiFi means that the device cannot update without a computer 
  • Some display failure issues in the initial units 

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Overview 

Uniden R8 is one of the most sensitive radar detectors. It offers excellent range and a wide assortment of features that will please any enthusiast. If you want something more stealth, you can go with the Escort Maxcam 360c, but the R8 is the only radar which provides balanced performance across all bands. 

Features

picture of feature of uniden r8 vs r7

Uniden R8 In-depth Review 

Losing track of speed is easy when you are cruising on an open highway. On one side, there is the constant urge to let that throttle open, on the other side, you are worried about getting a speeding ticket. The Uniden R8 is arguably the best radar in the market, especially if you drive in a high-traffic zone with strong law enforcement. 

Design & Packaging

Uniden R8 comes with the following accessories: 

  • Carrying case 
  • Single-suction bracket 
  • R8 radar 
  • Dual-suction bracket 
  • Cigarette adapter with mute key and dual ports 
picture of Picture of left side of radar uniden

The design changes, even though minimal, are all welcome upgrades over the R7. The R8’s build quality appears to be slightly improved over the R7, but is still not good when compared to V1 Gen2 and Redline 360c. 

Uniden has also moved the mark & mute button from the side and added it to the front dash of the device. These buttons are now backlit. This allows for easy reachability which was a big complaint with the side-mounted buttons of the R7. 

R8’s rake is steeper towards the front of the detector and tapers out at the top, in contrast to the R7’s flat profile. Regardless of this, their rear height is nearly identical. 

This does have some trade-offs though. The taller front blocks the rear laser sensor and might press up against the headliner if not placed properly. In practice, this does not seem like such a disadvantage since rear laser detection is not used by many people. You can get a laser jammer for this instead. 

The device is still compatible with all the mounts designed for the R7. You will find microUSB and power jacks on the right side, which is good for keeping cables away from the steering wheel. The left side has a RJ type interface which can be connected with an audio jack/laser jamming system. 

The design of the stick-cup mounting bracket has also been revised, making it compatible with other latest Unidens. This is a much-appreciated improvement that will simplify your life if you have more than one Uniden radar detector and use a variety of attachments with each.

Auditory Response 

You can set the volume level and whether or not you want it to beep depending upon the setting you are in. This setting can easily be customized for every car. For instance, if you are in a noisy vehicle, say a F-150, you can set the detector at a louder volume. On the contrary, if you are in something quieter, you can lower the volume. 

Uniden also allows users to pre-determine what tones they want to hear when a certain laser frequency is caught or when a specific band is being used. Here are some good tone selection recommendations: 

  • Laser: Tone 10
  • Ka Band: Tone 9
  • K Band: Tone 2
  • X band: Tone 3
  • Gasto: Tone 8 
  • MRCD/MRCT: Tone 8 

Display 

picture of front screen uniden

The R8 shares R7’s large and super bright display, but just feels a tad bit sharper (not something you will notice unless you put both of them side-by-side).  The pixel density is good enough and helps the driver pick up data even at wider viewing angles. This is primarily due to the multi-color OLED display which has a higher contrast ratio. 

The radar also comes with an auto-dimming feature which adjusts the light emitted by the display based on the ambient light in the cabin. This is a very nifty feature and allows for more covert driving in the evening. 

This display is significantly better than other radars priced similarly. It also features eight different colors which can be tweaked using the detector’s menu. Blue, white and gray look the best and pair well with all sorts of interiors. You can also pick from different display layouts which show real-time speed, direction of travel & speed and the voltage output. 

Performance 

The R8 uses a newly designed twin-LNA architecture with a convex condenser lens. These lenses act as a wave-guide and improve sensitivity on certain radar bands which are off-axis. 

Testing reveals that the R8 delivers best-in-class performance throughout the K & Ka band. It can easily detect interruptions coming from far away and is also quick to report them. Uniden [1]says that the R8 has superior range on 33.8, 34.7, 35.5 and K band when compared to the R7. 

This is where this lens really beats the competition. When we talk about the V1 Gen2, it offers unparalleled performance on Ka band but struggles on the K band due to poor filtering. Vice versa, the Redline 360 is sluggish on K band and requires segmentation to report short warnings accurately. 

The Uniden R8 is a radar which provides the best of both worlds. The sound signature is rather progressive and linear rather than the abrupt one in the Redline 360c, making it more useful. 

False Altert Filtering 

This radar detector is pretty quiet and rarely gives any false alerts. Out of those false alerts, most come from vehicles like Cadillacs, Acuras, Mazda CX-5s, Jeeps, etc. You can even use two additional K blocks ( 24.99 +/-5MHz & 24.168 +/-MHz) to filter out alerts coming from such vehicles. 

Unidens also have an auto mode which alters the sensitivity of the sensor based on your speed. The device will switch to X/K band with reduced sensitivity at city speeds whereas it switches to highway mode at highway speeds. 

The Escort Redline 360c performs marginally better in this regard but only begins to alert when you get really close. You can also add a segmentation filter on top by switching the ‘Mode’ display from ‘Basic’ to ‘Expert’ in the options menu. These filters include Wide, Narrow and the Extended mode. 

Aside from this, the R8 is also capable of picking up MRCD, MRCT, RT3, RT4 and POP transmissions. 

Arrows

Picture of left side of radar uniden

The directional output of the arrows is somewhat a gimmick. While they are clear and easy to read, the behaviour is somewhat of a hit and miss. When driving at slower speeds, they often flip right when you pass the threat and sometimes flip after the vehicle has passed. You might also notice the arrows flickering towards one side when you are approaching a threat. 

Additional Features 

Given below are some more features that help this radar stand out and provide a better user experience when driving. 

SPECTRE Immunity 

This is a feature which comes in handy if you want a stealth detector which goes masked when passing RDDs (Radar detector detector). For certain states where radar detectors are illegal, law enforcement uses the SPECTRE RDD to detect them. 

User testing [1]revealed that even though the R8 is not fully undetectable, it does well most of the time. The results are quite variable and also depend on the filtering mode you have on. If you want something that is 100% stealth, then you should go with the V1 Gen2 or Redline 360c. 

The best filtering settings for the Uniden R8 are: 

  • K block 1 & 2 weak 
  • TSF on
  • MRCD on
  • Auto mode 

Auto Lock-out

Auto lock-out is a long awaited feature which did not work well with the R4 and R7. Unfortunately, the case is still the same with the R8. If you drive through an area quite often, the detector can also be set to muffle stationary radar sources as a vehicle passes through the area. 

It can also ‘unlearn’ the location of the fixed source if it starts moving or changes location. Furthermore, you can also use manual lockouts by pressing the mute button twice along with blocking sources like X & K band, Ka band and MRCD radars. 

With all that said, this feature is highly unreliable and inaccurate, so you will be better off using manual GPS lockouts. 

MRCD

The R8 can detect MRCD, MRCT and Gatso and does it quite well. User testing[1]has revealed that it has 2-4 times the range the R7 offers against MRCD. This is quite handy if you deal with short range alerts from lower frequency MRCD photo radar systems on a daily basis. 

The false rejection is also much better than the previous generation and even beats the Redline 360c. 

Bluetooth Functionality 

This is a new feature which was made a part of the firmware recently. Uniden has not given any confirmation as to how this function will be integrated with apps that can take advantage of bluetooth. 

Highway Radar is working on making a functionally integrated app that is still in the works. 

Police Laser Detection Performance 

Unlike police radar which can be detected by many entry level radar detectors, lasers use LiDAR technology to point to a certain vehicle and know its speed. This is also more accurate than the conventional methods and works by determining speed based on the returned reflection pulses off cars. Some commonly used police lasers include LTI Truspeed SXB, Stalker RLR, DragonEye Compact, etc. 

The Uniden R8 alerted within about 500 feet if the license plate area was targeted but failed to do so if either headlight was targeted. The accuracy further increased with distance regardless of the targeted area. All in all, the laser detection is decent in this device. 

Outro: Uniden R8 is a Solid Pick! 

picture of front view of radar

Unlike the 360c’s and the Valentine Gen2’s of the world, the Uniden R8 is just a more well-rounded option that makes the least compromises when it comes to features. Should you upgrade if you already have the R7? Only if you want the best! 

For the larger audience looking to invest in their first radar detector, the Uniden R8 is still a better value. It gives you almost all the features that you need and retails for only $200 more. That said, R8’s support for Uniden’s upcoming laser jammers, wired remote keypad and photo radar systems makes it more future-proof. 

Uniden R8 can be the daily driver for every user and offers excellent detection capabilities with plenty of filtering options and good range. Some cons like inconsistent false alert filtering and auto-lockout will hopefully be resolved in future updates, but should not put a dent on how you use the device. 

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William Johnson

William Johnson is the owner and founder of RatedRadarDetector.org. He writes about car accessories, with his passion stemming from a deep enthusiasm for all things automotive. His website, RRD, focuses on in-depth reviews of car accessories to help people find the best and latest products in the market.