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Uniden Radar Detectors: R7 VS R3

Not sure if you should buy the Uniden R3 or Uniden R7? Here are the key differences between the Uniden R3 and Uniden R7:

The Uniden R7 offers better features than the cheaper Uniden R3, however, the Uniden R3 still provides a great range. The Uniden R7 is more expensive while the Uniden R3 is around $200 cheaper.

Uniden R3 is such an acclaimed radar detector that whatever unit followed it would understandably receive much hype. And this is what we have exactly seen with the R7, released a bit later but is now used by many we perceive to be satisfied customers. 

The latter had improved performance and flexibility on the R3, such as when it came to detection range and sensitivity, and this is owed to its additional features, directional arrows included for accurate locations.

If you already have the R3, should you upgrade from R3 to R7, or skip the R3 altogether to equip your vehicle with the R7? Are the changes and improvements that drastic? 

While we believe in different strokes for different folks, we understand the appeal of a newer radar detector. And yet, costing a lot less than the retail price for R7 will make the R3 still a desirable option.

We took it upon ourselves to compare and contrast the R7 versus R3, and ultimately, to help you in deciding which radar detector to take. Here is a quick reference on the advantages of the Uniden R3 and the R7 before we delve into the particulars:

  • Comes with a GPS capability
  • Best for driving in cities, especially when done often
  • Can detect radar signals at 360 degrees
  • Has low speed muting you can take advantage of in busier districts
  • Straightforward installation
  • Long range detection
  • Almost RDD immune
  • Bright and larger OLED screen display tab for information
  • Longer range and sensitivity for radar efficiency
  • RLC and Speed camera updates are free as long as the device lasts, no yearly payment
  • Dual antenna with directional alerts
  • Maximum speed warning system
  • Relatively cheap
  • Almost RDD immune

Features of Both Radar Detectors

Here are some features of the Uniden R3 and R7 radar detectors and how they compare. 

Design

The new design is the most apparent of changes from the R3 to the R7. There are a bigger display and a seemingly different orientation of controls, but curious enough the official manual for the R7 indicates the same dimensions and weight.

Both radar detectors use an OLED display [1], but the R7 screen is noticeably larger to accommodate a new advanced feature: the directional arrows which makes it easy to read. Previously seen on the Valentine One and the Escort Max Ci 360, the once patented addition is now also available on the R7. You can also color code each arrow for instant band identification.

The necessity of having one is contested by many radar detector users, considering the feature as a luxury, but there is also a sizable number from the community who wanted to see it on equipment other than the V1. Uniden R7 gives users the option to change the colors based on the band for convenience. Colors also indicate signal strength. The default display color is red. By the way, both detectors have a signal strength meter with frequency identification as well.

On the R3, the brightness can automatically adjust based on the time, depends if its day or night. There’s a dim button for this. While useful for many, those driving on places with higher altitudes may benefit more from the R7’s ambient light sensor, also present in the DRF8 and DRF9. Also, the R3 may not adjust to changes in lighting due to weather.

This removes the need to manually adjust the brightness for easy reading. When it comes to legibility, we see no difference between the two models.

The button placement is a little different on the R7. Most remain at the top, such as power buttons, menu, and volume but then there are little changes. 

The mute button is placed in front of the R3, right below the OLED display, but the mute button is on the left side for the R7. This is an unusual choice based on other radar detectors but not one to bother us that much.

The port for the power cable, while technically not a button, is now on the right side, away from the view of the driver. It is also now for Micro USB instead of Mini USB. On the R7, the display is tilted to the left, which is good for right-hand traffic countries including the United States and Canada where Uniden markets its detectors the most.

The amount of the R7 VS the R3 is longer for a practical reason: the former is farther from the windshield. But this isn’t something new to Uniden as we’ve already seen it on older models, just not the R3. The suction cup mount for the R7 allows more mobility too.

Rear Antenna and Directional Arrows

Two major features are added on Uniden R7: a second rear antenna and directional arrows. While both radar detectors possess the same build, these updates as mentioned above on the R7’s design are supposed to increase driving awareness and improve detection on the road.

These will help identify not only the source but the location of the signal, which may not mean much to others but will be beneficial in conditions where visibility is slightly compromised such as at night and where there are many possible sources for a signal. The arrows come with voice alerts that will inform a user of the particulars even when not looking at its display.

GPS Lockouts

The R7 also comes with automatic GPS lockouts. To be clear, this isn’t offered right off the box as it will take firmware updates after the patent for such technology expires. 

It isn’t hard to do manual muting, but in instances when the range of a signal is wider than expected, it can be helpful for the device to learn this on its own.

Unfortunately, the R3 does not have this because its memory will not be able to accommodate it according to Uniden. This limitation also keeps the Mute Memory points for the R3 at 200. Meanwhile, the R7 can store up to 2000 points that will be shared by Mute Memory points and User Mark locations.

Wide Radar Detection

R7 has wider K band scanning capabilities than the R3 and it will be able to sweep down signals even lower than 23.9 GHz,  which is also convenient for MRCD detection. Logically, this makes the R7 more sensitive and prone to false alerts.

False Alert Filtering

False alerts filtering is one area considered to be a weakness for Uniden models, including the R3, but R7 released an update to block BSM signals from Acura and Honda and other signals within the 29.194 to 24.204 range. This can pick up legitimate threats but thankfully police signals of this range are rare.

If you find these to be minor improvements, then you’ll be glad to know that most other features on the R3 and the R7 are similar. The functions allowed by GPS (like red light camera notifications) are carried over from the R3 to the R7 but with only little tweaks.

Performance

The R7 has shown improvements versus R3’s performance that will improve the experience of using it, although the results tend not to prove a significant edge of the R7 over the R3. 

The former is at least 1 dB more sensitive, but in the larger scheme of things, the R3 is not far behind in detection and range. The R3 and R7 have similar results on Ka band 34.7 radar guns, and the R7 improves on the R3 on Ka 33.8. Both have a significant lead over other leading radar detectors. Furthermore, both are undetectable by the Spectre Elite radar detector detector.

For those worrying that the directional arrows compromise the R7, you can find that this assumption is unfounded as it is still able to perform as great or even greater than the major competition. Even the rear antenna for the R7 is excellent as it outperforms the Escort Max 360 as well as the V1.

Not sure which one to choose yet? Here’s are the key differences between the Uniden R7 and Uniden R3 that might help you decide which radar detectors is the one for you.

Uniden R3 VS Uniden R7

The Uniden R7 has two antennas, one front facing and one for the rear. The Uniden R3 has only one front facing antenna. Same as the Escort Max 360 and the Valentine One, the Uniden R7 uses its rear antenna to discover which direction the signal comes from.

When to Choose The Uniden R7

The Uniden R3 gives high quality range, while the Uniden R7 provides added antenna and arrows to locate signal similar to the Max 360 and V1.

The Uniden R7 offers stronger features than the cheaper Uniden R3. These, plus its better performance, makes Uniden R7 worth the higher price.

In the package, they both have a suction cup mount, power cord, mounting tape, storage case, and USB cable if you want to upgrade the firmware. 

When to Choose The Uniden R3

There’s indeed no going around the fact that the Uniden R7 is a beast against police officer radar guns, but such confirmation does not lessen the Uniden R3’s reputation in any way. 

When it comes to range and general performance though, Uniden R3 is with the R7 at the top of Uniden. For something at least 200 bucks cheaper than the new top of the range model, that is indeed a steal considering every ticket you’d avoid.

William