Not long ago, Uniden reclaimed its reputation as a respected manufacturer of quality radar detectors with its DFR series and then reinforced it with the introduction of the Uniden R3. Recently, Uniden introduced the R7, an attractive detector packed with powerful features and high performance at a premium price. While both the R3 and R7 have many similarities, there are some important differences that put the Uniden R7 in a higher tier.
The key differences between the Uniden R7 and the R3
The R7 improves on the R3 primarily by adding a second antenna, a larger display, and directional arrows for the radar signal. It also offers wider scanning on K band plus a few tweaks that add to the overall experience of owning a high end radar detector. It also costs $200 more. If you already own an R3 and want to move up or you are shopping for your first radar detector and considering an R7, is it worth the extra money? Here are the key differences between the Uniden R7 and Uniden R3 that may help you decide which radar detector is the one for you.
The Uniden R3 has one front facing antenna. The Uniden R7 has two, one for the front, and a second for the rear. Like the Valentine One and the Escort Max 360, the Uniden R7 uses its rear antenna to find out from which direction the signal is coming. If you've driven with a radar detector before, you know the confusion that comes when receiving an alert, but not being able to quickly identify the source. For example, is there a police officer somewhere behind you, or is it a false alert from the car in the lane next to you? Knowing which direction of the radar source is a huge advantage, and is a big reason to choose the R7.
As an added bonus, the second antenna also improves performance or range of the antenna, particularly from the rear. In some situations, this added sensitivity could make all the difference between getting an alert, and getting a ticket.
One major difference that puts the R7 above the R3 is the addition of directional arrows on the R7 display. The directional arrows are the most exciting new feature of the R7. When you get an alert, an arrow will display on the screen to show you if it is coming from ahead, behind or from the side. But there's more.
The R7 allows you to customize the color of the arrows. You can also color code each arrow displayed by band for instant band Identification, using your choice of seven colors. For instance, you can set the R7 to display a red arrow for K band, a blue arrow for Ka band, and a yellow arrow for X band. If that isn't cool enough, an arrow can be displayed for up to three additional alerts. It's another feature that could point to the R7 as the radar detector of choice.
To accommodate the directional arrows, Uniden significantly improved the display. The OLED display on the R7 is much larger than the R3. It's shifted to the left side of the detector, and angled toward the driver's side of the vehicle. Like the R3, the display of the R7 is full color, bright, and easy to read, even in sunlight.
Another difference is the color palette. The Uniden R3 has a six color display, which includes blue (default), amber, green, pink, grey, and red. The R7 has eight colors, which include red (default), white, violet, blue, amber, green, pink and grey.
For even greater flexibility, the R7 has an ambient light sensor that automatically adjusts the brightness of the screen when driving during the day or at night. In contrast, the R3 also has an automatic dim feature but it is GPS based by the time of day and is therefore not quite as accurate, since sunrise and sunset vary by location and time of year, and it does not compensate for lighting differences due to changes in the weather. This is another difference between the two models and one in which the R7 shines.
Both the R3 and R7 have great sensitivity, with advanced customizable filtering. However, with the added rear antenna, the R7 has a slight edge over the R3 with sensitivity or range. In addition, the R7 is reported to have a slightly wider scan range on K band than the R3, increasing its ability to pick up frequencies on that band. While not a major improvement, it does provide another reason to choose the R7 if cost is not an issue and you're on the fence about which model to buy.
Improved Ergonomic Design
Another difference between the R3 and R7 is the location of the controls, and in particular, the Mute/Dim and Mark buttons. On the R3, these buttons are located on the front of the unit, just under the left side of the display. On the R7, they are moved to the left side of the detector, behind the display. If you are used to having a mute button on the front or top of the detector, this can be a bit awkward, but if you've never used a radar detector before, it may not be something that cramps your style.
The Power cable is on the left side on the R3 and on the right side of the R7. For most drivers, this location may be more desirable, as it keeps the cable from dangling down on your side of the dash. If so, the R7 may be the one to connect.
Signal Strength Meter
Both models have a signal strength meter with frequency Identification, but with one difference. The R3 displays the strength of a signal with five levels, and the R7 has eight. It's not a big deal, but definitely worth noting.
Of course, there's more to these models than radar direction detection. Both units are equipped with GPS for red light camera notification, advanced customizable filtering, and ugradeable firmware. They are also designed to be undetectable by the Spectre Elite radar detector detector.
The only other difference between the Uniden R7 and R3 is what comes with the detector in the package. Both models include a large, single suction cup mount, standard two suction cup mount, a coiled power cord with alert light and USB port, a USB cable for GPS and firmware updates, hook and loop mounting tape, and a zippered storage case. The R7 also includes a neoprene carrying case, and its power cord has a mute button.
Considering the differences as well as the similarities, is the Uniden R7 worth the price? If you already have an R3, is it worth the upgrade? It's a personal choice, of course, since both models have a lot to offer. Which ever you choose, you can be confident that you'll have a solid performing Uniden radar detector as your companion on the road.