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Uniden R3

  • The Differences between the Uniden R7 and R3

    Uniden R7 vs. Uniden R3Not 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.

    Dual Antennas
    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.

    Directional Arrows
    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.

    Improved Display
    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.

    Greater Sensitivity
    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.

  • Getting the most out of your radar detector

    Five Radar DetectorsYou recently received a ticket and after the initial shock, decided to take action to prevent it from happening ever again. So, you purchased a radar detector. You researched the products thoroughly, shopped around, and after weighing all the features and options, you made your choice, and it was a good one. You know this, because everyone who already had one raved about it relentlessly. This was THE radar detector. The ONE. The open road was finally yours to conquer!

    Then it arrived. Excitedly, you set up your new radar detector, turned it on and took off for a test drive.

    And you got another ticket.

    Angrily, you yanked it off the dashboard, put it back in the box, and called the company so you could send it back, because it didn't work. It didn't prevent the ticket! Why?

    One of the most common misconconceptions about radar and laser detectors is that the mere presence of one in a vehicle guarantees you will get the advertised performance expected of it out of the box, automatically. However, there's more to it than that. A radar detector isn't just a device to detect radar. It's a tool, an instrument designed to perform a specialized function. As with any tool, it requires an operator to understand and to use it.

    A fine brush won't paint a masterpiece. A high-end guitar cannot play itself. (I was going to say piano, but a player piano actually can.) Like any precision tool or instrument, one has to know how to operate it properly. Just like the vehicle you drive, a radar detector must be learned, understood and properly used to get the most out of it.

    If you pass a patrol car or checkpoint of some sort and your detector doesn't go off, it could be due to a number of reasons. Here are some common questions to consider.

    Is the detector powered on?
    Is the detector properly installed or aimed to pick up the threat?
    Is it configured to detect the radar or laser band(s) used in your area?
    Is the detector configured to filter out or ignore those frequencies or that band?
    Is there anything in the way of the detector's sensors or antenna to deflect or block the incoming threat?
    Is the detector set to mute any audible or visual alerts?
    Is there even a radar gun in use?

    As you can see, there is more to using a radar detector than simply slapping it on the windshield or attaching it to the dash. Before blaming the detector, check your operation. Remember, the key to getting the most out of your radar detector starts with an understanding of how it works and learning how to work it.

    What radar detectors do
    A radar detector is designed to detect and alert the driver to a specific range of radio waves or frequencies used for Radio Detection and Ranging, or RADAR. If the detector is also designed to detect laser, it should detect frequencies in the infrared spectrum of pulsed laser light used for Light Detection and Ranging, or LIDAR, as well. Radar and Lidar are both line-of-sight, which means that they must be within the range and view of the detection device in order for the device to detect them. In short, a radar detector must be properly placed or installed in the vehicle to accurately detect radar and laser threats.

    What radar detectors don't do
    A radar detector detects radar, not cops. Police officers don't emit radar. Radar guns do. Unless the LEO (Law Enforcement Officer) has a radar gun hand, it is turned on and it is aimed down the road in your general direction, your radar detector is not going to detect it. Even if the radar gun is on and aimed directly at your vehicle, it will only detect the presence of the radar gun. It certainly won't detect the cop holding it.

    Also, be aware that there are other methods of traffic enforcement that don't utilize radar technology, such as VASCAR. If one or more of those methods are being used in the area through which you are traveling, your radar detector won't detect those, either.

    The types of radar bands
    There are specific radar bands and frequencies used for speed detection and enforcement.

    • X Band (10.525 GHz)
    • Ku Band (13.45 GHz)
    • K Band (24.1 GHz)
    • Ka Narrow Band (33.8-35.5 GHz)
    • Ka Wide Band (33.4-36 GHz)

    X band is an older band, and not used much by law enforcement in most areas. However, is still used occasionally in some rural locations, so it should not be completely ignored.

    K band is actively used by law enforcement, but is also often used by other radar emitting devices as well, such as vehicle assist systems and automatic door openers. This opens the door (pun intended) to false alerts, so some filtering of this band is needed.

    Ka band is popular with law enforcement today and is commonly used to detect speeders. If your detector is not properly set up to detect Ka, you will probably get a ticket if an officer tags you on that band.

    Ku band is used in Europe and is not used in the US. Unless you live in the EU, don't worry about Ku band.

    The difference between radar and laser detection
    Radar and Laser are two different methods used for speed enforcement, and each requires a different method of defense. Knowing the difference between the two can help you more effectively manage the operation of your detector to defend yourself against a speeding ticket.

    Radar signals are very wide, and cover a broad area. Radar is somewhat slow compared to Lidar (laser) and is the most common technology used by police for speed enforcement. It is also used for many other devices on or around roadways, including speed cameras, traffic monitoring systems and automatic door openers, to name a few. In addition, radar is used in vehicles for collision avoidance and driver assist systems. Because of this, the potential for false alerts has increased dramatically in recent years.

    Laser signals are very narrow, with a wavelength of about 900 nanometers (nm). They also travel at the speed of light, so they are extremely fast, allowing an officer to clock a driver in less than a second. This is a real danger to the driver, because it does not allow enough time to react to a laser alert. By the time you get the alert, the officer already tagged your speed. For this reason, radar detectors that also detect laser are often referred to as ticket notifiers. While not as commonly used by law enforcement as radar, its use is increasing. The threat from laser is real, and growing.

    If laser is used in your area of travel, it is advisable to include additional laser defense products in your countermeasure system, such as a laser jammer or Laser Veil.

    Optimizing range
    Some radar detectors have higher sensitivity than others, and can detect radar waves at greater distances. This is known as range. Choosing a detector with greater range can be a definite asset on the road.

    But sensitivity isn't the only factor in determining range, or performance. It also depends on where you mount your detector. The general rule of thumb is to mount it higher for radar detection only and lower for laser. The optimal position is to mount it centered in the vehicle, low to the dash, and close to the windshield, preferably directly to the windshield itself if laws allow. This allows the detector to have a wider field of view to detect both radar and laser threats from the front of the vehicle, where the majority of threats originate.

    Filtering out false alerts
    Great range alone won't do the job. Your detector also needs to determine the difference between a radar signal and a radar threat. As mentioned earlier, there are numerous sources of radar on the road and detecting or ignoring the wrong ones can confuse both you and your detector. It could also get you into trouble quick. This is why your detector should be configured and optimized to discern a false alert from a real one.

    There are many new technologies that utilize radar on the road. They need to be identified, some as real threats, and others to be filtered out. Technologies such as MultaRadar (MRCD and MRCT) are used with traffic and red light cameras and need to be identified. Radar used for collision avoidance systems and traffic assist on newer vehicles need to be filtered out. Many of these systems are fairly new, so older radar detectors do not have the ability to recognize them for what they are. If you have an basic detector or one that is very old, there is a good chance it will either alert you to everything, or not alert you at all. Either way, it won't do the job.

    Newer detectors, such as the Radenso Pro M or the Uniden R3, are designed with advanced filtering for many of these systems built-in, allowing you to adjust and optimize your detection system to filter out the noise and detect the real threats for maximum protection.

    When to be confident
    The time to be confident is when driving in normal traffic, with vehicles all around you. This is an optimal scenario for a radar detector because it would likely go off when a LEO tags a vehicle in front of you, behind you, or in the next lane. That warning should provide ample time to check your speed and avoid a ticket yourself, before the radar gun is aimed at you.

    When to be cautious
    The time to be most cautious is when traffic is light, there aren't cars ahead of you, or you are traveling on a lonely road. With few or no other vehicles around, your vehicle is most likely to be tagged by a LEO. While not completely ineffective, in such cases a radar detector is not going to be much help on its own, especially if a police officer is using an instant-on radar gun or laser gun to tag you. In this scenario, you need to stay alert, watch your speed and ease off the pedal when approaching curves, hills or potential roadside obstructions where a LEO could hide.

    Use common sense
    A radar detector by itself will not prevent you from getting a ticket. As we've said many times, it is only one component of a complete ticket protection system, albeit a very important one. simply pulling a budget bubble pack unit from the shelf and putting it on your dash isn't going to do the job. You need to learn how it works, learn how to work it, and operate both it and your vehicle using a common sense approach for every unique situation on the road. In other words, drive smart. Only then can your radar detector help you avoid a speeding ticket.

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