The Uniden R3 Review – Complete Analysis & Buyers Guide

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uniden r3 reviewThe introduction of both the Uniden R1 and R3 generated a lot of excitement among radar detector experts and enthusiasts. It is because, in terms of performance, the manufacturing brand has gone further than anyone dared.
The sensitivity is stellar, the range is unprecedented, and above all, the cost is consumer friendly. Both the R1 and R3 exhibit these excellent features with the only difference being that R3 is GPS equipped and the R1 is not.
To help you understand why the Uniden detectors, and in particular, the R3 is so popular, here is an exhaustive review.

Construction and Workmanship

When it comes to size and weight, the Uniden R3 excels. It weighs about 1.5 pounds, and its dimensions are 9 x 4 x 7 inches. Note that if the R3 was any smaller; the display size, the speaker performance, and the button size would suffer. In contrast, if the detector was larger than it is, it would be too heavy.
Regarding construction, the R3’s outer casing has good and tight seams and the material used is sturdy. Consequently, the R3 is durable. The menu buttons are well-spaced, they are large and they have a tactile feel that facilitates ease of manipulation.
To satisfy everybody’s needs, Uniden R3 offers two distinct mounts. The first mounting option incorporates a single sticky-cup bracket and a ball-type head. The bracket and the head facilitate a myriad of mounting positions complete with different angles.
The second mounting option is the conventional dual suction-cup bracket. Thanks to the two mounting options, you can choose the one you prefer or the one that fits your vehicle best.
The R3 comes with a cigarette power adapter complete with an RJ-11 jack. Additionally, it has an inbuilt USB port that can help power your phone and a push button that aids in muting locations and alerts.
The R3 has two front buttons—the MUTE/DIM and MARK. These buttons are backlit for easy identification at night. You have the option of disabling them if you prefer stealth.
The only thing one can consider missing is a USB to Mini-D cable that will allow you to connect your detector to the computer to update the photo-enforcement database. However, with the constant upgrades, this is only a matter of time.

The R3’s Display

The display on the R3 is bright enough to ensure you can easily read what is displayed despite the time of day.
To facilitate this; the detector offers five display brightness settings—Bright, Dim, Dimmer, Dark, and Off.
Bright, Dim and Dimmer are self-explanatory. The Dark setting facilitates stealth driving. With the mode activated, the screen is off but for a flashing dot located on the lower left of the screen. When the R3 detects a threat, the screen automatically turns back on and displays all the relevant information about the threat.
On the other hand, the Off Mode turns the screen off completely. Even when the detector detects a threat, the screen remains off, and you only access audio alerts.

The Audio and Tonal Quality

The R3 has discernable voice quality and alert volumes. You can set the sound levels as high as you wish and the sound will remain clear without any distortion.
Regarding alerts, they are also distortion free, and one can easily recognize the alert for a particular kind of threat. For example, the alert for the Ka-band is a chirping sound.

Ease of Programming

The R3 facilitates easy and quick programming. To configure the device, press the menu button located on the top of the detector.
To go through the different features, use the right or left volume button.
To change a feature, press the menu button. For features with more than one settings, pressing the menu button more than once will help you cycle through all the settings.
To exit the menu, you can long press the menu button until menu exits, you can also cycle through the various menu options till you find EXIT, or you can allow the configuration to time-out and exit on its own.
With such a clear and straightforward procedure on configuring your device, it will only take a couple of minutes to program the R3 for maximum performance or according to your preference.

A lot of Useful Information at a Glance

Once the R3 detects a threat, it displays as much information as possible to help ensure you react accordingly. Here is the information the R3 displays

  • Your current speed
  • The direction of your travel
  • The detector’s sensitivity setting
  • Time (thanks to the GPS satellites)
  • The band of police radar
  • The frequency of the primary detection
  • Up to three additional police radar bands complete with the corresponding signal strength as long as the ALL THREAT mode is on.
  • Battery/alternator voltage
  • Current altitude

Note that because the display is large, all the information is readable. No other detector in the market today provides this much information.

Stellar Sensitivity of the R3

As noted above the R3 is highly sensitive. It provides three sensitivity settings—Highway, City, and City2.
The Highway mode facilitates maximum sensitivity to all the radar bands—K, X, and Ka. When traveling on the highway, it is the perfect setting.
City mode decreases the K-band sensitivity. It is perfect for urban driving because it reduces the false alerts resulting from K-band door openers around town. When on a stretch of road, the City mode also reduces false alerts resulting from to K-band collision avoidance systems.
City2 disables the X-band and reduces sensitivity on the K-band. Again, this mode is perfect for urban driving because false alerts due to X-band motion doors are non-existent.
Note, however, that irrespective of the mode you prefer, the Ka sensitivity is not affected. It is highly beneficial because most police radar guns today use the Ka-band.

R3’s Radar and LIDAR Alerting

With regards to police radar, the R3 indicates the detected primary radar band, the frequency, the signal strength and five different bars of different colors that indicate levels and relative proximity.
Additionally, when confronted with an instant-on police trap, the R3 promptly conveys all the alerts needed to ensure you react accordingly and avoid a ticket. Once the detector stops detecting a signal, the duration of trailing alerts is minimal.
The R3 offers dynamic range in a bid to let you know how close you are to the radar source. As a result, you have enough time to adjust your speed.
With regards to LIDAR alerting, the R3 is just as prompt in informing the driver about a police laser threat. It does so from either behind or in front which means you get 360-degrees laser protection.

Muting and Signal Lockout

The R3 allows the muting of a signal with the touch of a button. Unlike many detectors, it allows unmuting as well. With many detectors, once you mute, the signal stays muted until it dissipates and the detector alerts you of another signal. Unmuting facilitates convenience.
Moreover, the R3 allows you to lock out a motionless radar source using its geolocation manually. That means, if you drive by the same source again, though the detector will detect the radar band, it will not beep or chirp.
The feature resembles Escort’s Auto learn. However, with the signal-lockout, you do not have to wait for the device to learn. You can just lockout a source immediately upon discovery.

Quiet Ride Functionality—Speed Sensitive Alert Muting and RLC Quiet Ride

To help facilitate a quiet ride, the R3 offers two unique settings. The first one is the Speed Sensitive Alert Muting that allows you to mute alerts if you are driving below a particular speed threshold.
For instance, you can set a threshold of 45mph, and as long as you are under that speed, it does not matter how many radar sources are around, the detector will not bombard you with alerts.
The second one is the RLC (red light camera) Quiet Riding. With this setting, you set a speed under which the detector will not alert you to any red light cameras located off the highway.

Immunity to RDD including Near Specter RDD

In areas where radar detectors are illegal—most notably V.A, D.C. and most of Canada—this stealth design that makes the R3 immune to radar detector detectors is in high demand. Note also that for truckers, radar detectors are illegal in all fifty states. That means truckers also depend on the stealth design.
Immunity to RDD essentially means that any officer looking to see if you are using a radar detector will turn up nothing because they cannot detect it. The R3 is immune to even the Specter Elite which is one of the most effective radar detectors.
The only situation where the R3 is not immune is if an officer gets out of his car and holds the Specter a few feet from your detector. On the road, however, the R3 is undetectable.

False Alert Filtering and Signal Rejection

The R3 features one of the most sophisticated filtering systems. To start, R3 utilizes Digital Signal Processing. While many detectors now use DSP, R3 approach and execution work best; resulting in one of best-behaved radar detector.
It filters out nearly a hundred percent of false signals. That means you do not have to keep muting the detector when on the highway because it will only sound an alert when the threat is imminent. In addition to the DSP, here are three more types of filtering that the R3 excels in.

BSM Filtering

Blind Spot Monitoring systems are a constant source of false alerts. The R3 features a K filter mode that deals with K-band avoidance collision systems from Acura, Honda, GMT, and Fiat. Other vehicles too of course, but the above four, in particular, have proved resistant to filtering in the past.

K Narrow

The K Narrow feature facilitates reduced K-band filtering. In essence, the feature ensures that the K-band frequency range is reduced so that it only centers around a well-tuned police radar gun.
That way, the device only looks for what it is supposed to and filters out any other source of the K-band, for instance, construction drones. The feature helps greatly in cutting out false alerts.

Ka Narrow

The Ka Narrow feature works similarly to the K Narrow one discussed above. However, unlike the K Narrow, the Ka Narrow feature centers on the frequencies of three Ka-band police radars in North America—33.8Ghz, 34.7Ghz, and 35.5Ghz. The detector looks for these frequencies and filters everything else out.
That way, the R3 reduces false results generated by other Ka-band sources such as cellphone towers.

Performance of The Uniden R3

One can analyze the performance of the Uniden R3 with regards to three metrics—overall sensitivity, consistency of the sensitivity and ability to detect instant-on I/O radar.
When it comes to sensitivity, tests by reputable people in the industry indicate that the R3 has roughly 6dB more sensitivity than any other detector in existence today.  The detection is usually at twice the distance of other popular detectors.
Note that this does not mean that other detectors are not excellent in their own right, it just means that the sensitivity of Uniden R3 is off the charts.
With regards to sensitivity across all radar frequencies, the R3 also excels. Sensitivity on the X-band is just as high as the sensitivity of the Ka-band. If you are a resident of a state where X-band use is still prevalent, for instance, Ohio or New Jersey, then this is a huge advantage.
Finally, regarding the ability to detect instant-on radar, the R3 is arguably one of the best. For the longest time, the Valentine 1 held the bar when it came to informing drivers on an approaching instant-on radar trap.
The R3 is now holding the bar as well thanks to high sensitivity that allows detection of weak signals, quick reaction time and nice and tight trailing alerts.

Benefits of Uniden R3

  • It is affordable
  • Sturdy
  • Reliable
  • Incredibly sensitive
  • Long-range

Significant Drawbacks

The only drawback is that the reaction to laser threats is not as fast as that of radar threats. However, with continual upgrades, chances are high Uniden will address this.

Final Take

The Uniden R3 stands out as one of the best in the market. The Uniden brand is continually rolling out upgrades and chances are high the performance of the R3 will only get better.
The best aspect of the R3, however, is that even with all these features, the device remains affordable.

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