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Lifewire / Todd Braylor
Extremely long-range detection
Advanced filters and 360-degree detection
Database updates for red light/speed cameras
Occasional false alerts despite advanced filters
Requires a lot of tweaking to optimize
Cheap windshield mount
Requires updating; no USB cable included
The Uniden R3 beats out the competition with its low price, advanced filtering, and long-distance range, but its high sensitivity does require you to spend some time optimizing its settings.
The Uniden R3 is a top-tier radar detector that has all the bells and whistles for advanced detection; this model checks the boxes for GPS capabilities, state-of-the-art filtering, and long-range, all at a reasonable price.
The Uniden R3 is a relatively compact rectangular radar detector. The R3 comes with a suction cup windshield mount that installs in a slightly different orientation to other mounts I've tested. The design of the R3’s mounting arm requires the suction to be installed a little higher on your windshield than other models. However, because the R3 is relatively small, it doesn't significantly impact visibility.
The build quality of the R3 is very nice and it's made of high-quality plastic. This Uniden models gets points for aesthetics too, combining slightly different textured plastics for a look and feel fancier than the competition.
The R3 is easy to install and start using. It's recommended to update the firmware on a PC computer before use (the R3 is not compatible with Mac). Irritatingly, no USB cable is provided with the R3 in order to update. Once the firmware and included database is updated you are ready to mount on your windshield and the unit will automatically power on when the DC power adapter is plugged in. The R3 is user-friendly with several auto modes to get you started, but it also has plenty of customization options for power users.
The Uniden R3 delivers on its claims of extreme range and is one of the best in its class for long-distance detection. During highway testing, the R3 outperformed other top-end radar detectors with its high sensitivity. Driving on a flat section of interstate the R3 alerted me of the presence of a state trooper that I saw parked in the median over two miles down the road.
The Uniden R3 delivers on its claims of extreme range and is one of the best in its class for long-distance detection.
This Uniden model has a quality color OLED display that is bright and easy to see in all lighting conditions. The display shows you signal strength for different bands and when a transmission is picked up a visual alert will show the band and specific frequency.
To complement its long-distance sensitivity, the R3 has a solid range of advanced filtering features, but they require a good bit of tweaking to optimize. Going deep into the settings in order to customize the detection to work best and minimize false alerts takes a little time and patience.
The R3 has GPS capabilities that allow you to save up to 500 different GPS points to lockout stationary false alerts. The R3 also comes with a database of GPS locations for redlight and speed cameras which tell the unit to alert you when you approach one. Additionally, it utilizes GPS for a unique feature that lets you mark locations for voice notifications. If there is a stretch of highway that's a common speed trap, the R3 can remember that location and give you a voice alert to remind you that you are approaching that problem area as an extra safety precaution. The Voice notifications will also tell you what type of threat you're approaching. The R3 will announce the frequency and band of an alert once a signal is picked up to help you assess upcoming threats.
The R3 has a solid range of advanced filtering features, but they require a good bit of tweaking to optimize.
Another advanced feature not found on cheaper models is the inclusion of K and Ka-band filters to help reduce false alerts from other vehicle’s Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) systems. These are a welcome addition to a high-end mode,l but despite these handy features the R3 still occasionally delivers false alerts. I encountered a couple of false alerts from Hondas on the highway, but taking some time to customize the R3 helped. The main culprit for false alerts during testing was the Ka-band. I found the best way to optimize the R3 and minimize annoying false alerts was to lower the detection strength to 70-80%.
The Uniden R3 is a top of the line radar detector that has an MSRP of $400. Even more attractive is the fact that the R3 is currently listed for $290 on most major online retailers. Just under $300 is a very good value for the R3’s performance. Its combination of advanced features and long-range are normally only available on $500+ models.
Let’s do a quick comparison of another high-end radar detector to put the R3’s performance and price into perspective. The Max360 is a top-end model from Escort that has a lofty MSRP of $450 (view on Amazon). The Max360 features similar advanced filters, GPS capabilities, and included red light and camera database. During testing of both these models, the R3 consistently outperformed the Max360’s purported long range. This Escort was up to 4 seconds behind in Ka-band detection. Paying a$150 premium doesn't seem warranted for the inferior range.
In terms of value and performance, the R3 beats out the competition.
The Uniden R3 is my top pick for an advanced radar detector. It's hard to find a product that comes as close to the full monty as the R3. While this model isn't perfect at eliminating false alerts, its inclusion of advanced filtering and GPS capabilities make a better compliment to its proven long-distance range than other models I tested. I confidently recommend this model—the R3 delivers top-end performance with a mid-tier price tag.