Auto Mute Memory
Not So Great
Some Bland Display Colors
No Directional Alert Arrows
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As the successor to the trusty R3, the Uniden R4 gives higher false alert filtering, Gatso detection, and two Low Noise Amplifiers (LNA) to extend the general vary. Basically, the Uniden R4 takes all the pieces good concerning the R3 and turns it up a notch, however there’s a value bounce to contemplate.
As of this writing, the R3 retails for $299 on Amazon, whereas the Uniden R4 goes for $350. Is it price spending the additional cash to have the up to date R4? In this assessment, I hope to assist reply that.
How I Use My Uniden R4
The Uniden R4 sits alongside items from Escort, Cobra, Radenso, and K40 in my assortment of radar detectors. While my Escorts are good with all of the Bluetooth options, generally I don’t want all that “stuff” after I drive. My objective was to discover a “grab and go” radar detector for fast journeys round Detroit with cheap vary and good false alert filtering.
At first, I sought out two cheap Cobra items however was solely glad with one and developed a love/hate relationship with the opposite (in hindsight, I used to be in all probability too lenient in my unique assessment of the 480i). That led me to buy a Uniden R3, which, though costlier than the Cobra items, was much more dependable and pleasant to drive with. I’ve since ordered an R4 to switch the R3 as my “grab and go” radar detector.
Uniden R4 In-Depth: What It Offers
The R4 comes with a 12V DC energy wire with an RJ11 connector, hook and loop tape for dashboard mounting, and an proprietor’s handbook. Included are two completely different windshield mounting brackets. There is a bigger single suction cup bracket and a bracket with two smaller suction cups. Uniden features a carrying case too.
The Uniden R4 is constructed on an all-new platform, giving it a bonus over the R3 when it comes to detection vary and obtainable options. For instance, the R4 has an Auto Mute Memory characteristic that mechanically locks out false alert places, which is tremendous handy. The R4’s new platform additionally homes the twin LNAs to detect radar sources farther away than the R3 can. Likewise, the R4 can detect Gatso radar utilized by the newest pace cameras.
These are all key variations between the Uniden R4 and R3 and should allow you to justify the value bounce.
Regarding the R4’s new platform, comparability is a car platform, or relatively, the structure and chassis. Every car has a “platform” on which it’s manufactured. Imagine the distinction between a car constructed at this time and a decade in the past. The new car can be safer, extra fuel-efficient, trip and deal with higher, and have extra tech options. The up to date structure, or platform, permits such issues to come back to fruition.
The similar analogy might be utilized to the Uniden R4 and R3, just a bit smaller.
Radar & Laser Protection
The Uniden R4 will provide you with a warning to X, Ok, and Ka radar bands and laser (LiDAR) weapons. I’ve X bands turned off, however the Downriver communities south of Detroit use instant-on Ok band, so I’m hesitant to have my R4 ignore Ok band outright. While you could have the occasional Ok band false with the R4, the brand new Auto Mute Memory characteristic is fast to avoid wasting them.
You can experiment with the Ok and Ka filters within the settings menu, together with a segmentation filter. Since Ka is commonest right here in Michigan, I’ve my R4 set to slim Ka segmentation. In slim segmentation, the R4 scans just for U.S-spec weapons versus your complete Ka frequency vary (or large segmentation). Since the R4 isn’t watching the complete Ka frequency vary, it has a faster response time, which is useful in an space the place instant-on Ka band radar is current.
The R4 may detect POP transmissions, MRCD, MRCT, RT3, and RT4 (RT3 and RT4 being the separate frequency ranges of the aforementioned Gatso radar). This means the Uniden R4 will provide you with a warning to all kinds of radar sources, from patrol vehicles and pace traps to site visitors cameras and different picture enforcement gadgets.
When warning you of an upcoming purple mild or pace digital camera, the R4 will present site visitors mild or digital camera icons and the corresponding distance (in toes) to the alert.
OLED Display & All Threat
The R4’s OLED show will present the frequency when a selected radar band is detected. The corresponding sign energy indicator strikes from blue to white, then to yellow and orange, and at last to purple, relying on how shut you’re to the risk. Audible alerts are additionally issued, with the tones turning into extra speedy the nearer you’re to the radar supply. You may set the R4 to announce the frequency of any radar bands you encounter.
The R4 will concurrently detect as much as 4 radar bands and present every of them visually by the All Threat characteristic within the settings menu. The strongest sign is designated because the precedence, exhibiting entrance and middle on the OLED show. Any different indicators seem on the left facet of the display and resemble a bit of digital chart. Below this digital chart is the kind of radar band, adopted by sign energy bars that ascend vertically the nearer you get to the supply.
The default setting for the All Threat characteristic is off, however turning it on provides you with extra situational consciousness. Since the R4 doesn’t have directional alert arrows, having the All Threat on provides you with an concept of all the pieces happening within the rapid space.
For me, the All Threat characteristic is useful north of Detroit in Oakland County. Novi Road runs between Northville and Walled Lake, taking you straight by Novi within the course of. You move a number of purchasing plazas, together with Twelve Oaks Mall, completely different residence complexes, and even cross over I96. It’s a closely patrolled space, and the probabilities are excessive you’ll encounter a couple of police automobile with its Ka radar on (often fixed on and doubtless a Stryker gun, primarily based on the Ka frequencies my Uniden R4 shows).
Like the R3, the Uniden R4 has a City and Highway mode. In City mode, X and Ok band sensitivity is diminished to stop false alerts, whereas Ka bands keep at full sensitivity. In Highway mode, all bands go to full sensitivity to provide the most response time on the open street. You can additional optimize the R4’s sensitivity ranges by the Advanced Mode.
The Uniden R4 has an Auto sensitivity mode, which the R3 doesn’t. Auto sensitivity is speed-dependent, switching forwards and backwards between City and Highway modes at a pre-set pace. In the settings menu, search for “Auto City Speed,” the place you’ll be able to set the R4’s switching level between City and Highway in 5 mph increments between 10 and 60 mph.
Auto sensitivity mode makes the Uniden R4 a superb “grab and go” radar detector. I’ve already lent my R4 a number of instances to household taking a weekend getaway or a piece journey. The Auto mode is good as a result of I can “set it and forget it” for them. You simply put it on the windshield, and away you go!
Here in Detroit, I’ve the edge at its max, 60 mph, so my R4 doesn’t swap to Highway mode till I exceed that pace. There are roads within the Detroit metro the place you’re nonetheless within the metropolis however driving in an space with the next pace restrict. If you utilize the Auto sensitivity mode, it’s greatest to set the switching level between City and Highway primarily based on the place you reside.
Mute Memory & Mark Location
When you encounter an alert you understand to be false, press the Mute/Dim button on the entrance of the unit or the Mute button on the facility wire. You will then see “Mute On” seem on the show. Press one of many buttons once more to avoid wasting that GPS location and frequency to the R4’s reminiscence. When you move that location once more, the R4 will show the alert and the frequency on the OLED show, nevertheless it received’t make a sound. At this level, I’ve misplaced observe of the variety of CVS and Walgreens doorways I’ve saved to my R4!
Mark Location (listed as “user location” within the proprietor’s handbook) works equally, however you’ll use it for areas with a recognized radar supply or a spot the place they “like to sit.” When getting into this space, press the Mark button to avoid wasting that location. The R4 will concern a voice immediate the subsequent time you’re close to that saved location.
The R4’s up to date platform helps a characteristic known as Memory Quota, one thing the R3 doesn’t have. Memory Quota allows you to set the person variety of Mute Memory and Mark Locations. In whole, the R4 can save as much as 2,000 factors between the 2, however you’ll be able to allocate that a method or one other in 50-point increments.
For instance, I’ve my Mute Memory set on the most of 1,750 allotments, which means I’ve 250 for Marked Locations. I are inclined to encounter extra Mute Memory places right here in Detroit, so I need the best allotment potential. However, I may drop that allotment for Mute Memory in 50-point increments if I want extra room for Marked Locations.
Is The Uniden R4 Worth The Money?
If you’re a radar detector fanatic or like having the newest toys and devices, then sure, the Uniden R4 is price each penny. No doubt I’ll all the time belief my R3, however I’ve zero regrets about upgrading to the R4.
If you’re new to radar detectors and seeking to buy your first one, the R4 is a fantastic decide. It’s simple to study and use and provides you with loads of advance discover when a radar supply is close by. However, if you’re on a finances, go together with the R3. Although it has fewer options than the newer R4, it’s nonetheless radar detector to your each day drive.
As of this writing, the R3 retails for $299 on Amazon, whereas the Uniden R4 goes for $350.
Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association and the Society of Automotive Historians. He serves on the board of administrators for the Ally Jolie Baldwin Foundation, is a previous president of Detroit Working Writers, and a loyal Detroit Lions fan.