Differences between the Uniden R1 & Uniden R3

So I just sat down with the Uniden R1 and Uniden R3 to compare them side by side.

Main Differences Between the Uniden R1 & R3

Before I go into the nuances, fundamentally they’re the same detector with the same performance and BSM filtering abilities. The R3 is essentially the R1 with an added GPS chip. That GPS chip adds some really helpful functionality including:

  • GPS lockouts so the detector can learn and filter out stationary false alerts from speed signs and automatic door openers
  • Low speed muting to keep the detector quiet around town
  • Redlight camera / speed camera alerts

These features make the detector more well-rounded and better suited to driving in city or urban areas. If that applies to you, it’s well worth the extra $100 to opt for the R3. (For an in-depth explanation about these benefits, read this article.)

Secondary Differences Between the Uniden R1 & R3

So that covers the key differences. Besides those differences and the relevant menu options, here’s what else I noticed:

  • The R3 has a little darker chrome on top while the R1 is all black on top.
  • The R3 offers automatic dimming of the display at night thanks to the GPS knowing what time it is.
  • The R1 has a “City” button up front to switch between City and Highway modes. The R3 can do this if you long press the Menu button up top.
  • The R3 instead has a “Mark” button up front to manually mark a GPS location so you can get alerted to it next time you’re here.
  • The R1’s heartbeat scanning display can’t be disabled while the R3 allows you to replace it with the time, set by GPS.
  • The R1 always displays your vehicle voltage while the R3 lets you change that to display the speed, compass, or altitude.
  • The R3 can use its GPS to automatically shut down your detector if you’ve been parked for a while, handy if your detector is powered into an always-on power source.

Differences Between the Uniden R1 & R3 side by side

If you’re looking to save $100, the R1 will definitely do the job and keep you protected. You’ll miss out on some of the K band filtering options (GPS lockouts, low speed muting) so I wouldn’t recommend it for people who do a lot of driving in urban areas, but if you drive mostly across highways and/or you live in a state like California where Ka band is used almost exclusively and so you could simply disable K band altogether (you’ll miss the RLC alerts too but you can simply run Waze on your phone for that), the R1 would do the job as well.

Otherwise, for most people, I think the R3 with its added GPS chip, is the one to get. It adds a ton of value, especially in urban areas.

Purchase the Uniden R3.

Purchase the Uniden R1.

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20 comments

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    • Brent on June 2, 2017 at 2:10 pm
    • Reply

    Hi from Vancouver, B.C. I don’t really need GPS and the other features of the R3, but after your review showing that the R1 only displays the hear monitor thing and car volts, I couldn’t live with that….the R1 is such a good detector in testing but such a poor design for daily use…a marketing ploy to get us to pay up for the R3? Love your reviews….I am new to considering Uniden how do the updates work? I believe the V! can be updated but you need to ship back to them? Thanks.

    1. Updates are super simple. Just download the update software (Windows only), plug the detector into your computer, and click Update. That’s basically it. Next time there’s a firmware update made available, I’ll do a video to show you. 🙂

        • Brent on June 2, 2017 at 8:10 pm
        • Reply

        Thanks for the quick reply. You seem to alot about radar. Any idea of the most common types used in BC?

        1. Not personally, but there’s a lot of users on RDF who live in BC and they can give you better specific advice for up there. https://www.rdforum.org/forumdisplay.php?f=103

            • Brent on June 2, 2017 at 8:33 pm

            Thanks for that. I can’t decide on which one to buy V1 or R3… love the history arrows and simplicity of the V1, but the R3 is so modern, fantastic ratings and does so much more…

        • Phil on April 8, 2018 at 7:51 am
        • Reply

        I was thinking about returning my R3 now I know I will, windows only updates what year is this?

        1. As a Mac user, I agree that Mac update software is necessary. I run into the same issues with Radenso and Escort products too though. I wish more companies would make Mac update software a priority.

            • Brian on October 1, 2018 at 4:52 pm

            According to another radar site, the Unidens will now take downloads to Macs.

            • Vortex on October 1, 2018 at 5:05 pm
              Author

            It will, yes, and so any older articles that say it won’t are now out of date. Here’s a video tutorial I did showing how to update the detectors on a Mac: https://youtu.be/CGmSWJEQ1Xs

    • Robert on June 9, 2017 at 2:44 pm
    • Reply

    Hey, Vortex.

    Could you do a test of how well the R3 detects radar emissions coming from behind? I was wondering if an interesting test would be to turn the unit around backwards (and perhaps mount it in the rear window) and then drive forward toward a radar source. I’m trying to figure out if one R3 might be a good alternative to buying two (forward and back) Net Radar antennae.

    I just found your show and I love it!

    Robert

      • Brent on June 9, 2017 at 2:57 pm
      • Reply

      Hi Robert, I would like to see that test too. FYI vortext did a side by side R1/R3 comparison and the R1 is only able to display that silly heart rate monitor line and volts, I just couldnt live with that….how about you?

        • Robert on June 9, 2017 at 4:48 pm
        • Reply

        Hey, Brent.

        I hadn’t noticed that part of the review, I just saw that the R3 had GPS and that it outperformed a lot of other brands, and that’s what got me thinking about buying the R3.

        Thanks for you comment,
        Robert

          • Brent on June 9, 2017 at 5:20 pm
          • Reply

          Hi Robert, the performance at a very competitive price is amazing with both R1/R3 and the fact that, so far anyway, they listen to feedback from Vortex and other testers about recommened changes is impressive so hoping to be able do updates for a long time…

    1. Hey Robert, so a rear test with the R1 and R3 was just done this past weekend! Check it out here: https://www.rdforum.org/showthread.php?t=63225

        • Robert on June 13, 2017 at 10:33 am
        • Reply

        Hey, Vortex!

        Thanks for that quick reply. The rdforum convinces me that I need front and rear…

        I would like to run the ALP with the Radenso HD+ horns… but they cost about $250 more than the Net Radar ($100 more for the rear horn, $100 for the r/g plugin, $60 for the radar antenna).

        Best wishes,
        Robert

    • Greg on June 13, 2017 at 5:46 am
    • Reply

    Any plans to publish the setup and best settings for the R3, as you have done for the other top detectors?

    1. That’s still being tested and coming firmware updates should change things. There’s a firmware update coming later this week. In the meantime check out this thread: https://www.rdforum.org/showthread.php?t=62264

        • Greg on June 13, 2017 at 6:53 am
        • Reply

        Thank you for the speedy response and quality postings across all of social media

    • Glenn Goll on July 23, 2018 at 10:41 am
    • Reply

    I know that the Uniden R1 out performs the Uniden DFR 7 (which was release 2016)
    I see that the R1 has the voltage & heart beat scan.
    I live Warner Robins ,GA we have alot hills/curve . I use 80% in rural/city then 20% (I -75 ) I have an Old Whistler xtr435 which drives me nuts which all false alerts.
    Police use alot of I/O in this area. Sometime Laser(which would not stop a ticket ,if u were speed ing

    I know that the DFR 9 will be in several months before it’s place on Amazon.

    Which would you you recommend the DFR7 or R1 even thought the differences
    is only of 50.00. Thanks

    1. GPS is the biggest thing to consider. If you drive through the same urban areas at all (if you have automatic door openers or speed signs that trigger your Whistler every time you drive by), get the DFR7. If not, get the R1.

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