Q: I read your column about radar detectors and am torn between two Uniden models, the $79 DFR3 and the $199 DFR6. I've read about them and watched YouTube videos, and both seem to provide very good performance. Is it really worth that much more to get the DFR6 instead of the DFR3?
A: Since my last column on the subject I have tested both, and I do think the DFR6 is worth the extra money.
It isn't often that the distinction is so clear across the board, but everything about them tells the user that the DFR3 is a budget product, while the DFR6 is high-end. Even the packaging reflects the difference. The DFR3 comes in a blister pack, while the DFR6 in a high-quality box. The DFR6 also includes a semihard carrying case with a cable that includes a USB port and a mute button on the plug. This allows you to charge your phone while using the detector, and to mute false alerts with a very conveniently placed button.
The DFR6 has an OLED display with lots of customizable settings and features. As for detection, when I tested it I was able to detect continuous radar from several miles away, and it provided ample warning of police radar with plenty of time to check speed. The DFR3 does a good job of detection, as well, though it's not in the same class as the DFR6. (Disclaimer: As I mentioned in my previous column on radar detectors, I am not endorsing breaking the law.)
The reason the $199 DFR6 and the $299 GPS-enabled version DFR7 have become such hot sellers is that they really do provide similar performance and features as much more costly detectors, but at a fraction of the cost. Why spend $500 to $600 on a radar detector when you can get the equivalent for less than half that?
One last feature to keep in mind: a traffic sensor filter. There are different types of traffic sensors, but some of them send out brief bursts of radar every minute or so to measure the traffic levels. If you frequently drive on highways that use these radar sensors, you will be plagued with false alarms on detectors that are not equipped with a filter. (This is different from the K-band filter most radar detectors have to filter out automotive blind-spot warning and automatic braking systems.) The DFR6 has a traffic sensor filter, the DFR3 does not.
If you start with the DFR3, you very well might be satisfied with it. But once you have used the DFR6, it is pretty much impossible to go back to the DFR3. The DFR6 is better in every way.
Send questions to Don Lindich at email@example.com. Get recommendations and read past columns at soundadvicenews.com.