Cobra RAD 380 Review
Pros: Somewhat adjustable sensitivity, simple, IVT filtering
Cons: No location lockouts, lots of false alerts, no GPS or Bluetooth
Compare to Similar Products
Cobra RAD 380
$99.95 at Amazon
$261.36 at Amazon
|$190 List||$150 List||$50 List|
|Pros||Somewhat adjustable sensitivity, simple, IVT filtering||Adjustable X, K, and Ka-band sensitivity, super long range, built-in GPS, user friendly||X, K, Ka-band and laser detection, good range, user-friendly, budget-friendly||Bluetooth connectivity, community shared information, adjustable sensitivity||Simple, inexpensive, impressive range for the price|
|Cons||No location lockouts, lots of false alerts, no GPS or Bluetooth||Little memory, inadequate BSM filtering, trouble with MultaRadar detection, no directional arrows||No MultaRadar detection, limited memory, false alerts, low-quality mount||No location lockouts, sensitivity adjustments cannot be performed individually, lots of false alerts||No GPS, limited filtering, little customization, lots of false alerts|
|Bottom Line||A simple radar detector with low-level customization but also a low price point||A highly customizable radar detector with an extremely long range at a fair price||A simple radar detector with an impressive range for a very friendly price||A radar detector that has Bluetooth connectivity to an app on your smartphone but leaves out a few favorite features in exchange for a friendly price||An inexpensive radar detector with impressive range but limited filtering and lots of false alerts|
|Rating Categories||Cobra RAD 380||Uniden R3||Uniden DFR7||Cobra RAD 480i||Uniden DFR1|
|Ease Of Use (20%)|
|Specs||Cobra RAD 380||Uniden R3||Uniden DFR7||Cobra RAD 480i||Uniden DFR1|
|Radars Detected||X, K, Ka, Laser||X, K, Ka, MRCT, MRCD, Laser||X, K, Ka, Laser||X, K, Ka, Laser||X, K, Ka, Laser|
|Display||Not stated||Multicolored OLED||OLED||Not stated||Not stated|
|Available Modes||Highway, City||Highway, City, Advanced||Highway, City, Advanced||Highway, City||Highway, City|
|Power Chord Type||12v||12v||12v||12v||12v|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Cobra RAD 380 is a budget-friendly device that comes with few features. The city and highway modes allow for a little bit of band sensitivity adjustments, but it is no stranger to the false alert. Its overall performance does not compare to the others option in our test suite, but it is a budget option, so our expectations were not very high.
Features are what make one radar detector stand out from the next — generally speaking, the more feature-rich, the pricier the model. Not everyone needs all kinds of bells and whistles, but some specific features can be advantageous, and unfortunately, the RAD 380 is missing a few.
This is a very basic model. There is no GPS built into the device, nor is there Bluetooth to sync it to your phone. It can detect X-band, K-band, Ka-band, and laser but not MultaRadar (MRCD). It comes with two modes, city and highway, and while band sensitivity can be adjusted, each cannot be adjusted individually.
Your radar detector needs to pick up any and all frequencies that may pose a threat. That being said, it is arguably just as important for your device to filter out non-threatening frequencies, like those found on automatic doors. Too many false alerts can desensitize you, affecting how you react to your detector's signals, even when they are genuine threats.
Although the RAD 380 is a very basic detector, it does have a few tricks up its sleeve to combat false alerts. IVT filtering and band sensitivity adjustments both make a big difference. In-vehicle technology filtering helps combat false alerts caused by blind-spot monitoring on neighboring cars. While we prefer to see individual band adjustment capabilities, we appreciate that Cobra was able to make sensitivity adjustable at all. Unfortunately, even with these features, the RAD 380 is still a very chatty Cathy, both on the highway and in a city.
Radar can be blocked by large physical obstacles such as trees, hills, or buildings. That is why it is so important that detectors offer a long-range. This way, there is more space between the driver and the threat, providing ample time to slow down before getting clocked.
Compared to the more advanced radar detectors in our test suite, the RAD 380 falls very short. The range is heavily affected by obstacles and therefore works best on unobstructed straightaways. This device is a good choice for someone who lives out in the country and drives on relatively flat, unobstructed terrain.
Ease of Use
A radar detector is supposed to relieve the driver of the stress of getting a speeding ticket, so it should be very easy to understand. Some are complicated to set up, but the fewer features, the less you'll have to learn about your device.
One positive about the simplicity of the RAD 380 is that the setup is very straightforward. There is no app to download, and you don't have to sync your smartphone to your new device. The only features you have to familiarize yourself with are the mute button, highway and city modes, and the sensitivity adjustment button. While the RAD 380 is easy to understand while in use, it does not provide the user with very much information. It has no directional arrows, making it is difficult to tell where the threat is coming from, and the sounds that this device makes are quite jarring.
The RAD 380 does not have very many features, and it lacks in range. While it is inexpensive compared to more advanced detectors, it is still not cheap considering what it has to offer. Unfortunately, we don't find very high value in this device.
The Cobra RAD 380 is a simple radar detector that offers a small amount of customization paired with bare minimum features. It struggles with range when obstacles are present but works just fine on long straightaways. Overall this detector is a decent option for someone who drives mostly on long flat roads and is looking to break into the radar detector world without breaking too deep into their wallet.
— Hayley Thomas