The world's most in-depth and scientific product reviews

Cobra RAD 380 Review

A simple radar detector with low-level customization but also a low price point
Cobra RAD 380
Credit: Amazon
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:   $100 List | $100 at Amazon
Pros:  Somewhat adjustable sensitivity, simple, IVT filtering
Cons:  No location lockouts, lots of false alerts, no GPS or Bluetooth
Manufacturer:   Cobra
By Hayley Thomas ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 19, 2021
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
57
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 8
  • Features - 30% 5
  • Accuracy - 25% 5
  • Range - 25% 6
  • Ease of Use - 20% 7

Our Verdict

The Cobra RAD 380 is a simple radar detector without any fancy bells and whistles. It has highway and city modes and the option for sensitivity adjustments, which allows for a small amount of very limited customization. It is also equipped with IVT filtering to help with false alerts. Overall its performance across our four metrics was nothing special compared to the more expensive models in our test suite, but considering the RAD 380 is rather inexpensive, the results were as expected.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Cobra RAD 380
This Product
Cobra RAD 380
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price $100 List
$99.99 at Amazon
$500 List
$470.06 at Amazon
$650 List
$649.95 at Amazon
$400 List
$239.00 at Amazon
$190 List
$193 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
57
90
88
85
77
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Somewhat adjustable sensitivity, simple, IVT filteringBuilt-in GPS, customizable band sensitivity, MultaRadar detection, easy to useReal-time alerts, built-in WiFi, novice and expert modes, auto lockout, defender databaseAdjustable X, K, and Ka-band sensitivity, super long range, built-in GPS, user friendlyX, K, Ka-band and laser detection, good range, user-friendly, budget-friendly
Cons No location lockouts, lots of false alerts, no GPS or BluetoothInadequate BSM filtering, no BluetoothVery expensive, limited band sensitivity customization, rear-range is lackingLittle memory, inadequate BSM filtering, trouble with MultaRadar detection, no directional arrowsNo MultaRadar detection, limited memory, false alerts, low-quality mount
Bottom Line A budget-friendly radar detector with simple features and little customizationAn advanced but user-friendly, long-range radar detector, equipped with the necessary features at a fair priceA radar detector that offers automatic learning, location lockouts, and updates as well as a plethora of useful features for the novice and the expert alikeA fairly priced radar detector that is highly customizable and comes equipped with a very long rangeA comparatively inexpensive option with an impressive range and simple features
Rating Categories Cobra RAD 380 Uniden R7 Escort MAX 360c Uniden R3 Uniden DFR7
Features (30%)
5
9
10
8
7
Accuracy (25%)
5
8
8
7
6
Range (25%)
6
10
8
10
9
Ease Of Use (20%)
7
9
9
9
9
Specs Cobra RAD 380 Uniden R7 Escort MAX 360c Uniden R3 Uniden DFR7
Radars Detected X, K, Ka, Laser X, K, Ka, MRCT, MRCD, Laser X, K, Ka, MRCT, MRCD, Laser X, K, Ka, MRCT, MRCD, Laser X, K, Ka, Laser
Display Not stated Multicolored OLED Not stated Multicolored OLED OLED
Available Modes Highway, City Highway, City, Advanced Highway, City, Novice, Expert Highway, City, Advanced Highway, City, Advanced
Power Chord Type 12v 12v 12v 12v 12v
Wifi Enabled? No No Yes No No
GPS? No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Bluetooth? No No Yes No No
Location Lockout None Manual Manual, Automatic Manual Manual

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.

Performance Comparison


The COBRA RAD380 is a simple device at a low price.
The COBRA RAD380 is a simple device at a low price.
Credit: Hayley Thomas

Features


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.

The RAD 380 does not allow for much in the way of band sensitivity...
The RAD 380 does not allow for much in the way of band sensitivity adjustments but it does offer highway and city modes.
Credit: Hayley Thomas

Accuracy


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.

The X-band often indicates a false alert, as X-band radars are...
The X-band often indicates a false alert, as X-band radars are seldom used by law enforcement these days.
Credit: Hayley Thomas

Range


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.

Unfortunately, the RAD 380's range is not up to par.
Unfortunately, the RAD 380's range is not up to par.
Credit: Hayley Thomas

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.

All the controls are found right on the device, so you can really...
All the controls are found right on the device, so you can really just plug it in and go!
Credit: Hayley Thomas

Value


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.

Conclusion


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.

The RAD 380 is an inexpensive option for flat and unobstructed...
The RAD 380 is an inexpensive option for flat and unobstructed terrain.
Credit: Hayley Thomas

Hayley Thomas