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Uniden DFR1 Review

An inexpensive radar detector with impressive range but limited filtering and lots of false alerts
Uniden DFR1
Credit: Amazon
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Price:   $50 List
Pros:  Simple, inexpensive, impressive range for the price
Cons:  No GPS, limited filtering, little customization, lots of false alerts
Manufacturer:   Uniden
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
59
OVERALL
SCORE


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

Our Verdict

The Uniden DFR1 is among the most simplistic of today's radar detectors. It has very limited features and no GPS. It is accurate in the sense that it won't miss a threat; however, false alerts are triggered right and left as it lacks filtering capabilities. The range is rather impressive for such an inexpensive device but simply cannot measure up to the models that are 4 to 10 times its price. Bottom line, this is a fine option for those on a tight budget who don't mind sifting through many false alerts.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Uniden DFR1
This Product
Uniden DFR1
Awards  Best Buy Award Best Buy Award   
Price $50 List$400 List
$261.36 at Amazon
$190 List$150 List$100 List
$99.95 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Simple, inexpensive, impressive range for the priceAdjustable 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-friendlyBluetooth connectivity, community shared information, adjustable sensitivitySomewhat adjustable sensitivity, simple, IVT filtering
Cons No GPS, limited filtering, little customization, lots of false alertsLittle memory, inadequate BSM filtering, trouble with MultaRadar detection, no directional arrowsNo MultaRadar detection, limited memory, false alerts, low-quality mountNo location lockouts, sensitivity adjustments cannot be performed individually, lots of false alertsNo location lockouts, lots of false alerts, no GPS or Bluetooth
Bottom Line An inexpensive radar detector with impressive range but limited filtering and lots of false alertsA highly customizable radar detector with an extremely long range at a fair priceA simple radar detector with an impressive range for a very friendly priceA radar detector that has Bluetooth connectivity to an app on your smartphone but leaves out a few favorite features in exchange for a friendly priceA simple radar detector with low-level customization but also a low price point
Rating Categories Uniden DFR1 Uniden R3 Uniden DFR7 Cobra RAD 480i Cobra RAD 380
Features (30%)
5.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
5.0
Accuracy (25%)
5.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
5.0
Range (25%)
7.0
10.0
9.0
6.0
6.0
Ease Of Use (20%)
7.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
Specs Uniden DFR1 Uniden R3 Uniden DFR7 Cobra RAD 480i Cobra RAD 380
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
Wifi Enabled? No No No No No
GPS? No Yes Yes Yes No
Bluetooth? No No No Yes No
Location Lockout None Manual Manual Manual None

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Uniden DFR1 is a virtually featureless low-budget radar detector. It won't miss a threat but is also won't filter out non-threatening radar either. It does not detect MultaRadar (MRCD) and does not offer features like GPS location lockouts as it does not have GPS. This detector offers exactly what one would expect out of such an inexpensive device.

Performance Comparison


The Uniden DFR1 is a budget radar with little to no features.
The Uniden DFR1 is a budget radar with little to no features.
Credit: Hayley Thomas

Features


The DFR1 is relatively simple in this category. However, we didn't expect it to be overflowing with features for such a low price point. You cannot turn down the band sensitivity, but it does come equipped with a few different modes to adjust the sensitivity appropriately. It offers city and highway modes, highway mode being more sensitive. It also can detect X-bands, K-and, Ka-bands, and lasers.

The DFR1 does not have MultaRadar detection and doesn't do much in the way of filtering. Since this device is among the simplest and least expensive we tested, it does not come with GPS. This means you cannot manually lockout non-threatening stationery triggers and will most likely have to hear it go off every time you approach your local grocery store, mall, or any place that has automatic doors. It simply does not offer what the more expensive models do, but considering the price, it is still a rather high-functioning device.

Even the inexpensive Uniden DFR1 has highway and city modes...
Even the inexpensive Uniden DFR1 has highway and city modes, indicated by the letter on the far right of the display.
Credit: Hayley Thomas

Accuracy


Accuracy is a very important metric. If a radar detector can't pick out a threat, then it simply isn't doing its job. Picking up on frequencies is not the only job these devices have, though. Radars are all around us, so a quality detector should filter out non-threatening frequencies as well.

The DFR1 is not one to miss a true threat; however, it is a very talkative little device. The only sensitivity adjustments this detector offers are the three modes — city, highway, and highway 1 — so it false alerts a lot. It has 360-degree detection, but the front detection performs better than the rear detection. If you don't mind a lot of false alerting and you're on a budget, then this device is the right one for you. But be careful because false alerts make it difficult to pay attention when there is a real threat present.

The DFR1 offers X, K, and Ka-band detection.
The DFR1 offers X, K, and Ka-band detection.
Credit: Hayley Thomas

Range


Range is arguably just as important as accuracy. All the accuracy in the world won't help you if your detector doesn't pick up on the threat until it is 10 feet away from you. By that time, the cop will already be flashing their lights and gearing up to pull you over.

Range is really where this little budget-friendly device shines. It is not a long-range detector like many Uniden products, but the DFR1 is a true mid-range radar detector. During our testing, it lagged far behind the long-range models, but it did give us enough time to slow down before approaching the threat. At a price like this, you won't find a detector with a better range.

The DFR1 is prone to false alerts as it has little in the way of...
The DFR1 is prone to false alerts as it has little in the way of filtering capabilities.
Credit: Hayley Thomas

Ease of Use


This metric applies to initial device set-up, how easy it is to make adjustments as you get to know your device, and of course, how easy it is to understand the alerts. The DFR1, being very simple, requires minimal set-up. There is no smartphone app or Bluetooth pairing needed; just plug and go. That said, this level of simplicity is not without its downfall. The DFR1 does not divulge much information, so it can be hard to decipher between a true threat and a false alert. You may find yourself slowing down every time it alerts you of the presence of a radar frequency.

The simple alerts are easy to understand however, they do not give...
The simple alerts are easy to understand however, they do not give much information other than the band and strength of the frequency.
Credit: Hayley Thomas

Value


The value of this device is spot on. The price and what it has to offer coincide perfectly. It is simple, comes with just a few necessary features, and is the lowest costing radar detector in our test suite.

Conclusion


The Uniden DFR1 is a simple, almost featureless radar detector that won't miss a beat and will warn you with just enough time to slow down. It does not win any awards for its accuracy, and it is prone to alerting when there is no threat present. But with an impressive range for the price, this detector is a great choice for anyone looking to spend a minimal amount of money and doesn't mind false alerts.

This simple device is a good option for those on a tight budget who...
This simple device is a good option for those on a tight budget who don't mind false alerts.
Credit: Hayley Thomas

Hayley Thomas