Uniden DFR7 Review

Uniden DFR7

 

Introduction

Several years have passed since Uniden tapered its production of high performance radar detectors. A few of our members here owned some of these early models, like the Uniden LRD 6299SW, which had above-average detection performance. After a long break over the past few years, Uniden has finally returned to making premium detectors by introducing a new series of detectors including the excellent LRD950. Now for 2016, Uniden has introduced the LRD950′s successor, the Uniden DFR7. This new detector is much more advanced than its predecessors from the late 1990 and early 2000 timeframe. An immediate glance of the DFR7′s screen indicates it is ready to seek and find speed traps as well as  provide the driver important information about their surroundings. The purpose of the following article is to highlight the DFR7′s basic features, discuss the performance of its radar and laser detection, discuss the filtering features and Red Light Camera (RLC) notification system, and provide readers our recommendation to either purchase it or stay away from it.

 


 

Specifications

Radar and LIDAR (laser) Detection

    • X-band
    • K-band
    • Ka-band
    • Laser

Radar Receiver Type : Double conversion, superheterodyne, self-contained antenna

LIDAR Infrared Receiver Type : Pulsed Laser signal receiver at 800 – 1100 nm LIDAR receiver 

Global Positioning System (GPS) Receiver : Built-in GPS receiver

Spectre Undetectable : Spectre I and IV Undetectable (NOTE : our observations showed that this detector “leaks” and can be detected by other radar detectors, therefore the company’s claims need further investigation)

Dimensions

    • Length : 4.53″ (110.00 mm)
    • Width : 2.72″ (69.00 mm)
    • Height : 1.16″ (29.50 mm)
    • Weight: 6 ounces (170 grams)

Power Requirement

    • Dash accessory outlet : 12V DC coiled power cord (included), with RJ11 connection, USB charging port, alert LED and mute button
    • Hardwire cable sold separately

Firmware & Red Light Camera Updates

    • Standard USB cord (included)
    • Uniden DFR7 Updater program : software downloaded from the Uniden website
      • Requires Windows Operating System (no availability for Apple OS users at this time)

 

Features

Display : Organic Light-emitting diode (OLED) alphanumeric in light blue

    • Alert Screen
      • Radar : signal strength (1-5), signal type, and signal frequency
      • LIDAR
      • Red Light Camera (RLC) Alerts: photo-enforced areas
    • Additional information
      • Vehicle Speed (mph or kmh), Compass (8-points), Vehicle Voltage, Altitude, Time (GPS based)

User Preference Settings

    • City / Highway detection modes
      • In City Mode, the DFR7 disables the detection of X-band, whereas in Highway Mode, the X-band detection is enabled
    • Selectable radar bands
      • X-band
      • K-band
      • Ka-band
      • Ka-band : POP detection
    • False threat filtering
      • Traffic Sensor Filter (TSF High and Low) : mode filters K-band noise emitted from traffic monitoring sensors on highways
      • Blind Spot Filter : mode filters K-band noise emitted from vehicles with blind spot monitoring systems on K band
      • Ka Band Filter : Filters Ka-band falses from leaky radar detectors
    • Tone / Voice
      • Voice alerts state the band
      • Auto Mute : reduces volume of alert to level 1 after 3 seconds
    • Display Settings
      • Bright, Dim, and Dark
    • Factory Default

 

Overview of the Uniden DFR7

The DFR7 is nearly identical to its predecessor the LRD950. It’s the same size and weight, but with a black case and black trim. The lighter plug now adds a USB port, alert LED and mute button. Some firmware improvements have been made as well, such as offering separate TSF (traffic sensor) filtering and BSM (blind spot monitor) filters, plus the addition of a switchable Ka false filter. Beyond discussing this detector’s exterior aesthetics or its firmware, this article will discuss how the Uniden DFR7 performs in long-range radar detection, radar detection sensitivity, and false alert mitigation. These are perhaps the three most important features for any radar detector, since they provide the greatest situational awareness to a driver in order to provide a spirited, yet safe driving experience.

Video explaining the differences between the DFR7 and LRD950 (Thanks Vortex!)

Display and Aesthetics K

The case and display are identical to the LRD950 other than the use of black trim instead of silver. The LRD950 review provides more information on aesthetics. The black trim on the DFR7 should mitigate some of the complaints about glare or reflections on the windshield caused by the silver trim on the LRD950.

The DFR7 has an upgraded cigarette lighter cord compared to the LRD950. The lighter plug now offers a mute button which mirrors the functionality of the mute button on the unit including GPS lockouts, a power/alert LED that lights when the detector is powered on and flashes during an alert, and a handy USB charging port for your phone or other mobile device. The RJ11 plug is now crimped correctly, which was an issue with the previous unit’s cord.

Radar Detection Performance J

The Uniden DFR7 has not yet been formally tested, but its performance should be comparable to the LRD950.

False Alert MitigationJ

The Uniden DFR7 has three false alert mitigating features: K-band BSM Filter, K band TSF Filter, and GPS-based Location Lockouts. The single most interesting difference between the Uniden’s K Band Filter and the filters previously mentioned in other brands is this filter does not adversely affect the performance detection of the radar detector. Throughout our forums for the various radar detectors, some users will mention how they have disabled their detector’s TMF or RDR setting. This is due to the fact that enabling this feature on Valentine One or Escort detectors causes a decrease in K-band detection. Readers should take note of this observation by looking at the customized settings of Escort and Valentine One detectors in the charts listed above (next to the names of the detectors, TMF or RDR is shown as ON or OFF).

K Band Filter

The Uniden DFR7 can either have K-Band Filter ON or OFF, and this setting is adjusted using the MENU system. When enabled, this filter counters radar signals from blind-spot monitoring systems. Most importantly, enabling this feature does not degrade this detector’s K-band detection range. As mentioned above, this feature does not filter TSM sources, so if drivers live in areas where these systems are used, they will want to use the K band TSF filter.

K Band TSF Filter

The Uniden DFR7 adds an additional filter called TSF, which be turned on or off via the MENU system. When enabled, this filter counters radar signals from traffic sensor systems, similar to Escort’s TSR and Valentine’s TMF.

GPS Lockouts

This detector offers the same GPS lockout features as the LRD950.

Summary J (Long Range Category)

Overall, we rate the new Uniden DFR7 very favorably, due to its long range detection* for Ka-band and K-band, sensitivity, and above average scores in laser detection and false alert mitigation features. At a starting price of around $280.00, this detector is capable of detecting the 34.7 GHz Ka-band radar gun at distances rivaled by other detectors costing at least $400.00. This detector would have scored higher in the category of long-range detection if it would have demonstrated better range for detecting other Ka-band radar guns like 33.8 GHz and 35.5 GHz. Although these latter two bands are not as common throughout the United States, the 33.8 GHz Ka-band radar gun is used in places like Washington. This detector also showed great long range detection against K-band radar guns, and from the K-band distance chart presented in this article, the Uniden DFR7 nearly tied with the Escort Redline by 3 feet. In the sensitivity category, we observed the Uniden DFR7 to be a solid performer with a 70% detection rate against the Ka-band POP radar, and alerting consistently to a moving, Instant On (I/O) radar gun. This detector also has a decent Lock-Out feature, however, its onboard storage capacity of only 100 locations is small when considering that some lock-out locations require a minimum of 2 storage locations.

 

* Testing was performed on the predecessor of the DFR7, the LRD950. The performance of the DFR7 is expected to be similar.


Here is a K band encounter/save (Thanks fanta!)

 

Notes

  • Special Thanks
    • Vortex – for conducting very thorough reviews and a tutorial of the Uniden LRD950 and DFR7 in order to show our readers and enthusiasts the pros and cons of this detector
    • fanta – for the real life encounter videos
    • Preferred Vendor (BestRadarDetectors aka “BRD”) – for providing a loaner detector to Vortex for testing, and coordinating with other members for testing
    • Loyal members of our forum who have provided detailed information concerning the Uniden DFR7 on our site to inform the community and identify problem areas requiring improvement
  • Information and Discussion
    • Want to learn more about the Uniden DFR7 or discuss it with some of our members? Click here to view the Uniden forum on our site!
  • Ready to buy a Uniden DFR7?