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UV5R / UV82 Series
Which is the Newest Model
What are the Differences
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"Which is the Best" is the Single, Most Asked question regarding these radios.  It's much like asking "Which car should I buy".  Here are some of the differences.

The UV5R series is a generic transceiver. By ordering in huge quantities, a dealer can have the cosmetic appearance altered and the label changed, but it is still essentially the same radio. The UV5R, RA, RB, RC, E5, F8, GT3, etc are all cousins. You can add an occasional Plus or Mk II to the mix as well. Here is a Family Portrait that shows a small sample of the relatives.

Click to enlarge
A list of various Models Numbers can be found here: MODELS
Newest Model
The newest radio is determined by the latest Firmware. The UV5R series has been available since early 2012 and the firmware has not changed much since then. Keep in mind, different models can share the same firmware.
The best way to assure you are getting the newest radio is to purchase from a reputable dealer. A local dealer is preferred if a warranty issue should arise.
For reference, a list of firmware updates can be found here: 
Note: The firmware is not upgradable.

The Basics
Most UV5R series radios share the same characteristics:
     Freq: VHF = 136-174 UHF   400-480 or 400-520 MHz
     Power: Lo = 1W  Hi = 4W
     128 channel positions
     50 CTCSS, 104 DCS codes etc.

A complete list of features can be found in any of their ads. Some may have a heavy duty or different color case or LCD, but the features, functions and options will all be the same.
New Main Boards
2nd Generation Chipset

Baofeng has upgraded their original chipset used in their newest radios. The new chipset (RDA1846S and RDA5802N) claims reduced AGC switching noise and a low-IF digital audio processor for improved sound quality.  

Board Comparisons can be found here:  
Big Brother
Eventually, the UV-82 was added to the mix. Here you will see a few differences, such as a larger case and keypad, slightly higher power (5W), Dual PTT switch. These differences are summarized below.

Compare UV5R / UV82
Big Brother +
A commercial version UV82C was created for those wishing to use these in Commercial Service, Fire, Business, Security, etc.  The radio is Part 90 certified with the added ability to lock out (via software) Re-Programming or Tampering in the field. Also, the PTT switch can be set to function as either a Dual or Single PTT.

High Power Output
Baofeng has recently announced the Tri-Power F8HP and UV82HP, with selectable power levels of 1, 4, 8 watts and also incorporates the new 2nd generation chipset mentioned above.  F8HP_Review  UV82HP_Review
Programming (Keypad / Software)
All of the above radios can be programmed either via the Keypad or Software. The required software as well as manual programming instructions is free and can be found at Miklor.
Accessories & Compatibility

With the exception of high capacity batteries, most all accessories are interchangeable between models.

Here is an accessory compatibility list:  
Here is a model comparison chart:
What these radios were Not meant to do
- They are not scanners. The scanning rate of these radios is 3 channels per second, as compared to the 100+ channels rate found in a Uniden.
- They were not meant for Aircraft reception. These radios are FM, while aircraft radios are AM.
So, which is the best?
Only you can make that decision. Hopefully I have been able to provide enough information to help with the decision making process.
Reviews and Comparisons that might assist can be found  HERE

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