I just got my new DFR7 today and thought I would share my first impressions with anyone who might be interested in hearing from a new Uniden user.
Just a bit of background....I currently own two Whistler products...the Pro 78 and the 78 SE. Both of these have served me well, but it appears they are getting tired. The mounts on them have malfunctioned and the speaker blew on the 78 SE. I just sent them back to the Whistler Group today. Very fortunately, and by sheer coincidence, the new DFR7 arrived today, so I won't be driving without a detector sniffing the way clear for me.
The comparisons I'm going to make today will be the DFR7 vs my Whistler Pro 78's.
Allow me to share with you the things I like about my new toy:
- I love how it looks on the windshield. Uniden did a great job with the aesthetics with their newest unit.
- I also think the mounting device is superior to anything I've ever used before....and I've owned a whole gamut of detectors through the years. When traveling down bumpy roads, the unit didn't have any jiggle at all.
- I live in a very, very small town in NE Ohio, and there are not a lot of false alarms anywhere. However, if I take a trip to Cleveland, the trip is made quite bothersome with the traffic monitoring systems triggering the Whistler's K-band alert literally every mile or so the entire way there. If this new Uniden can ignore such things, I'd consider it nearly a miracle. It has gotten to the point where I ignore a K-band alert when I'm on the highway heading toward Cleveland, which is not an especially smart thing to do.
- It does seem to be very quiet. I passed by a Dollar General and a grocery store where I know false alarms happen, and the DFR7 stayed quiet. Now, I'm not sure if that's because it ignored the signal, or just did not detect it. My Whistlers are pretty quiet around these false alarms zones too. I'm wondering if it's because they are just not using as much juice in the power door openers as they used to and the signals aren't reaching the streets.
- Although I don't think I will use it much, the mute button on the cord located on the part that plugs into the cigarette lighter will come in handy for a few people as opposed to reaching towards the windshield where the unit is mounted.
- Again, I'm not sure if I'll use it much, but it does come with a decent zippered carrying case.
Here are the things I wish my unit could do, and some things I don't care for:
- I'd like to be able to choose the audible alerts I want to hear for any given alert. With my Whistler products, I know the instant it alerts which band it has detected. The DFR7's alerts do not have the same audible distinction that I'm used to. I'm sure my ear will get attuned to it eventually, but I wish I could choose the sounds it makes for various alerts. There just isn't as much distinction between the alerts as what I have with the Whistlers.
- With the Whistlers, if I choose "City Mode", it will alert with just one beep and then keep quiet for an extended period of time, but the display continues to show the band ID, strength and the ramp up. This makes it much more pleasant for some passengers in the car who are annoyed at the constant beeping of any (false) alert, though as a driver, I don't seem to mind it at all. I wish the Uniden had the "one-beep" alert feature.
- Speaking of city mode, when you place the Uniden in city mode, it chooses to turn OFF the X-band. This is not a good idea here in Ohio, since X-band is still used. In fact, I got hit with a confirmed X-band just last week from a LEO traveling the opposite way I was on the highway. You cannot keep X-band on when you choose City mode, there is not an option to turn it on or off once City mode is engaged. This makes the City mode virtually worthless for any user where X-band is still used.
- The only way to toggle between City and Highway mode is to depress the -vol and the +vol buttons at the same time for 1 second or more. So in other words, you have to be pretty dexterous to space your fingers just right and then depress both of these buttons at the same time. The detectors I've owned have always had just one button designated to change between City/Highway modes. I will only be running in Highway mode, since I don't want the X-band turned off, so this won't make much of a difference to me. But, if you have to stretch to reach your detector, you might find yourself accidentally turning the volume up or down if you don't hit both buttons at the same time to toggle the City/Highway mode. It is a bit of a distraction to do when you're driving.
- You can make the display dimmer, but it is a manual toggle you need to employ, there is not an auto dim feature like there is on the Whistler products.
- I know there is a move to energize detectors with cords that have a coupling mechanism which is reminiscent of the wires used to attach old land-lines telephones to the jacks on the walls. However, I find the fact that the anchor that attaches the wire to the DFR7 which is just a very small, and what appears to be fragile, plastic clip, a little worrisome. Throughout the years, I have stepped on, sat on, put my brief case on, and have gotten the detector's wire caught between the seats of my car. Up until this moment, I never even thought about having damaged the end that goes into the detector for any unit I've owned before. However, I feel I will need to be a lot more careful to take care not to have the end of this wire-clip encounter any abuse at all. I'm guessing if that small plastic locking mechanism clip breaks, it will have to be re-wired or another cord will have to be ordered. I much prefer the attachment of the Whistler's cord to the unit over the Uniden's. I would think mounting and removing the DFR7 so many times would literally wear out that plastic piece to the point of snapping off.
- The display is smaller and not nearly as well lit on the DFR7 as it is on the Whistler's. When the Pro 78's alert, I can look at the display and instantly see the ramp up and the frequency (if available). The Uniden's display is smaller, and in the sunlight, it is very difficult to see. I feel the Whistler's display is far superior to the Uniden's.
I suppose when it comes right down to it, how well does any given unit perform? My Uniden and I have not had any encounters with LEO's yet, and I am curious to see what it can do. I am confident, though, with a Pro 78 SE in one vehicle and the DFR7 in the other, I'll stand a pretty good chance of avoiding any unwanted donations to the local municipality's general fund.
Safe travels all.....