Today I am going to give you all a review of the “Baofeng Radio bf-888s” radio communication device. The reason I am giving this review is that I noticed a lot of fake reviews and people who don’t know what they are talking about trying to review the actual professional products. While my main job isn’t writing fake reviews online, I am only doing this as a way to help my fellow professionals.
First of all, I work in the construction field, and properly working radio communication devices are a must. That means that during my time working in this field, I bought and tested a lot of different devices for my squad, ranging from cheapest ones to overpriced ones, also I installed my fair share of devices so I know what is what when it comes to this. So let’s start the actual Baofeng bf-888s review by talking about some technical stuff.
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- Frequency Range: UHF: 400-520 MHz(Rx/Tx). The BF-888S includes a built-in high illumination flashlight and an emergency alarm
- Frequency Mode from 400 to 470 MHz
- 16 Memory Channels and 50 CTCSS /105 CDCSS
- Battery: 1500MAh Li-ion. With extra features like alerts when low and smart charging.
- Handy flashlight in low light areas
Looking at this feature list it’s pretty clear that it’s a standard feature list for this kind of professional level device, but on top of that this device has extra nice features like a flashlight and alert system, but also it’s not overly complicated – extra features don’t overcomplicate the main usage of the device.
What is the range of the Baofeng bf-888s?
First of all, the most important thing – the range. During my tests on-site we were getting about 1.5 miles maximum working range and if we tried pushing it to 2 miles and above, voice clarity would start to go down, so it’s safe to say that 1.5 miles are the maximum working range if you don’t want to start losing clarity and to be honest, compared to other devices in this price range it’s actually not bad.
Voice clarity of the Baofeng bf-888s
The second thing, I already mentioned – voice clarity, for this price I was pretty amazed by how well voice is transmitted. If you stay in a 1.5-mile range, set up the radio properly, and not forget to charge it, it actually works really well for the device in this price range. Sure, there are some devices that can achieve better voice clarity, but few can start to match the price-quality balance of “Baofeng bf-888s”.
Default frequencies of the device
Okay so, technical enthusiasts, the next part is going to be for you – I am going to give you a bunch of juicy technical details next and after that, I am going to tell you how to actually set up the product in order to use those nice technical specifications. Let’s start with the frequency range. The frequency range on this device is 400-470MHz. Compared to other devices it’s quite a standard range, nothing out of the ordinary here, but nothing terrible, this frequency range was enough for my usage and didn’t cause interference with anything.
“Baofeng bf-888s” channel range
The device has 16 channels you can operate on, which again was enough for our usage on-site and didn’t cause any problems. “Baofeng bf-888s” devices also have 50 CTCSS/105 CDCSS technologies which help explain the really good voice clarity I have been getting while using these radio devices.
Battery life – is it good enough?
Lastly talking about technical specifications another really important part is the battery and to be honest with you that is one reason I am not giving this perfect rating. The battery (1500mAh Li-ion battery) life for our professional usage was too short because with our heavy usage it only lasted about 6 hours before needing to charge and our workday lasts more than 6 hours so we had to use spare batteries and switch them out in a middle of the workday. Apart from that “Baofeng bf-888s” devices have some pretty nice features related to battery – like: low voltage alerts and intelligent charging.
Receiver/transmitter and other technical details
I will end the technical detail section by typing up some technical stuff about the transmitter and receiver. This is for your own convenience, so you don‘t have to google these details yourself, but I won‘t spend time on this review commenting on them because it‘s not really that important. First, the receiver – it has: sensitivity (12dB SINAD): ≤0.20 UV; selectivity: 55dB/50dB; Intermodulation: ≥65dB; Adjacent Channel Selectivity: ≥60dB; Spurious Response: ≥60dB; Audio Power Output: 1000mW. Second, transmitter – it has: RF Power Output: 3W; Modulation: F3E; Spurious Emission: ≤65dB; FM Noise: ≤-45dB(W) ≤-40dB (N); Audio Distortion: ≤5%;Transmitting Current: ≤1.3A.
Finishing up the technical section I must say that apart from battery life all specifications of “Baofeng bf-888s” devices are really good for this price-quality ratio, but if you are planning on using the device for a prolonged period of time, then you should probably think about buying some spare batteries.
Baofeng bf-888s Review – What do you need to know when installing this device?
Programming the device and necessary cables and programs. Do you need a license?
Next up as I promised I will give you a brief installation preview. First of all, if you didn‘t have a USB programming cable before, you will have to buy it. You won‘t need to get a license or something for “Baofeng bf-888s” devices, but you will need to program it using Chirp and change it to free legal FCC frequency. Talking about Chirp frequency programming it‘s a pretty standard thing to change to HAM radio mode if you have bought official licenses or use GMRS or FRS frequencies if you haven‘t.
By the way, one more important thing I noticed when installing and using these devices – during the programming switch of the FM radio function. These devices don‘t have an FM broadcaster/receiver in them, so if you leave the FM radio function while installing it will make you unable to actually scan for frequencies.
How to change channels in Baofeng bf-888s?
Talking about actual radio usage and not programming it actually is really easy to use – scan function work with the magic 3 finger button push as described in the instruction manual. Lots of additional programming capabilities, but best of all is simplicity. Push to talk, and release to listen. No display needed to see what channel. Turn channel control and it speaks channel number. Great radio accessibility.
Difficult to set up but worth it in the end?
Even though you will have to do some initial Chirp programming for setting up, but even that is not a big problem even if you are just a casual user – there are a ton of YouTube videos on how to set up this specific device for personal usage and for professionals like me who are used to this it was just a standard procedure – nothing out of the ordinary. Overall, I really like how simple it is to use them because not everyone on my construction squad is tech-savvy, we tried out some really fancy ones in the past and people just get overwhelmed with displays and extra unnecessary functions.
“Baofeng bf-888s” devices have none of the unnecessary things and my team members don‘t get overwhelmed. This in my eyes is a big plus and again if you are just a casual user, don‘t get scared setup isn‘t something difficult and with help of YouTube videos can be completed in a few hours maximum and also it‘s completely legal if you follow proper instructions so you don‘t have to fear about that either.
Is it worth your time and money? Conclusion of Baofeng bf-888s Review
- Simple to use and understand
- Handy features like a flashlight
- Good voice quality and clarity
- Low cost
- You don’t need a special license to use this device
- Difficult setup for newcomers
- The programming cable is not included but required
- Low capacity battery – only 6 hours of heavy usage
Low capacity battery – is it?
Let‘s do a summary and overall verdict. First of all, all technical details apart from battery life were great. There isn‘t many better alternatives with these specifications in this price range. Although if your specific needs call for longer than 6 hours of heavy usage at the time, you should either look into different devices specifically made for long usage times or buy spare batteries.
Next, we talked about installation, if you are experienced in the radio communications field and programmed similar devices in the past, this is no different from those, just standard programming using Chirp and if you are a new user, don‘t get scared away when you see the fancy word “programming” – it will only take up to few hours maximum to set up this device using manuals available online or just simply watching many out of available YouTube videos.
Beauty in simplicity
Speaking about simplicity, “Baofeng bf-888s” is a great device in terms of accessibility, even your kids or less tech-savvy team members will be able to use this device because it has no unnecessary screens or buttons or anything. Simplicity doesn‘t mean that it‘s bad or can‘t do things other devices can. It means that you won‘t have to carry the manual with you for daily usage and you won‘t have to spend a long time training up your team members in order to start efficiently using this device. This device has all the necessary functions and no unnecessary ones.
Is Baofend bf-888s legal?
Lastly, I am seeing a lot of questions regarding the legality of these and similar devices and I am going to repeat myself time and time again – follow programming instructions closely and use free frequencies, don’t rush the installation and everything will be as legal as using toy “Barbie” walkie-talkies my little daughters use.
The Bottom Line
The overall verdict is – 8 out of 10. Incredible for price-quality ratio, but lacks battery power in some specific cases and for some inexperienced will take a longer time to do the initial setup. Either way great product – would recommend it for both professional and casual usage.