What is better? A Ford or a Rolls Royce. The critical factor is how well they fit a need. If the need is modest, then if you just want to go to the shops in it, and know you’ll never clean it, and will run it into the ground, then the Ford is a sensible choice. However - if you need to follow a trend, or impress people who know, and have a product that might have a long lifespan and still be worth something when old - and you have a higher budget that won’t creak from the expense, then buy the rolls.
For many people - a Baofeng DMR radio has amazing features and costs what? 4 or 5 happy meals? I’d bet money that if you had a Motorola in one pocket and a Baofeng in the other, then both would perform similarly. Trunking - which you mentioned is a system of local area networks that are linked, so when you go out of one service area into the next, the radios switch and you don’t even know. Similar to how mobiles work when you are in your car or on a train - you get seamlessly switched from transmitter to transmitter. trunking makes good use of limited channel space. when frequencies become free when one users moves to the next area, they can be re-used. Clever (and expensive) brands can do trunking - the Baofeng cannot. The basic idea that a signal sent in digital or analogue can be received the other end is quite basic, and range is usually a function of geography and topography, not technical excellence. Motorola is a major player. They supply many very large businesses and services with radios. Theyve been in trouble here in the UK with the Police radio system. The two major players Motorola and Sepura are competitors for the lucrative emergency contracts, yet secretly it is reported they got together to prevent prices being dropped. Other brands have kudos from their name - so you might see the Police with a Motorola, but not the coastguard. In the UK it’s more probable it would be Icom. Many UK prisons used to be Kenwood. I sell radios here, and have some very expensive Kenwoods on the shelf. I also have some Baofeng DMRs, plus other Chinese DMR radios. If somebody comes to me and says they want a good quality reliable pair of radios to go from their office to the warehouse. I ask a few questions and could easily score the requirement on a scale of cleverness. The Kenwood radios would end up with very few entries in the programming software. There are pages and pages of tweakable parameters, and endless things that could come up on the display. I could make one radio say Office and the other Warehouse - but what would the point be, they’d mix them up anyway. I could put the one channel in the Baofeng, not even stretching that radio. That would do this customer, and ethically, I cannot say it wouldn’t. Yet another customer isn’t interested in technical things at all, but they want a dozen radios that will be used by theatre staff. So a couple of channels for stage and front of house makes sense, plus perhaps another for just managers. It would be great if when somebody pressed transmit, the other radios hearing it display Stage2, or PIT - perhaps some radios will be pool but others personal, so knowing it is John calling could be useful? You sit down with the customer and write down what they have as a wish list. You tell them things they have not even thought of - like perhaps a panic button when somebody needs help, but it is impossible for them to talk. Not the usual man down danger, but perhaps locations so loud pressing the mic button is just horrible - the burst of noise that people hear instead of speech. Perhaps even the facility to send a message that says SOUND GO - if you offer these things and build up a map of possibilities, they can see what an expensive radio can do that the Baofeng cannot? It’s really features and benefits, not really quality. I have quite a few of these out on hire rather than the customers buying them, because that works better for them. Payback is around 18 months, then I switch to all profit, but if they come back - these radios still have residual value. An 18 month old Baofeng has very little value, and has probably been written off the books by that time. Servicing is also a two stage process. Faults are rare now, and most you get are caused by accidental misuse. Drops, antenna socket breakages when people swing them around by the rubber ducks. Battery failures that sort of thing. Today’s fault was simply an antenna screwed in with vice like hands that actually broke the glue and wrenched the centre wire off the PCB pad. If you do get a radio properly die, that’s very rare and with repair costs eating up hours, for my hire stock any repair taking more than an hour or two is probably not going to be economic. If somebody paid £1000 for a Motorola, then a two hour repair is probably going to be 10% of the retail cost of the radio. The Baofeng DMR is over 100% of the cost. So out of warranty you would not repair it, even if it was a simple, but time consuming job. Remember no dealer will sell ANY product that is unreliable or inferior. Only today a radio was returned because it did not work properly. An Icom as it happened, so odd. The customer demanding his money back - terrible product, doesn’t do what it should. No Marine channel 4. Ah - I thought and powered it on, spotted the USA group was unchanged from as supplied mode - page 12 I think in the manual. See he protested, no channel 4. I held the button down for one second and USA vanished and INT replaced it, and channel 4 appeared. He snatched it back and walked out muttering. This is what dealers have to accept now. Nobody sells radios that cause grief. Customers just need to ask proper questions - even stupid ones really help - then they’ll get good advice. I sell lots of ends of lines, and I’m honest. This is the new XXXXX its really good and is £150. This is last years model, does exactly the same but the trim is grey not black, and it is £110. They always say “is it as good” and you can say 100% yes. I have in the office 3 generations of one Icom - brand new latest model. The previous model and loads of ex-hire ones before that. They look the same, take the same batteries and apart from the number - I cannot tell. Hand on heart, I would struggle to justify a $1500 Motorola unless the customer wanted it for a very sophisticated system. Your firned who says the claims are bogus is sort of right. They do sound different - that’s one area where it’s worth listening. One of my friends cannot understand Motorola Digital. I can understand users perfectly, but the slightly robotic voice does not work properly for him. One thing I do know is that some radios have thin and weedy speakers and low powered audio amps, so turn them up and they distort. DMR is supposed to be perfect, up to the point when the signal gets very weak, when it suddenly stops. In practice, some radios simply mute and become silent while others seem to be very odd sounding when the signal is nearly gone but not quite. Going between brands in digital is the worst case audio. That’s my viewpoint. Radio hams always seem to get the best range - because they understand antennas, orientation, height and have mic technique. Security guards typically dont. You see them using radios horizontally when in that position polarization (used the US spelling he he) reduces range, but horizontally rotation through the compass bearings also has an impact.Not the radio brand.