Retevis RT3S DMR Radio Review | Is It Worth It?

Retevis RT3S is the first dual-band DMR radio. It is an upgrade of the previous popular RT3S DMR handheld and uses digital mobile radio tier-II standard protocol. Retevis RT3S is compatible with MOTO TRBO series Tier I and tier II and also the two-way analogue radio operating on UHF and VHF frequencies for easy digital migration.

Retevis RT3S

It provides the user with 3000 channels to choose from plus a channel scan and DTMF keypad compatible with MOTOTRBO series tier I and II. Users can easily switch from digital to analogue mode. The digital mode supports text message allowing users to send and receive texts from each other.

It has the capability of recoding conversation for up to eight hours. The RT3S is equipped with a single 2000mAh lithium battery providing the user with up to 16 hours working and 48 hours on standby mode. It has a large storage capacity of up to 10,000 contacts.

What are the Distinctive Features of Retevis RT3S?

  • Small in size measuring 131x61x36 mm: This makes it easier for users to hold by a single hand and move around with it.
  • Lightweight: It weighs about 258g inclusive of the battery increasing its portability. It is, therefore, suitable for both adults and children.
  • Provide the user with channel varieties: It has about 3000 channels that users can choose from.
  • It has a long lifespan battery: The Walkie Talkie comes with a single lithium battery of 2000mAh and 7.4 volt.
  • Programming cable: The radio package comes with its programming cable making coding easier for you.
  • It has alone walker function: this feature allows the user to set the radio to signal an alarm by pressing any button if they are in distress.
  • Inbuilt voice recorder: This allows the user to conduct an eight-hour transmission within the radio’s internal memory. However, it only functions in digital mode and not in analogue.
  • Integrated GPS unit: This feature will encode your location into a transmission, allowing you to send your coordinates and receive the other person’s location information whose GPS is enabled.
  • Large contact storage capacity: This radio can be configured to store up to 120,000 contacts.
  • Comes with two firmware upgradable versions: the first version allows the user up to 8 hours of audio recording while the other one will enable one to store up to 120,000 DMR contacts.
  • An improved channel selector: the previous model could only rotate up to 16 positions, but this new model has a full rotation of up to 360 degrees.
  • Beautiful radio display: It has a super bright sky-blue light.
  • Supports private, group and all calls
  • A dual time slot for repeater
  • Compatible with Motorola tier I &II
  • Multiple accesses at the same time
  • A dual time slot for point to point
  • TDMA digital function
  • Supports text messages such that users can converse through texting
  • It has an inbuilt CTCSS/DCS, channel and priority scan, and DTMF keypad giving access to the menu of all its powerful features.
  • Encryption function: all incoming and outgoing conversations are end to end encryption prohibiting access to a third party.
  • Emergency alarm

Here you can check a good video overview by VK4NGA:

What Do Users Say About Retevis RT3S?

Concerning this radio’s transceiver, users ascertain that is quite good. It has a solid feeling in one’s hands with a friendly and clear display of sky-blue backlighting. The volume is loud and clear too.

It has all DMR feature set, high-quality design and compact.

However, others feel it’s challenging to secure a ham license as, without it, the radio is rendered useless. If you cannot secure one, you might be required to purchase a hotspot that goes for about 100 pounds. This adds to its cost making it expensive. Others are experiencing trouble locating the radio id.


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The display is disappointing to some users who had to return and ask for a refund. Some experienced trouble with VFO after firmware update and hand to return due to such fault.

The audio sound is excellent while using Kenwood mic and not its external spk/mic. In this way, you will be required to purchase Kenwood mic to enjoy quality sound. This also adds to the budget, which most finds it uneconomical.

When a manufacture’s fault occurs within the warranty time, no help is offered if you purchased it online. As such, it would be great if you are buying from your local store so that the one-year warranty can be fully and maximally be honoured.

Pros and Cons

Now that we are armed with the knowledge from above, let’s compare pros and cons of the Retevis RT3S DMR Radio.

  • Portability: The radio weighs about 256g inclusive of the battery. This makes it easier for users to carry along without the pressure of it weighing on their hands.
  • Numerous channels: It has over 3000 channels that users can choose from for entertainment purposes.
  • Analogue and Digital mode: It has both modes providing the user with alternatives
  • Easy to program: It comes with a programmable cable connected to a pc or laptop. Also, to the radio’s side, there are programmable buttons where users can set shortcuts autonomously.
  • Recorder: It has an audio recorder that allows the user to record up to eight hours.
  • Support texting: The device supports short messages among users. If you do not like calling, you can easily text your friend.
  • Encryption function: This function ensures that the voice message is encrypted in digital mode. This prevents the third party from accessing your private information.
  • Promiscuous mode: This feature allows two walkie talkies with different contacts, and group lists communicate with each other.
  • Belt clip: The user does not need to keep holding it to easily clip it to the side.
  • Waterproof: The users can use this device even when it is raining without affecting its functionality.
  • GPS locater: If you are lost, you can turn on your GPS and others whose GPS is on will receive a signal indicating your location and see their location.
  • Scanning function: This feature allows users to monitor signals from multiple channels simultaneously, which is convenient for work management and improving work efficiency.
  • Dual-band display and reception: It can monitor signals on the two channels or even combine U-U-U-V-V-V in digital and analogue mode to avoid missing calls and signal loss.
  • Lone walker: This function allows users to set the radio to signal an alarm by pressing any button if they are in distress.
  • TDMA improves communication efficiency: This function allows the radio to recognize two simultaneous communication sets from the same frequency point; thus, improving communication efficiency and preventing busy channel and call interference.
  • Loud and clear volume: With this device, you are guaranteed of receiving all information clearly with no problems thus, facilitating effective communication.
  • Challenging to secure a license: Without a license, the radio cannot function. As such users feel it is more demanding than others. 
  • Very complex: some users reveal that operating this radio is not all that easy. You may be required to watch several YouTube videos and seek help from the service provider, which altogether can be tiring and time-consuming.

In Conclusion

Our rating: 4.3 / 5

While this device has attracted numerous negative reviews from users, it is undeniable that its benefits surpass those issues. As such, this dual-band digital radio might be what you are looking for. The encryption functions and ease of programming should be some of the things that should drive you to purchase this device. The RT3S dual-band digital radio is the best choice you could ever make.

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