What is the difference between a Baofeng 1702 and DM-X?

The Baofeng DM-X has quickly become a bit of a mystery in the handheld radio space.  There is very little information available on this radio, even from the Baofeng website, which does not mention the existence of this radio at all.  Clever marketing to create a buzz?  Or a short production run of a radio they did not expect to be popular.  The latter is more likely.  The radio is popular, and gaining momentum.

What is a Baofeng DM-X?

So what the heck is the Baofeng DM-X?  Nobody knows for sure.  Taking the radio apart, it clearly shares components with the Baofeng DM-1702.  The main board is labeled “DM-1702-B KEY V1.1GPS 180903.”  It looks like a DM-1702, feels like it, and would pass as one visually.  So why did they make the DM-X?

What is the difference between a Baofeng 1702 and DM-X?

Let’s start with what they share. 

  • USB charging, might not seem like a big deal until you lose your charging cable.
  • CTCSS/CDCSS encoding and decoding.  Doesn’t mean much to most users, but helps prevent other communications creeping into yours.
  • Emergency alarm – in trouble?  The alarm button will send your identity and location to others.
  • Time limiting: prevent people from speaking to long is the best way to explain it.  If someone is hogging air time, this will help mitigate the annoyance.
  • Power saving functionality: if the radio is idle for 12 seconds, it goes into power saving mode.
  • LCD screen in both English and Chinese
  • VOX – voice-activated-transmission.  Don’t like the hassle of pushing the PTT button?  Just start talking.  Great for eating chips and drinking beer on the couch.
  • 25kHz/12.5kHz conversion: not going to explain.  Just know it does this.
  • Programmable via computer.  Connect a programming cable to make settings changes to the radio.  This is dramatically easier than clicking through endless keyboard combinations.
  • They both have GPS and a built-in 1GB memory card.  They claim it will hold 9 hours of voice recording.

Now let’s talk about the difference between a Baofeng DM-X and 1702.

Well, we’re not exactly sure.  Rumors abound the DM-X is simply an improvement of the 1702.  There were likely some glitches in the 1702 that are silently corrected in the DMX.  We think battery life is part of the upgrade – a change in software that results in more efficient operation.  Software upgrades can also improve things like memory, or tighten up its use of the electromagnetic spectrum.

What is the difference between DMR Tier 1 and DMR Tier 2?

The Baofeng DM-X is a DMR (digital mobile radio) with GPS that operates on both the Tier I and Tier II European standards. 

DMR Tier I basically means it is specified for use without a repeater, sort of walkie-talkie like.  It is meant for low-power use, no more than 0.5 watt RF power.  In Europe, DMR Tier 1 radios can be operated without a license.  In the Unites States, DMR Tier 1 requires a radio license.

DMR Tier 2 is more advanced.  It makes available more bandwidth range and allows for higher power transmission.  It also allows for advanced voice features and IP data services.  This might not mean much to the average user, but it’s fun to know it’s packed into this little radio.

Baofeng DM-X manual

Another mystery.  The Baofeng DMX comes with what appears to be the exact user manual as the 1702.  As standard with most Baofeng user manuals, it is not particularly well laid out and your best bet is the internet.  Although there are few post or videos on operating the 1702, and DMX tutorials are basically non-existent, we recommend you read/watch what you can find.

Information on the Baofeng DMX

Overall the Baofeng DM-X is an impressive radio.  What little we know tells us it is an improvement of the Baofeng 1702.  It has dramatically more functionality that the classic Baofeng UV-5R for not much more cost, well, it’s nearly triple the price but still below the $100 pricepoint.  If you are in the market for a relatively low-cost DMR radio, this is your radio.  By all assumptions, it is an improvement over it’s predecessors.  Perhaps even more appealing is the DMX might not be available for long – it is likely a short production run and when stock runs out, well, so will the radio.  We think the next version of the DMX, is already in the works, which will make the DMX sort of a DMR collector’s item.  Grab one of these while you still can.

Those of you whose first radio was a UV-5R, or even an Ft-60 will find the Baofeng DM-X to have an almost endless set of new functionality to play with.  RX and TX means you can send text messages.  My dad built his first ham radio from a kit from the back of a magazine in the 1950’s.  He strung a wire from his bedroom window to the barn and was happy to get any signal at all.   To think today you can send a text message from a radio programmable via computer, on a battery that lasts 18 or continual use, would have seemed like NASA technology at the time.

Again, buy this radio.  It has all the markings of being a collector’s item among DMR nerds.  Plus “DMX” just has a cool ring to it – sounds just as mysterious as it actually is.