With the introduction of the DX5R, the folks at Spektrum and Horizon Hobby hoped to produce the ultimate basher radio. To be bashing oriented, it means to offer a whole lot of bang for the buck and the DX5R comes loaded with features for a very reasonable price point. We’ve been using the DX5R for a couple of months now to shake it down and see how it stacks up. Is it is great radio? How is the range? How smoothly does it drive? Does it deserve a spot in your rc arsenal? Keep on reading to find out all the answers…
Review By: Cubby
Pictures By: T-Money
Transmitting Frequency- 2.4GHz
Number of Channels- 5
Left Or Right Handed- Right only
Drop Down Wheel- Yes
Model Memory- 250
Frame Rate- 5.5ms w/ compatible receivers
Transmitter Battery- Four AA
Built-in Speaker- Yes
Display- LCD with back-light
Vibration Alerts- Yes
Transmitter Weight (measured by BSRC)- 539 grams
Receiver- Spektrum SR6000T
Warranty- 1 year limited
Street Price- $279
Primary Competition- The Futaba 4PV and numerous other mid-level radios.
What’s In The Box- Inside the box you’ll find the transmitter, a bind plug, a lengthy instruction manual, stickers, a SR6000T receiver, a small piece of double sided tape, an Allen wrench, and four AA batteries.
Build Quality- After a close inspection, we could find no fault with the build quality of the transmitter or receiver.
Test Drivers- Iron Mikeee, Don The Legend, Hawaiian Chris, T-$$$, and yours truly.
Test Venues- RC Outlaws 1/8 track in Collinsville IL, a city park in Arnold Missouri, Cliff Cave Park in St Louis Missouri, and our local Costco parking lot.
Set-up Notes- We ended up running the DX5R in a wide variety of different vehicles. First we set it up in a Losi Desert Buggy XL-E, then an RC4WD TF2 RTR, and lastly we used it to run one of our Pro-Line PRO-MT monster trucks.
Feel In Hand- Some people like a wide grip, while others prefer narrow. The Spektrum had a wider feel to it in the grip area. By the way, the entire grip area is covered in rubber which was quite comfortable. The trigger is a “medium” design. This means it isn’t super tight on your finger, nor was it super loose. The trigger worked well for a wide variety of finger types and had ribbing on the flesh side for better grip. The DX5R is one of the very few affordable radios that comes stock with a drop down wheel. The drop down was widely praised by our test crew and the foam on the wheel felt good, albeit a bit on the firm side. Like the DX6R, the DX5R is super adjustable so if there is something that you don’t like, you can change it to suit your personal taste. Also like the DX6R, the radio had enough weight to it to feel high-end. Previous higher end Spektrum radios felt too light, giving a cheap impression, but that was not the case with the DX5R.
Ease of Use- The DX5R uses a roller wheel that can be pushed to select a function. We found its menu system easier to use than previous Spektrum radios. None of our testers had to resort to using the manual to set-up a car and we generally found making changes quite fast and easy.
Features- The feature list on the DX5R is amazingly long so we certainly aren’t going to type them out here. Being a higher end unit, it has more capability than most bashers are ever going to use, but then it is nice to know that if a special project comes up that the DX5R won’t leave you wanting. AVC comes standard, as does telemetry, plus it has 5 channels for those custom off-road builds.
Glitching- Nope, we never experienced a glitch while driving the DX5R. And it wasn’t like we didn’t try. We used it under power lines, near a cell tower, amidst a dozen other drivers, and indoors around a bunch of other electronics.
Driving Performance- Natural. That is the best word to describe what it felt like to drive a car with the DX5R. Gone are funky throttle curves, glitches, and laggy performance, the DX5R drives like a top-of-the-line radio. Steering was perfectly linear with no hint of lag, while the throttle was buttery smooth from zero input all the way up to absolutely pinned. In high speed applications our test drivers were impressed with just how incredibly fast the response on the Spektrum was. In a lower speed application, like when used in our RC4WD RTR crawler, it offered increased throttle feel over the RTR unit we had been using. Overall, the DX5R left us with the impression that we were cheating. Why is that? Because our test drivers constantly felt like they were driving a $500+ radio system when the sticker price on the DX5R doesn’t even break the $300 point.
Radio Range- Yes, we are a slackerish bunch of guys here at BigSquidRC, so we never walked off a legit radio range. However, we did use it at a known area that was showing us that the DX5R still had full control at a 300 foot radius. That was a 600 diameter, which should be more than enough for most bashers.
Durability Testing- Yes, we found out that the DX5R can take a bit of beating. No, we didn’t go totally medieval on it, but we did knock it off a tail-gate a few times. Oh and, yes, we did drop it off a driver’s stand (as seen in the fourth picture in the gallery below). After two months worth of abuse our test unit still operates just fine, even with a few scratches here and there.
Adjustable. With so many different test drivers, we were stoked at how easy it was to adjust the trigger & wheel tension, the trigger position, and the available setting changes on the drop down.
Range. No, this isn’t like the Spektrum you had a few years ago, the DX5R actually has ample range. Enough for normal speed runs, enough for pretty much any “normal” type of bashing.
AVC. We used AVC in two of our test vehicles and it performed quite well. From our most experienced driver to the youngest, the DX5R made it easy to perfectly dial in the electronic stability control to whatever surface we were driving on.
Time To Bash: B Thanks to an easy to use menu system, we found the DX5R exceptionally easy to set-up. At max, it might have taken us a couple of minutes for initial set-up on a new car.
Car Show Rating: A The DX5R has to be one of the best looking mid-level radios on the market. The radio has a modern look and the drop down wheel also looks sweet.
Bash-A-Bility: A We generally treated the DX5R like it owed us money, yet it still works as well today as the day we got it.
Range: A We found that the DX5R has the range of the newer Spektrum radios, not the older ones, and that is a great thing. We don’t know if it has the longest range in the mid-level radio market because we didn’t test it back-to-back with its competitors, but we do know it had way more range than we ever needed.
Value: A The DX5R has the features, ergonomics, and performance of a much higher priced radio. At $279 we feel that the DX5R gives you a giant bang-for-the-buck.
Big Squid Rating: A Is the Spektrum DX5R the ultimate basher radio? Sadly, we can’t say without a full blown shootout. However, we do know that after hours of driving with the DX5R that it is an excellent radio, perhaps even the best in its class. It has high-end ergonomics, it drives like the very best on the market, and it has a hefty surplus of features. If you are looking to improve your game, whether it be bashing, racing, or even crawling, we can highly recommend the DX5R to you.