The GRE is better IF these are most important to you:
* Better digital decoding, especially on simulcast systems.
* You prefer a larger radio with better audio.
* If you prefer separate volume and squelch controls.
* If you don’t want or need the extra features of the BCD396XT
* If you are not bothered by excessive strong-signal interference.
* If you need higher sensitivity.
* You like to have Virtual Scanners available to you.
You will want the BCD396XT IF these are more important:
* You prefer a smaller, compact radio.
* You prefer a more solidly built radio.
* You prefer a simpler but more detailed display.
* If you want the amazing feature-set of the BCD396XT
* You prefer the Banks/Systems/Groups method of programming.
* You need or want the GPS features.
* You will use the radio in a high interference area.
* You want to have a lot of channels available all the time.
* When fire tone-out capability is important.
* You monitor a large networked system with multiple sites.
Based on having the BCD396XT, I discovered that it provides exceptional audio for being a small radio. It appears to decode APCO25 just as well as any of my other scanners. It is full of features that make the scanner unique. The 7 backlight features can be customized to each channel and can have a fast flashing lights option for each assgned channel as well. Several Alert Tones can be assigned to each channel.
On the other hand, I found it more difficult to program, without the assistance of software. But, the more time I spend "playing" with it, it is getting easier to understand how it is programmed by hand.
I hope this gives a little insight in making your decision. Good luck!
I started out with a 396 and really liked it, particularly the size, except for no NAC decode capability.
When the 500 came out I bought it mainly for that feature.
When the 396XT was released I sold the 500 and got the XT. Sherwood police has pretty well listed all the differences but the main thing for me was the 99 quick keys on the XT verses 20 on the 500. I like to have the ability to access everything directly as opposed to reloading new programs as is set up on the 500.
The 500 would be a good radio for a general interest listener because it's simpler to operate. I still have a PSR-600 that I use in the car but I've also added a 996XT as well so you can't really go wrong with either one.
If you have more than twenty different agencies/interests you'd be better off with the 396XT.
PSR-500 hands down. If you want features, go with Uniden. If you want performance, go with GRE.
I had a 396 sitting here connected to the same outdoor antenna as my GRE .. and it was deaf by comparison. Perhaps it was getting a lot of interference from computers and other electronic equipment; but the GRE was in the same environment and had no problems.