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123 of 128 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great two gadgets in one...
Garmin Rino 120 is the new GPS/Walkie-Talkie that my group picked up for out last kayaking outing. I already own Garmin Legend but I figured that I can sell it and for extra money have a reliable communication and navigation tool in one.
Well using it all weekend proved that it was worth the money. It has the standard features of the radio and GPS unit so you already...
Published on November 11, 2002 by Matt Jachyra

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125 of 126 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent GPS, Below Average Radio
I bought this device to cut down by one the number of electronic gizmos that I carry around while traveling with my family, not for its position transmission feature. After using the Rino I think that the combination of radio and GPS in one device is an excellent idea in theory, but the execution of the idea in the Rino is flawed because of the poor performance of the...
Published on December 2, 2003


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125 of 126 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent GPS, Below Average Radio, December 2, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Garmin Rino 120 2-Mile 22-Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radio and GPS Navigator (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
I bought this device to cut down by one the number of electronic gizmos that I carry around while traveling with my family, not for its position transmission feature. After using the Rino I think that the combination of radio and GPS in one device is an excellent idea in theory, but the execution of the idea in the Rino is flawed because of the poor performance of the radio.

The GPS in the Rino 120 is very similar if not identical to the Garmin etrex Legend and even the included basemap is useful for rough navigation. I found the GPS user interface to be quite intuitive. Further, the satellite reception was considerably better than I expected; surprisingly, I could get a 2d lock from inside my house. More memory would be nice for downloading MapSource maps, but really I don't have any substantive criticism of the GPS - this is what Garmin does, and does well, in the rest of its product line.

However, I was so disappointed in the performance of the Rino as a radio that I returned the unit. I'm an amateur radio operator and I well understand the limitations of FRS / GMRS in simplex (no repeater) operation. (If you didn't already know, those "2" and "5" mile maximum range claims that all radio manufacturers seem to make are obtainable only under the most favorable conditions and in the real world you will do well to get, at best, half of those distances.) Even within these limitations, the radio in the Rino is poor by comparison to good standalone FRS radios (We use Icom 4008A's).

When I was testing the Rino, I set it side by side in my house with my Icom and used both to scan the FRS channels for traffic. The Icom repeatedly picked up clearly audible conversations (by people using unknown types of FRS radios) that the Rino never heard. When I turned off the squelch on the Rino ("monitor mode") and set it to the channel the Icom stopped on, I could hear only the faintest echoes of transmissions that were clearly audible on the Icom. On a recent trip, I was using the Rino and was standing right next to my wife who was wearing an Icom. Another in our party called us from perhaps 1/2 mile away using his Icom. I could hear him clearly on my wife's radio while the Rino barely broke squelch and was unintelligible.

If your use for this device is heavy on the GPS side and light on the radio side, then I would consider it. If you are looking for a radio that incidentally contains a GPS, I would pass on the Rino for now, go for the Batman look and buy standalone GPS and FRS / GMRS devices. No, you won't have the position reporting feature this way, and that is one of the strongest points of the Rino. However, given that this feature is tied to the Rino's FRS performance, don't expect too much.

All in all, kudos to Garmin for this truly excellent idea, and I will certainly buy another release of the Rino in the future if Garmin will give us radio performance equivalent to their excellent GPS. Frankly, I would be willing to pay more for the unit if it had that kind of performance.
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123 of 128 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great two gadgets in one..., November 11, 2002
By 
Matt Jachyra (Brooklyn, NY USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Garmin Rino 120 2-Mile 22-Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radio and GPS Navigator (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
Garmin Rino 120 is the new GPS/Walkie-Talkie that my group picked up for out last kayaking outing. I already own Garmin Legend but I figured that I can sell it and for extra money have a reliable communication and navigation tool in one.
Well using it all weekend proved that it was worth the money. It has the standard features of the radio and GPS unit so you already know what to expect out of the box but there are some extra functions that are unique for Rino. I love the trip odometer feature which allows me to time my progress, adjust speed and control break point. With the buddy to buddy reference positioning system I can do sweeps on the river and keep my group spread out without fear of loosing anyone. Also it's easier to manage food and camp if you know how far people are away from you and what's their ETA is. Obviously I wasn't able to hit every possible feature but from what I got to use it I already establish the possible pros and cons of the unit.
Pros:
-GPS with WAAS build in. Very accurate.
-Unit is small and waterproof (ok no diving).
-Build in very loud alarm clock
-Build in games will kill some boredom (kills battery)
-When talking to your buddy your unit automatically sends your position out so he knows where you are (you can shut it off).
-Strong clip
-Easy to access even in the kayak
-Walkie-talkie has nice scrambler and coding device.
Cons:
-When using GPS (waas on) and Walkie-Talkie batteries drain fast
-Window needs screen protector because it scratches too easily
-Unit doesn't feel that solid as big priced Motorola radios (goes for all Garmin units)
-Like with all GPS units (or at least the one I worked with) you need open (partially open or steady position) sky for clear accurate signal
-Radios even if functional will only have 2 mile radius. Enough for camping and woods but not enough for any other land movement tactics cooperation SAR.
-Screen size was reduced. It still looks ok but I got used to bigger screen from my previous unit so I'm still adjusting.
-Cool white backlight that was a trademark on most of the Garmin units was substituted by green glow one. Is it a problem? No, but I think I was able to see a bit clearer with the white light.
At the end it's a nice tool to have. GPS, radio, alarm clock and games all packed into one nifty unit.
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82 of 85 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars It's currently defective, December 3, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Garmin Rino 120 2-Mile 22-Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radio and GPS Navigator (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
I bought 3 units and they all have the same problem: the slightest impact can cause them to lose power and require that the power be switched back on. Specifically, when dropped from a height of less than an inch, they shut off w/o beeping or other notice. While attempting to use them in practice, everyone's unit was always off due to this problem, so I will be returning mine in the hope that they will fix this problem in future units. The problem is that the batteries are on squishy springs, unlike the Motorola Talkabout's taut ones; and the circuit lacks a capacitor or other means of storing milliseconds worth of power. They will probably fix it, so not the date of this review: 12/3/02.
Also, I assumed that the units would provide automatic position updates to others in a group, but discovered that it only transmits one's location if one presses TALK. Perhaps this will be fixed by a future software release.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great!, May 15, 2003
A Kid's Review
This review is from: Garmin Rino 120 2-Mile 22-Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radio and GPS Navigator (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
I have just purchased my second unit and have a few things to share with the first time buyer.
This unit comes with a serial cable that is used for programming the unit and sending GPS data to the computer. after getting a new unit, check for updated firmware at garmin.com. the newest firmware helped the start time of my unit (the time it took to find a satellite) and improved its reception capability. after I updated the firmware I got a solid sat. lock from my living room couch.
some of the older units are effected by a poor audio quality due most likely to a faulty microphone in the unit. read the footnote at [website] and it says Rino 120 - Serial Numbers 38905977 through 38941463 are recalled. I have two units in this range. they are usable but you have to speak at just the right level. I will be returning them and getting updated ones when they become available in my area.
The FRS radio works well with my other motorola radios, and from my limited testing the sub channels (0-38) appear to all use the same tones as motorola. the FRS radio has the ability to 'scan' for conversation. something that is very useful if you were using it in conjunction with search and rescue (trying to find someone that you knew had an FRS radio)
some people have commented that when you are driving down the road the unit shows you as being off the road. the reason for this is that the basemap is VECTOR based (straight line between points) and there is a limited number of points stored in memory. If it bothers you to have your point shown off the road, there is a feature that you can use 'snap to road' or something like that. The actual position reported by this is VERY accurate. I have gotten the unit to 9ft of accuracy which is helpful for such things as geocaching.
There is limited third party software to generate your own map. do a search for 'garmin custom map' at google.com
this device is a great integration of GPS and FRS. the... pricetag seems steep until you realize that the exact same GPS WITHOUT a radio (and the vibrator that is in the model) is about that price. The features over the 110 are well worth it. it has a basemap of North/south america, 8 meg of memory for downloading map data, and a vibrator that will vibrate when you receive a call after 45 seconds.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to use, but that isn't the best part!, January 13, 2003
By 
DarkDan "DarkDan" (Norman, OK United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Garmin Rino 120 2-Mile 22-Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radio and GPS Navigator (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
I bought a set of these for my wife and me to go Geocaching with. They do an excellent job of showing you the distance, ETA and even an approximate location on a basemap already provided in the unit (which actually saved me, when I misread a set of directions).
However the best part of this unit is the ability to send and receive the location of your friends and family. It works perfectly and behind the scenes, whenever you transmit or push the call button. I love this device and it's already become a "must have" piece of equipment for any trip.
UPDATE: OK, I don't normally return to edit my reviews, but this product deserves it. I just pulled my Rino 120 out of the WASHING MACHINE. Yes, I might not be too bright, but the people who built this thing are. The waterproof device still works perfectly and there is no external damage to the unit either!
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Power in a Small Package, October 27, 2003
By 
Chris Tichy (Plymouth, MN United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Garmin Rino 120 2-Mile 22-Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radio and GPS Navigator (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
When I ordered this product, I read many reviews and tried to get a good background of the Rino 120 to see if the product was worth purchasing. I have had 2 other GPS units, and still have an older GPS III from Garmin and really like the capabilities of that unit. The changes that have happened since purchasing the GPS III are truly amazing. The 120 is packed with so much stuff that I find out new things about it frequently. The greatest benefits (in my opinion) are having a gps and radio incorperated into one unit (less to carry). The Position Reporting is also a HUGE new deal. One can see all sorts of potential uses for Position Reporting - from military operations , to seach and rescue, to rounding up the kids on a camping trip. Other features include the moving map, an alarm clock, calender, and other little trinkets
After the initial position fix, satellite aquisition is much quicker than the old GPS III. Between SA being switched off and the new WAAS system, I have achieved accuracy (based on what the unit says, of course) of 7 feet.
Light and compact, battery usage is not as bad as I had figured, still on first set and my existing headset (motorola frs radios) works fine with this unit.
The only downsides to this unit are you have to watch Garmin's software update page for changes, I have owned the unit a month or two and have already done two updates, mind you the updates are free and the 120 comes with the data cable, while I think the 110 does not. The other thing I noticed is that the factory loaded basemap is somewhat crude - roads have been "straightened out" to make the map simplier - not really a surprise though from what I have seen with gps's and maping software.
Overall I think that the 120 is a fantastic new tool, with great new features. While pricey for a frs radio, it is fairly cheap for a maping GPS and (in my opinion again) a great price for a unit with both a radio and gps.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars GPS Great/ Radio, December 8, 2002
By 
This review is from: Garmin Rino 120 2-Mile 22-Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radio and GPS Navigator (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
In Regards to the GPS functions/features it a great deal for the price. While the 2 way radio, well my title says it all, it's not a Motorola. The microphone is not sensitive enough no matter how loud you talk into mic, in addition people can not here you on other 2 way radios. However on Dec 23, 2002 new firmware (version 2.20) was released, and this appears to have fixed the several key issues, i.e. the microphone sensitive.
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39 of 44 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unit continually locks up, June 21, 2004
By 
This review is from: Garmin Rino 120 2-Mile 22-Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radio and GPS Navigator (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
My unit is in Iraq in combat. We made the mistake of purchasing 30 of these units, 1 for each soldier and they are a disaster.
They lock up continually for no reason, whether using only the GPS or only the radio or both.
Our serial numbers indicate they are fairly new models and we have a series of them starting with 39914168, but I have talked with other owners of this unit here in country and they attest to the same problem.
Imagine you are on a combat patrol and you are using the Garmin as a commo device between the men of your team. You keep calling for the lead vehicle but he doesn't respond because his radio has locked up once again. He doesn't know this of course because the screen is still on (sometimes).
I'm more than disappointed, I'm kind of angry because we had the opportunity to buy Motorolas and the reliable Etrex Garmins which would have saved us nearly $100 per soldier and given us something reliable.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent unit for the price!, September 2, 2003
This review is from: Garmin Rino 120 2-Mile 22-Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radio and GPS Navigator (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
For me the rino 120 is an upgrade from the etrex. I have no problems like a lot of you are mentioning. Mic works great, it works great with my Motorolas and I can send my position to another rino user using the GMRS range. Someone mentioned It's a real hassle to register with the FCC for the GMRS use. Go to FCC.com fill out two short forms and pay $$ fee which is good for 5 years and they send you your license and call sign. The 120 works better in dense leaf coverage beacause of it's external antenna. I have no bad comments about the 120, well, maybe the battery life could be better? Anyway, it's a great product. p.s.- I own 2!
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great product, October 13, 2003
By 
Mark A. Brozak "mbrozak" (Crestwood, KY United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Garmin Rino 120 2-Mile 22-Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radio and GPS Navigator (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
Since purchasing this I have been using quite extensively, but never with someone who also has a Rino so I cannot comment on the ability to beam locations. I have several Motorolas that I use for various reasons and have had no real issues with communicating with them. When I use the radio in conjuction with the GPS, you can almost feel the batteries draining though.
The GPS is quick to acquire and is fairly decent at keeping a signal. I have used this from Detroit to Biloxi St. Louis and over to South Korea with excellent results. The ability to find an exit on a highway and tell what is there is a really nice feature, and so far as I can tell is pretty accurate too. I have also purchased the Topographic Maps for the US as well which are really nice. I do wish there was a way to get downloadable maps from Garmin for other parts of the world though. One downside is that it is not USB and my laptop is, so I have to do all of my downloading/uploading on my desktop pc at home which is not always convenient.
It is an easy unit to become familiar with and the display is not too small or too big, considering that it doubles as a radio. The menus are set up so that navigating within the different menus is easy and intuitive. The screen clarity is quite good and the thumb button used for navigating feels just right to me. The unit comes with a quick start guide and a more detailed manual which I have referred to several times to ensure I am doing things right. This thing even has a calculator, games and hunting/fishing tables. No real complaints other than it does not support USB and battery consumption (which you can control somewhat with how often it updates, etc.).
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