1,657 of 1,734 people found the following review helpful
on September 24, 2009
The radios by themselves are good, but be careful to read the fine print. The first time I went to use the radios one of them didn't have a full charge on it. No problem, I just used AA batteries. Then we realized we could barely hear each other through the headphones even with the radios turned to max volume. I thought it might be the headphones, but they were very loud when plugged into a friend's radio made by a different company. Midland blamed it on the headphones anyway, but they were not covered under the warranty. So I didn't use the radios again for a few months until we went on another trip and I made sure to place the radio on the charger a day early this time so it would have ample time to charge. Same problem one radio didn't take but half a charge. I contacted Midland on Friday explaining my situation, they got back to me on Wednesday to say there was probably an issue with the battery pack (No duh). I emailed back around 10:30 am and said I figured that much, but how do I correct it. They got back to me on Thursday night saying I needed to buy another battery pack because they are not covered under the warranty either. So what is covered? Turns out not much, not the headphones, not the battery packs, not the charger, not the adapter and not even the antennas. In short if all you need is just the radios and there isn't a problem with them, the radios are OK, but heaven help you if there is a problem with them. It will take forever for someone to tell you that's not covered under the warranty. That large 3 year warranty logo needs to include an even larger asterisk. Radios get 5 stars, everything else including the warranty and service gets 1 star for an average of 3 stars. If I need to buy all new accessories to replace all these defective ones I just bought, maybe I should consider a different brand radio.
518 of 552 people found the following review helpful
on September 21, 2010
Motorola MR350R vs Midland GXT1050--Both products received good reviews on Amazon and I had a hard time initially deciding which one to buy since I could not find detailed comparison between the two. So, I will try to be more comprehensive in comparison here hoping to help you make a decision suitable for your purpose.
I bought MR350R two months ago from Costco at $55 (tax included) to monitor my baby sleeping upstairs and to use during road trips. A month later I also bought Midland GXT1050 from Amazon upon good reviews and my dissatisfaction with some silly design issue associated with the MR350 VOX feature (which is critical for monitoring purpose).
Size and weight: MR350 is lighter (6.2oz vs 7.3oz for each handset including rechargeable battery pack and belt clips) and has a noticeably more agronomical grip, especially for kids or someone with smaller hands.
Setup and Change Settings: MR350 has more intuitively LCD display and signs/symbols whereas GXT1050 took me a couple of hours to set up and memorize what each symbol/letter means (It would be tremendously helpful if Midland can add a full list of all symbols/letters and their meanings in a simple table instead of diving this information into chunks and burying it into each individual function/feature section). I think a 10 year old can be taught to change settings on MR350 without a manual but that most likely won't happen with GXT1050 (with or without the manual).
Features: These two share many useful key features like Weather Scan and Alert. GXT1050 has more channels (50 vs 22 for MR350R) which may be useful for using in populated areas although I never run into issues with MR350 on this one. MR350 has a built-in LED light for emergency use, which is nice. GXT1050 can produce a loud SOS siren which maybe useful in certain situations (although I never used it for any real purposes). Overall GXT1050 seems a bit more versatile with features such as direct call.
Range: GXT claimed 36 miles range and MR350 claimed 35 miles--both claims are meaningless since nobody would ever achieve the advertised range unless standing on two mountain peaks with perfect conditions. In actual use, the effective range is more like 1-2 miles in a flat suburban environment and a bit more in open field. Some reviewers here found a slightly better range with GXT1050 although my test twice showed MR350R lasted a slightly longer range while me driving away from home with each model broadcasting from my living room.
PPT Button is the one needing to be pressed down when transmitting. MR350R has the button designed in such way you can press the upper part for high power and lower part for low power--made switch power a much easier task. Using GXT1050's mechanism you will have to pre-configure power level in the settings and is not very easy to change in a hurry. The shape of MR350 PPT button is made in such a way though, you would end up using the high power most of the time since the upper part of the button protrudes further out. Nonetheless, I like the MR350R design on this one.
VOX: This is one of the most critical features if you want to monitor baby sleeping in a different room or just want to talk hand-free. I agree with C. Hayes' review here that MR350R's three sensitivity levels are not sensitive enough (Hayes's wording made me smile, though a bit exaggerated.). GXT1050 has 9 level of sensitivities and the most sensitive setting (level 1) is indeed more sensitive than that of MR350R (level 3), however, the difference it is not day and night--both detected my baby crying after waking up when placed about 1-2 feet away and both failed to detect my normal talk volume from 1-2 feet away unless I yell loudly or put the radio within 2-3 inches to my mouth. When put in front of a PC speaker, I did notice that GXT1050 started getting into the transmitting mode a bit earlier than MR305R as I turned up the volume knob of my speaker. However, if you want to talk to you handset placed on your shoulder (like policeman does) with your normal voice volume without bending your head to get close to the ratio--good luck no matter which set you use. I really think both companies should increase the sensitive level here.
The biggest turn-off of MR350R is that its VOX feature would be automatically cancelled if you press PPT button, intentionally or accidentally, even if when all settings are "locked"--my baby likes to play with radio and sometime the VOX setting is accidentally cancelled because he squeezed the PPT button. I found this a ridiculous under-thinking (or over-thinking) by Motorola's engineers--I understand the need to preserve power if pressing PPT means VOX may no longer be necessary, but auto-cancel even though settings are locked? Does the word "lock" mean anything? GXT has no problem on this one--kudos to their engineers. I would have returned MR350R for this reason alone (thanks to the great Costco return policy.) if not because my GXT1050 set had a quality issue.
The Wishper feature of GXT1050 does give much loud volume which is very useful for baby monitoring if you don't carry your ratio set on you or right next to you.
Battery life: Both are pretty good (for the good unit I have). I followed exact instructions to do the initial charge (important to battery life) and subsequent charges. However, one of my MR350R unit would run out juicy twice faster than the other handset would--this may be due to difference in batteries or the radio circuit parts. Even worse luck with GXT1050 I had-- sometimes one unit would lose power during use even though it was newly charged and it would not even charge after being placed on the charger. Swapping batteries solves the problem temporarily but this issue reappears later. This caused me to return the GXT1050 to Amazon (thanks to Amazon's 30 day return policy) after on two occasions my baby woke up and fell off bed but GXT1050 failed to give me any warning in advance because of this very issue.. I don't know whether this was caused by a faulty battery or circuit component but I do think this is probably an isolated quality issue since most reviewers here seems to be quite happy with their purchase. One small thing to comment on the rechargeable battery installation and removal--MR350 got this one right with a ribbon under the battery to help you remove the pack easily. The GXT1050 rechargeable battery pack fit in so tightly and there is no ribbon there to help--it would take a few minutes and possibly a fingernail or two (and believe me, I am not exaggerating here) to remove it, especially if you are in a hurry to put in some alkaline batteries in the field. Midland--please spend a nickel or a dime and put in a removal ribbon here.
Charger: Both models do NOT have smart charger--which means the charge light is still red even when fully charged. IBoth companies should make an improvement on this for better battery power and life.
Compatibility: I checked their frequency charts and found that first 22 channels are on exact frequencies so they are compatible. However, I found this to be true only when privacy code is not used. When both models are set on the same channel using the same privacy code--they were able to scan and found each other SOMETIMES, but not always. What a bummer since I would be happy to have both sets (if without quality issues mentioned earlier) and use them in a group to suit different needs.
Waterproof: GXT1050 is splash-proof (JIS4 as the fine print specified), not really waterproof in the sense you can submerge it in water but this is still better than MR350R.
Price: GXT1050 package costs about $20 more but it also includes two headsets and a car charger adaptor--I would call a tie on this one.
Overall, each model has its own strengths--buy what suits your purpose. I had experience in building electronics and know for a fact that individual difference in parts/components sometime impact significantly in power consumption and transmit/receiving sensitivity. So, each unit may vary somewhat from one another --your mileage may vary when coming down to range, sensitivity, etc. So, celebrate if you get a good pair but don't get too hung up if someone else claims a bit better range or clarity or whatsoever.
I would have given 4 stars to both models given their solid performance before noticing quality issues mentioned above but 3 stars here due to quality/reliability issues happened to the set I received in addition to some much desired improvement in design--I hope the manufacturers read my reviews and take some actions--those are not expensive changes at all but would be much more user friendly. I would buy the improved version of either brand in a heartbeat.
473 of 517 people found the following review helpful
on September 23, 2009
All manufacturers exaggerate the range of these little radios. I have used these to hear users on top of a 14,000 foot mountain from 6 miles away, but there were no obstructions between me and them. That's the best distance I've achieved. I had a lower power version of these and they worked well for several years before one of them died. I saved its battery as a spare for these and I can still use the one working with these. Most Midlands use the same rechargeable batteries, although you might carry at least four alkalines along if you expect to be away from the recharger for more than a day. If you're camping out you might want to establish a timetable to use them to extend battery life. They have excellent channel security, either with just two of them or in a group. Hearing other users of the same channel can get very annoying. The numerous privacy choices prevent that almost 100%. Like others, in a city or any enclosed space the range is very limited. The headsets can be handy of you're fishing or hunting. I've used 2-way radios for more than 40 years. The first ones I had were the size and weight of bricks. These are state-of-the-art, light, with good clips and among the best currently available.
521 of 575 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2011
Either I've ended up with the only 10 radios Midland has made that were junk, or the other reviews are from Midland employees. My radios just won't hold a charge, stop working after 2 days or start to sound like I'm talking under water.
We purchased 2 pairs of these for a video production. At first I couldn't believe how good these were. The range, albeit not a million miles like they say, was VERY VERY good! Several miles for sure. Very impressive. So we bough 3 more pairs the same week. But before the second set showed up, the first 4 started flaking out. The batteries wouldn't hold a charge. I thought they were being overcharged, but the book says to keep them on the charger when not in use.
It wasn't 2 weeks before the other ones started flaking out on us too.
Out of the 10 radios there are only 1-2 that appear to work without any issue. For the life of me, I don't see how these have gotten such great reviews since we've only had 10-20% reliability at best with the ones we've purchased.
I don't have any recommendations for any other radios since this is our first radio purchase. These have so much potential, but fall very very short! If they would just stay on and hold a charge for longer than 30 minutes, I would be in love with them because the reception/transmission signal is simply incredible (when working)!
71 of 79 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2009
These radio's work very well after you get over the fact that no portable radio will work long range in an urban setting. The advertised 37 mile range is not realistic in most settings. No portable radio will work over about a mile unless there is an unobstructed line of sight to the other party such as over water (or maybe mountain top to mountain top). These are 5 Watt radios. The FCC limits the power output on GMRS Radios to 5 Watts maximum. Some brands are not even 5 watts, however these are.
I use these radio's at our hunting camp in Central Georgia. In the thick forest, the maximum range is about a mile. As indicated above,I have used all major brands with Midland the best and Motorola coming in second.
What I like:
Push to Talk (PTT) works very well, the switch is solidly built
The included headsets work well but are somewhat uncomfortable to wear
More features that you will ever need
The Value Pack with included accessories is a great value and better value than any other radio on the market.
Waterproof, ok to use in the rain
The Amazon price is a real bargain for the radios and all the accessories that are included.
3 Year Warranty (as far as I now the others are only guaranteed a year)
The rechargeable batteries last a long time.
What I don't like:
The unit is somewhat bulky and slightly larger that most radios on the market. However they still fit in your shirt pocket or on your belt with the included belt clip.
If you want GMRS radios and accessories that work well at a bargain price, this is the one to buy.
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on February 25, 2010
I recently purchased these back in January. I have had Motorola and Cobra's before, but not that happy with their range, about 1-1 1/2 miles. I took these out with me on a day hike 2 weeks ago. I live in Idaho and it was cold and snowing a lot. My partner's wife decided to wait in the truck, so we used this to test these radios. Very hilly terrain. Conditions sucked, cold, blowing snow. We got about 3 miles separation is all for the day, but they worked great. I dropped mine in the snow several times, banged it on trees, sat on it. It held up great. For the money these are great radios for in the field. I love them and have since purchased two more. Oh ya the batteries held up great as well, we had them on for about 6 hours.
38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on May 5, 2011
I am writing this review to save you time and money. I did a side by side real world test with the Midland GXT1000VP4 and the Motorola MR350s. Both good radios, but the Midland is deffinately better. Here is why. The test was done with the radios in town and out of town. My brother was standing in his back yard with one of each of the radios, and I was traveling in my car from location to location to test both range and clarity. The best I did was 2.67 miles with the Motorola. When I mean the best, I actually mean I could hear a word or two, but made out what my brother was saying. The Midland, in the exact same location, same channel, and even used the same hand to talk with, was not struggling at all. The range was not only better, but the clarity of the speaker was like night and day. I also brought along my older 18 mile Cobra radio, with also out performed the Motorolas. Better sound and better range. In four locations, the Midlands could communicate with no problem whereas the Motorolas would not even break the squelch. Before you think anything about it, I had the sensitivity on both radios set correctly and I had both radios on HI power. The Midland, is a bit harder to operate then the Motorola. I give that to the Motorola. I also like the feel of the Motorola better in my hand, but the bottom line is range with clarity, which easily goes to the Midland. The only reason I did not give the Midland an 5 star rating is because I think the user interface is a bit difficult to use. The symbols used to represent the functions of the radio are not the easiest to figure out.
194 of 227 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2009
In the past I have taken walkie talkies to the State Fair and they were unusable because of all the chattering going on. I brought the Midland GXT1000VP4 radios to the fair and randomly selected a channel and privacy setting. They worked perfectly. Not one other person broadcasted on the same channel (200,000 people in attendance). We could hear each other crystal clear. You either get a crystal clear signal or no signal at all with these radios; there is never any static. They lasted the whole day on one charge and the battery indicator still read full.
The only complaint that I have is when putting them on the charger, it takes a bit of menuvering to get the charge light to go on...and I have had it go off after about 15 minutes before. In that case I reseated the one radio again and the light stayed on for the whole charging period.
95 of 109 people found the following review helpful
on August 17, 2010
We got these to use as an intercom between the house and workshed. When they work they are fine, but sometimes they don't work. One will go dead, and then if you keep turning it on and off enough times it start up again. But since you don't get a warning when it goes dead you can't rely on being reachable unless you keep checking to see if it is still on.
I wish I had saved the packaging to return them. They aren't sufficiently reliable to keep using.
We haven't used the advanced features, just because we don't trust the radios to carry them anytime we might need them.
72 of 82 people found the following review helpful
on October 18, 2009
A great two-way radio for direct or simplex communication for campers, hikers or anyone that requires short distance conversation less than two miles. Remember that the distance marketed by Midland and any 22 channels or greater radios is applicable only when you can see the person 10 miles away without any objects including trees or shrubs in between. Unless you are in a flat desert or ocean, you will not get the range as advertised.
One way to obtain longer distance with a UHF radio is by raising its height. If one of the user is at higher altitude such as hills, tall rocks or building, both can communicate at farther distance.
Don't forget to obtain an FCC license to operate on the GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service) frequencies for channel 1-7, and 15-22. These frequencies can operate up to 5 watt and you will be sharing the same frequencies with other GMRS users. It is illegal to operate these frequencies without a license though many operate the radios without knowing that you can receive a hefty fine. The license is very easy to obtain through FCC website for Universal Licensing System (ULS)[...].
The license is for 5 years [...]. No test is required for GMRS but you can operate on any of the GMRS frequencies for your entire family under one license. That is your parents, childrens and any close member of the family.
My son is using the Midland GXT1000 when he is at the mall or at the playground with mommy. I can inline skate in the same park and communicate with him at any time. It's a great tool and less complicated than a cell phone.