First of all, all the distances advertised on any walkie talkie like this is based on mountain top to mountain top communication, where the valley increases the range, and no obstruction. That is where they based the 35 miles. For city use, in malls, house to house and areas with trees will be between .5 to 1 mile at most. Since I have been using Motorola Walkie talkies all my life so I knew what I was buying.
I experimented with 3 different models of Walkie talkies in the mall with my wife. First we tried the 5 mile Motorola. I was on one end of the mall inside Macy's and she was on the other side in Nordstrom. She could not even hear me.
We tried the 10 mile Motorola. This time she could hear me press the talk button and a few garbled words, but that was it. We could not communicate.
We tried these 35 mile ones last. We were able to hear each other just fine. Not bad considering the distance and the number of obstructions.
I have also tried this on the open road for car to car communication and it can reach the horizon. If you want more power, you will need to get a license and buy a 5 watt radio.
This Radio has many nice features you would normally find in Professional Radios 5 times the price of this.
UPDATE SEPT 25, 2009-
This radio has a really nice feature I just discovered. It has the hands free iVOX capability. It will broadcast when it hears a sound. There are 3 levels of sensitivity. I tried it as a baby monitor. I left my wife and baby while they were asleep and turned on the radio to High power on one of the GMRS channels(I have an FCC license by the way, so I can use this channel). I drove about 1 mile to my brother-in-laws house. The Radio worked as a long range baby monitor! It was impressive considering that the radio was indoors and I was not line-of-site, and it reached a mile. Very amusing.
I would advice getting an FCC license so that you can use the High power GMRS channels legally. With these radios, it is about 1.5 to 2 watts. If you use the FRS channels 8 to 14, all walkie talkies including this will only use 0.5 watts. Channels 1 to 7 are GMRS/FRS channels. You cannot legally use the high power PTT button if you do not have an FCC license. Channels 15 to 22 are GMRS channels where you can use the High power mode exclusive to GMRS radios. Go to the FCC website and pay the fee for a GMRS radio license, it is good for your immediate family for 5 years. It is worth it if you use it all the time.
****Update October 26, 2009****
I will now detail what I have found out about my Motorola:
1. In door range - This is the mall slayer. Go to any mall and give your kids one and you will be able to talke to them pretty much anywhere they are.
2. Audio Quality - Very clear and very loud.
3. Outdoor Range - It has almost the same range as my Icom professional radio which has 3 times the power. That is basically because outdoor range is more about antenna height rather than power.
4. Flashlight - Very useful when you go camping. You dont have to bring an extra flashlight. It is bright. Excellent for emergencies.
5. iVox - Hands free operation. Very useful as a 1 mile baby monitor.
6. Call button - I can call the other radio so that they know I am trying to call them so they can pick up the radio.
7. Emergency button - It will send an alert so that the other person knows you are in trouble.
8. Weather channels - I use it to find out the weather, specially before going Kayaking.
9. Privacy Codes - it has so many Privacy codes so you will never be disturbed by other radios.
10. QT - You can restrict the radios that you hear to only Motorolas.
11. Scan - well most other radios have this too.
12. 2 power settings - You can either transmit on .5 watts or 1.5 watts, depending on the button you press. Unless you are using FRS channels 8 to 14 which are hardcoded to use .5 watts.
13. Vibrate feature - In case you are in a noisy place, this is useful.
14. Ease of use - It does not get easier. Instructions are clear and it is intuitive.
1. I am still trying to find one.
********UPDATE December 27,2009*********
I conducted another Distance and clarity test:
1. My Icom F21 UHF 4 watt Professional Handheld Radio(same one Police/Sheriff use. $380 for a pair)
2. My Motorola MR350($59 a pair)
Parameters of the Test:
I have a 40 Watt GMRS Base Station at home. My Home is by the Beach Blvd. I will drive North on beach Blvd and at every quarter mile, I will get down from the car, and transmit. I will transmit first with the Icom, then the Motorola. I will also note down if I can hear a reply back and how clear the reply was.
Result of the test:
1. Icom- was able to transmit and receive clearly up till 3 1/4 miles. It then started to become choppy from that point.
2. Motorola - was able to transmit and receive clearly till 2 3/4 miles. It then started to become choppy from that point.
1. Icom - There were times I had to ask my wife to repeat herself because it sounded a little muffled.
2. Motorola - Just like listening to an FM radio. Loud and crystal clear.
Although the extra power of the Icom gave it a slight advantage in range, about 20%, you can buy 8 pairs of these Motorolas for the price of the Icom. Let the result speak for itself.
Note: This test was meant to show that the Professional Radios only have a slight advantage over the Motorola. The distances were that far because I have a base station with a 10 foot mast and an external J-pole GMRS tuned antenna. Hand held to hand held still follows the laws of physics so it is the same as I mentioned at the beginning of the review, .5 to 1 mile in the city. Completely different story if you are on an elevated position. Distance in miles = Square root of the Height(in feet) x 1.4.
*****UPDATE FEB. 04,2010******
I would like to now discuss the Cost savings of this MR350 over Professional Radios.
My Motorola MR350 is still going strong. I have since bought more Professional Icoms and have had to go through the hassle of tweaking them and programming them manually to get them to function the way this Motorola does when you first take it out of the packaging. I had to buy these Icoms because I am a member of a GMRS Radio Group here in Orange County and Los Angeles and I need the repeater functionality and external antenna.
If you buy a professional radio, you will have to pay to have it programmed. It can cost from between $20 to $80 each time you need to have something programmed. I bought the software and equipment to program my Icoms and they were very expensive. Again, this is something you will never have to do with the MR350.
Batteries on my Icoms cost about $60. That is even more than the cost of this MOTOROLA!!! Not to mention that I had to buy an external battery pack for my Icoms costing $45 so that I can use Energizer AA batteries. The Motorola can use the included rechargeable battery, or you can use Energizer.
I have my Motorolas fully charged all the time so if ever the big earthquake hits LA, this will be my primary survival gear together with my Swiss Army Knife.
In a cost perspective, the Motorola MR350 wins hands down. You will easily spend about $650-700(hardware and software) to equip a pair(2) of Professional Radios to have some(not all) of the features of this Motorola MR350. At the end of the day, cost will always be a factor when we purchase anything.
Hope to talk to you on the air.
******UPDATE APRIL 19,2010*******
I just bought another set of Motorola MR350 radios. I leave a pair in my car for emergencies where I cannot use my car mounted Mobile UHF radio. I still think these are the best deal on any UHF radio.
******UPDATE OCTOBER 26,2010*******
I just wanted to update all of you since it has been 1 year since my original post. The 4 Radios and the batteries are still working great. That being said, one of the nice people to comment, mentioned that one or both of his new units were defective. Unfortunately, that is not unique with Consumer radios. Once you receive your radio, whatever you buy, please test it right away. If you find that something is not right, tell Amazon that the unit is defective, then exchange it for a new set. That is the nice thing about Amazon. And if you have more issues, drop me a comment, and I can point you to other radios that you may like. I collect radios and I have tried most of them already so I can save you the trouble of deciding.
Also, he mentioned that there is a site that you can get a free replacement faceplate for the MR355 which has the Repeater capability and all of the features of the MR350. The catch is the original faceplate of the MR355 is camo. The free replacement faceplate will make the MR355 look much more discreet. Look into that radio as well. From what I hear, they are almost the same price. Oh, and I also have that MR355 radio, but never take it out because I have not replaced the faceplate yet. I will eventually.
******UPDATE FEBRUARY 2, 2012*******
I am so happy to announce that all 4 Motorola MR350 radios are still working. I still take them with me everywhere and have not had any problems with them. I have accidentally dropped them a couple of times so they have some scratches here and there, but they still work fine. I am really happy all 4 radios have lasted this long, almost 3 years for the original pair.
If there are any situations you would like me to test, please let me know and I will do my best to document a proper test for it. Let me know.
******UPDATE AUGUST 27, 2012*******
Again, I am happy to report all 4 radios still work. Now I would like to talk about the best new radio I have seen from Motorola, the MT352R. It is basically very similar to the MR350 except that it has a better rechargeable NiMH battery. It has double the battery life of the MR350. It also has a new method of charging. It does not use a charging station anymore. You just plug a mini USB cable to the bottom.
That is great, except that it is a much larger radio, so you have to consider the bulk of this before buying it. I have only seen it but I am about to buy a pair and see if this provides. I was really hesitant to buy it because it did not look as sleek as the MR350 which has served me well.
Once I get it, I will let you know if it is even worth paying the extra money, for what appears to be the same radio.
Another thing I wanted to discuss is the repair of these consumer radios. If the radio is still under warranty and Motorola will replace your radio as long as it was not due to user error. Once the warranty is over and your radios break, you have to buy a new radio as they do not repair radios out of warranty. Motorola used to do repairs, but no one really availed of it because it costs $50 or more to repair a radio. People just bought new ones. That goes for all handhelds available. So, the moral of the story is, if your radio is still under warranty, bring it to Motorola(or whatever radio you buy) and they will give you a new radio. Do not wait as the warranty could lapse.
I hope that helps you guys.
********UPDATE December 3, 2012*******
All 4 MR350 radios are still ticking. I am happy to report though that I have purchased a pair of Motorola MT352R radios. It will be arriving soon, and I will do a very comprehensive side by side test between my favorite, the MR350 vs the contender, the MT352R. Please give me about a week to get the radios, perform the tests and analyze the results. I should be able to post the findings by December 14, 2012. It should give you enough time to decide whether to buy this for xmas.
********IMPORTANT UPDATE December 4,2012*********
I received the Motorola MT352R this morning and proceeded to perform the comparison testing between the MR350 and the MT352R. Please go to my review of the MT352R so you will be able to see the results of my testing. Motorola MT352R Giant FRS Weatherproof Two-Way - 35 Mile Radio Pack - Silver
In a nutshell, they have the same features except for the IP-54 weather resistance. The main difference between them is size, distance, battery life and most important of all, price. Is 20-30% more distance worth paying 40-50% more(depending how much the current price is of course)? That is your choice. I still prefer the MR350 because of the very slim form and proven reliability. The MT352R is as big as an ICOM handheld. The MT352R has a better battery, but the MR350 has great battery life to begin with.
Please read my review of the MT352R so you have a better idea. I hope that helps.
********UPDATE April 29, 2013*********
I have had these radios for 4 years now and they still work just fine. I still highly recommend them.
Wow. How time flies. I have had these 4 MR350R radios for 5 years now and they still work fine. I still have them in my pocket and car. Really great. My Daughter was 1 when I bought my first set. She is now almost 7. I actually hide a radio in her school backpack so that she can call me if there is an emergency in school. Thankfully, the only time she called was because I was late picking her up.
I use smartphones and computers for communication too, but radios have their use. Use the right tool for the job.
**********UPDATE MARCH 23, 2015**********
It has now been 6 years since I wrote my original review in 2009. I bought a new kit that has the newer higher power rechargeable batteries the Motorola 53614 NiMH Battery Upgrade Kit as a birthday gift for my radios. They are still serving me well and I have just packed them into my bag for a long trip. Thank you so much to everyone that has sent me questions. I too learn from testing your scenarios, If there is a situation you would like me to test, please let me know, and I will try my best to get you an answer.
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 intuitive 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.
on December 3, 2009
After purchasisng the Motorola MR-350 via Amazon, radios were tested in a residential area in my city.
To my surprise and amazement the MR-350 units were able to clearly communicate over a distance of one and one half miles, having to punch the signal clearly through homes, trees, steel, wood and many line of site obstructions.
Clearly, this is an amazing pair of radios, and the claim of an unobstructed range of many miles is highly likely.
Delighted with the Amazon purchase and this is an excellent value, demonstrating a lot of radio muscle power in a tiny package.
Richard - Denver.
I would URGE you to read WILFREDO M VIRAY'S ("Wally") EXCELLENT, THOROUGH and THOUGHTFUL review. There's not much more I can say.
However, a few friends have asked "why would anyone use a two-way radio when cell phones do the 'same' thing?" I live direcly under a bluff in the midwest. Cross country ski, walking and bike trails, and one of our country clubs are there as well. Cell phones don't work very well in these areas.
This can also be true when you're traveling. A two-way radio can put you in touch with a LOT of sources you cannot reach with a cell phone... truckers, for example. Forget the stereotype - these guys can be lifesavers on the open road. Two way radios are free of roaming charges, and they'll work ANYWHERE - NO cell phone network can make that claim.
We also use these radios (and their "predecessor," the Motorola T9500XLR) EXTENSIVELY at work. (We now have TEN pair.) The building is concrete and steel, and no matter where you are, you can communicate CLEARLY with these radios. (Incidentally, we're talking about a 200,000+ square foot... that's a fairly large building.) Using two-way radios is a VAST time saver compared to paging someone on the intercom, then waiting for the "callee" to find a phone and get back to you!
Another NICE feature: Although these radios are supplied with a comparatively expensive 3.6 volt rechargeable battery, YOU CAN USE (3) AA's INSTEAD.
Again, I refer you to Wilfredo "Wally" Viray's excellent review for some non-biased technical data.
Good job, Motorola!
on January 19, 2011
I worked in the telecom industry portion that has, among other things, hand-held radios. I know how they work; I know the physics behind each segment of the radio spectrum; I know the technologies, etc., etc.
That said, I could never give any of these kinds of "FRS/GMRS" two-way radios a five-star rating. None of them deserve it, nor, given the limitations placed on this radio type by the F.C.C., could any of them deserve a rating better than "mediocre", or "average". That is the limitation of this kind of power in this part of the spectrum. And it is true for any of these radios, regardless of what brand name is on them, although for quality, surely Motorola is the best of their type.
THIRTY-FIVE MILES? Ha! Maybe, just maybe, in a total vacuum, at a temperature of absolute-zero, you could get one of these radios to communicate 35 miles, but not anywhere on this planet that I can think of. Be realistic and you'll be satisfied. But if you expect 35 miles of range, or even 20% of that, you WILL be disappointed. I bought a pair of these radios, and I am as satisfied as I can be. They are good for what they are, at the price you pay.
But, if all you really need is a radio that CAN communicate for a distance not to exceed, say, two miles, then these radios are certainly the best of their kind I've ever seen. So, take them for what they are worth, and believe me, these Motorolas are hands-down the best of their kind. But none of these radios lives up to their advertising, and never will. It is simply not possible at the rated power in the alloted portion of the radio spectrum.
on January 31, 2011
Roaming charges imposed when at sea make the use of cell phones impractical & expensive. We brought our old Moto T6250's with us on our last cruise and they were OK, but decided to step up to more modern units for this trip. Very glad that we did. We were traveling with another couple and convinced them to do the same, so we now had 4 of the Moto MR350R in use. We selected an upper GMRS channel and a high 'privacy code' (1-38 are analog, 39-121 are the new digital codes), selected a ring tone and switched on 'vibrate'. These units offer two PTT (push to talk) power buttons (0.5 watts & 1.5 watts). You'll be using high power most of the time. Our old radios only offered 0.5 & 1.0 watts, so right there we had much greater range. And with the digital filter, we had less interference (an occasional call tone, but zero sound after that) than the old units. But remember that is only acts as a high tech squelch - others can hear you if they select privacy code Zero.
We spent the week on Royal Caribbean's 'Freedom of the Seas'. It's no longer the world's largest vessel (1100 ft), but it's up there. Our stateroom was midship, our friends were towards the rear. I'd say that the radios offered about 3/4 of a ship coverage. Pretty good when you remember that you are trying to penetrate tons of steel. In most cases you could talk person-to-person from wherever you were, but on some occasions one of our party would have to play 'relay man' to keep the conversation going.
By now you probably know that "35 mile range" is meaningless if there are any obstructions. And GMRS radios technically require a license for use, but I doubt that you will run into an inspector in international waters! We did contemplate using them on island excursions, but didn't want to run afoul of local regulations. I read conflicting info on GMRS use in various ports, and the idea of spending eternity in a foreign jail just wasn't appealing....
There is a bit of a learning curve, and I occasionally had to glance at the info sheet for tips. The new units are a bit big, but tolerable. The rechargeable NiMh battery pack is low grade (850ma AA batteries???), but they lasted most of the day. I wonder if one could change them out for more modern 2100-2500ma cells?? The USB port for charging added convenience when away from the charging cradle. The flashlight got occasional use. The lock button is where the PTT was on the old units, so it got pushed more than once and occasionally we ended up with changed channels as well (all initiated from this one command button). At first the lockout on the volume control seemed to be a pain, but it also prevented accidental killing of conversations. We never tried any of the VOX controls - cruise ship environments are just too noisy.
Overall, they are expensive as walkie-talkies go, but well worth it for this application.
on January 6, 2014
These did perform well enough on the cruise ship (smaller - 10 decks) to keep in touch with our 3 kids. We've also used them at an indoor amusement park with faily good success. Yes, we could use cell phones, but they are 9, 11 & 13. Not getting 3 more phones nor do phones work "at sea".
on August 7, 2013
I must say Motorola Solutions did a great job with these radios. The quality of the audio(voice) is fantastic. I haven't tested the range yet, but I'm very impressed with what I got, over the previous generation of Motorola radios. What you get with this package:
- 3 radios - excellent
- 1 Charger - good (I think these are dumb charger, never stop charging)
- 3 faceplates - good (using them now - kids love them)
- 3 belt clips - ok, could be more rugged
- 3 batteries - good
- 3 ear pieces - in the trash they go
Totally agree with other viewers on the ear pieces, not good at all; can hardly make out what the other party is trying to say. So I purchased this from Amazon:
Motorola 56320 2-Way Radio Earpiece with Boom Microphone
This turns out to be another good purchase. My kids and I go biking and we use these, in the iVOX mode, and with a little getting use to, was able to communicate very effectively.
I highly recommend both the radios and the extra earpiece with boom mike above.
on October 7, 2014
First Impression and Suburban Range Check
Got the radios yesterday night.
The face plates snap in; they're not held in with the small Torx screws. (this is a good thing, as not many of us will have tiny Torx screwdrivers at home) With a little prying and patience, they came right off. I quite like this. Now, the boy has the yellow one, wife has the orange one, and I've got the green one. If one of them gets busted up, we'll know who the guilty party is. (most likely the 10 year old boy!)
The instruction sheet is well-done. I think it was originally written by a native English speaker, which is nice, for a change in the radio world!
The menu layout is great; pretty intuitive for anyone even a little bit technical. It's going to take me a while to remember that iVOX is for use without the external mic headset and VOX is with the headset. They could have come up with a better convention to help differentiate between those two. Maybe they just wanted to get "iVOX" patented before Apple does...
One feature that sold me on these instead of the Midlands is the battery options. The Midlands use AAAs and the Motorolas use AAs. AAs have triple the capacity of AAAs, for one thing. For another, we can either use a pack of series-connected, shrink-wrapped NiMH AAs that Motorola provides, our own AAs (I like Sanyo Eneloop), or Alkaline AAs. Lithium AAs could probably be used, and would be the idea choice for back-up radio use, as they have a 12 year shelf life, higher energy density, lighter weight, and better voltage stability under cold weather conditions. (compared to alkaline and NiMH)
The physical construction is solid: Motorola always uses durable, thick plastics for their housings. These don't feel *quite* as solid as their $200 commercial talkies, but a notch above what one would expect in this price class.
The power/volume knob has that nice well-damped feel to it, although I would like it to have more traction. It has just a few little rounded bumps for knurling; they could have done better here, I think.
Another part of the design that should probably be reworked is that the PTT buttons should either have equal priority or the low power one should be the prominent one. As is, it is recessed under the high power one. The radio is programmed such that even of one presses the high power PTT button when on an FRS-only channel, it will STILL only transmit at 1/2 W.
The flashlight is a brilliant addition. There's a smallish constant contact button on the right side of the radio for the flashlight, which is on the bottom of the radio. That light is bright enough to find your way outside at night, and maybe even OVERLY bright to use indoors at night. (it will hurt the night vision)
Range check: In our suburban neighborhood, near to Chicago, there are lots of old trees and buildings. Under these conditions, on a clear night, we got 0.6 miles. The audio was fully intelligible, but "snowy." There were buildings between us. To get more range, I could change positions slightly (a small change in position can make a huge improvement, with a walkie-talkie) or try to get in more direct line of sight.
Soon, I'll try VOX, iVOX, the headset and the belt clip and update this review.
Can't wait to try it out in our Gurnee Mills mall here, which is laid out all on one floor, and shaped like a big 'Z.' I expect it'll work down one row, but once around the corner of the 'Z,' it'll drop out quickly.
on August 29, 2011
I took my son on a 5 night cruise to the Bahamas.We were on the Carnival Fantasy along with 2000 others.I bought the Motorola MR350R and I'm glad I did because I was able to locate my son when I needed to.The radios have a vibrating feature that comes in handy if your listening to loud music and can't hear the ringer.
We went into a show that had already started and the built in flashlight came in handy.I used the light more than I thought I would.
I was in our room at the back of the ship and my son was 2 decks up at the front and I could talk to him.
Before the cruise I didn't find many reviews involving using a walkie talkie on a large ship so I thought I should write this.I hope it helps somebody.
Motorola MR350R 35-Mile Range 22-Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radio (Pair)