75 of 76 people found the following review helpful
on December 17, 2009
I was very much surprised with this unit. First off, I have owned Uniden CK-1588 20 mile, Cobra 25 mile (CX800?) and Uniden 1235 12 mile ones. I also own a pair of Motorola MJ270 27 mile Talkabouts. I also own a Cobra HH425i VHF/GMRS radio and a Cobra Handheld CB radio with an exterior antenna. So I have a good amount of experience with radios and have done lots of research on this.
I tested these little (and I do mean little, which is critical as the groups of people I use them with (ski trips, snowmobile trips, rock climbing and hiking, as well as vacations, camping, at and planning our exits and entrances from a myriad of social singles events throughout a weekend, we need things that can fit in pockets or purses or jackets and don't take up much room) in a wide variety of situations.
Forget the package claims of range...in both directions (poor range or good range), it will vary with conditions and something else (see later on).
In the woods, I got good reception with the pair at over a mile even with trees, routinely. On mountain tops, I got well over the 8 mile advertised range, closer to 12. Yes 12. In the city again with pairs, I got close to 2 miles with minimal interference (not the limit of .5).
With all these reception was pretty crystal clear. I had to turn the volume up to 12 or 13 but it was fine.
Used in between many floors on high rises during happy hours and mingle and no problems.
I live in a down town small city area. My sister lives 1.8 miles away with at least 60 houses and no line of sight. With the pair, I could hear her and she could hear me barely, and we could barely hear eachother's reply.
When i drive into town from the highway, which is 2.6 miles away (I measured all these distances in my car and with a pedometer) I heard her fine and vice versa and there were still close 30+ houses and small valleys and hills between us.
Now I tested with me in my house again using the FV150 and her using my Motorola talk about MJ270 27 mile radio with an antenna that is probably 6 times the length and diameter. We heard eachother crystal clear (vs both of us using the pair of FV150s).
The reason I stress this, is that if you are with a group of people, and they are all using a variety of different radios (which is very common), your performance will also vary signifcantly and the range will have little to do with it.
In the car I got 5-7 miles, sometimes as much as 15 miles with these things depending on hills/valleys, trees etc, which is comparable to my CB radio.
I didn't get that kind of performance under those same tests with the Cobras, or any of the Unidens with both vendor's models having bigger antenna's than these little things. The FV's performance was BETTER than any of those other models which probably cost at least twice as much if not 3-4 times.
I love them, and will be buying several of the 4 packs at RadioShack to hand out to friends who don't have them so when I come to town it's easy to communicate and stay in touch.
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
I wanted a way of communicating with my daughter when she went to the neighbor's house. The compact size of this unit is great for a young child. Simplicity of design and ease of operation make this an excellent choice.
Hard, impact resistant plastic housing. There are buttons for volume control, channels, and 'paging'.
Sound quality is good for this unit. The 'paging' feature works well when you want to alert the other user. Battery life is very good.
I have only tested this unit in a 2 mile radius and between a few houses indoors but the unit is reliable. This set is easy to use.
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2008
I bought these for my son to play with. They are much better than the walkie talkies I played with as a kid. My son can easily talk from inside our house to neighboring kids 10 or 12 houses away! Highly recommended. The only criticisms I can think of is that they don't come with batteries (a built in rechargeable battery would be even better) and the talk button takes a firm press, which requires some effort on the part of my six year old son.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 2010
I bought those FRS/GMRS phones for my kids to play with. The Motorola FV150 has an ERP of 0.19 W on the exclusive FRS channels and 0.18 W on the shared and exclusive GMRS channels. This compares to typical 10 W ERP (or 5 W PEP) on business or ham handhelds. The reach is obviously not 8 mi but more like 100 yards, hence it is ideal for younger kids to play with without causing interference to other stations. Receive sensitivity is aligned with transmission power output, hence does not pick up stations further than maybe 2 mi away. The phone is not duplex capable, which means you cannot hit GMRS repeaters (if you or your club owned one), which also would not make much sense with the supported reach.
The phone is very small and built quiet robust so that it can take the abuse of younger kids well. The push-to-talk (PTT) key is kind of hard to press - probably by design. The sound is not very loud but good to understand. The phone survived a TX sized rain shower and showed no ill effects when being used at the swimming pool with wet hands. Of course I would not submerse it in water. It needs 3x AAA batteries and works well with rechargeable NiMH batteries. If you use Sanyo eneloop cells, the batteries keep fresh for many month when the phone is not in use. Batteries last for several hours play.
The price is unbeatable and you get more value when compared to buying a phone in the toy section. Best of all, it will be compatible with other FRS and GMRS handhelds used by hikers, hunters, and such.
Notice that FRS is license free while you need a GMRS license for operating the phone on channels 15 - 22. A GMRS license cost $85 for 5 years at the time of writing. There is no license test, you just have to fill out an application on the FCC site. If you only use channels 1 - 14, you do not need a license.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 29, 2011
Having many sets of FRS radios, mainly Motorola, I can say these are quite comparable to the T5000, and T8500 as far as range. When the boys are on the fringe of our pre-arranged area, I'll switch to the T8500 which gives me a slight advantage, and I do hold a GMRS licence for the family. Audio quality is very good, not as hollow sounding as my other radios and plenty loud enough without over-modulating. The boys like them due to being pocket sized, and small as a pager. They're very adequate for household intercoms, and for a few houses down the street, but otherwise not meant to replace cell phones. Battery life seems to be on par with my other sets, and always recommend Rayovac Hybrid recharge-ables. Alkalines will cost you too much in the long run, and a setback on this model is the battery cover is hard to remove. Have found a dime is the best coin to pry it off with. Other than the scan function, it is sparse on features, but they're inexpensive enough to not be an issue. If you're in a hurry, these are a great choice to grab off the shelf and run with. The other reviewers here helped me decide to buy these vs another expensive set of Motorola's, and am very satisfied. If you want drop-in recharge-able convenience, you'll pay an extra $10-15 for whatever model or brand you choose, but your own set of Rayovacs will last for more hours per day. It was worth choosing a smaller radio that my 9 year old son likes, vs the larger one that was harder to get him to use. It's also light weight enough to wear on a lanyard or lapel, and the flat bottom allows for table-stand convenience.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 20, 2011
Those are sort of toy-like but they work short distance well. I have pair of top grade Li-ion Cobras for serious use, completely different world, and price point. There is no scrambling signal possibility on these simple Motorolas so anyone on the channel can hear and understand you if knows the same language. In dense town you will get about 1/16 of a mile, in the open way better. Perfect for things like two people wiring or re-piping the house, fishing and camping trip, shopping with kids in the mall. Beware of where you get it thou as there are copies, just like with many Chinese electronics. I purchased one set from unknown source, which was bad idea. The other set I got from Target as vendor - completely different, much better quality of electronics inside, including solder, internal parts, finish and tuning. Consider also that these radios will talk to any other GMRS/FRS on the same channel, but if your kid breaks it (at 9 bucks a piece) you will not be so sorry compare to 50 bucks or more fancy set. It is fairly good product for the purpose, but just get it from reputable vendor. BTW, that 8 mile range - I suppose that was tested in outer space during one of the space shuttle missions.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2012
Are these radios perfect? No. Are they short range? Yes. Are they worth the money? No doubt.
I live in an urban area here in North Texas, but spend most weekends in the sticks. I purchased these radios: #1 they're cheap, #2 they're Motorola, #3 my wife and kids walk our dog at odd hours, and we've had a couple of incidents, and #4 if nothing, they would make a cheap toy for my son.
After extensive testing I have found the range to be about 1 to 2 miles in the country depending on terrain (gently rolling hills, mesquite brush, post oaks) and 1/2 mile in the city (apartment complexes, malls, neighborhoods). That's with good batteries, when the batteries tire, much shorter.
For my purposes, they work great. When one of the family is out dog walking in the neighborhood, I can keep contact.... When we're out on the rifle range, I can be 800-1000 yards off and fix targets or call shots. Camping, hiking, etc. I can keep in contact with the boy. Overall: satisfied! Just remember, this isn't an AN-PRC 77, or a SINCGARS, or even a commercial/govermental relay radio, it's range is limited to (somewhat) "line-of-sight".
Pros: small, compact, good range for size, decent lifespan on batteries (about 20 hours).
Cons: AAA batteries. I really hate AAA's.
14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2009
i bought at Target for my children to communicate with us while they are walking to a friend's house. they work just fine if you can see the person with the other walkie. the coverage is only line of sight. so any houses, buildings, TREES, anything that is between you and the other walkie with interfere. so, basically, they don't work as they are advertised. but, they are fun to play with from basement to top floor.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 18, 2013
We took these on a cruise and although several people had the same idea so we were sharing channels, they came in very handy particularly when shopping in a busy area and we would wander a bit.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2012
I put these walkie talkies on my daughter's wish list for her birthday, and she received them - but both the purchaser and I were surprised that they came in NO retail packaging - they were just wrapped in bubble wrap with a upc sticker on them. No box, NO DIRECTIONS, No information whatsoever. Very strange, I think. Haven't tried them out yet, but plan to later today or tomorrow so I will update my review then. But at face value so far, we're not super impressed.
ETA: my daughter has used them a few times, and we are pleased with them overall. I don't see how they could claim 8 miles - she is going less than 1/2 a mile into the woods, and the static begins out there. But we can still hear her clearly enough at that point. Apparently they scan channels or something, but because they didn't come with any information or directions I'm going to have to google some manuals so I can figure out how they work.
We do like the size, volume can get loud enough that we can hear each other without a problem, and she hasn't gone far enough that the distance is a problem. So I'll stick with my 3 star review.