Saturday, January 26, 2013

Motorola Talkabout 2 Way Radios (Product Review)

Recently the folks at Motorola sent Ashley and I a pair of their Talkabout 2 Way Radios to do a product review.  2 Way Radios are great to have when hiking with groups or on over night trips and camping. We got to test these Motorola 2 Way Radios out in all sorts of conditions and line of sight and they performed really well under hilly and obstructed conditions.

About the Motorola Radios: They have up to a 35-mile range which allows you and your driving, hunting or hiking partner can keep in touch. (Range very much depends on terrain and conditions and in most settings only expect to get up to 1 mile of effective range as explained on the back of the packaging). They offer 22 channels in addition to NOAA channels for weather and emergency information. There are 121 privacy codes allowing for a scrambling of your voice so others on your channel won't be able to understand your conversation. These 2 way radios have VOX voice-activated control, which allows you to operate the radios hands-free (with optional headset, not included). iVOX allows speakerphone operation, so you can keep on moving without having to stop to answer a call. There are 10 call tones which allow you to differentiate between members of your party. The roger beep indicates when another caller is finished speaking. VibraCall silent vibrating ringer is useful when hunting or when wishing to remain silent and looking for wildlife.  There is a keypad lock which prevents accidental use. They have up to 15 hours battery life and there are low battery alert lets you know when it's time to recharge. There is also a built-in LED flashlight and they 2 way radios are have a weather-resistant design.

Our Review: Ashley and I had the chance to test the Motorola 2 way radios out on another visit to the Mission Viejo Open Space. We were overall very impressed with the Motorola 2 way radios. When you first take them out of the package you can tell they are weather resistant as they are more hearty that other 2 way radios we have used. The important electrical components have rubberized protection and thus you really don't have to worry about their performance in the elements. Note, I would not drop them in standing water, however, because they are weather-resistant they should hold up on your hikes and outdoor adventures. Besides their apparent durability, they were easy to use and to figure out.

The multiple channels came in perfect because when we turned on the 2 way radios our first two channels were in use by other people. Once we switched to a different channel we began our testing of these Motorola 2 way radios. We made sure we tested them in a very hilly section with trees and plenty of obstructions as that is the most common section for hikers and outdoor adventurers. We found that in most situations you will get about a mile of range in the quote "non-ideal conditions" which we found very impressive. You can see in the Google map below the two distances we tested the Motorola 2 way radios on. We additionally found that if you have an unobstructed view you can easily communicate over a mile in distance.

These are high end 2 way radios and they are perfect for most any outdoor situation. They would be perfect to have for safety reasons, to either contact someone in the event of trouble or to leave one with someone at home while you go on a hike. You can purchase these 2 way radios at many stores, including BestBuy, Amazon, and Walmart. Prices range from 70 - 80 dollars. Both Ashley and I found they performed well in non-ideal conditions. Charging the 2 way radios was super easy and surprisingly quick. The coolest thing is the LED flashlight at the bottom. It is not a super bright light, but it will come in handy when you need it. When purchasing any commercial 2 way radio, just remember as a hiker who ventures into outdoor settings you will not be using the 2 way radios in ideal settings. These two way radios performed better than others we have used in non-ideal situations. The back of the package explains that the optimal range in most urban or hilly/wooded outdoor settings is 2 miles.

Bottom-line is we were very impressed with how they performed in non-ideal settings. It is better to spend the money on a radio that will work good in non-ideal situations, than as opposed to purchase a regular set of 2 way radios that won't perform well in outdoor situations. Both Ashley and I would recommend these radios given the weather proofing and good range in non-ideal situations.


View Motorola Product Review in a larger map

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