Motorola Talkabout MS350R

Small hand-held radios are very useful when the user requires instantaneous communication without the need for cellular data. The users range from crying children separated from their parents in a crowded fair to bank robbers communicating with their getaway drivers.

In this article, we will provide a Motorola Talkabout MS350R review which will provide you with more knowledge when you shop for your next walkie-talkie.

Radio connection router

Basic Features

  • 35 mile range
  • 9 hour battery life
  • IP–67 rating

In-the-box (for 2-pack):

  • 2 radios
  • 2 NiMH rechargeable battery packs
  • 2 belt clips
  • 1 charger (with two docks)
  • 1 charging adapter

Product Design

The two-way radio measures 2.4 x 1.5 x 8.36 inches, but not hefty, weighing only 181 grams. It does not have contoured or curved grips, but the rubberized shell with ridges will help prevent the radio from dropping or slipping from the hands of our butterfingered friends.

The yellow and black color scheme helps it stand out when it is dropped on the forest floor on hunting expeditions or when it is on the water during water excursions.

A lanyard loop is available on the top left side beside a semi flexible antenna while a small LED light can be found at the bottom. The bulb will only be useful for occasions where low light illumination is sufficient as the light is not as powerful as that provided by a dedicated flashlight.

There are volume keys on one side of the radio to increase speaker volume in noisy environments like construction sites and lower it when the radio is used in quiet environments such as when hunting. On the opposite side is a headset jack for hands-free use which is useful when multitasking.

Overview

Even though the radio has a theoretical range of 35 miles, this radio can only reach a few miles in practice since there will almost always be obstructions. In reality, it will have a range of approximately 2 miles when used in a city neighborhood which is still a respectable distance.

The Motorola MS350R comes with a NiMH battery pack, but it can be replaced by 3 AA batteries. Battery life for the NiMH pack is rated at 9 hours, with most users reporting that using AA batteries results in longer usage times and even lasting for 27 hours.

However, using the heavier AA batteries instead of the default NiMH batteries may prevent the radio from floating when dropped in water.

Speaking of water, this radio is IP-67 certified, which means it can withstand submersion into 1 meter deep water for 30 minutes. This is extremely useful when we need to communicate with our merman/mermaid guides joining us on our coral snorkeling trips.

Seriously though, regular people can’t talk underwater, so the IP-67 rating only realistically ensures that the radio operates in the rain or even when splashed with coffee (such a waste of coffee).

As stated previously, the radio has the capability to float when dropped in water, unless the NiMH battery pack is replaced with AA batteries.

A testament to its ruggedness, the radio can be operated from 0 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, but the user should expect variations in battery life when using the radio on high and low ends of the temperature range.

This radio is relatively cheap compared to other radios with similar specifications, but it must be remembered that to fully utilize the GMRS service, you need to pay for GMRS licensing. However, this license will cover all your GMRS devices for all family members for 10 years so it can just be considered as an investment.

For users wearing a pacemaker, please don’t place the radio in a breast pocket to prevent any interference. The user manual suggests a separation of 6 inches between the radio and pacemaker. If you are a man, please don’t operate the radio near the family jewels. Just kidding, but ensure a 1 inch separation from any body part to limit RF exposure.

For other medical devices such as hearing aids, please consult your doctor and the manufacturer of your medical device before using the radio.

But of course, this device is not without flaws. Other Motorola MS350R reviews reported poor quality control also plagues this model with some radios having defective batteries, while some do not exhibit water resistance as advertised.  Software issues such as turning off while in the middle of transmission are also reported by some users.

Lastly, some functions only work in countries in the Americas (e.g. U.S., Canada and Mexico) such as the GMRS functions and NOAA notifications. The charger, however, uses a 110-230 volt input so charging is still possible when using the radio across countries.

Additional Functions

  • vibrate function when used in noisy construction sites
  • auto squelch function keeps the speaker quiet when there is no incoming transmission
  • keypad tones give feedback if a button has been pressed
  • keypad lock to prevent any inadvertent key presses
  • tone confirmation function informs the recipient that the transmission has ended via
  • battery level and the channel power indicators

A special weather alert function allows the user to tune in to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) channels which provides useful information about incoming storms.

Of course, NOAA transmissions are only available in the United States. When using the radio in other countries, the user will have to set the weather channel frequency manually.

ProsCons
·         small and light

·         long range

·         good battery life

·         water resistant

·         cheap

·         poor Quality Control

·         additional functions require GMRS license

·         designed for use in the Americas

Bottom Line

Like a Swiss Army Knife, the Motorola Talkabout MS350R Two-Way Radio provides a lot of useful functions and is adaptable in the majority of scenarios where a two-way radio is required.

However, the prospective buyer must keep in mind that the specifications listed by the manufacturer such as the range and battery life are exaggerated based on ideal conditions.

Overall, this radio is a good buy provided that you can test it before you buy it. Acquiring it online leaves the buyer vulnerable to receiving damaged or poor quality goods.

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