It would become quickly clear from this Cobra MicroTalk CXT195 review that I’m not a fan of this walkie talkie. I got a pair a couple of years back when I helped my uncle move to a different county.
I figured it would be a good way to stay in touch while he followed the U-Haul I was driving in his sedan.
The deciding factor in choosing the Cobra MicroTalk CXT195 was that I had never used a Cobra walkie talkie before. I wanted to try something new from a different manufacturer: and besides, for a pair, the price tag seemed like an absolute steal.
The performance was pretty okay for the road trip. After that though, let’s just say I was less than impressed with it. I don’t want to give too much away before you go through the full review. So, we’ll just get right down to it.
Cobra MicroTalk CXT195 Review
Description/Unboxing of the Cobra MicroTalk CXT195
I got my pair from the local mall instead of waiting for shipping by ordering online. I needed to set them up asap so we can hit the road with them.
The walkie talkies are black with ash-colored buttons. I understand there is a model with orange buttons. That should make a better contrast against the black body. They are made out of hard plastic and rubber.
At about 5” long and 1.5” deep, the radios are rather small. Even kids could comfortably hold them. If you add the weight of just above 2 ounces, the overall impression is of a compact, lightweight walkie talkie that is not built to last.
But the durability would depend largely on how you use it.
The box also includes two sets of 3 rechargeable AAA batteries, a USB charging cable with double connectors to charge both units at once, 2 belt clips, and an owner’s manual.
The PTT button is located on the left side of the device. On the right is the USB port for charging the battery.
The small display is flanked by the call and mode button on the left, and channel and volume button on the right. The buttons on the right also double as the up/down scroll buttons for selecting channels or going through the menu items. The mode button on the left also serves a dual function: it doubles as the power button to turn on or off the set.
What I like best about these radios is the easy setup. After inserting the batteries and locking the down the cover, all you need to do is press the bottom left power button to turn it on. Then use the buttons on the right to select the desired channel and increase or lower the volume.
Since the NiMH batteries came fully charged, there was no waiting time to get them charged before using them.
This is a pretty basic walkie talkie so the setup is very straightforward right down to attaching the belt clip to the back of the unit.
Performance of the Cobra MicroTalk CXT195
Range – Communication with my uncle trailing the U-Haul in his car was okay. Most of the time, he was never more than a hundred yard behind me.
The audio was clear enough and from the way he responded, he must have had no problem getting me loud and clear.
However, when I attempted to contact him on my way back after unloading the truck, I got nothing except static. And this was just a few miles from his new home. So don’t go hoping there is some truth in the 16 – miles range claim on the package.
A couple of weeks later, after getting back the second radio, I decided to explore the woods just close to my home with the girlfriend, the walkie talkies didn’t fare any better. Beyond a quarter of a mile, we couldn’t contact each other.
In an open field without obstructions, the range improved slightly to about three-quarters of a mile. In other words, the radios won’t cut it for long-range communication. If you are using this for hiking, camping or hiking, you better make sure you don’t wander too far away from the group.
Battery life – One tip folks who use walkie talkies a lot swear by is to always have a stash of spare batteries around. No matter how great the battery life of a device is, the smart move is to err on the side of replacement batteries.
On the trip with my uncle, we had to make a stopover and change batteries after 5 hours on the road. Mine became flat about 30 minutes earlier. Maybe that was because the unit was constantly on a weather channel.
I must admit that the CXT195 would make a fine weather radio. Throughout the trip, I was constantly updated on the weather situation. There are ten NOAA frequencies programmed into the walkie talkies so no matter where you are, you would at least get a station to feed you the weather updates of the area.
Back home, it took about 6 hours to recharge the NiMH batteries and when I used them again, it was still a disappointing 5 hours of battery life. I stopped using the included rechargeable batteries and opted for disposable alkaline cells any time I want to use them for an extended period.
The radio is supposed to come with a battery saving feature in the circuitry. It’s clearly not working the way it is supposed to.
Display – I’m not sure what the designers of this radio were thinking by slamming such a small display. It is so small you could cover the LCD with your thumb.
That said, it’s fairly easy to make out the numbers clearly on the screen. And with the backlight, you’d be able to see what’s on the display in low light conditions.
Other notable features of the Cobra MicroTalk CXT195
- Comes with 22 channels including 10 NOAA channels
- Has a dedicated channel 9 for emergencies
- Call alert lets you know when a transmission is coming in
- Features roger beep to indicate the end of a message
- Decent auto squelch that automatically turns off unwanted noise and weak signals for clearer reception
- 16 call alerts that allow you to transmit easily customizable tones to other radios in your party to alert them if you want to talk
- Very affordable
- Flexible USB charging
- Dual power
- Roger beep
- Lightweight, compact design
- Easy to use
- 10 NOAA channels and weather alert
- Buttons are too easily accidentally pushed
- Poor range
- Poor battery life
It is obvious from this Cobra MicroTalk CXT195 review that this is one 2-way radio I’d never recommend to a serious outdoors person. On several fronts, the walkie talkie failed to make the grade.
This is not the 2-way communication gadget if long-range communication is what you want. And if you are going to be gone for several hours at a time, the battery life might see you yank out tufts of your hair in frustration. You can use replacement AAA batteries, but you would have to bring along quite a few.
It’s not all doom and gloom though. The weather channels work pretty fine. So you can use it as a weather radio. And the USB charging feature makes it very easy to recharge as long as you have a power source nearby.
This wouldn’t be a bad present for kids especially if they are not old enough to use smartphones. They would be absolutely thrilled with it. And it’d make good electronic leash for keeping taps on them.