There are tons of good things you could say about the Midland GXT1000VP4 walkie talkie manufactured by Midland. Being one of the leaders in the 2-way portable radio market, anything less than ‘awesome’ would not be good enough for a Midland product.
As you’d find out from this Midland GXT1000VP4 review, there are quite a few things I didn’t like about the device. At some point, after using it for several months, I got to thinking it was too pricey for all the little the inconveniences I had to put up with.
That could be just me though. Perhaps, after reading my Midland GXT1000VP4 review, you’d have a very different opinion.
Midland GXT1000VP4 Review: The All-purpose, Long-range Walkie Talkie
I ordered for the black and silver pair for me and my mate while looking for a rugged walkie talkie for a pinball tournament we just signed up for. A few days later, I got my package. With free shipping so prompt, I wonder why anybody has to pay extra to have their items delivered.
The pack came with a pair (of course!) of black and silver 2-way radios, an owner’s manual and belt clips, mic headsets and rechargeable battery for each walkie talkie. You also get a dual desktop charger or charging dock, an AC adapter to connect to the desktop charger and DC adapter.
The DC adapter is particularly useful as you could plug one end to your vehicle cigarette port while the other end goes into the desktop charger. This makes it convenient to charge both units at once while on the road.
The two headsets are designed to go over your left ear. They are both flexible so you can bend them however you want to fit your taste.
The radio is compact and a bit on the chunky side. If you don’t have large hands, you won’t be holding it for too long. It is a good thing the belt clip is strong because attached to your belt is where the device would be most of the time.
All the buttons you need are arranged on the front except for the PTT button on the left-hand side of the device. There are five buttons in all with the centralized menu button above the four other buttons arranged in a semi-circle below it.
These buttons control the scan function, up and down arrows to navigate the menu, direct call button to contact another radio, SOS siren, and much more.
On the right-hand side is the headset jacks covered by a rubber flap to prevent dust and moisture getting inside. You simply pull it open and plug in your headset. And at the top of the set on the left side is the on/off knob, this also serves at the volume dial.
There is nothing hard about inserting the battery. Even a novice won’t take long to figure out they need to release the locking mechanism at the base of the unit before lifting up the battery cover. to expose the compartment beneath.
It is very straightforward from that point. Replacing and locking the cover after installing the battery is pretty easy.
Because it came with a dual charging dock, you could change both units simultaneously. The two sets would lock into their respective docks with a snap. Each unit felt tight and I could sense it would take a lot of force to accidentally remove them while charging.
I discovered to my dismay that the red LED charging indicator on the desktop charging dock doesn’t change color to show when the battery is full. You would have to constantly refer to the battery indicator on the display instead.
It took almost the whole day of continuous charging to get a full battery. On subsequent recharge though, the longest it took to get a full charge was about half a day. Still, waiting so long to get a full charge was a bummer.
Getting the walkie talkie up and running is easy after turning the knob at the top to switch it on. But you’d have to wait a while to learn how to use the extra features hidden in the menu.
There are so many items and sub-items in the menu you can easily get lost. And the display only shows icons that won’t make sense to new users. Even after several weeks of trying to come to terms with the menu, I found most of the icons on the display meaningless.
You would need a few months of perseverance to master the menu.
Range – if you restrict yourself to using it at paintball battles most of the time like I did, contacting your buddy or team members won’t be a problem.
However, on the few occasions I used it for hiking, the maximum range I could get was about 2 miles. I wasn’t disappointed though. The official 36 miles range is always impossible to get with portable handheld 2-way communication devices. You simply can’t get the conditions necessary for that.
The two miles range though was more than enough for my needs.
Audio – The audio output of the included headset wasn’t up to expectation. This is a common problem with included headsets. I solved that problem by getting a better headset that is compatible with the walkie talkie.
Battery life – I’d say my biggest disappointment is here. I have used different models of these devices long enough that I now expect at least 9 hours on the average from rechargeable batteries. The batteries on the Midland GXT1000VP4 delivered far less than that. At best, I got 4 hours.
Good thing you can use 4 AA batteries to power the unit. So if you decide to get this, make sure you purchase several sets of replacement AA batteries especially if you are going camping. You would need them I promise.
With the AA batteries, you can get up to 15 hours. This is decent but it can be better.
Display – The display is basic and seems rather dated but it is clear enough and can be viewed without problems in most lighting conditions. A red backlight comes on when you power the radio or press any button. This would go off after some seconds conserve the battery.
Key Features of the Midland GXT1000VP4
Channels – 50 channels comprising 22 primary channels and 28 privacy code channels.
Privacy codes – 142 privacy codes for more channel options and enhanced privacy
Protection – JIS4 waterproof rating for protection against water splashes and dust
Power settings – High and low power settings for extra range and to extend battery life respectively
Scanning – Auto channel scan that scans for active channels
Call notifications – 10 call alerts and vibrate alert for situations when the call tones might be distracting to others
Emergency alerts – SOS siren that sends out an emergency beep to alert emergencies services or any nearby radio for help
Weather radio – NOAA weather channels and alert
Keypad lock – Keypad lock to prevent accidental change of settings
Whisper feature – Whisper function allows you to speak quietly
Hands-free feature – eVOX function for hands-free use
Group call – Group calling feature to make direct calls within a created group
- It is easy to use
- Sturdy and durable
- Dual power source
- Large clear display
- Decent range
- Waterproof and dustproof
- NOAA weather alerts
- Long charging time
- Poor battery life
- Complicated menu items
What this Midland GXT1000VP4 review proves is that even big brands like Midland can get some of the basics wrong when it comes to designing consumer electronic gadgets.
However, if you can get past the disappointing battery life, the Midland GXT1000VP4 is a decent radio with several useful features to take care of your communication needs during outdoor activities.
It is easy to use as long as you stick to basic operations, has a decent range of about 2 miles and the belt clip combined with the VOX function males it a device you can use without holding it all the time. You might have to get better headsets though to get the best of the VOX function.
All in all, this is a slightly above average walkie talkie. At that price tag, I’m sure it would be easy to find a better device.