If you’ve planned a hunting trip and are on the lookout for a decent hunting walkie talkie, perhaps this Midland GXT1050VP4 review would point you in the right direction.
I had cause to use it a while back over a weekend with a not-very-enthusiastic buddy.
It all started when it recently hit me that I could add a hunting trip to the list of one of the things I must do before the end of the year. I joined a local hunting group and was advised to get the Midland GXT1050VP4.
Apparently, it wasn’t too complex for novices while packing enough features even professional hunters might consider very adequate for their use.
The advice to get to purchase the unit came with a caveat though: I had to spend a few days with it to get the hang of it. That is why it was imperative I convinced my buddy into coming with me to a stretch of woodland a few miles outside the city limits to test my new gadgets.
First though, my first impression of the handheld after it was delivered.
Midland GXT1050VP4 Review: Out of the box
The first time I saw my new Midland (you get two radios by the way), I understood why it was recommended for hunting. I instantly fell in love with the oak and greenish camouflage pattern on the body. I could imagine myself looking all professional with it on the field.
The package also included a DC adapter, one AC adapter, one desktop charger, a pair of belt clips, and rechargeable battery packs for each device.
You also get a portable Midland earpiece. This is not your sophisticated earpiece though. It is very basic with a D-Loop that goes over your ear.
The 2-way radios have a port for speaker microphones and audio-only earpiece if you prefer them.
Since I wasn’t a newbie with handheld portable radios, I didn’t waste time reading the set-up instructions. A cursory look was enough to satisfy me I could use my previous experience to get the hang of it.
But before tossing it aside, I noticed the instructions were detailed and easy to follow. Novices would find that useful.
Within minutes I had my new walkie talkie set up for basic use. For the advanced features, I had to reference the user guide.
I’m glad to report in this initial Midland GXT1050VP4 review that the menu options were easy to remember and master once you get what the abbreviations referenced. I have to say this was one of the most intuitive and easily customizable 2-way radios I’d ever set up in all my years of using these devices.
Batteries – Like most walkie talkies, the GXT1050VP4 uses a rechargeable battery. I like it that you also have the option of using 4 AA batteries to power the device if the primary power source dies out on you.
What I found even more awesome is the dual charging option. I’d always advocated that any decent walkie talkie should give users the choice of using either AC or 12V DC port (using the cigarette lighter of your vehicle for instance) to charge the unit.
Another battery-related feature is the adjustable battery settings. This’ used to extend battery life. But I doubt many folks would need this if the listed 12 hours talk time of the battery is true.
Besides, with replaceable AA batteries, you don’t have to worry about running out of juice to run your walkie talkie. And with the low battery indicator Midland were thoughtful enough to include, you’d be forewarned quite early so you can take the appropriate measures to redress the low-battery situation.
A quick tip: buy several AA batteries and take them along with you for your camping, hiking or hunting trips. This is simply to cover all bases in case something unexpected happens and you can’t charge or use the rechargeable battery.
On the negative column, I hate it that it took such a long time to fully charge the batteries. At first, I thought it was some defect specific to just mine. But a quick check on the Midland website indicated a minimum of 11 hours is needed to get the battery from zero to full.
The only positive of this trickle charging feature is that it enhances the battery life of the rechargeable batteries.
Performance of Midland GXT1050VP4
I anxiously waited for my buddy on the appointed weekend of the test run. Thing is, he wasn’t really down with the idea of spending this particular weekend in the woods way out of town. I guess he had better things to do.
When he arrived, to my relief, I took him through a crash course of the basic functions. Fortunately, he wasn’t a complete rookie when it comes to portable handheld radios. And of course, the GXT1050VP4 isn’t a complex gadget though it is packed with some nifty features you’d find in very sophisticated, high-end models.
Three hours later we arrived at the test site. And two days later, we were done testing the devices and on our way back.
Basically, this Midland GXT1050VP4 review you are reading is based on about 48 hours of testing what would hopefully become my default hunting and camping walkie talkie.
I knew the 36-mile range on the website couldn’t be true. Out in the woods with so many trees, the best we were able to get was a range of two miles and that came only with the highest power settings.
The reduced range is normal for these two-way portable radios. Generally, as a ‘line-of-sight’ communication device, the maximum range can only be achieved if the distance between two units is without obstructions on a very clear day. This ideal situation is impossible to replicate in the woods.
But when we could communicate, the audio reception was very clear even at the furthest range.
In the two days we tested the devices, we were never able to use up the battery life even on the second day that we spend all of the morning and most of the afternoon talking on it.
I guess that is a good thing as it would have been a bummer waiting for at least 6 hours to get both batteries up to 25% charge. Remember it takes roughly 11 hours to charge a single battery fully.
In any case, we had enough extra AA batteries for the two units.
For hunters, the whisper mode is a non-negotiable feature. It was excellent during the test run. My buddy reported that he could hear me loud and clear when we activated the feature. It’d be perfect for coordinating the stalking of some hapless game I must admit.
It gets better with the earpiece on.
I could easily imagine how this feature could be very useful in other settings when you feel like passing on a message discreetly to your far-off contact so people around have no idea what you are saying.
- You’d have access to 50 FRS/GMRS channels. And with 142 privacy codes, you have, literally, thousands of channel combinations at your disposal.
- There are five animal call alerts that I felt would be redundant on a hunting trip. Kids on camping trip or hiking trail might love to them though.
- The vibrate alert though is pretty handy when using the headset and if you have to mute the volume when stalking a prey.
- It has a sensitive VOX feature that allows you to activate the device with your voice. That is cool if your hands are tied up with other tasks.
- Several NOAA channels and weather alert that connects to the nearest weather station for a timely heads up about extreme weather conditions in the locality.
- Good range
- Excellent audio
- It’s not expensive
- Camouflage design is great
- Dual power/charging options
- Adjustable power settings
- Compact and lightweight
- Takes too long to charge the battery
- It is not waterproof: just JIS4 splashproof rating
I guess after reading this Midland GXT1050VP4 review, you’d agree the recommendation to get it for my forthcoming hunting trip was spot on. You simply can’t go wrong with it.
With 50 channels, including 142 privacy codes, long battery life, and very decent range among other awesome features it nails down almost perfectly the basic features necessary for the outdoors.
However, the long charging time is one downside that hopefully, you won’t have to deal with especially if you have extra batteries with you.
Perhaps, I’ll come back to update this review after the hunting trip if I discover something new.
- 2-WAY RADIOS - These walkie-talkies feature 50 GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service) channels, along with channel scan to check for activity. The JIS4 Waterproof Protection prevents splashing water from having any harmful effect on it (splash resistant).
- IDEAL FOR HUNTING - 5 Animal Call Alerts (turkey, duck, crow, cougar and wolf), a Vibrate feature to silence all tones, and the Mossy Oak Break-Up Country Camouflage pattern make this an ideal walkie-talkie for hunters.
- 142 CTCSS/DCS PRIVACY CODES - The privacy codes give you up to 3,124 channel options to block other conversations. 36-MILE RANGE - Longer range communication in open areas with little or no obstruction.