I grabbed the opportunity to do a Motorola MT350R review a while back when a buddy invited me to his dad’s farm down south. Maybe I should call it a ranch because the operation was more livestock than any farming.
A few months earlier, they had purchased the Motorola MT350R based on my recommendation.
Apparently, his mum was stressing about how they needed walkie talkies for emergencies or for those times she’d need to keep in touch with them when they were out in the field. She insisted walkie talkies were a reliable and cheaper means of communication in a place like a ranch. She was right.
For a couple of super fun-filled weeks, I was able to test the 2-way radio in real-life situations. My hosts are pretty impressed with the units they bought. And I could understand why after using it.
Motorola MT350R Review
Appearing and design
At about 8″ long, 3″ wide and just over one and a half inches deep, the orange and black device is compact and chunky at the same time. Some might even call it big. In the winter months or when you skiing, your gloved hands would love the size.
Apart from the chunky look, I love the hour-glass shape with the dimpled middle portion making it easy to hold. This design ensures the radio is not likely to slip out of your hands even f you are holding it casually.
All the buttons you need to operate are on the front panel. There is a central menu button flanked by four other buttons controlling different functions on the radio.
The all-important PTT button is located at the top on the left-hand side of the radio. Below the PTT button is the flashlight button that you press to switch on the LED flashlight thoughtfully located at the bottom of the set. And finally, on this side of the gadget is the USB charging port below the flashlight button.
On top of the radio is the on/off switch that also double as the volume knob. While at the opposite end is the antenna. In between is the red emergency alert button. Pushing it during an emergency would send out an SOS signal.
On the left side of the radio is the accessory port to attach your headsets, mics or earpiece. This is now a common feature in walkie talkies. This is mostly used in combination with the VOX function when the device is clipped to your belt so you can use your hands for other tasks while simultaneously communicating with the device.
At the back of the radio are the battery compartment and cover. The cover is opened by loosening the screw holding it down.
According to my buddy, each pack came with a pair of radio, 2 NiMH rechargeable batteries, 2 belt clips, a wall adapter with a Y-cable with 2 mini-USB connectors, and a user’s manual.
It would have been better if there were two different wall adapters for each device. I guess one can’t have it all.
This is a dual-power unit. You can use 3 AA batteries as a backup if you run out of battery power while using the primary rechargeable batteries.
Performance of the Motorola MT350R
From what I gathered, it took almost a whole day to charge the battery for the first time. After that though, about 6 hours is all the time required to get it from zero to full charge.
When you power it on, the display backlight comes on turning the LED red. There is an audible beeping tone to indicate the radio is now on. The red backlight goes off after a few seconds but comes on again any time you press a button.
Range – I had no problem with the range on the ranch. Even beyond that, about 3 miles further on when I went hiking, I could still contact the ranch house.
However, I seriously doubt you would be able to get more than a mile in hilly country with so much obstruction. And the official 35-mile range is way too optimistic in real-life situations. I bet I was able to get more than 3 miles range because it was a flat open country.
Battery life – The day I went for the hike, I left the ranch just before 6 am. I was constantly on the walkie talkie either scanning the weather channels or keeping in touch with my pal back at the ranch. The low battery alarm sounded around 3 pm. Give or take a half an hour, that is about 9 hours battery time using the rechargeable battery.
I completed the rest of the hike back with the 3 AA batteries I brought along for situations like this.
Transmission – I love that it was easy to toggle the transmission power using the PTT button. When transmission and reception were becoming a problem, I switched to high power. It worked perfectly as I was instantly able to make contact without issues.
I guess using the high power transmission played a big role in draining the battery. This is normal in all walkie talkies as users are advised to use low power settings to conserve battery life.
Other notable features of the Motorola MT350R
- It comes with an IP54 rating. That means it is protected against snow, light rains, splashes of water, and dust. In essence, you could use it while it is raining or snowing.
- It is an FRS/GMRS walkie talkie with 22 channels and 121 privacy codes making it easier to find free channels for private communication no matter the level of RF activity in the area
- Built-in flashlight to show the way in the dark during emergencies
- Able to receive 11 NOAA channels with real-time weather updates and alerts
- 10 audible call tones and talk-confirmation tone to signal when you have finished talking
- The included VibraCall is handy for areas where the sound of incoming transmission is intrusive
- Has a Keypad lock feature to lock in your settings and prevent accidental changes to them
- Durable and easy to use
- Weatherproof with IP54 rating
- Has VOX function
- Silent call
- 22 channels with 121 privacy codes
- Dual power
- PTT power boost
- Decent battery life
- Some might find it expensive
- Uncomfortable for small hands
Unfortunately, this Motorola MT350R review wouldn’t be able to capture the sheer joy of using the gadget. If you have used some truly mediocre walkie talkies before, it would be easy to appreciate the quality of the MT350R.
I’d gladly recommend it to anyone looking for a walkie talkie that does the basic things expected of it excellently in addition to packing great features comparable to premium 2-way radios.
Features such as the NOAA weather alert, excellent VOX for hands-free operations, auto scan, resistant to light rain and water splash all make it a flexible communication device for all outdoor activities you can think of.