"Reputable brand."4.5 starson by FA35JSF
Pros: Many channels and options. Solid water resistant construction. Great sound quality.
Cons: Range is of course less than stated.
Summary: I have own many different brands of two-way radios and have always been pleased with the Midland brand. They are well made and hold up to many hard falls and drops. Most Midland radios including this one allow users to transmit at .5watts (FRS) up to 5watts (GMRS) by selecting power settings. This will give a stronger signal and improved range. The antenna on this radio is longer than most giving it better reception. It boasts 50 channels with many more privacy codes using both CTCSS and DCS frequency adjustment and digital coding. It also has the ability to monitor 2 different channels at the same time. you can set up a group with up to 10 separate radios with a unique ID for each and has a direct call feature to call one radio without any other radios in your group hearing. However, it doesn't allow a user to TALK directly to just one radio, only press the call button. This radio can receive NOAA weather, a separate external speaker and microphone jack so you can just plug in a pair of headphones if you would like and still use the built in mic. The two pack comes with 2 radios, 2 rechargeable battery packs, a recharging station and a plug for both the wall outlet and a car plug, and 2 speaker/mic headsets.
Now for the bad. The only real bad for these radios is the range does not live up to stated distance. The truth is you probably won't find any consumer radio on the market that will. That is because real world condition are not "ideal conditions". In a congested area with lots of houses you might get 1-2 miles if you are lucky. If you were outside in a more open area then you might see 4-6 miles perhaps a little more. However this is still better than other brands that claim the same range when they only can put out 1/2 a watts of power. Remember this radio can put out up to 5 watts. Motorola was until recently making these sort of claims and only offering 1/2 watts of power. In short, if you want better range you need a better antenna and more power. This radio has both. One other important thing every consumer should know is the frequencies these radios operate on and how some simple settings can dramatically change the range. For example, using the privacy codes will shorten the range some, even more so for the digital encoding like DCS which the radio will simply ignore if the signal is not strong enough. If you need to reach out farther with these radios and are having a hard time getting there try disabling any privacy codes. One last feature I would have liked to see Midland put on this product would have been a scrambler to make anyone listening without a compatible radio just hear garbage. I guess it truly is not that important because as they say in radio, nothing is private!
Overall an other great product from the guys at Midland. I would certainly recommend this to a friend.