Pros I have have talked 8 miles from my car to my home on these radios with no problems, and i don't live on flat land. Anybody who can get only 1/2 to 1 mile from these radios most live in a hole in the ground. I have tried most of these GMRS radios and have
Pros My husband and I can communicate when we are at our offices in NYC, or one of us in Midtown and the other in the village. Great backup if cells/blackberries go down!
Cons Haven't found any yet
Cons NO EACH! ONLY 0.5 mile in Amsterdam, Holland (flat country, no high buildings, only people!. Lyers of Midland!!!
Pros Nice looking device. It stays on your belt. Turns on and off. Can recharge.
Cons Nothing near 10 mile range as advertised. Only about 1/4 mile to 1/2 mile with any reception. Very dissapointing product. Bought from "BEST BUY" for 79.99, and will be returning it tomorrow. I'll never buy Midland again. So much for staying in touch with
Pros PROS: Good transmission range, great sound quality. Large solid capacity battery. Radio is can use AA batteries. Additional accessories included: car charger and head sets. Very low price for radio qu
Cons CONS: At "high" transmission power battery life is limited to 2-3 hours when in active use. Weak ergonomic design. Heavy. Weak belt clip.
Summary Before I purchased this radio I had Motorola TalkAbout 5500 (1-watt, 5-miles) and Motorola SX800R (2-watt, 18-miles) radios. Based on my experience with these two radios I evaluated the Midland GXT650 VP4.
The price was not a concer for me when I shopped for the new two-way radio. Being dissatisfied with the transceiver quality of previous radios I was looking for the most powerful radio on the market. In April 2007, the most powerful (5-watt) radios on available on the market were Midland GXT650 VP4 and Cobra LI 7000-2 WX VP. I was not able to find any customer reviews for the Cobra radio. It was pricier than Midland. Unlike Cobra, Midland adds to the standard accessories packaged the car charger and the head sets.
When using the Midland GXT650 it became clear that this is a quality radio. The TRANSMISSION RANGE and wave penetration was far superior to those radios I had before. Note, I used "hi" power mode at 5th channel which is GMRS. Here is a few tests I gave to the radio.
Usage Test 1: Surrounded by solid concrete I was in the basement of the 18 stories project building while my friend was on the 12th floor. The quality of transmission was as clear if I were speaking from the room next door.
Usage Test 2: My friend was on the ground level of the airport while I was about half-mile away driving a car. The range was obstructed by a few concrete building, road ramps, and a little hill in between us. In this terrain, the radio did not worked at the distance of one mile apart, which is reasonable in the terrain described.
Usage Test 3: My friend uses Motorola TalkAbout 5500 (1-watt, 5-miles) at the top floor apartment of the 6 stories building in Brooklyn, while I'm on the 12-th floor of the project building. The distance between us is 3.5 mile with a few obstructing buildings. My friend could clearly receive my transmission, while my Midland radio was receiving signal with difficulty. Nevertheless, we could communicate to each other.
To mention the Motorola TalkAbout 5500 and Motorola SX800R none of the above could operate in the scenarios above except #3. While having a "name", ergonomic design, and good battery life those radios have much sorter transmit/receive range than the Midland GXT650. Also, it seemed to me that the Midland GXT650 is easier to do SETTINGS. Only one button push automatically turns the radio to receive Weather Channel. Only one push locks the keys from being accidentally pushed. Setting other functions is easy and quite intuitive, however it takes reading manual at least once in order to know all the radio capabilities. The radio BATTERY comparability to use AA batteries (needs four) is a great advantage. If you need communication in critical situation like skiing, hiking it is very convenient to have a backup 4-pack of AA batteries a pocket in case if the radio rechargeable battery dies. Furthermore, you can still use your radio after the rechargeable battery becomes not functional in several years. To my dismay, the battery life is very short when actively used in "high" power mode. In moderately used for short communications the new battery may last for 1 - 2 days in "hi" power mode. Having the CAR CHARGER is also very critical. I the past I have encountered several situations when my radio died and I was not close to an electric outlet. You also may charge and operate in "high" power mode than driving in car pack. The radio is less ERGONOMIC and easy to grip than Motorola radios. It is a little HEAVIER also, but that's should be expected drawback having a powerful battery. The BELT CLIP is standard plastic clip. It would be nice if Midland can add little hole that can fit a thread to hang the radio on the neck.
In general, I like the Midland GXT650 radio much better than those Motorola's that I had before. I think it is one of the best and powerful two-way radios that you can purchase for the family use. On my personal scale it easily deserves 8 out of 10 point.