The Cobra CXR925 shines when it comes to real-world transmission range. However, issues with reception volume and battery performance hold it back. Also, while features are liked, usability isn't as highly praised.
Beats several others for range. As with most two-way radios, the Cobra MicroTalk CXR925 falls far short of its 35-mile advertised range. Still, Lisa Densmore with CampingLife.com says her testers reached for the Cobra CXR925 any time reception seemed dubious. "It had the clearest sound and was more likely to get reception than the other radios, even when its battery was low," she writes. An Amazon.com user reports that the CXR925 could transmit 5 miles with no problem over "gently rolling terrain with some buildings." Another writes that the CXR925 "worked great for communicating in mountain regions... with hills in between."
Full of common-sense features. The Cobra CXR925's best feature is the automatic power-save feature, which kicks in even if you've accidentally hit the transmit button. Other notable features include a vibrating call alert, voice activation and weather channel reception.
The "replay transmission" feature is also immensely popular. It records and plays back the last 20 seconds of each transmission. "Sometimes I don't know exactly what was said and it is nice to be able to listen again for clarity," writes one Amazon.com user. You can also use the replay function to record your own 20-second voice memos. The Cobra MicroTalk CXR925 also scans channels, or privacy codes within a channel, to find ongoing conversations.
On the downside, we found a couple of complaints that its interface is needlessly complicated. We also found a few complaints that the transmit button, which is somewhat recessed beneath a rubber dust cover, is difficult to find by touch; one Amazon.com reviewer's solution was to glue a "jewel dot" on top of the button, making it easier to find and press.
Another possible issue: An astute Amazon.com reviewer points out that if you use an earpiece or headset with the Cobra CXR925, the headset must have a kill switch. If it doesn't, plugging the headset into the radio will set the radio to continuously transmit.
Plagued by volume issues. The Cobra CXR925 draws praise for its battery life from CampingLife.com, which notes that the Cobra MicroTalk CXR925's rechargeable battery lasted the longest of the four radios tested. Good thing, too, because you cannot substitute AA batteries for the CXR925's Lithium-ion battery.
We found a smattering of complaints -- though fewer than for most radios -- about battery issues for the CXR925. A few users say the battery wouldn't charge or had faulty contacts. The biggest sticking point for this radio, however, appears to be a persistent problem with reception volume.
A business buyer posting to Amazon.com provides a decent sample size; of 34 radios ordered for use with his company, 15 of them had to be replaced due to problems with the volume. A few also suffered from the aforementioned battery issues. That said, the same user is happy with how the rest of the radios -- and their replacements -- have performed. That could indicate a quality-control issue, so it might be wise to buy the Cobra CXR925 from a retailer with a good return policy.
1. Camping Life Magazine
Review Credibility: Very Good Lisa Densmore, the author of this comparative review, recruits teens and pre-teens to test four popular two-way radios including the Cobra Microtalk CXR925, which she describes as the "unexpected favorite." She says it "had the clearest sound and was more likely to get reception than the other radios, even when its battery was low."
Review: FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radio Shootout, Lisa Densmore, Dec. 14, 2011
Review Credibility: Good More than 40 Amazon.com reviewers give the Cobra CXR925 an overall score of 3.6 stars. The overall consensus is that range is great (when compared to other two-way radios) and sound quality is good too -- unless you get a radio that suffers from the volume problems that plague this model.
Review: Cobra Walkie-Talkie MicroTalk CXR925 35-Mile 22-Channel Two-Way Radio, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of March 2013