Garmin Rino 120

April 2014
by ConsumerSearch
Garmin Rino 120

  • Accurate GPS
  • Easy to use
  • Position reporting
  • Very limited range
  • Short battery life
  • Tends to crash

Bottom line

The Garmin Rino120 is the most basic model in the Rino line, the only line of two-way radios we've found that includes GPS functionality. It lacks the high-end features found on pricier Garmin models, and its range is extremely limited. However, it has the one feature owners value most, a position reporter that pinpoints your location for other users. Though officially discontinued, the Rino 120 remains available at retail.


Five miles max. Unlike most two-way radios, which bear vastly exaggerated claims of their transmission range, the Garmin 120 only promises a modest 2 to 5 miles. However, some users think that even this is an overstatement. We saw repeated complaints that users standing anywhere from half a mile to as little as 100 yards apart were unable to communicate. One user says that, when tested side by side with an Icom two-way radio (a marine model that uses Family Radio Service channels only), "the Icom repeatedly picked up clearly audible conversations (by people using unknown types of FRS radios) that the Rino never heard."


Accurate GPS. Most users don't appear to mind the Garmin 120's limited radio range because they're using it chiefly as a GPS unit. For this purpose, they say, it's very accurate, pinpointing locations down to as little as 9 feet. Users particularly like the location-reporting feature, which many refer to as a "buddy locator." Hunters say it's helpful for finding party members with downed animals, and one owner at says this feature saved his life after an accident. Owners find the 120 fairly simple and intuitive to use, though some have trouble connecting it to their computers for updates and new map downloads because of the outdated 9-pin serial cable connector (serial to USB converters are readily available, however).


Problems with battery power. The Rino 120 is sturdy and splash-proof. One owner at reports that it even survived an unintentional spin through the washing machine. However, several users at complain that the radios tend to lose power and crash. One reviewer attributes the problem to the spring connectors in the battery compartment, which "wiggle loose over time," causing the unit to lose power. Another notes that "the slightest impact" can set off this problem. Another common complaint is that the 120 burns through batteries very quickly. An owner at says it "eats a set of batteries per day," and one at says, "less than two hours of use is what we experienced."

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Our Sources


We found about 65 reviews for the Garmin Rino 120 at, with an overall rating of 4 stars out of 5. In general, users say the 120 is easy to use and the buddy locator feature is incredibly useful. However, some complain that it's non-intuitive and burns through batteries.

Review: Garmin(R) Rino 120 GPS/Radio, Contributors to, As of April 2014


About 75 owners review the Garmin Rino 120 at, awarding it 3.8 stars of 5 overall. They say it's easy to use and the GPS is very accurate, but there are some complaints that its range is short and it tends to "lock up" without warning, requiring a restart.

Review: Garmin Rino 120 2-Mile 22-Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radio and GPS Navigator (Discontinued by Manufacturer), Contributors to, As of April 2014

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