Like most walkie-talkies, the Motorola MR350R gets mixed reviews on its transmission range. Some users can use it to transmit over a few miles, while others achieve less than one. However, most reviewers say the radio delivers decent sound quality and battery life, and it's very easy to use. It has most of the features found on competitors like the Midland GXT1000VP4 (Est. $55 per pair) , plus a couple of unique ones.
Your mileage may vary. The Motorola MR350R offers one of the highest advertised ranges: 35 miles under ideal conditions. However, like most two-way radios, it can't achieve anything close to that in real life. Stephen Regenold, testing the Motorola for Outside magazine online, says he got a strong signal across 5 miles of woods, although static popped up when the trees were heavy. Some users also say they could transmit across 2 or 3 miles, but many others complain that they lost their signal within one city block. However, users agree that when the signal is there, it comes in loud and clear.
Easy to handle. The MR350R gets strong marks for ease of use. Reviewers mention the extra-large buttons and "glove-friendly" volume knob, as well as the handy built-in flashlight, a feature not found on most walkie-talkies. They also like the weather radio and the hands-free voice operation (VOX) mode. However, some users find it inconvenient that VOX automatically goes off when the push-to-talk (PTT) button is pressed. Reviewers at CampingLife.com like the push-button belt clip, which makes the radio easy to rotate or remove, but we saw several complaints that it won't stay put when rotated.
Sturdy -- with some caveats. We found far fewer durability complaints about the MR350R than we did for most two-way radios. A couple of users report receiving defective units, but that can happen with any brand, and it's easy to exchange them if you catch the problem right away. The weakest point on the radio appears to be the belt clip, which several owners say breaks easily. There are also a couple of complaints about the volume knob falling off. As for battery life, most owners say it's very good, but testers at CampingLife.com say the Motorola ran out of juice faster than the three other radios they tested.
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1. Camping Life Magazine
CampingLife.com recruits teens and pre-teens to test four two-way radio models, including the Motorola MR350R, in varied conditions from bushwhacking to inside automobiles. Lisa Densmore describes the MR350R as a "kid-friendly radio" that's a good choice for general camping and outdoor use.
Review: FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radio Shootout, Lisa Densmore, Dec. 14, 2011
2. Outside Magazine
Stephen Regenold and a partner test a pair of Motorola MR350R two-way radios while setting up a wilderness racecourse in the Minnesota woods. They can maintain a strong signal for 5 miles, even through trees and hills. Regenold is also impressed with the radio's features and battery life.
Review: The Gear Junkie Scoop: Motorola Talkabout MR350R Radios, Stephen Regenold, Oct. 28, 2010
The Motorola MR350R is one of the most-reviewed two-way radios on Amazon.com, receiving 3.8 stars overall (out of 5) from more than 400 users. Though there are some complaints about limited range and defective units, most users are very happy with the Motorola's sound quality and ease of use.
Review: Motorola MR350R 35-Mile Range 22-Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radio (Pair), Contributors to Amazon.com, As of April 2014
About 65 Walmart.com users review the Motorola MR350R, giving it a 3.9-star overall rating out of a possible 5. Users say it transmits clearly, especially indoors, and the battery life is good. The main complaint, as with most walkie-talkies, is that the range is vastly overstated.
Review: Motorola MR350R 35-Mile Two-Way Radio with 22 Channels, 121 Privacy Codes, NOAA Alert, Contributors to Walmart.com, As of April 2014
About 10 reviewers rate the Motorola MR350R on BassPro.com, giving it 4.3 stars out of 5 overall. Although owners criticize a few small points, particularly the belt clips that seem prone to breaking, they're mostly positive about this model's quality and transmission range.
Review: Motorola(R) TalkAbout(R) MR350R Two-Way Radios, Contributors to BassPro.com, As of April 2014