The Motorola TalkAbout MR350R Two-Way Radio is a set of walkie talkies with numerous features. You can use it for many communication purposes, such as staying in touch with your family at a fair, keep your establishment organized, or retain cohesiveness of your airsoft/paintball team.
We have also reviewed the waterproof version of the MR350R: "Motorola Talkabout 2-Way Radios MS350R Review"
The Motorola MR350R radios comes in a transparent plastic package (see photo below). It is completely sealed, therefore, you have to cut through it to get the parts out.
The Motorola TalkAbout MR350R Two-Way Radio has an hour-glass shape (see photo below). The shape makes it really easy to hold and provide very little chance of slippage. Therefore on adventure trips, you'll have the confidence that it won't get out of your hand. The radio antenna is almost as long as the radio body and is flexible. A rotary power switch is also on top of the radio. It serves as the volume control as well.
Like other walkie-talkies, the Motorola TalkAbout MR350R Two-Way Radio uses Push-To-Talk (PTT) buttons to put the radio in transmission mode vs. receiving mode. While the PTT button is held down, you can transmit your voice, but you can't hear incoming audio. When you are done transmitting, you let go of the PTT button to receive communication.
The back of the radio is fairly plain (see photo below). Three things to note: 1) There is a loop on top of the radio for you to tie a strap to; 2) There is a circular hole for you to attach a belt clip (included); 3) There are two charging contacts for the charging cradle.
The photo below shows the belt clip attached. With the belt clip, the radio becomes quite bulky. But you probably won't notice it if it's clipped out of the way. A spring-loaded button allows the radio to be detached from the belt clip. The belt clip is made out of plastic, which makes me wonder about its robustness in the field.
The Motorola TalkAbout MR350R Two-Way Radio supports a number of features. All of them can be activated using the five push buttons and the LCD screen (see photo below). You can scroll through all of the options by continuously pressing the "MENU" button. When you get to the option you want to change, use the +/- buttons to change the settings. Press one of the PTT buttons (explained later) to set it.
The "MON" button puts the radio into a channel scanning mode, where it scans all channels in turn to find any communication activity. Once communication has been detected on a channel, the radio stays at that channel.
The top of the radio has a red emergency button (see photo below). If you hold that emergency button down for three seconds, it will put your radio into the transmission mode so that you can broadcast your situation via voice. All other radios on your channel in your range will automatically turn on in receiving mode and switch to the loudest volume to broadcast your voice.
The Motorola TalkAbout MR350R Two-Way Radio accepts a headset, so that you can use it discreetly or in loud environments. The headset port accepts 2.5mm audio plug. Once the headset is plugged in, the speaker is silenced. A VOX headset will automatically activate VOX (voice activation) mode on the Motorola TalkAbout MR350R Two-Way Radio. However, the radio has to be turned on after the headset is plugged in, in order to activate VOX. The photo below shows the headset port and the flashlight button.
We have tried the Motorola TalkAbout MR350R Two-Way Radio with a security headset. You can read about it in the "Security Headset Review" article.
The flashlight button turns on the LED flashlight on the bottom of the radio. But it is not a toggle switch. You have to push and hold it for the LED light to stay on. Considering that the radio can be used for adventure trips, some folks may want a toggle switch instead.
The Motorola TalkAbout MR350R Two-Way Radio has two PTT buttons (see photo below). The H PTT button stands for high energy, while the L PTT button stands for low energy. In GRMS mode, the high energy allows your transmission to travel further than low energy, but uses more power. FRS mode, on the only hand, only supports low energy, so that both PTT buttons works the same way.
The last connectivity port on the Motorola TalkAbout MR350R Two-Way Radio is the USB charging port (see photo above). This charging port makes it really handy, because it's the de facto standard among cellphones, digital cameras, and your other electronic gadgets. So you don't have to have yet another AC charging adapter. You can use a standard USB cable to charge the radio off your computer or an USB AC plug.
The faceplate is a snap-on. Even though it looks like the faceplate is attached via four screws, they are fake. It actually have popped off on me during an airsoft game, while using the belt clip. Luckily, someone has seen it on the floor and has handed it back to me. I suggest you figure out a way to fix it in place. I have, since then, carried it in a radio pouch, which have eliminated this problem.
The Motorola TalkAbout MR350R radios come with rechargeable battery packs. However, you can still use three regular AA Alkaline batteries (see photo below). The rechargeable battery and the Alkaline batteries shares the same compartment, meaning that you can only use the rechargeable battery pack or the Alkaline batteries, not both at the same time.
The rechargeable battery pack is 3.6v 650mAH Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH). It seems that the rechargeable battery pack is just three AA size NiMH batteries wrapped in shrink wrap (see photo below). It has two recharging contacts on the side, in case you want to charge it via the charging cradle. As mentioned before, you can charge it via the mini-USB port. The model number of the rechargeable battery pack is KEBT-071-H.
The Motorola TalkAbout MR350R Two-Way Radio remembers your settings as long as you have a battery inside the radio. It's perfect when you use its rechargeable battery pack. But when you take the battery pack out, then your settings are gone. If you use AA batteries instead, be prepared to set the options every time you change battery.
Motorola included a charging cradle and a AC adapter (see photo below) so that you can charge the two walkie talkies at the same time. The cradle charges the radios standing up, saving a bit of space. It's also round and very pleasing to look at. The model number of the charging cradle is KEBT-071.
The AC adapter provides 9.0v and is rated at 200mA. It has a positive tip on the connector. It's model number is KEAD-281-A.
The Motorola TalkAbout MR350R Two-Way Radio works quite well. We have only tested it in FRS mode. The reception is loud and clear. Distance is shortened if one unit is inside an office building, while the other unit is outdoors. In our test, the outdoor unit is able to the end of the street before connection is lost.
When both unit are outdoor, it works best when there are no obstructions. In an area with office buildings, where we tested at, the radio could get about half a mile with clear receptions. However, depending on where you walk, there could be dead spots where your radios will not communicate.
We also tested with a Cobra CXT280 radio in FRS mode. The Motorola MR350R radio provides much cleaner transmission and reception than the Cobra CXT280 radio.