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For the last year, I've been using the Motorola TalkAbout MR350R Two-Way Radio. It works well for airsoft, camping, and hiking. I have only good things to say about it.
Motorola TalkAbout MR350R Two-Way Radio Review
But I took it to Evike's The Airsoft Camp 2014 and lost it during the night operation on the first day. Radio communication was extremely important in airsoft. So, next morning, I drove to Best Buy to pick up another set. I looked for another set of MR350R, but Best Buy was out of stock that day. So I picked up the MS350R instead. Good thing I did, because we used it to turn the last game around and dominated the entire weekend.
In this article, I will review the Motorola Talkabout 2-Way Radios MS350R. It 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.
The Motorola MS350R 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 packaging looks quite flamboyant, because the yellow radios contrast well with the red and black packaging. The yellow signifies waterproof, traditionally, so you can tell from a distance that these radios are weather-resistant.
The Motorola TalkAbout MS350R Two-Way Radio has a slight hour-glass shape (see photo below). The shape makes it easy to hold and provide very little chance of slippage. Therefore on adventure trips, you'll have the confidence that it won't slip out of your hand. The radio antenna is almost as long as the radio body and is flexible.
Because the MS350R is waterproof, there are no rotary knobs. All functions are performed through sealed push buttons on the radio. The Motorola TalkAbout MS350R Two-Way Radio supports a number of features. All of them can be activated using the six 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 audio activity. Once communication has been detected on a channel, the radio stays on that channel.
Like other walkie-talkies, the Motorola TalkAbout MS350R 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 Motorola TalkAbout MS350R Two-Way Radio has two PTT buttons (see photo above). They are smaller than the Motorola MR350R and are slightly harder to press. 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 both PTT buttons works the same way.
The Motorola TalkAbout MS350R 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 MS350R Two-Way Radio. However, the radio has to be turned on after the headset is plugged in, in order to activate VOX.
We have tried the Motorola TalkAbout MS350R Two-Way Radio with a security headset. You can read about it in the "Security Headset Review" article.
The photo above shows the headset port and the flashlight button. The cover for the headset port is sealed very well. That means it's extremely tight. It is difficult to open with my fingernails. A pocketknife will be helpful if you plan to use headset with this radio.
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 MS350R radios come with detachable belt clips. 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. I would also be concerned with accidental detachment of the radio on a hike.
The yellow faceplate is removable. It is attached via four hex screws. They can be unscrewed with a T9 Torx screw bit. Once you remove the yellow faceplate, the walkie-talkie becomes practically black. For airsoft or paintball, you'll want to paint the faceplate camouflage color. Or put the entire radio into a radio pouch.
There are two features on the MR350R that are missing on the MS350R. The first feature is the red emergency button. When you hold that button down for three seconds, it puts your radio into transmission mode so that you can broadcast your situation to all other radios on your channel at max volume. That feature is gone from the MS350R.
The second feature is the ability to be charged from the USB port. The MR350R has a standard mini-USB port for charging. It allows you to charge from anywhere. You can use the USB port on your computer, car, or the wall. That feature is eliminated on the MS350R. I will miss this feature the most.
The back of the Motorola MS350R radio is heavily designed (see photo below). If feels like a futuristic cocoon. 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 battery compartment is located on the back of the radio (see photo above). Because the MS350R is waterproof, the battery cover is sealed with a screw. You need a coin or a screwdriver to unscrew it.
The Motorola TalkAbout MS350R radios come with rechargeable battery packs. However, you can still use three regular AA Alkaline batteries. 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-D.
The Motorola TalkAbout MS350R 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 charging cradle has a LED for each walkie talkie. When the AC adapter is plugged in, the LED will light up when you insert the radio to tell you it is being charged. The model number of the charging cradle is KEBT-281.
The following photo shows both radios standing in the charging cradle.
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. This is the same AC adapter that is used with the MR350R charging cradle.
The Motorola TalkAbout MS350R 2-Way Radios worked extremely well. We used it at the Evike's The Airsoft Camp 2014 and had no problem with it or the security headset. Everything came through loud and clear in the forest.