Motorola Talkabout T250 Two Way Radio Reviews
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Motorola Talkabout T250 Two Way Radio

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The GOOD, the BAD ... Motorola Talkabout 250

Jul 31, 2001
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:subchannels, lock feature, battery meter

Cons:short battery life

The Bottom Line: The Talkabout 250 is a good mid-range, mid-feature two-way FRS. If you want non-interference & low cost this might be the radio for you.


We purchased our 250s last summer before our trip to Disney World. There would be 3 adults & 3 children in our group so we knew at some point our party would get separated, either purposely or accidentally. We researched the topic of two-way radios a bit. Someone somewhere told us that Motorola made some of the best quality radios so we focused our search on that manufacturer. During our search we also learned about subchannels (discussed later) & we knew we would need that feature. So we gradually narrowed our search all the way down to the Talkabout 250. Oh, yea, price was also a factor in that we didn't want to spend 1% of our vacation budget on these radios!

FEATURES:

~SUBCHANNELS- The 250 comes with 14 channels. It also has 38 subchannels ("interference eliminator codes") per channel, thus providing significantly more choices in channels & eliminating interference with others using the same frequency. Both radios must be set to the same channel AND subchannel in order to communicate. It is also possible to communicate with someone else without subchannels by setting your radios to a certain setting.

NOTE *Subchannels are absolutely necessary if you want to use your radios in an amusement park, especially Disney! I witnessed MANY others with two-ways who obviously did not have subchannels ... they heard perfectly the conversations of others & had to wait for those conversations to end before going ahead with their own.*

~LOCK- There is a button on the radio that, when pressed, will prevent you from accidentally changing your radio's channel settings. I thought this was an awesome feature since our 8 year old son also uses the radio. I'm sure he isn't very careful with the unit. He puts the thing through the ringer &, if it weren't for the lock feature, his settings would have been accidentally changed by now.

~BATTERY METER INDICATOR- On the face of the unit in the LED display is a battery icon. A fresh battery is represented by 3 black squares in the icon. As the battery runs down the squares disappear &, by one square left, you better replace the battery soon! There is also an audio warning for a low battery that goes off when you first turn the unit on, after pressing the "talk" button, & every 10 minutes otherwise.

~BELT CLIP

~BACKLIGHT in the LED display area- This is only on when you press the "monitor" button & stays on for 5 seconds so as to prevent wear on the batteries.

~VOLUME CONTROL

~SCAN- Ok, this is one feature I do not use & don't quite understand so I'll go to the manual for help... "Scan allows you to monitor the radio's 14 channels & a selected code (subchannel). When the radio detects channel activity on your radio's code, it stops scanning & locks in on the active channel. It allows you to listen & talk back (within 3 seconds of the end of a transmission) on the displayed channel without having to change your settings." If anyone understands that please let me know!

~HANDS-FREE CAPABILITY- Sold *separately* are a microphone & headset so, as the title implies, you can use your radio without your hands.

SO HOW DOES THIS THING WORK & HOLD UP?:

~INTERFERENCE & STATIC- We had no interference while at Disney. We have no interference when using the radios in our neighborhood. We do experience some static but I do wonder if it's because my son hasn't quite mastered the right techniques for proper communication with these radios (hold the unit 2-3" from your mouth, hold the button down continuously while speaking, etc!). I've also noticed some static if I'm near the computer.

~RANGE- If you are in the middle of, say, the desert with no trees, buildings, hills, or other large obstacles you are supposed to get a 2-mile talk range! However, since most of us will not use the radios in such an environment you'll have to expect a lesser range. We get crystal clear reception slightly over a 1-mile range in our neighborhood when my husband uses the radio at our neighborhood pool. At Disney we got quite a lesser range because of the rides & buildings. Still it was worthwhile to have these with us.

~DURABILITY- This is a tough little radio. My son clips his onto a wire on the handlebars on his bike. Once he fell over & the radio landed, SMACK, on the pavement. Several other times his radio was dropped onto pavement or cement. Once it took such a hit that the volume knob fell off (it was easily put right back on). Through all of that it still works like a charm & looks pretty good too except for a slight scrape or two.

IS THERE ANYTHING I DISLIKE?:

~SHORT BATTERY LIFE- The 250 requires 3 AA batteries for operation. Motorola claims the battery life should be about 30 hours, with 3 hours of that being talk & the rest being standby time. Maybe time just flies by quickly but I don't think the batteries last quite that long. We use our 250s when my son ventures into the neighborhood or to a friend's house & most of the time is standby. We seldomly use it to actually communicate. It seems I'm replacing the batteries more often than every 30 or so hours of use. Maybe not.

~The battery cover on one of our units is EXTREMELY hard to open.


The Talkabout comes in several color options. We chose yellow since I thought it would be easier to spot in a backpack or at dusk, etc. I was right!



Warranty: 1 year (limited)

For more info: http://www.motorola.com/talkabout
{I saw on this site that the yellow 250s are currently $60 each but, through Dec. 31, 2001, there is a $15 mail-in rebate. You might find a better deal on ebay or elsewhere online.}


Recommend this product? Yes

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