Good idea

Jun 15, 2004 (Updated Jul 5, 2005)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Battery life, GPS accuracy, features, concept

Cons:Radio is simply useless. Not exaggerating.

The Bottom Line: I'm not sure if I can recommend it. The radio is marginal, but they're customer service is excellent, which is worth a lot. So "maybe".

GPS is great.

Radio has caused me lots of troubles. On first hunting trip, nobody could hear me, I thought the radio was crap, it was nearly a year old and I didn't have the receipt, but I called Garmin and they agreed to fix it. I sent it in, and they said there was glue blocking the mic hole, so I was transmitting carrier fine, but very little voice was getting through. No charge. You don't get service like that much anymore.

This may be causing lots of other people problems too, that they are interpreting as a bad radio. It's a small manufacturing issue.

Still, I used it again recently, Estes Park Colorado, 0.9 miles (according to GPS) line of sight from cabin to lodge, and my wife said she barely could hear me, so I switched over to a Motorola and it was fine. I once again thought transmission power was low, but later she explained that I wasn't breaking up, but it was hard to understand. I finally got my daughter to help me test the sound quality out. I now understand, the Rino sound quality (transmit) is very poor, perhaps still some glue in the mic hole? My Motorola cheapo talkabout is much clearer, and the Motorola Distance is even better. Not sure what the problem is, perhaps the waterproofing gets in the way of sound quality. It's not the transmit range that is bad, its the transmit audio quality.

Also very disappointed that the most interesting feature of this thing (peer-to-peer position reporting) is practically useless, it only works on FRS, not GMRS. Real disappointing. I know its an FCC rule, but why have a good idea that can't be implemented correctly?

The screen. For a long time I was dissapointed in the quality, it's very picky about viewing angle and reflections, especially in a car. The screen is very reflective and you have to hold it just right to see it clearly. Why can't it be clear like a cell phone? Strangely, it works great (best) in direct sunlight. Go figure. In that regard, it works better than a cell phone.

Update --

I bought a 2nd Rino 120 to use the peer-to-peer capability, it now supports GMRS! But radio simply sucks. GPS is great, radio sucks. I can't believe I bought another one. Range is about 1/4 mile on open freeway, line of sight. Audio is unintelligible. Utterly useless.

Recommend this product?

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