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Product Review: Motorola T100 Talkabout Radio

I recently hit my 5 year anniversary at work (a milestone for me too) and with that achievement we receive a gift for years rendered. Actually, we have a 3, 5, 10, 15 and even a 20-year service milestone we could potentially hit and with each level we receive a gift. To select a gift there is an online catalog where I would select 1 of approximately 15 items and my first thought was, is there something I could get that the kids would like? Luckily there was! There was a set of blue Motorola radios or what I would call Walkie-Talkies; the Motorola T100 Talkabout. Other items in the list were other trinkets such as rings, earrings, watches, a fishing reel, sleeping bag, binoculars and other smaller things. Nothing which I was particular interested in, so I thought if I have to choose something then the walkie-talkies were what I was going to choose!

Who here has ever owned a walkie-talkie when they were a kid? I think we did, from what I can remember. Actually, a quick little Google search and I came up with the ones I remember; Fisher Price Sky Talkers Walkie-Talkies.

I don’t remember much of their range but they did work. I remember them being a lot of fun when I was little so that was also the reason why I wanted to go with the Motorola T100 Talkabout Walkie-Talkies.

Motorola T100 Talkabout Walkie-Talkies

The Motorola T100 Talkabouts are FRS/GMRS two-way radios. They feature a somewhat rugged exterior that has a radio capable of reaching up to roughly 25km (16miles) if given a clear open area. 22 channels with up to 18 hours with 3x AAA batteries (not included of course). Other little features they have is are a flashing low battery alert, 1 call tone, a talk confirmation tone, a keypad tone and auto-squelch.

These are great for indoor-outdoor communication and what is an added bonus, they are fairly compact! ‘W’, who is currently 2 years old, can hold it in her hand and make use of it and of course ‘A’ who is 4.5 years old has no problem operating it. I thought it would be a fun little toy we could take with us on family adventures or even use around the house.

What’s in the Box?

When you open the box you are presented with the two radio units, two belt clips and some smaller quickstart and regulator documentation. Batteries are NOT included and you will need 3x AAA for each one. There are also no wrist wraps which could be handy if the kids don’t want to use the belt clips.

Look and Feel

The Motorola T100 Talkabout are compact in design and easily fit into little hands. The blue and black outer shell feels well made and so far has survived a few drops from the kids. The enclosure is not weather-proof and nor does it float like higher end Talkabout models but I’m glad it can survive most of the abuse that the kidlets throw at it, mainly the accidental drops.

The talk button on the side is a decent size and is easily pressed by smaller hands. The other operation buttons are easily accessible but you an lock them out with holding down the lock/page button. This allows you to keep the radios on the same channel and stops the little ones from changing the channel intentionally or unintentionally which will make the pair stop talking to each other.

The little read-out screen shows you what channel they are currently operating on and if you are receiving (Rx) or transmitting (Tx). You will get a flashing battery notification when the batteries are low. Unfortunately for this price point, the screens do not illuminate but chances are you will use these more in the day time than the night time.

Performance

So how well do the Motorola T100 Talkabout Walkie-Talkies perform? How well do they perform in a child’s hands? Honestly, quite well and especially for being in ballpark of $45 CDN that is a pretty good deal.

When I first brought the radios home, both kids, more so the boy, were excited to see them and take them out of the package. I luckily, and recently, bought a bunch of AAA batteries which I then popped them in, set their channels to match and let the kids play with them. They wandered around the house talking to each other. Though, we did have to explain to ‘A’ that he has to hold down the button to talk and to let go of it when he was done so that his little sister could try and talk back to him.

Enabling the lock helps to ensure that the two radios can still talk to each other, the downside is that the volume cannot be locked down (which is expected). ‘W’ will always press the volume button to the loudest and it is quite loud and can be sort of annoying indoors. She sets it to the level 10 where being inside I personally find that the level 3 volume set. I’m sure she would set it to 11 if she could!

I have not done a maximum distance test with the Motorola T100 Walkie-Talkies, but when went down to the beach ‘A’ walked easily a few hundred yards away and we could still talk to him. The sounds was clear and produced little to no static. The whole family had a lot of fun playing with them.

Final Thoughts

Over the past few days we have used the Motorola T100 Walkie-Talkies inside and a few times outside. I can see how they can help keep you in contact with your kids outside of the home. Will they work for us and our little ones? Perhaps, but for now they are more like toys than proper communication devices used to keep people in contact over distances. They could be used between myself and my wife if we were to explore places in an area separately with the kids though. They would be great for camping trips when one child wants to go exploring (with a parent of course) and the other stays behind.

I would have liked to see wrist straps included with these, but that can easily easily remedied by adding some ourselves. Just to ensure that the kids can’t drop them as easily as they have been.

Overall I have been happy with the Motorola T100 Talkabout Walkie-Talkies. They were easy to setup and the kids can easily use them. If you are in the market for an inexpensive but useful little communication device I would recommend checking them out!

Pros:

  • Inexpensive for a family radio system
  • Long Range (up to 24Km or 16 miles)
  • Long battery life (~18 hours)

Cons:

  • No wrist strap
  • Display not illuminated

 

 

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