We expect the larger radios to have better performance to justify their larger size. The Midland GXT1000VP4 met this expectation with some of the range tests but did not outperform smaller radios in other categories. It doesn't strike us as all that durable and only lasted a disappointing nine hours in the battery test. We like that it has a volume/power knob, and enough buttons to make menu navigation a bit easier, but it has a lot of settings to choose from that could lead to confusion. The Midland GXT didn't jump out as the perfect radio for any one situation, but until you pay the big bucks, there aren't many models that have the range than this one offers.
Midland GXT1000VP4 Two Way Review
Cons: Large, expensive, poor battery life
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Midland GXT's range is its strong suit, while its short battery life left us wishing for more. Its large screen and more user-friendly control layout were necessary to efficiently navigate the larger number of functions this radio offers. The added capability of this radio struggles to compensate for its larger size (7.4 ounces and 8 inches tall) and price tag.
Range and Clarity
The GXT reached the middle of the pack with a range of 2.8 miles in our unobstructed straight line range test. This was a small increase over cheaper and smaller options. It performed relatively even better in the hill test and the poor weather test, but it still was not quite in the top echelon of radios with good range.
Ease of Use
This radio ended up being quite average in its ease of use. We really like that it has a volume/power knob for easy and quick adjustments. It also has five larger buttons on the front to navigate the menu. We like the menu navigation more than on some other more basic radios, but we found that the additional options in the menu in comparison to simpler radios made for a similar amount of confusion. As with most others, all of the functions are not immediately easy to adjust, but a few minutes with the directions sorted us out.
We found the buttons just big enough to operate with gloved hands, and the volume knob makes gloved life much easier. The belt clip has a nice spring, but still not secure enough for such a large radio in rough terrain. The display has a nice backlight that lights up when you press buttons, making night operation a bit easier. When changing the batteries, we found the rubber seal around the battery door to easily jump out and potentially get lost. The key lock worked most of the time, but did once become unlocked and start changing settings in our pack.
Weather Resistance and Durability
Midland says that this radio is resistant to splashing water from any direction. While we found that splashing water does not seem to get inside of the radio, it did often muffle the microphone to the point that it was hard to hear what the person with the wet radio was saying. We also found that in dirty conditions, any metallics in the dirt would stick to the speaker magnet and leave unsightly dirt in the small slots of the speaker cover.
This radio has a tendency to show wear faster than others we tested. The plastic casing seemed softer and less durable than others, and it has more scratches as a result. It comes with a one year warranty, but that does not include damage due to water.
The rechargeable battery pack (that can also be replaced with 5 AA batteries) lasted only 9 hours in our battery test, which was less than half the life of many other options. It also had a misleading battery indicator that jumped from full to totally drained in a matter of minutes. We did like that the radio has the versatility to be charged or just to put batteries in, but that is its best attribute in this category.
Weight and Size
At 7.4 ounces with battery pack, this radio is one the heavier end of the spectrum. It is about 8 inches tall including the antenna, which also makes it one of the largest. It felt bulky in a jacket pocket, so we preferred to use the supplied belt clip or keep it in our backpack when it was not in use much.
This radio has a middle of the road price and a lower than average overall score. If having good battery life and small size are not a top priority for you, you can get good range and more functions for a decent price with this radio.
This is a pretty mid-pack radio on a lot of fronts. It boasts pretty good range and plenty of features, but it is a bit more spendy and larger than some pretty comparable ones. We liked that it is water resistant, but we were disappointed to have the sound muffled so much by the water.
— Gray Grandy