Motorola Talkabout T100 Review
Cons: Not that easy to use, just adequate range
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Motorola Talkabout T100
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|Pros||Small and lightweight, inexpensive||Excellent range, has an extraordinary amount of features/settings, good battery life||Small size, solid range, water resistant||Inexpensive, small and light, water resistant, has privacy codes||Inexpensive, small, good range for its size|
|Cons||Not that easy to use, just adequate range||Difficult to set up and learn to use, has the capability to get you in trouble with the FCC||More expensive, poor battery life, questionable quality control||Poor range, inaccurate battery indicator||Poor battery life, no water resistance rating|
|Bottom Line||Average performance across the board in a small package||This radio has amazing performance, but requires a ham operator's license to be used legally||A solid contender in the middle of the pack in all categories with small size, decent range, water resistance, but lower than average battery life||This radio is small, light, and packs plenty of battery life, but lacks the range of larger radios||Compared to other inexpensive and small radios on the market, this radio has better range and comparable features but falls back in battery life|
|Rating Categories||Motorola Talkabout...||BaoFeng BF-F8HP||Midland X-Talker 36||Midland X-Talker T10||Radioddity FS-T2|
|Range and Clarity (30%)|
|Ease of Use (25%)|
|Weather Resistance and Durability (15%)|
|Battery Life (15%)|
|Weight and Size (15%)|
|Specs||Motorola Talkabout...||BaoFeng BF-F8HP||Midland X-Talker 36||Midland X-Talker T10||Radioddity FS-T2|
|Measured Weight (Single Radio, with Batteries)||4.0 oz||7.8 oz||5.0 oz||3.9 oz||4.1 oz|
|Battery Capacity||1,000 mAh||2,000 mAh||700mAh||1,000 mAh||1500 mAh|
|Battery Type||AAA||Lithium Ion||NiHM, Alkaline AAA||AAA||Li-ion|
|Rechargeable?||No||Yes||Yes, or normal AAA||No||Yes|
|Charge Via USB?||n/a||No||Yes||n/a||Yes|
|Battery Life Test Results (hr:min)||19:30||17:40||11:40||21:20||10:45|
|Frequency Range||462.55 to 467.71 MHz||65-108MHz (FM Receive only) 136-174MHz and 400-520MHz (TX/RX)||462.5625 to 467.7125 MHz||462.55 to 467.71 MHz||462.5625 to 467.7125 MHz|
|Dimensions (in) Body Only||2 x 1 x 3.5"||2 x 1.2 x 3.7"||1.30 x 2.20 x 6.10"||2 x 1 x 3.5"||2 x 1 x 5.9"|
|Privacy Codes?||No||Yes||121 available||Yes, 38 available||157 available|
|NOAA Weather Alerts?||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Clips to Pack?||Yes||No (mounts sold separately)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Our Analysis and Test Results
At 4.0 ounces and 5 inches tall, the Motorola Talkabout T100 is one of the smallest radios we tested, but a bit heavier than its other smallest competition. It has adequate range, durability and battery life. It rarely beat the status quo, except with its small size and weight.
Range and Clarity
The Talkabout T100 made a call at a range of 2.2 miles in our unobstructed range test, and came in a bit shorter than average in our hill and poor weather tests. Compared to the other small radios we tested, it has overall better range. As we moved out of range, this radio had a tendency to not make a transmission at all rather than make a broken and fuzzy transmission.
Ease of Use
With just a few buttons and no knobs, these radios are not some of the easiest to use, but they were on par with the others that just use buttons. You need to watch the screen to tell if you are changing the channel or volume. It is not a confusing process to make adjustments once you have read the instructions, but the controls are not immediately intuitive like knobs are. The removable belt clip works, but it's not secure enough for rougher activities like mountain biking. In cold weather we had to take our gloves off to do what we wanted to use the front buttons, but the PTT button is gloved-finger-friendly. If you will be using this at night, it lacks an illuminated screen.
Weather Resistance and Durability
Motorola does not specify this radio as having any water resistance. It survived a few sprinkles of rain, but we did not test it past its stated capabilities. The T100 has a solid feeling case that showed very little wear after our days of testing. It doesn't have any small parts that seemed likely to break off with rough handling. This radio has fewer reports by consumers online that their radios arrived broken or stopped working than many of the others we tested — This could point to stronger quality control conducted by Motorola. If you do find defects or weak points, the radios are covered under a one year warranty from Motorola.
With a life of 19 hours and 30 minutes in our transmission test, the Talkabout did quite well. It about doubled the life of the poorest performers we tested but was hours less than the best. Looking deeper than just the total battery time, we were less impressed. There is a low-battery indicator on the screen, but by the time it began to blink, the radio would not send a transmission. When we tried to transmit, it just beeped loudly but did not make a call. This lack of warning could leave you stranded not being able to warn your partner that your radio is about to fail. This radio also does not come with a recharging option, so you must replace the batteries rather than plugging it in to get it back to life.
Weight and Size
This is one of the smallest and lightest radios we tested. It is just about 5 inches tall and weighs just 4.0 ounces with batteries in it. It could easily get lost in our backpack and didn't weigh down our waist belt when we had it clipped on.
If you are looking for a decent radio with few frills in a small package, this radio is a good value. It is one of the less expensive radios we tested, and it offers average performance. It does not stand out with great range nor features, but its price and small size make it a contender for some buyers.
The Motorola Talkabout T100's size and price make it a good option for those that don't need big range and battery life. Its ease of use is on par with other small radios, as is its durability.
— Gray Grandy
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