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Motorola Talkabout T100 Review

Average performance across the board in a small package.
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Price:  $35 List | $21.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Small and lightweight, inexpensive
Cons:  Not that easy to use, just adequate range
Manufacturer:   Motorola
By Gray Grandy ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 26, 2020
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Our Verdict

The Motorola Talkabout T100 came in the lower and middle of the pack in all categories, except higher marks for its small size. It is cheap, but not the cheapest - it is light, but not the lightest. Its range is a touch better than the lowest performers, but a long way from the longest talkers. It survived our standard weather and durability testing but has no features to make it a stalwart against harsh environments. The Talkabout is a good value with average performance in a stylish package if you are looking for a small and simple handheld radio.


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.

Performance Comparison


The T100 had a thick plastic casing that did not show much wear after a lot of use. However  the inset buttons could be hard to press.
The T100 had a thick plastic casing that did not show much wear after a lot of use. However, the inset buttons could be hard to press.

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.

The small buttons on the T100 were sometimes hard to operate with gloves on.
The small buttons on the T100 were sometimes hard to operate with gloves on.

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.

The T100 is small enough to bring climbing and not weigh us down.
The T100 is small enough to bring climbing and not weigh us down.

Battery Life


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.

The Motorola T100 is small enough to fit pretty much anywhere  which makes it more likely to be pulled out of the gear closet and utilized.
The Motorola T100 is small enough to fit pretty much anywhere, which makes it more likely to be pulled out of the gear closet and utilized.

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.

Value


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.

Conclusion


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