When you’re deep in the backcountry, keeping in communication with your group or others can not only be helpful, but it can save your life. The Talkabout T460 is designed to take the conditions typically associated with the wilderness, rain, dust, dirt, and bumps. I put a set to the test, and these are my thoughts.
The kit includes two radios, rechargeable batteries, (NiMH), and two removable belt clips for an MSRP of $89. The walkies have a built-in LED light that can be toggled on or off. 22 channels with 121 privacy codes and a QT (quiet talk) mode can be selected to avoid interference or unwanted listeners. They’re weatherproof (IP45 standard) as long as the ports are closed. You can also send out an emergency alert to all local radios, or tune into a weather band for information on upcoming conditions. Battery life is about 26 hours with the included battery, and a maximum range of 35 miles (varies dramatically with conditions, of course). The pair weighs .43 lbs with the batteries installed.
What I liked
The rugged build really pays off. Having a weatherproof, durable shell means you’ll not have to baby the device, or hide it away when the weather gets bad (when you probably might need it anyway. They’re built to take a bit of a beating, and so far they’ve done a great job.
The battery life is pretty solid. I’ve managed to leave the walkies on, with occasional use, for just over the advertised 26 hours on the included batteries. Extra AA batteries can be popped in the event of an emergency. Two levels of Push-to-Talk (low power and high) allow the preservation of battery with local communications, and an added boost when the signal starts to cut out. You can recharge the batteries by USB (computer, power block, etc), a charging station (not included) or a USB charger wall charger(two included).
Reception is pretty good when you’re not inside building or hiding behind walls of granite and limestone. Like any two-way radio, it’s going to be hampered by any physical obstruction, however.
What I didn’t like
Like most two-way radios, being in the mountains and inside buildings severely dampens the signal. You can get miles of service, or yards of service depending on your conditions (inside is the worst). Getting even a couple of miles in the mountainous terrain of Tennessee if very much hit or miss.
Overall, the mic doesn’t do a great job of picking up sound unless you’re talking directly into it. At first, I thought the speakers were just very quiet, but it was actually how I was talking into them. You’ll need to speak loud and directly into the speakers for clear, loud communication. Ambient sounds make it hard to communicate. Thankfully, the speakers are loud and offer great clarity, which helps the situation.
The Talkabout T460s are a good choice if you’re looking for affordable and reliable walkie talkies. The weatherproof shell and overall solid build allows for worry free operation in any conditions. The batteries are swappable in the event that you need extra juice (great for emergencies), and the battery life is pretty solid as well. Reception is mostly up to the terrain, but thankfully you can broadcast emergency signals to all channels, and the weather band always seems to pick up great.
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For more information, check out www.motorolasolutions.com
Big thanks to Motorola Solutions for sending out these walkies. We certainly appreciate the support. A full disclosure is available on our Contact us page.