As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time – on this trip I tested the Midland LXT500VP3 (Up to 24 Mile Two-Way Radios). The radio itself is a good size and sits comfortably in the hand. The antenna sits about 2 inches taller than the unit and is hard plastic. There are removable belt clips for each handheld unit. The top of the belt clips stick out from the back of the unit about half an inch as if they were hinged but they are in fact not hinged and therefor just push into whatever it is clipped to. The main button you use to transmit is textured and made of an easily gripped rubber so it made talking very easy. The LCD screen is not backlit and when turned on displays only the channel being used (until the battery is low then it has a low battery indicator). The handheld units were easy to control with clearly marked buttons on the front.
The set comes with a rechargeable battery for each handheld unit and a desktop charger. The desktop charging unit is small and light with red indicator lights to show when the units are charging. The desktop charger will charge both radios at once or you can use the power cord to charge one unit independently. The radios are supposed to be charged 12 hours for a complete charge. If you will not have access to an AC plug you can purchase the additional cable to allow these to charge via the cigarette lighter in a vehicle.
Channels 8 through 14 are low power channels. We tried these radios in town, on the highway, and in camp using these channels and at best only had a mile of range. However, when we did have enough signal to make contact the voices were very clear and easily heard. We were able to use the low power channels to drive through the campground with a lead car looking for a campsite while the truck/trailer were parked near the entrance to avoid getting stuck somewhere that we could not turnaround. We also used them on the low power channels around camp when going for walks or to the bathrooms.
Channels 1-7 and 15-22 are high power channels. We tried these in town (suburban area, no extremely tall buildings or geographical features… just houses) and easily got another half mile of range above the low power channels (somewhere around a mile and a half total). The voices normally came through very clear unless we were near overhead power lines in which case they had static interference. We also noticed that if I was near the end of the range of the radios and in a car I was able to receive transmissions but unable to send them.
Overall, these radios seem to be pretty tough and easy to use with a decent amount of range. For the price they could be great for kids getting into radios, for use around a larger property/park area, between vehicles in a caravan, or around camp.