Reviews completed. I didn’t give final comparisons on each review, since I wanted each review to be its own separate entity.
All tests were done with “real people” in real environments where “real people” will use them. No laboratory or “controlled environments” were used. The terrain was a tyical suburban environmant with private homes, a few businesses and a lot of trees. If you are over water, or in an open area, you can expect ranges to adjust accordingly.
The LXT330 Midland scrores last in my reviews in all aspects. They work, and will do well on a budget. Not a lot of features or power.
The Midland GXT850 wins on durability and communications range. The waterproof case, and the belt clip, as well as its generally sturdy construction are good for rough use. The range is about average for a consumer-grade radio. They only marginally beat the Motorola. Sound quality is very good, with adequate volume under normal conditions.
The Motorola wins marginally on sound quality, and wins outright on ease of operation and features. The Motorola’s receiver is slightly more sensitive than the Midland’s, but not overwhelmingly so. The Midland’s Group mode is more involved than the Moto’s QT; but the QT is effective and is less complicated to use. I evaluate for the general consumer, and believe the Motos have a better balance between features and functionality. The scan function is amazing. It allows locking out of undesired channels, and displays the CTCSS/DCS tone of the channel being monitoed. This is superb! The belt clips on the Motos are terrible and could easily get broken. I’ve had radios with the same type of belt clips and have broken all of them in a matter of days.
I prefer the Motos for everyday use. However, I’m afraid they will get broken. They have a more comfortable feel, with a greater functionality. They are such nice radios that I’d hate for them to get damaged. They are a good “around the house” radio.
On the other hand, the Midlands are rugged and I’m not afraid of hurting them. As such, I’d be more apt to take them out on trips and such.
I prefer the Motorolas… but I give the Midland GXT850 the winning score out of all the radios. You need something you are not afraid to use.
All radios reviewed do work. All of them worked perfectly according to their design with no defects. There were no design flaws or instruction errors.
Preferences are a matter of personal opinion and the environment you plan to use them in. The Motorola and Midland GXT850 are recommended purchases. The Midland LXT330 is recommended for kids or “tough duty” where a low-budget radio would be effective.
My reviews are intended as a guide and your experiences may vary.