Your advice

Looking to buy a pair of high end GMRS/FRS radios. Currently trying to decide between Midland GXT-850-VP4 and Motorola T9550XLR.

I am slightly biased towards the Midland because of the waterproofing but want the most reliable. I am tired of buying a new radios every 8 to 12 months. Looking forward to your opinion.


Toy Man

I am debating between these two units. I need range and the ability to use the radio in a building between me and a friend who is 20 stories apart.

I wish you can provide us the fcc id so we can see how many each of these radios are putting out, better yet, if you can test each unit out, I already got cobra units that I am going to stop using once I get new radios.

alright I found the midland 850 radio output on fcc and it is 1.63, pretty bad, still can’t locate motorola at all.

From the test filed with the FCC, the Motorola T9500XLR shows an ERP wattage of 1.03. This is hard to locate because Motorola Talkabout radios are actually manufactured by a company called Giant International. The FCC ID number of the T9500 is K7GT9500.

This confirms what we have seen with previous Motorola/Midland models. Midland seems to have an edge with range, but Motorola radios have superior voice clarity. Typically we recommend Midland radios to customers who need the most range possible out of the radios and do not want to spend the money for commercial grade equipment. Motorola Talkabout radios are better if distance isn’t as important because of the transmission clarity.

With the new models, like the GXT710VP3 and GXT800VP4, Midland claims to have improved clarity. Unfortunately we have been busy lately with all of these new products and haven’t had a chance yet to test out the new models. As we test them, we will be sure to post updates.


Thanks for the input.

I will be ordering the Motorola as I need the clarity more than the range.

Toy Man

I wish there is a way to modify these radios to produce more watts, anyways I am going to hold judgment until Danny does a voice clarity test between the two units. Real time tests will be the true factor as always.

Wish Danny would do real time testing soon, can’t wait.

Modification of radios is against regulations, so that can’t happen. To go really high power you need commercial grade equipment.

alrite anyone that used both motorola and the newer midland product find out which ones are better in distance and voice clarity.


I have sent a few samples to one of our forum members. He is going to do a full test and let us all know the results.


I’m working on that, and hope to have full reviews completed in the next week. Range and voice clarity are two priorities. I’m sending details as they come available. Right now it appears that the Motorola has a more sensitive receiver, which could allow for greater range. The Midland has a higher power output; but often times that in and of itself isn’t the sole determining factor in range.


hopefully we will get the truth, I am in another industry, I am not a motorola fan at all anymore, ever since last couple of years, their equipment has really sufferered.

Right now tests are moving along. So far the GXT850 has a slightly higher range… we’re talking tenths of a mile here… and that is only in one of my 4 test criteria. It looks like the Motorola has a better sound clarity… but the Midland has greater volume and more “punch”. Also… the Motorola’s “compander” circuit makes radio brands other than Motorola sound distorted slightly. You need to make sure you use Motorolas with other Motorolas with this feature. The compander helps take out some hiss and noise when used with similar radios. This does improve clarity.

I will tell you, they don’t come close to advertised ranges. We’re talking a miel max. I still haven’t tried the outdoor person-to person test yet, where we could see the highest performance, as we don’t have buildings or vehicles to interfere.

thanks, battery test, also ease of use plus comfort plus looks?

So far the Midland has a battery life exceeding 8 hours with the supplied battery packs. (transmit/receive at normal duty cycles) I’m looking at 16 hours on scan so far. The Motos so far are inconclusive, as I may not have charged them long enough. At first, I was losing battery power within 4 hours. I did another overnight charge and so far show full battery power after 4 hours.

Looks are a matter of personal taste. I prefer the look and feel of the Motos; but the Midlands have a “sturdier” feel. The Moto belt clips are very flimsy and subject to EASY breakage. This is based on experience with other radios using this type of belt clip. I’ve been careful with my evaluation radios to make sure they don’t break. The features of the Motos are more straightforward and easier to access. Both units have “proprietary” features that are only useful with radios of the same brand, and include such features. Since radios are sold in pairs this isn’t much of a concern.

clips are important, on that alone, I am going to ditch the motorolla’s

Reviews done. My opinions is that the Motos belt clips will not survive heavy use. The Midlands are more durable. I’m going to post a summary on my tests, and give final judgement.