Uniden Eco Trek FRS 400 review: Uniden Eco Trek FRS 400

  • 1

Uniden Eco Trek FRS 420

(Part #: FRS420)
See all prices
Hot Products
3 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Affordable price; strong signal range; better-than-average battery life; 38 subchannels.

The Bad All-plastic casing; not as rugged or durable as the 440.

The Bottom Line A solid, entry-level radio that provides reliable performance at a price that won't break the bank.

6.0 Overall

Uniden products typically don't look like the average two-way radio, and the Eco Trek FRS 420 is no exception. It sports a similar casing as the step-up Eco Trek 440, though you won't find as many high-end features in the 420. That said, this radio is no slacker. It's a reliable, strong performer with a price that's hard to beat. Uniden products typically don't look like the average two-way radio, and the Eco Trek FRS 420 is no exception. It sports a similar casing as the step-up Eco Trek 440, though you won't find as many high-end features in the 420. That said, this radio is no slacker. It's a reliable, strong performer with a price that's hard to beat.

Sibling rivalry
Like the Eco Trek FRS 440, the Eco Trek FRS 420 has a pretty unconventional design. Its casing is primarily white, with cosmetic light-blue highlights. There's also a rather unusual antenna integrated in the Sportsclip, which sits atop the radio and locks onto a belt loop or a handbag strap. Should you find yourself without a belt or a purse, the FRS 420 is lightweight (6 ounces) and compact enough (5.25 by 2.2 by 1.2 inches) to fit comfortably in a pocket.

While this unit shares the same design as the company's FRS 440 radio, it lacks an included headset, weather channels, and an FM radio. It does, however, have more than you'd expect in a two-way radio in this price range. In addition to a silent vibrating call alert, the FRS 420 offers five different call tones, making it easy to identify your incoming calls from those of other Uniden radios. It also includes a power-saving mode, which kicks in after five seconds of inactivity, and a channel-scanning feature that allows you to search for activity on all 14 channels and 38 subchannels.

Power radio
As with the FRS 440, we were generally pleased with the 420's performance. Not only were we able to communicate clearly with another FRS 420 from up to 1.5 miles away before suffering significant signal loss, but the automatic squelch feature did its job, reducing weak signal noise and preventing unwanted radio clutter.

Although Uniden claims a battery life of up to 50 hours using three AA alkaline batteries (not included), we managed only 40 hours during our tests. Still, that's pretty impressive, considering most radios come eke out between 30 and 35 hours of use. An optional nickel-metal-hydride rechargeable battery pack is available, but such cells don't typically last as long as alkalines.

Overall, Uniden's Eco Trek 420 has all the features and style that recreational FRS radio users could need. Plus, it's a good value at $40, though you'll be able to find it for less, particularly when sold as a pair.

Hot Products

 

Discuss Uniden Eco Trek FRS 420

Conversation powered by Livefyre