Xact Communications doesn't promise that you'll get the best-performing or most feature-laden two-way radio when you buy the WristLinx X2X. But it is the first wristwatch two-way radio, and that novelty alone is worth quite a bit if you're a gadget hound, a proud geek, or a kid with Dick Tracy aspirations.
The X2X isn't exactly svelte, weighing in at 3.1 ounces, and it will look big on your wrist unless you're Shaq or the Hulk. The band is adjustable, however, and while the device isn't supercomfortable, we got used to it over time. It will attract some stares, though, especially when the short antenna is raised--a must for good reception.
From a features standpoint, the X2X is fairly limited, both as a watch and as a two-way radio. The watch only tells time, and the two-way radio has 22 channels but no subchannels. Channels 1 through 14 transmit on FRS frequencies; 15 through 22 transmit on GMRS frequencies. You get a small, removable rechargeable lithium-ion battery, as well as an AC adapter for charging it via the device's headset jack. The headset itself is optional; if you purchase it, you can use the X2X hands-free with the voice-activation (VOX) feature. And the unit is compatible with other two-way FRS and GMRS radios.
We didn't expect great performance, and we didn't get it, but the X2X functions well enough as a two-way radio. The volume is ample as long as you're not in a noisy environment. Xact says that in an open space, you can communicate with another X2X up to 1.5 miles away; compare that with the 2-mile range of most FRS radios. In our tests in interference-ridden New York City, we did manage to talk over two units six blocks apart. Standard FRS radios don't do much better. The battery lasts only a day with heavy use.
We can't recommend these walkie-talkies to hikers and campers, but for puttering around the mall and talking cross-campus, these babies (listed at $50 each) are worth considering. We had fun with them.