There's nothing more annoying than when you're 7 years old and you get your first pair of walkie-talkies, only to find out that they don't work unless you're standing in the same room as your mate. It kind of ruins the whole super-police-MacGyver vibe.
Then when you're older, you fall into the trap of buying a pair of walkie-talkies that look the business, only to find out they're not much better than the ones you had when you were 7. Super-police-MacGyver vibe ruined once again. Curses.
But there is hope in the form of the Motorola T5622, which costs about £80 for a pair and actually does the aforementioned business. We tested them out in our building, through walls and floors, and it worked fine. Then we walked outside to the local café, about 200m away, and again it worked well.
At times we felt like complete idiots, shouting "over", "roger" and giving ourselves call signs -- but there was a part of us, deep down inside, that felt cool, the kind of cool we wanted to feel when we were 7.
"Just use a mobile phone, you dinkus," we hear you cry. Yes, we could have just called our friends to find out what sandwich filling they wanted, but walkie-talkies make us happy and they're free to use. They're also useful if you're paintballing, snowboarding or ordering your partner to make you cups of tea. This latter functionality may not contribute to a lasting relationship.
Our only niggle with the T5622 is that it doesn't go loud enough, and next to noisy traffic it was difficult to hear, but you can always attach a 2.5mm headset. The quoted range is 3km -- you won't achieve that in built-up areas of course, but we were impressed with its range nevertheless. You also don't need a licence to use these and that means A-Team fun right out of the box. Now all we need is the van. -Andrew Lim