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Like its sibling, the T5420 has a water-resistant plastic casing and a changeable faceplate feature, as well as an arguably sleeker and more compact design (2.4 by 6.4 by 1.3 inches; less than 6 ounces). However, unlike its predecessor, this model has removable faceplates available in Rosewood Red or Black, though you can switch them with the T5320's Napa Burgundy cover. Like the company's , the T5420 has an on/off/volume button that sits atop the radio and the same rubberized antenna, which is a bit uncomfortable when worn with the included belt clip.
In addition to the standard 14 channels, the T5420 includes 38 privacy subchannels to help keep outside chatter from interrupting your conversations and built-in support for Vox (voice-activated) transmissions, but you'll have to purchase one of Motorola's Vox accessories for hands-free communications. You can also choose from three sensitivity levels that help prevent accidental transmissions due to loud background noises. The T5420 has all the standard fare, including five call tones, roger alerts, a time-out feature to prevent accidental calls, a monitor button to check activity on your selected channel, and a meter with an audible low-battery warning.
As for performance, we found the T5420's transmission range on a par with that of other Motorola units we've tested; the signal was strong, and communications were clear up to the 1.5-mile range before giving way to static, and we liked the fullness of the audio tone. We were particularly impressed with the radio's battery life. The T5420 is rated at 27 hours of use under normal conditions, but it held on for closer to 32 hours in our tests. The T5420 also accepts rechargeable nickel-cadmium batteries, and a desktop charger unit is available, although battery life will decrease to about 12 hours when using rechargeables.
While the Talkabout T5420 may not be the most comfortable or attractive FRS radio on the market, it costs $39.99. For that price, the Motorola gives you a lot of features and performance for your money.