Are you guys tired of all the new product announcements we've had lately? If you said yes you should stop reading now, because in this post I'll be talking about some new Cobra walkie talkies that will be available soon!
Cobra has announced six brand new additions to their microTALK FRS/GMRS radio lineup for 2013: the CX112, CXT145, CX312, CXT345, CXT390 and CXT545. The CX112 and CXT145 models will be redesigns of the current "100 series" models, but the CX312, CXT345, CXT390, and CXT545 will be completely new.
Micro USB Support, Waterproof Radios, and Other New Features
The most interesting new item for me is that all of the new radios will support charging via a Micro-USB port. Motorola was first to offer walkie talkies with USB charging ports, but they use the older and slightly larger Mini-USB. I love seeing radios moving to industry standard charging solutions. Sure, we'll probably sell fewer overpriced replacement chargers, but I still believe that if our customers are happier we'll benefit in the long run.
The CXT545 is a two watt radio that is packed with quite a few features that are new - at least to Cobra. This radio just looks like it was designed for the outdoors, and has features to match. It has a rugged look with rubberized grips and adds a NOAA weather alerts feature. You no longer have to be actively listening for weather info to be notified that severe weather is approaching. A handy LED flashlight is also a new addition.
The CXT-545 also meets JIS4 standards for water resistance. While not fully submersible, this means the radio should easily withstand rain. This level of weather resistance is equal to that offered by the Midland GXT1000, but is not as good as the Motorola MS350R or Uniden GMR5089.
The CXT545 has the best of both worlds when it comes to charging options. It includes NiMH batteries and supports plug-in charging through its Micro-USB port, but a drop-in cradle charger is also included. So whether you prefer drop-in or plug-in charging, the CXT545 has you covered. This model is expected to be available in April, 2013 and has an MSRP of $89.95.
I'm combining all of the "300 series" models into one category because, well, they are all the same radio. Each of these models is a package containing the exact same radios - the only differences are with the charging options. The CX312 is a basic radio-only package - you have to use 4 "AAA" batteries or buy your rechargeable batteries separately. The CXT345 includes NiMH rechargeable batteries and a wall charger with plug-in Micro-USB ports for the radios. The CXT390 has all of that, plus a drop-in charger.
These are nice looking, mid range radios. They have one watt of power and all of the features that most people are going to be looking for in a set of radios, but not a lot of bells and whistles. One nice addition is that the proactive NOAA Weather Alert is included with this model, so these radios would be good to have around on an outdoor adventure.
Each of these models is expected to be available in March of 2013. The CX312, CXT345, and CXT390 will have MSRP's of $49.95, $69.95, and $74.95, respectively.
Last year, when Cobra announced the CXT135, they immediately had the lowest priced two way radio that included weather channels. They are continuing that trend this year as both the low priced CX112 and CXT145 will offer this feature. While these models are still considered entry level, the weather channels will definitely set these apart when comparing them with similar models from competing brands. With a half watt of output power, however, they are not the right choice when you need a long range radio.
Like the 300 series above, the CX112 and CXT145 are identical except for their charging options. The CX112 will not include rechargeable batteries or a charger and will have an MSRP of $39.95. The CXT145 will include NiMH rechargeable battery packs and a plug-in Micro-USB charger.
What's Being Discontinued
For years now, Cobra has led the way on lithium battery powered FRS/GMRS radios. If you're a big fan of their powerful and lightweight lithium models, don't worry - they're not going anywhere. The CXR925, CXR825, and CXR725 are going to remain a part of Cobra's lineup for 2013.
All of the products mentioned here are packages that include a pair of radios.