Retevis RA19: Down the Street, Around the Corner

Retevis RA19: Down the Street, Around the Corner

Hello, this is TheTechBoy with a review of the Retevis RA19.


    These walkie-talkies feature Bluetooth headsets, 22 channels, and 154 subchannels. The walkie-talkies feature 9 levels of VOX (Voice Activation). The walkie-talkies come with two micro-USB cables a user manual, and a charging dock. Because the walkie-talkies can also be powered by batteries, they also come with backplates. Each walkie-talkie is sold separately.  


    The walkie-talkies are very easy to set up. The rechargeable battery pack is packaged separately because the walkie-talkies can accept Double A batteries. After snapping the batteries on the back of the walkie-talkies, I just have to snap the clip onto the walkie-talkies. That completes the setup of the walkie-talkie. Pairing Bluetooth seems simple, but it takes a long time to pair with the walkie-talkie. The charging dock is easy to set up, but you have to charge your own charging brick. 

Build Quality:

    The walkie-talkies appear very well-made and sturdy. The antenna has no creaking, and I could not scratch the display with my fingernail; it only has some minor scuffs and scratches. The device was dropped in mulch/bouncy park material and it survived. There are some creaks, but the device is very durable. The charging docks are not as sturdy. They are made of flimsy plastic and do not inspire confidence.  Also, when placing the walkie-talkie into the charging dock uses the battery back ever so slightly. When setting up the device the PTT button seems to stick which is frustrating. Thankfully the walkie-talkie has VOX and can be used for voice activation. 


    Retevis sent me two of the walkie-talkies to review. This would amount to about 92 dollars of merchandise. On the left side, the walkie-talkies have a PTT button, a flashlight button, a pairing button, and an emergency alarm button. The right side has a programming port and a micro-USB port for charging. These ports are covered with rubber flaps for protection. On the front there are 6 buttons: mode, menu, Up, Down, MON, and CALL. The screen is also on the front, and there's a notification light. On the top, there is the flashlight and the on/off/volume switcher. The mic hole is off to the side on the left side of the Retevis logo. The circular speaker grille is under the buttons, and it is approximately 2 in tall by 2 in across. The design is pretty nice and the screen is good enough inside, but when you go outside the screen is nearly invisible. The flashlight is not very bright and it may be less bright than the kid's walkie-talkies.

Green Retevis walkie-talkie showing VOX, channel 05 subchannel 67. The battery icon and the Hi indicator.


    This walkie-talkie has lots of features, including an NOAA weather radio, a flashlight, 22 channels, VOX, and room monitoring. I have to say that this litany of features has some caveats. Don't lose the manual, because it tells about all the interesting features.

     First of all, the screen is way too dim to see in the bright sun, that is if you get the screen to come on at all in a crowded event. I attempted to test the walkie-talkies at a park that has its own walkie-talkies, and there was an outdoor concert. That coupled with the alert feature probably caused the transmissions not to initially work. (A feature that beeps the walkie-talkie after the transmission is finished)   I even swapped the batteries and turned them on and off. The screen on one walkie-talkie would not come on when I needed it to, and it was frustrating. When they did work though, they worked okay.   Room monitoring is a feature that allows you to listen into a room, but it did not work well at all. Another problem with these walkie-talkies is that your transmission will cut out if you don't hold the button hard enough and wait for the light at the top on to activate. 

    The buttons on the front of the walkie-talkie are very hard to press in the beginning, and sometimes the software does not read the inputs. I just wish the walkie-talkies were easier to use. On a bright note, easy transfer is easy and accurate, and VOX is decent if not slow. (It takes a second to for the walkie-talkie to pick up the sound, so your first word will be cut off.) The walkie-talkies also vibrate to let you know it is your turn to speak, and the call button sends a ringtone to the other device. This works well but you have to press it twice or your walkie-talkie will ring alongside the other one.  Squelch resistance is also decent. I put it on 4 because a higher level means some voice may be lost in transmission.  


    I found that you have to hold the walkie-talkies a certain way to pick up your voice. The manual says to hold it 2-3 cm (1 in) away from your face. I find myself holding the device sideways which is okay for comfort, they do get hot in the sun. Also, the buttons are hard to press which makes the device not as comfortable. 


    The company told me that the device has a range of .5-1 mile in an open field. However, I could only get down the street and around the corner before going out of range. However, I retested it a few months later it after charging, (one was accidentally left on after charging ), and it got to about 1000 feet before I had to go home from the park. (My tester was at home already and I was at the park) (The range is better than that, but I had to leave.) The range is enough for dart wars, spy missions, and light hiking.  The range of the Bluetooth earpiece is about four feet.  The walkie-talkies are complicated and the buttons are sometimes too hard to push for me to recommend for someone to buy for their small-ish child. 


   In conclusion, these walkie-talkies cost almost as much as a budget phone. The range is decent, but the buttons are a bit hard to press. They are very durable and have a litany of features.  But you have to decide if the features, range, and durability, but the tradeoff of reliability are good enough for you.  

Tech Talk To You Later!!

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