I don’t think you’ll find a more creative smartphone maker than Unihertz. They make a lot of different phones and no two are alike. Some cater to Blackberry fans with physical keyboards and others cater to those who want something really tiny. All of the phones they make are super rugged and built like tanks. You can see my full playlist here.
This latest phone in their lineup does something I’ve never seen a smartphone do by adding a full function two-way walkie talkie radio to the mix. This is not some app that works over Wi-Fi but rather an actual radio transmitter that will interoperate with other radios on the same frequency. It even works with the digital DMR standard. See my full review here!
As a phone it seems to perform well – good battery life, adequate enough performance (but definitely on the low end) and compatibility with T-mobile and Verizon here in the United States. It has 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage with the option to also add an SD card to the mix. Without the SD card installed it’ll support two nano sim cards.
The phone is waterproof and super rugged with a nice compact 4″ display. It’s small but not tiny and I think would work well for those looking for a supplementary phone while traveling. It’s not all that expensive either at around $340 unlocked.
The two-way radio feature delivered far more features than I expected but users need to be mindful of what frequencies you’re operating on to avoid being fined by the FCC!
The radio is tunable from 400-480mhz – a huge swath of the “70 centimeter” band. Only a sliver of this band is accessible to unlicensed consumers in the FRS frequencies. Licensed amateur radio operators can use it between 420 and 450 mhz in the United States but should follow the ARRL’s band plan for proper operation.
But if you’re not licensed you need to spend some time programming the two way radio function properly. Unihertz provided no documentation or warnings in the box nor was my phone programmed with FRS frequencies out of the box. In fact it was operating on channels the US government uses for satellite communications and work its way into amateur frequencies that are not authorized for non-licensed use.
Although the phone is not type rated for the unlicensed FRS frequencies those are the ones that you should operate on being mindful of not using the phone’s two watt transmission power on channels 8-14.
The phone offers some additional features for amateur operators including support for repeaters with differing input and output frequencies, CTCSS tones, etc. I was surprised that its support for the DMR digital standard is extensive and worked with my local DMR repeater along with my Anytone handheld DMR radio. I was also able to send DMR text messages.
Overall this is another fun and quirky phone from Unihertz that delivers a lot for a low price. But users need to be very careful to program its two-way radio feature to avoid being fined by the FCC.