While there are many high-end two-way radios in the market, the Arcshell AR-5 16-channel Rechargeable Long-Range Two-Way Radio keeps everything simple yet efficient. It offers 16 pre-programmed channels, a 5-mile range, hands-free function, squelch control, and an emergency alarm – all the basics of a great two-way radio.
After all, sometimes all you need is a budget two-way radio that works well without the unnecessary features you won’t even use. If you need a walkie talkie for those occasional family vacations, random camping trips, or moderate use in various events, the Arcshell AR-5 is a great match for your needs. It’s functional, straightforward, and gives an amazing performance for the price.
This Arcshell AR-5 review takes a look at the feature set of the unit as well as some pros and cons so you can identify if it’s the right device for your needs.
What’s in the Box:
These are the package inclusions when you buy the device:
- 2 Arcshell Two-way radios
- 2 1500mAh Li-ion battery
- 2 Charging docks
- 2 SMA-female antennas
- Belt clips
- Hand straps
- User manual
The Arcshell AR-5 is small and lightweight, making it convenient to carry around. Because of its size, it’s suitable for use even for children. The AR-5 has a minimalist design, with well-placed buttons and knobs for easy operation. Nevertheless, it has some design flaws as well. For one, it has no screen, much like the Retevis RT1. As such, you can only rely on audio alerts and the LED indicator to know what’s going on. This can cause you to forget that the unit is still on and you unintentionally drain the battery. There’s also no visible battery level indicator, only a voice alert that says to charge the unit.
As for the casing, it’s made of plastic and it’s not very sturdy compared to rubberized two-way radios like the Cobra CXT 1035R FLT. The antenna is also longer than others so pocketing it may be a bit harder. There’s an included belt clip though, so you can use that to go around this issue.
In addition, this is not one of those models that can be used right out-of-the-box. It needs some form of assembly before you can use it, possibly a cutback strategy on the company’s part. If you like putting things together, then assembly would be easy-peasy. But if not, you may need extra help to place everything correctly.
Range and channels
Despite some minor design issues, the Arcshell AR-5 is capable of reaching a 5-mile range in optimum conditions. If you’re in an area with many obstructions, the range will be lessened as in other two-way radios. The Arcshell AR-5 comes with 16 pre-programmed channels and can access UHF 400-470MHz. As a bonus, there’s a voice alert that informs you what frequency is being accessed. I take it that this feature is compensation for the lack of a screen. Overall, it’s a pretty decent coverage if you’re not looking for a long-range two-way radio.
Like the Retevis RT1, the Arcshell AR-5 is also powered by a rechargeable Li-ion battery – the only difference is that the RT1 uses a 3000mAh battery while the AR-5 uses 1500mAh. The battery life can be up to 8 hours. On standby mode, it can last up to 96 hours. If you’ll be operating this radio all day, the battery life may not be the best. The LXT500VP3 from Midland might be a better option.
This device can be charged with the included charging docks. It’s worth noticing that there’s one dock for every radio instead of a dual pocket charger, requiring two outlets instead of one. While it’s a hassle to find two sockets to charge both batteries, charging time takes a quick 2.5 hours.
Audio can be one of the pain points of many impressive but inexpensive two-way radios, but not so with the Arcshell AR-5. It has a quality speaker that emits a clear sound so you can clearly hear the audio and calls. Furthermore, it also has a squelch function that limits background noise, further increasing the audio quality.
Despite some hiccups in the design, the Arcshell AR-5 didn’t miss out on installing an emergency alert feature. You can call for help just by the push of a button in case of emergency situations.
Use the Arcshell AR-5 hands-free with voice operation. This is particularly helpful in situations where both of your hands are occupied with a task or when you’re outdoors driving.
A nifty feature that not all two-way radios have, an LED flashlight helps whenever you need illumination on your evening trips. The flashlight is powerful enough to give you a light source if you’re outdoors in the dark so you can free your other hand from holding a flashlight.
HI/LO Power Setting
You have control over the transmission settings whenever you’re using your two-way radio. A high-power setting has an increased transmission range and uses more battery life. On the other hand, a low-power setting has a limited range yet can be used to save your batteries.
Great for all-around use
While it’s not as heavy-duty as expensive two-way radios, it is perfectly ideal for outdoor use, security, construction, kitchen operations, hotel operations, maintenance, events, and even just for home use. Furthermore, it’s a great two-way radio for all ages so your family members can each have their own.
The model retails for only $25.99 for a pair. With the features outlined in this Arcshell AR-5 review, you definitely get a bang for your buck.
- Lightweight and compact
- Good audio quality
- Ideal for use for all ages
- Emergency alerts
- Hands-free function
- Water resistant
- Plastic casing
- No LCD screen
- Short battery life
Arcshell AR-5 Review Conclusion
Overall, the Arcshell AR-5 is a great all-around two-way radio. It provides decent range, good audio quality, emergency alerts, hands-free function, and more. Despite some design flaws, this is a budget two-way radio that gives value for your money. Learn the basics of two-way radio here.