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Standard Horizon HX890 Handheld VHF Radio Review

standard horizon hx890 vhf marine radio_1
standard horizon hx890 vhf marine radio_1

It isn’t often that you find a big-name manufacturer listening to their customers. What’s even rarer is a big-name manufacturer designing their new product to fix flaws pointed out by the users of their previous model. However, that is exactly what Standard Horizon has done with the HX890. They paid attention to what people had to say about their previous handheld marine radio model, the HX870 to fix all issues on their latest model i.e. Standard Horizon HX890 handheld (Very High Frequency) radio.

This, itself, would be astounding but the company’s latest handheld VHF radio is an outstanding piece of equipment. It not only shares all the qualities and feature of the earlier HX870 handheld marine radio but adds to them with some great benefits and features of its own. The Standard Horizon HX890 is going to be a bigger hit than the HX870 and there’s no stopping it. Here’s our review. 

About Standard Horizon

Standard Horizon is a brand owned by a Japanese company that traces its roots back to 1959. The company, called Yaesu Musen Co. Ltd. was established by Sako Hasegawa, an amateur radio enthusiast. Initially, the company focused on the Japanese market but when they clinched some government contracts in other countries, they ended up going international.

Standard Horizon hasn’t looked back since and has been a major name in VHF marine radios for a long time now. They manufacture both fixed mount and handheld VHF radios which means that users can have a set of both for their boats.

Why is the Standard Horizon HX890 Special?

The Standard Horizon HX890 handheld VHF radio represents a quality rarely seen in manufacturers – listening to customers’ concerns and complaints. As mentioned earlier, the HX890 is designed to be an improvement on the Standard Horizon HX870. Such is its quality that if you want a well-designed waterproof but floating handheld VHF radio that boasts of good battery life, inbuilt GPS, DSC capability, and a large screen, then you can't ignore the HX890.

This handheld marine radio comes with a 1800 mAh Li-ion battery that can manage up to 11 hours of constant use. If you don’t turn it on or only use it intermittently, you can probably get it to last up to five times as long.

Even if you look beyond battery life, you'll find the Standard Horizon HX890 to be a well-built and well-designed handheld VHF marine radio. In fact, its housing and construction meets MIL-STD-810F military standard. This makes the HX890 very sturdy and reliable in even physically demanding situations.

Floating Body Design

Moreover, it is a submersible handheld VHF radio with a rating of IPX8. This means that it can remain functional up to 1.5 meters underwater for a minimum of 30 minutes. Also, the die-cast chassis used in this device is also buoyant which allows the device to float on water.

standard horizon hx890 vhf marine radio_4

Not only does it float but it also becomes visible in water. As soon as it comes in contact with water, a white strobe light comes on. Therefore, if you drop this handheld marine radio overboard or even go overboard with it, you won’t have any trouble finding it as the device will float with the light turned on. 

Built in DSC and GPS

The Standard Horizon HX890 has GPS compatibility as well as Digital Selecting Calling (DSC) capability. These two features are very useful in emergency situations as they allow the device to send relevant identification and position data to rescue authorities. The two features are made possible by the presence of the 66-channel WAAS GPS receiver. The same receiver allows for waypoint functionality and navigation as well. 

Huge Display

The display screen on this handheld VHF marine radio is one of the largest in its market segment. Spanning 1.7” x 1.7” (2.3” diagonal), the large screen ensures that you don’t miss key details even if you're in a hurry. The interface behind the screen is intuitive and very user friendly especially combined with its soft-touch keys.

The screen even has two modes – day and night. In the night mode, the screen darkens and the text becomes red preventing glare from affecting your vision over the water. 

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The Standard Horizon HX890 offers voice scrambling too for those of you who want to keep your conversations private. In fact, it doesn’t just offer voice scrambling but offers them in two formats – the 4-code CVS2500A and the 32-code FVP-42.

Additionally, when you're not using the HX890 to communicate with people on other boats or the shore, you'll be able to entertain yourself with the help of its integrated FM Broadcast band receiver.

This handheld VHF radio offers all these features and qualities without being too cumbersome or heavy. As a matter of fact, the HX890’s dimensions fall well within the accepted industry standards. It is fairly compact, measuring only 5.32” high, 2.6” wide, and 1.5” thick. Bear in mind that these measurements don’t take the antenna and the knob into account. The device is also fairly light, coming in at only about 10.94 oz.

Color options

You can get it in two colors – black and navy blue. These aren’t the only features that the Standard Horizon HX890 possesses. They are just the most standout. Other features worth mentioning include.


  • 1W, 2W or 6W transmit power options
  • Noise Cancelling Function along with 700mW Loud Audio feature
  • Weather alerts through NOAA Weather Channels access
  • Programmable Dual Watch and Triple Watch Scanning
  • 3 Year Waterproof Warranty
  • DSC Group Position Call can be used for group monitoring
  • PC programming through the provided Micro USB Data jack

What Are the Disadvantages of the Standard Horizon HX890

There’s not a lot that is wrong with the Standard Horizon HX890. Its design is perfect and its performance flawless. However, there are some users who have faced some difficulties. At the same time, we feel that those difficulties are associated more with individual pieces than this VHF marine radio on the whole.

One problem that is more widespread is the quality of the belt clip. The belt clip that comes with this handheld VHF radio is not as sturdy and strong as it should be. It has a tendency to simply break with rigorous movements. This means that you should be careful if you're using the clip.

Standard Horizon HX890 Vs. Standard Horizon HX870: How Do They Compare?

Standard Horizon HX870 marine radio review

The HX870 is an incredibly popular handheld marine radio that was a worthy successor to the earlier model, Standard Horizon HX851. Now, it is all set to be replaced as the best in the market by the Standard Horizon HX890. The HX870 is an excellent device that does everything right except for a few flaws.

With the HX890, Standard Horizon has fixed those flaws and then added even more qualities to make it virtually irresistible. The biggest issue with the HX870 was its display screen. Users had complained that the bright white LED illumination of the screen was a hindrance in the night as it affected visibility on the water. The company fixed this problem by introducing the ‘Night Mode’ on the HX890.

Another big problem with the HX870 was that it could only be programmed with a single Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI). If you wanted to change the MMSI number, you would have to send that handheld marine radio all the way back to the service center to be fixed. This, effectively, tied a handheld VHF marine radio to a single ship.

The system on the Standard Horizon HX890 is different. It is possible for you to change the MMSI number on it by contacting the company remotely. You'll have to provide the company with your MMSI number and the ATIS code, after which they’ll give you a reset code. The MMSI number can still not be changed on the go but at least you have the option to do it yourself without sending it to the service center.

Not only is HX890 thinner than the HX870 but it is also sturdier owing to its military standard construction.

The DSC on the HX890 is more advanced than the one on HX870 as well. The HX870 handheld VHF radio boasts of a Class D DSC operation while the HX890 handheld marine radio supports Class H DSC operation.

The HX890 also boasts of newer features that were completely absent on the HX870. These include the two new scrambler systems and the FM Broadcast band receiver. You can also get the HX890 in navy blue or black while the HX870 was only available in one color.

The Standard Horizon HX890 Will Be the Next Big Thing

Here’s a prediction: the HX890 will be the next big thing, superseding the HX870 just like the latter superseded the HX851. It has all the features that any modern seafaring individual needs. In addition, it is rugged and fairly compact. In our opinion, you'll be hard-pressed to find any handheld VHF radio better than the Standard Horizon HX890.

ICOM M605 Review – New Premium Class VHF Marine Radio

ICOM M605 review
ICOM M605 review

Being prudent with funds is definitely a virtue but maybe this financial prudence should be set aside when it comes to your safety. This is especially true if you have an adventurous side and take your boat out on the the water often. Since the most important safety equipment on any boat is the fixed-mount VHF radio, perhaps this is where you should begin. 

The ICOM M605 is the most advanced fixed-mount marine radio available right now. The device has pretty much everything you can ever desire in your Very High Frequency (VHF) marine radio. It is not only full of features that very few other radios possess but its performance and reliability also exceed its competitors’.

This is a high-end radio that is well worth the expense. What specific features can make an expensive device like this worth buying? Here’s our review of this fixed-mount VHF radio.

Information about the Manufacturers - ICOM America

The ICOM M605 is the flagship device of ICOM America as it is based around the latest technologies and has an exhaustive feature set. ICOM America, itself, has been at the forefront of the fixed-mount marine radio market for a while now.

The company is backed by ICOM Incorporated, a publicly listed firm that was established as far back as 1954. Even though they began by providing old-school ham radios, they’ve since become leading communication equipment manufacturers in aviation, terrestrial, and marine sectors.

What Are the Advantages of Choosing ICOM M605

Icom m605 color display

The ICOM M605 is unique. It is the only VHF marine radio in the market right now that features a color LCD display screen. In fact, its 4.3” display screen is so good that we recommend you get this device simply to experience it.

Not only is the ICOM M605 the only fixed-mount marine radio with a color display screen but it was also the first VHF marine radio with an LCD screen. The color LCD screen isn't just a gimmick either. It improves usability and functionality of the device significantly.

Users that have tried this screen have found it very difficult to go back to dot matrix displays precisely for these reasons. For example, the M605’s display screen offers a 180° viewing angle which is great for seeing the screen even if you are not directly in front of it; something you can’t do with a dot matrix screen.

Additionally, it has a ‘Night Mode’ too. The purpose of this mode is to make the screen non-intrusive in the dark. Turning on this mode will darken the display background while the icons and text on the screen will turn red. Moreover, the brightness of the screen is adjustable even during the day and the graphics are sharp and vibrant making the interface very intuitive.

The intuitive nature of the user interface is, further, helped by soft-touch keys and high-resolution characters. There is a directional, alphanumeric keypad and a series of shortcut buttons at the bottom of the display corresponding to the most frequently used functions of the VHF marine radio.

The clarity and ease of use of the display screen adds value to the integrated Automatic Identification System (AIS) since other vessels, their bearing, and the distance between them are more clearly visible. As is the case with all ICOM fixed-mount marine radios, the AIS receiver has three display settings which are the Danger List, the Target List, and the Plotter.

While the color LCD display screen is the biggest lure of the ICOM M605, its flexibility and versatility is not to be scoffed at. This fixed-mount VHF radio is one of the most flexible when it comes to system configuration. You can connect up to three separate controllers to the main unit on this device.

You can choose to install secondary control units anywhere on your boat including the sleeping area or even the fly-bridge. You won’t have to worry about how elaborate the secondary controllers are since you can use them to control all the functions of this VHF marine radio. Moreover, you'll be able to use them as intercoms!

This versatility makes the ICOM M605 ideal for larger boats. In terms of what type of secondary units are available, you'll be able to choose between the more permanent RC-M600 with its own display screen or the portable HM-195 handheld controller

The RC-M600 can be installed up to 50 meters away while the handheld has an installation range of 18.3 meters.

The ICOM M605 comes with an inbuilt Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receiver which should negate the need for an external GPS system and save you a pretty penny. Like all ICOM fixed-mount marine radios, this one has a water resistance rating of IPX8, which is the highest in its class.

The M605 also has ICOM’s proprietary AquaQuake water draining technology. The AquaQuake technology uses vibrations to eject water from the ICOM M605 controller. Water in the microphone or speaker can affect sound quality. AquaQuake, combined with the active noise cancelling feature of the M605 ensures that the transmission remains clear and audible.

  • There are numerous other features that make the ICOM M605 so useful. These include: 
  • NMEA 2000 and NMEA 0183 compatibility to connect third-party devices.
  • Up to two minutes of automatic last call recording.
  • A 30W 2-way Hailer to communicate with the deck or even the shore.
  • 25W or 1W of output power.
  • Class D DSC receiver.
  • Horn and Foghorn with multiple preset patterns.

What Disadvantages of ICOM M605 Should You Be Aware Of

The disadvantages of the ICOM M605 are a direct result of the features that make it such an exceptional product.

The first of these is cost. This is probably the most expensive fixed-mount VHF radio in the market right now but how could it not be? It has so many features and offers a multitude of unique benefits that it has to be expensive. The big question is whether it is worth all that money.

We believe it is. Not a single buyer of this fixed-mount marine radio has regretted their purchase. The ICOM M605 may be expensive on a standalone basis but when you look at its features and benefits, you'll realize that it offers excellent value for the money.

The other downside of the M605 is that it isn't the most compact. The ICOM M605 measures about 121.5mm in depth, 114mm in height, and 274mm in width. Again, this is a result of having numerous benefits. To offer so many benefits and features, additional components need to be added. This, in turn, means that the device gets bigger.

After all, if you're going to enjoy the advantages of having such a large display screen, it is only natural that the device will be bigger than the screen. 

What Is True Quality And Safety Worth To You?

Everything has a price. The most fully featured devices will cost you more than low-end devices. Our question to you is what true quality and safety are worth to you? If you're one of those discerning people who can’t bear mediocrity and realize what true safety means, then this VHF marine radio is designed explicitly for you.

ICOM IC-M25 Floating Handheld Marine Radio Review

Icom IC-m25 VHF handheld radio
Icom IC-m25 VHF handheld radio

The ICOM IC-M25 is a slim, lightweight, and water-resistant VHF handheld marine radio, the upgraded version of the M23 which was released on May 2011. Its equipped with a powerful 1500 mAH battery which can last approximately eleven hours per charge, float N flash functions, aqua quake draining, and an IPX7 waterproof design are some of the many features of this radio.

No more bulky charging base! The ICOM M25 includes a NEW micro USB type charging cable connector (smartphone-compatible connectors) which can be easily used with your mobile battery packs. Now you can charge your VHF marine radio in the same way you charge your phone or tablet.

The M25 is designed very intuitively starting from the large controls and well-placed, soft key buttons that make operating extremely easy. Despite being smaller in size compared to other VHF radios, the display is actually 30% larger than its predecessor the ICOM M24 which makes it easy to see all the information on screen.

Available in three colors, the ICOM-25 is a decent looking device that has everything you want from a stylish, well-designed VHF handheld radio. While the ICOM M25 is a little more expensive than other VHF marine radios, it stands out for having the best value for the money with all its useful extra features.

Icom m25 charging port

Icom M25 charging port

Main Features

Choosing the best VHF handheld radio for your needs requires a little bit of research. What makes the ICOM 25 better than other handheld VHF radios? Learn more about its features below:

  • Slim, Compact and Lightweight Design - The M25 weighs 7.76 ounces and measures 5.28” tall, 2.23” inch wide, and 1.2” thick which means it can fit almost anywhere. It has a slim body shape making it much more comfortable to hold and carry in your pocket.
  • Large Controls and Display - Very easy to use controls. A significantly larger display than its predecessors means no more squinting when reading the display information.
  • Micro-USB Charger - includes a new micro USB type charging cable connector which can be used with your mobile battery packs or other small electronics. It can be charged to an AC adapter for around 3 hours.
  • Loud 550mW Audio - Despite its small size, the ICOM M25’s speakers are powerful enough to hear transmissions over the wind, choppy seas, or engine noises. You can also do quick volume adjustments by simply holding the VOL/SQL buttons or pushing the ▲ or ▼ button.
  • Float N’ Flash - A brilliant feature which allows your device to float and flash a red light when dropped in water for easy retrieval, especially at night. It also sounds an audible alarm to point you in the right direction.
  • Aqua Quake Draining Function - Once retrieved from the water, the device emits low-frequency sound waves which shakes off water from the speakers so that transmissions are smooth and clear, preserving the sound quality.
  • IPX7 Waterproofing - The M25 will be able to withstand immersion in water up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes without damage.
  • Multi-Tasker- The ICOM-M25 includes an instant access button to channel 16, programmable call channel, dual/tri-watch functions which allow you to monitor distress channels while still using other channels.
  • Rechargeable 1500 mAH Li-ion battery - Powerful battery that allows 11 hours of operation with battery-life icon indications while charging and fully charged.

Additional Features

  •  Front Panel Buttons for Quick Operations
  • Weather Channel w/ Weather Alert
  • Instant access to Channel 16
  • Favorite Channel Function
  • Auto Scan
  • LCD Auto Backlighting

What’s included in the Box?

  • USB charger (Icom #BC- 217SA)
  • Belt Clip (Icom #MB - 133)
  • Antenna (Icom #FA - SC59V)
  • Battery Pack (#BP-282)
  • Hand Strap


  • Frequency Band: VHF
  • Type: Handheld Marine Radio
  • Country/Region of Manufacture: Japan
  • Item Weight: 7.8 ounces
  • Item Model Number: IC-M25 01
  • Dimensions: W 2.2” x H 5.3” x D 1.2”
  • Features: Floating, Submersible, Radio, Waterproof
  • Display Type: Segmented LCD
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Scanning Modes: All Scan
  • Transmit Power: 5/1 Watt
  • Usable channels: INT, USA, CAN, WX channels
  • Antenna Impedance: 50Ω
  • Type of emission: 16K0G3E (FM)
  • Operating temperature range : -20°C to +60°C; -4°F to +140°F
  • Batteries: 1 Lithium ion batteries required. (included)
  • Available Colors: Blue, Pearl White, Metallic Grey Accents
  • Warranty Details: Three Years Waterproof


  • Output power: (Hi/Mid/Low)       5W (High),1W (Low)
  • Max. frequency deviation: ±5.0kHz
  • Frequency stability: ±10ppm
  • Spurious emissions: -68dBc typical
  • Adjacent channel power: 70dB
  • Audio harmonic distortion: 10% (at 60% dev.)
  • Residual modulation: 40dB


  • Sensitivity (at 12dB SINAD): 0.25µV typical
  • Squelch sensitivity: 0.25µV typ. (at threshold)
  • Adjacent Channel Selectivity: 70dB typical
  • Spurious response: 70dB typical
  • Intermodulation Rejection: 70dB typical
  • Hum and noise ratio: 40dB typical
  • Audio output power : (at 10% distortion, 8 Ω)    
  • Internal SP: 550mW typ. (12Ω load)
  • External SP: 300mW typ. (4Ω load

Final Thoughts:

The ICOM M25 is another high quality VHF marine radio from ICOM. Currently, the slimmest floating handheld marine radio, it packs many features and delivers uncompromised performance that raises the bar in the marine electronics industry. A popular favorite among consumers, the ICOM M25’s easy to use, well-placed buttons and smart interface makes the device one of the best handheld marine radios today.

Icom IC-M73 Handheld VHF Radio Review

Icom IC-M73 radio
Icom IC-M73 radio

Icom IC-M73 is a professional grade handheld VHF radio with some great features built in. The rugged slim design fits well in hand, and feels very comfortable in use. Icom was able to fit a very large capacity battery - 2,000mAh which provides up to 17 hours of operation time. IC-M73 has a large bright LCD display, which is very easy to read even on very sunny days. 

So what can you find on this radio that is not available on some other entry level marine radios? Well, let's take a look at some of its high-end features.

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    Last call voice recording function automatically saves incoming calls for 1 minute.
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    700mW Loud Audio - BTL amplifier that doubles the audio output
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    Bass Boost Function that further improves voice quality
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    AquaQuake water draining function
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    Active noise cancelling, that reduces background noise to up to 90%
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    IPX8 - submersible plus waterproofing (4.9ft under water for up to 30 minutes, vs 3ft for 30 minutes in IPX7 waterproofing)
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    Optional VOX headset and adapter allowing handsfree  operation

As you can see, there are some real benefits stepping up to a higher end VHF handheld radio and ICOM IC-M73 is a a very good choice. Compare this radio to some of our best rated VHF Handheld radios.

Some other features include:

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    6/3/1 Watt
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    Dual/Tri-Watch function
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    Favorite channel function
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    Tag scan function
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    Rapid desktop charger and cigarette charger

But what do actual users say about this radio? Are they actually happy with their purchase? Let’s find out the pros, cons and what reviewers are saying about this radio. Below are the most common pros and cons that people have stated in their reviews on Amazon.

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    Great built quality
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    Long battery life​​​​
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    Excellent radio signal
  • minus
    Not the most compact radio

Standard Horizon HX210 Floating VHF Radio Review

Standard Horizon HX210 vhf marine radio
Standard Horizon HX210 vhf marine radio

A marine VHF radio is your key back to the world when you are caught out at sea. Modern technologies have allowed these devices to be smaller and compact ensuring you can have your VHF radio with you at all times which is especially useful when you are on a small boat.

Standard Horizon a leading brand in the world of marine communication presents one of their most popular VHF radios; the HX210 Handheld Floating VHF Radio.

The company also deals with HF equipment that is of utmost importance in marine communication. You can count on their devices to not only communicate with friends when out kayaking or boating but also for help in emergency situations. 

Design and Features of Standard Horizon HX210  VHF Radio 

Compact and Lightweight

Perhaps the most desirable feature of this radio is its small size. If you are a kayaker, surfer, jet skier, or dingy sailor, space is crucial. But with a compact handheld device, it is easier to find that little extra space to store your radio. 

What’s more, this radio is buoyant which is desirable since you don’t have to worry about it sinking to the bottom of the water if its dropped overboard. It has an IPX7 water resistance rating which indicates its inner components will not get damaged when it’s around or submersed for a brief period in water.

The radio floats face up when you drop it in water, and a red strobe light is activated to help you locate it whether the device is ON or turned OFF. 

You can configure the light to flash on and off or in SOS mode where it flashes three short flashes followed by three long flashes and three short flashes, or you can set a continuous flash to help you find the radio. 

This VHF radio comes with a durable belt clip to allow keeping it beside you at all times. The curved sides give it an ergonomic shape such that it will not slide out of your hand during use. 

Wide Frequency Range and Output Power

The HX210 has all USA and Canadian marine channels. You can dial in the emergency number channel 16 which is the distress channel. You will also find channels for the US coast guard as well as state control, and other vital channels that make your overall boating much safer. 

The HX210 has FM broadcasts from 76MHz to 108MHz. If you want to stay updated, just tune in to your favorite FM channel.

The radio has a speaker mic jack that you can connect your headset to and listen to the volume levels of your choice. 

When it comes to the output power, HX210 has a 6W output. It is an impressive range since you can communicate between 7-8 miles in reasonable conditions with no land obstructions. Not only that, the radio can survive knocks and abuse, no matter what you throw at it. 

It also has a noise-canceling microphone that drains the ocean noise away and allows you to communicate better. 

Display and Menu System

This VHF radio is straightforward to use. It has an E2O (Easy to Operate) menu that simplifies the whole process. You will be able to use it when under pressure so that you can dial in the right channel and communicate in time to pass out an important message. 

You will appreciate that it has one of the largest displays compared to other radios its size. It has a dot matrix resolution on an LCD screen. It is bright and clear even when using it under direct sunlight. The backlight comes in handy when using it at night as well. 

With this radio, you can customize the functions of the different keys to suit your current and most common conditions. Say you want a channel that contacts local sailors or send a unique message of your location and identity, this radio will help you do exactly that. 

Battery Life

The Standard Horizon HX210 comes with an 1850mAh Lithium-Ion battery. It is your ticket to staying out longer thanks to its 14-15 hours of battery life. Although it is a large capacity battery, this unit is still lightweight.  

It is supplied with 110VAC and 12VDC charging cables and charging cradles. These are 3-hour quick chargers, so that you can recharge your radio on a whim before setting out on a trip. 


The Standard Horizon HX210 enjoys a 3-year warranty. A replacement or repair is guaranteed if the device fails for any reason within the warranty period. Not only that, the radio can be serviced after the three years in Standard Horizon’s Flat Rate Service Program. 

When you have the backing of the manufacturer, nothing should keep you from enjoying the usefulness of the HX210 handheld VHF radio


  • Ergonomic and compact design 
  • Over 10 hours of battery life 
  • It floats on water 
  • It has an IPX7 waterproof rating 
  • It has USA and Canadian channels
  • Can receive FM and WX broadcasts from 76MHz to 108MHz 


  • It does not have GPS

HX210 vs. HX300

Standard Horizon HX300 Standard HX300 Handheld VHF Marine Radio

While these two devices have lots of similarities like the ergonomic shape and being lightweight, The HX300 is a much more advanced model. It features an IPX8 waterproof rating meaning it can survive being dropped in a depth of 4.92ft for 30 minutes. This is unlike the HX210 that has a 3.3ft water depth survival.

The HX300 has a 5W of transmitting power. It includes US and Canadian channels, and you can scan through preset channels. You can set up to 10 channels to use with the preset scan function. 

The radio has weather channels that give you weather alerts. This way, you will always be in the know and not be caught in a storm that could have been avoided. 

The HX300 also has an internal 600mw speaker, so you don’t need to have an external speaker. Its 1800mAh battery is much smaller but can last longer when it is in standby mode. It has a USB charging cable which is one of its kind in radios of this class. 


Purchasing a handheld VHF can be a process. But Standard Horizon makes it seem effortless with the HX210 model. It features a compact and buoyant design that is a must have when you need a portable VHF radio for your boating trips. Its affordability and high-capacity 1850mAh Lithium-Ion battery make it a top pick for your safety and convenience on the water. 

Standard Horizon HX150 Review

Standard Horizon HX150 VHF marine radio
Standard Horizon HX150 VHF marine radio

Besides making some of the best feature packed handheld and fixed mount marine radios, Standard Horizon also designs and manufactures entry level/budget radios. HX150 is a great example of a compact handheld marine radio that provides good quality communications and decent battery life.

This would be a good VHF marine radio for kayak fishing or other activities where you don't want to carry too much weight and may not need GPS function (if you do, get the Standard Horizon HX870). This radio is floating and submersible (rated IPX7). Compact designs allows it to be stored in smaller compartments and pockets. The radio's power is variable, so if you want to preserve battery life, switch to 1W mode, and if you are further away and need a stronger reception - 5W mode is there for you.

Operating this radio is straight forward. It has a decent size LCD screen, 16/9 dedicated key, preset buttons, key lock etc. Overall, this is a great little radio. It is comparable to Uniden MHS75, but there are a few differences. Let's take a look at them:

Standard Horizon HX150 VHF marine radio
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    1 or 5 Watts
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    Submersible IPX7
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    1030 mAh Li-Ion battery
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    AC Wall charger with charging cradle
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    W2.4" x H5x3" x D1.5"
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    8.3 oz
Uniden MHS75 VHF radio
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    1, 2.5 or 5 Watts
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    Submersible IPX8
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    Quad Watch Plus
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    1040 mAh Li-Ion battery
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    DC Charger
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    W2.49" x H4.57" x D1.53"
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    10.2 oz

Standard Horizon HX400 Handheld Marine Radio Review

Standard Horizon HX400 Handheld Marine Radio
Standard Horizon HX400 Handheld Marine Radio

Even if your boat has a fixed mount Very High Frequency (VHF) marine radio, it is always advisable to have a handheld VHF radio as a backup. A handheld marine radio is advisable precisely for its portability so that, when disaster strikes, you'll have a way to communicate with rescue forces. Even if there is no real emergency, it is always convenient to be able to communicate with others while you're up and about on your boat.

With any portable device, battery power is very important and this applies to VHF marine radios too. If you're planning to get a handheld VHF radio, then you should pay special attention to its battery life. One of the best options on the market from this perspective is the Standard Horizon HX400.

The HX400 is a commercial grade VHF marine radio with exceptional battery life, build quality, and feature set but it is not completely without flaws. Here’s our review of this device designed to help you decide if the Standard Horizon HX400 is right for you.

A Brief Overview of Standard Horizon

Standard Horizon is a well-known name when it comes to VHF marine radios, whether they're fixed mount or handheld. This isn't surprising as the company has been active for more than 50 years. Apart from retailing to individual buyers, Standard Horizon has also supplied various governments all over the world.

Standard Horizon is part of the publicly listed Japanese company Yaesu Musen Co. Ltd. Yaesu Musen was founded in 1959 by an amateur ham radio enthusiast who ended up turning it into a globally recognized name.

How Will the Standard Horizon HX400 Benefit You?

standard horizon hx400 handhelf vhf radio

What makes the Standard Horizon HX400 really special and is probably the reason you're considering it is battery life. The battery life of this handheld VHF radio is nothing short of amazing. Its 2550 mAh Li-Ion battery offers the maximum capacity in its market segment.

This means that you'll be able to use the HX400 for as long as 17 hours without recharging it. If you don’t turn it on very often, then it can last you for up to a week. That’s some seriously impressive battery capacity on a handheld marine radio, especially since they're mostly used as backup options.

Something that makes its already impressive battery life even better is recharge time. The battery supports rapid charging and can go from zero to full strength in only three hours. This keeps the downtime low and ensures that you're always ready to talk even on longer trips.

The other feature that sets this handheld VHF marine radio apart from its competitors is its Land Mobile Channel (LMC) capability. With the right programing, the Standard Horizon HX400 will give you access to your choice of LMCs. Up to 40 channels can be programmed on this device within the 137 to 174 MHz range. You should, however, be careful that using LMCs is only possible if you have the appropriate licenses.

The HX400 has a water resistance rating of IPX8. This makes it extremely resilient in wet conditions and even makes it possible for it to survive a thorough dunking. IPX8 means that this handheld VHF radio can stay up to 1.5 meters underwater for up to 30 minutes without getting damaged in any way.

Sound quality on the Standard Horizon HX400 is excellent too.  Your voice is loud enough to be heard in most circumstances and it is crystal clear due to built-in noise cancellation. A scrambler has also been integrated into the device and it will allow you to keep your conversations private if required. Needless to say, the other device also needs to have voice scrambling capability.

standard horizon hx400 vhf radio

This VHF marine radio is built to last, which means that it can withstand the usual bumps and scrapes that come about from being carried around everywhere. It is built on a die-cast metal chassis and is encased in a sturdy polycarbonate outer housing.

Controlling the Standard Horizon HX400 is very intuitive as well. There are eight soft key buttons to the front of the device which can be locked to prevent inadvertent use. On top of the device and next to the antenna, you'll even find a rotary controller for managing volume or turning it off completely. Next to the rotary controller is a jack for adding a headset or a microphone, which are available as options.

This handheld marine radio is accompanied by all the essential peripherals such as hand strap, removable antenna, belt clip, battery, and three charging options in the form of the drop-in charging cradle, the DC charger and the AC charger. Even the manual of the HX400 is more detailed and better designed than its competitors.

Other features of the Standard Horizon HX400 include:

  • Three-year warranty on the handheld VHF radio and 12-month warranty on the battery
  • Weather alerts and weather channel compatibility
  • 5W transmit output
  • Programmable channel names
  • Preset keys for up to 10 favorite channels

What Are the Disadvantages of Standard Horizon HX400?

For a VHF marine radio, the one glaring gap in the Standard Horizon HX400’s feature set is that it doesn’t offer Digital Selecting Calling (DSC), which can be a big problem in emergencies.

In addition to this, the HX400 also doesn’t  have built-in GPS in case you wish to share your position with someone. The absence of inbuilt GPS, while not a deal breaker, has to give you a pause since there are other similar options with GPS available at lower prices.

The most outstanding quality of the Standard Horizon HX400 is its battery life but there’s a flipside to having that feature as well. The greater battery capacity is a result of a larger and heavier battery.

As a result, this handheld marine radio is not only larger than most other similar devices on the market but also heavier. It weighs a hefty 12.5 oz. and measures 1.57” thick, 5.24” tall, and 2.24” wide and that is without its antenna and knobs on top.

You should also be mindful of the fact that this device doesn’t float. This is fairly unconventional when it comes to handheld marine radios as most of them float. Perhaps it’s a compromise you have to make to have a strong handheld VHF marine radio with such long battery life.

Go For It If You Need Long Battery Life and LMC Capability

If you have need of a handheld VHF radio with long battery life, then you won’t find any device in the market better than the Standard Horizon HX400. The HX400 is also a good bet if access to LMCs is one of your key requirements.

Apart from those two features, the Standard Horizon HX400 is a good basic handheld marine radio. While it is slightly on the expensive side particularly if you consider that it neither offers DSC nor GPS, the overall built quality and strong reception is what you pay for!

Uniden Atlantis 270 Handheld Marine Radio Review

Uniden Atlantis 270 marine radio
Uniden Atlantis 270 marine radio

Uniden Corporation is one of the leading manufacturers of consumer electronics. With a history over 50 years Uniden continues to thrive in this ever expanding and competitive industry. 

Their products are known to be affordable while providing sophisticated features in their specific applications. Their motto states connectivity, engineering, and responsibility.”Thus, the company strives to give rich communication throughout the world by using cutting edge technology and contributing to social activities. 

Today, we look at the Uniden Atlantis 270 a handheld, floating VHF radio

Performance Features

Uniden Atlantis 270 Handheld Floating 2-Way 1/2,5/6 Watt VHF Marine Radio, JIS7/IPX7 Submersible Waterproof level and Designed to Float, All USA, International, and Canadian Marine Channels, - Black Color

This VHF radio provides two-way communication when you are on the water. You can communicate when at sea with the people on land and the sea with you. With NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) emergency weather channels, you are always in the know when the weather changes. 

It has all USA and Canadian channels from 1-88. They allow using it in the area of your choice from the sea to the shore. With a 6W power output, it can give you a strong signal over a wide area. Its mile range is rated at 5-7 miles. 

You can select the output power from 1, 2.5, or 6watts. It also has a BOOST (PTT) key so that you can enable 6W power for a short time. Using more watts does deplete the batter faster.

With the Uniden Atlantis 270, you can adapt to different environments. Say you want to communicate to kayakers that are only three miles away, a lower output is all you need, and thankfully, you will still sound as clear as day. 

However, atmospheric obscurants like being around the hilly countryside will affect the signal range as with all VHF radios. As such, the Uniden Atlantis 270 is more useful when you do not have any obstructions. 

The squelch feature that filters background noise. While this is useful when the ocean is acting up with raging waves, you may also miss out on the weak signals that may be important. 

Water Resistance

The Uniden Atlantis 270 is rated at JIS7/IPX7. It can withstand drops in 1-meter water depth for 30 minutes. If it gets into contact with salt water, just rinse it with fresh water and leave it to dry; no damage done.

Sound distortions in the device are caused by water. You can rectify this by shaking the radio to remove excess water for smoother sound should it get wet or if its dropped overboard.

To ensure that your radio is always waterproof under the specified depth and time, you will want to ensure the rubber seals fit correctly and are in good condition. Note that the charger is not waterproof. 

Display and Controls

Uniden Atlantis 270 Handheld Floating 2-Way 1/2,5/6 Watt VHF Marine Radio, JIS7/IPX7 Submersible Waterproof level and Designed to Float, All USA, International, and Canadian Marine Channels, - Black Color

The Uniden Atlantis 270 represents one of the most intuitive VHF radios. It comes with a clear manual to help you get started. The buttons are easy to learn and the backlit LCD is great allowing use of this radio day and night.

It has one power button where pressing and holding it down will either turn the radio ON or OFF. It allows you to save personalized channels using the L/M/H-MEM button. You can turn WX channels on and off as well as access channel 9 and 16 fast using the 16/9-Tri button. When WX is turned on, the radio will give you an alert to listen to an emergency weather channel when there needed. 

The Uniden Atlantis is designed to give you an affordable way to help ensure your safety on the water. Which us clear with its dual and triple operation to monitor a regular marine channel and two Coast Guard/Hailing channels. 

Atlantis 270 Battery Life

Long boating sessions of over 10 hours require a marine radio that can withstand use without draining the battery. We found that even though Uniden has indicated that this device has a 10-hour battery life, it can only manage half the time with light use. So if most of your boating trips are longer full day trips and you have no way of charging on your boat this might not be the best radio for you.

It is powered by one rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery. You get AC and DC adapters to recharge your radio; so, on most boats you can keep it charged if needed. You can use your boat’s 12volt system or charge it or back at the house with the AC adapter. A charging cradle is also included.


The Uniden Atlantis 270 has a 3-year warranty. It is covered for defects in craftsmanship and materials as a result of the manufacturer; Uniden. As such, the warranty will be void if you alter the design using a conversion kit or failing to take the proper measures to maintain the device.


  • You can monitor and save channels on it
  • It has all US and Canadian Marine Channels 
  • It has nine weather channels 
  • 6 Watts output power with selectable 1 and 2.5W output power and BOOST key 
  • Submersible to 1-meter depth for 30 minutes
  • It has a belt clip
  • Comes with AC and DC adapters
  • It has glow seals and a backlit LCD 


  • The battery life is limited and may not be reliable for extended use
  • No GPS capability

Uniden Atlantis 270 vs. Uniden MHS75

Uniden MHS75 Waterproof Handheld 2-Way VHF Marine radio, Submersible, Selectable 1/2.5/5 Watt Transmit Power. All USA/International and Canadian Marine Channels - Color Black

The Uniden MHS75 is the rugged cousin of Uniden Atlantis 270. It features an IPX8 water resistance rating. It can withstand more time in the water if it falls overboard as opposed to the Atlantis 270. This marine radio also has a longer battery life - up to ten hours. 

It has a rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery that can be charged using a DC or AC adapter. Not only that, this device can accept four AAA batteries as an emergency power backup. It is a crucial addition when you want to stay out longer on the water. 

It supports all NOAA weather channels, and it has US, Canadian, and International channels. It allows simultaneous monitoring of two coastguard/hailing channels as well as a regular marine channel. What’s more, you can save up to 100 locations of your choice. 

Like the Atlantis 270, this radio has a bright LCD screen that can be used day and night. 

The major distinction between the two devices is that the total output of MHS75 is 5W. It has a shorter transmission range than the Atlantis 270, so you are a bit limited to how far out you want to communicate. It also has selectable 1 and 2.5 output powers and a BOOST key. 


Every die-hard boating enthusiast knows the importance of a VHF marine radio. The Uniden Atlantis 270 is a useful VHF radio that you get to have on a budget. It has USA and Canadian channels as well as NOAA weather channels. Whether you want one for emergencies or your boating with friends, this is a great choice.  

Icom M93D Handheld VHF Marine Radio Review

Icom handheld marine radio
Icom M93 handheld marine radio

The Icom M93 is a powerful 48-channel handheld VHF radio and a valuable marine accessory for every vessel. Its key features include its floating and waterproof capability which doesn’t just protect the device from water damage but also increases its lifespan. With the safety advantages of DSC (Digital Selective Calling), rest assured that you’re in good hands and have reliable access to distress channels should an emergency on the water arrive.

With an IPX-7 rating, Icom M93 can withstand immersion in 1-meter deep water for up to 30 minutes. A useful feature for those unfortunate accidents when you accidentally drop your device off the boat. You don’t have to worry about the speaker getting wet and damaged either, the Icom M93 has a high-tech feature known as “Aqua Quake” which puts the speaker on vibrating mode and shakes off water from the device. This allows your speaker to work with no disturbance from water stranded on its surface.

The Icom M93 is equipped with a long-lasting rechargeable battery which can remain powered up for the whole day. With its intuitive battery indicator display found on the screen, you know when you need to recharge your radio before it dies. It also has an active noise canceling feature that’s very useful for stormy or windy situations.

Main Features

  • Floating and Flashing Capability - Accidentally dropped your device in the water? No worries! The M93 has a floating design which allows it to float on its back while the backlit keypads flash making it easier to retrieve the device even in pitch black water.
  • Compact and Stylish Design - Even with a small height of 145mm and weight of 310 grams, The Icom M93D wows with its impressive design. Its flat sheet keypad makes the device look sleek and slim. It’s so well-built that it fits perfectly in your palm.
  • Intuitive User Interface - ICOM is known for creating the best user interface for marine electronics simply because they are so user-friendly and easy to operate. This is very important for non-tech savvy people.
  • Waterproof to IPX-7 - Can withstand immersion in 1-meter deep water for up to 30 minutes.
  • Active Noise Canceling Technology - reduces background noise for better transmissions. This feature can be a lifesaver when you’re transmitting in rough conditions or a around a noisy marine environment.
  • Aquaquake - feature that drains water from the speaker grill using the device’s vibrating mode.
  • Built-in Class D DSC - The ICOM M93 includes its own dedicated second channel which monitors Channel 70 regularly. When you push the red distress button on the rear of the radio, the distress signal gets sent to the coast guard and other DSC radio-equipped vessels. They will receive your GPS coordinates, boat name, and phone number for emergency contact.
  • Backlit LCD display - View all functions and information easily even in the dark.
  • Dual and Tri-Watch Feature - enables you to monitor the distress channel while receiving messages on another channel of your choice.

Additional Features:

  • High Contrast Dot Matrix
  • Dual/Tri- Watch
  • Save up to 50 waypoints with alphanumeric names
  • Favorite channel function
  • Weather channel alarm
  • Battery indicator
  • auto Battery Saver
  • Built-In GPS Receiver
  • MOB Position Marking


  • Antenna, FA-SC59V
  • Hand strap
  • Owner’s Manual
  • Cigarette lighter cable, CP-25H
  • Belt clip, MB-133
  • Battery charger, BC-220
  • Battery pack, BP-285
  • AC adapter, BC-123SA


  • Weight: 9.3 Ounces
  • Dimensions:  2 3/8" Width x 5 5/8" Height x 1 3/4" Depth
  • Available Color:: Black
  • Display Color: Grayscale
  • Display: 2.3" Diagonal High-Visibility Polarized Dot Matrix LCD with Softglow
  • Battery Life: 9 Hours
  • Battery Type : Lithium-Ion 1570mAh
  • Material: Polycarbonate (Housing)
  • Die-Cast: Aluminum (Chassis)
  • Transmit Power: 1/5 Watt
  • Warranty Details: Three Years

ICOM M93 vs Standard Horizon HX870:

When it comes to transmitting power the Icom M93 has only two options 1 or 5 watts while the Standard Horizon HX870 has three (1, 2, or 6 watts) which means using the HX870 can give you more options to change the output power and save battery. In terms of waterproof rating, Icom M93’s IPX7 rating also falls slightly behind HX870 which has a IPX8 rating. An IPX8 rating provides more protection if you accidentally drop your device overboard (it can still work even when submerged of up-to 3 feet). Both radios have good battery life, however, the HX870 proves more powerful with its 1800 mAH lithium-ion battery compared to the M93’s 1570 mAH lithium ion type. Our verdict? The Standard Horizon HX870 packs a little more features than Icom M93. And with just a little price difference between the two, the wiser option is to purchase the device that will give you more for your money which is the HX870.

Closing thoughts and suggestions:

The Icom M93 is a good choice if you’re looking for a durable, easy-to-use, and compact VHF radio that has all the life-saving features like Float n Flash, Aqua Quake and Active Noise canceling. However, compared to same-price models like the Standard HX870, the Icom M93 significantly falls behind. Despite this, the Icom M93 is worth every penny, and if you’re a long time Icom buyer, this device won’t fail you. In fact, it can help keep you safe whilst out on the water. It is made especially for passionate and adventurous boaters.

Uniden MHS235 Review

Uniden MHS235 VHF marine radio
Uniden MHS235 VHF marine radio

Uniden MHS235 is a top of the line VHF marine radio from UNIDEN. Uniden is quite famous for making two way radios, and this model is specifically designed for marine use. This well made rugged case is JIS8 rated - meaning that it is usable for continuous submersion in water under specified pressure ( 5ft for 1 hour without damaging the radio). 

As you would expect from a high end radio, there is a GPS receiver with built in DSC function as well as GPS compass. Once you press the red distress button, an emergency signal with your coordinates will be transmitted every few minutes until you receive a response. Let's say you are thrown off the board or your boat sunk, UNIDEN MHS235 will be floating and sending signal - life saving feature!! 

Uniden MHS235 Handheld Submersible 2-Way 5W Digital Selective Calling (DSC) Marine Radio - Black

Transmitter power select lets you choose from 3 power modes - 1W, 2.5W or full power 6W. This UNIDEN marine radio has dual and triple power watch - simultaneously monitor weather channel and 2 Coast Guard Distress/Hailing channels. All NOAA channels  will get you weather alerts, also extremely useful when you are out on the water.

Something that we don't see so often is the temperature measuring tool that lets you measure water and air temperature. ​There is a also a built in SOS function - this Uniden vhf marine radio will be flashing built in LED light in SOS pattern. 

The display on UNIDEN MHS235  has a backlit and can be reversed, meaning you can switch between light background and dark background. You can also pull up built in compass on it.

Overall, this is a great radio that you can find on sale for under $200.

Some of the feature include:

  • 6 watt VHF Select between 1, 2.5, and 6 Watts
  • All NOAA weather channels
  • USA/Internationa/Canada Channels
  • Submersiable to 5ft for 1 hour
  • DSC with GPS
  • GPS compass
  • Compass
  • Instant Channel 16/9
  • Tri-Watch
  • Floats
  • Water and air temperature measuring
  • Glow in the dark with key lock
  • Limited 3 Year Warranty
  • Dimensions - 2 x 2 x 2 inches

But what do actual users say about this radio? Are they actually happy with their purchase? Let’s find out the pros, cons and what reviewers are saying about this radio. Below are the most common pros and cons that people have stated in their reviews on Amazon.

  • 4.1 out of 5 Stars
  • 538 Total Customer reviews
  • 60% of Customers Rated the Radio 5 Stars
  • High end features
  • Excellent Unit For the Price
  • Extra safety features like Glowing and SOS flash signal
  • Comes only with a 12V car/cigarette  charger