Pros / The Cobra ACXT 390 weighs less than a quarter of a pound.
Cons / The maximum range is only 23 miles, much less than other walkie talkies.
Verdict / The Cobra ACXT 390 is good for hiking and camping, but its range forces you to stay near your group.
The Cobra ACXT 390 is a lightweight walkie talkie radio, making it especially useful for camping and hiking trips where you need to carefully manage the weight of your supplies. This two-way radio allows you to tune in to local NOAA weather channels, and it alerts you to local emergencies. However, its range is not as far as that of many of the other radios we reviewed.
The Cobra ACXT 390 has access to both FRS and GMRS frequencies, but the GMRS channels require a license through the FCC. Our range test included both a low-powered FRS channel and a high-powered GMRS channel. The ACXT 390 performed better on the FRS channel than on the GMRS test. In our 1.5-mile test on an FRS frequency, we were able to understand an average of 65 percent of our test transmission – the second highest at that distance of all the units we tested. This unit is clear up to a mile on both frequencies, but any distance beyond that will probably have a distorted signal. The best walkie talkies we tested have an effective range of up to 2 miles.
The ACXT 390 walkie talkie set comes with a rechargeable battery and a charging dock, but if you run out of batteries while you’re away from civilization, you can replace the rechargeable battery with three disposable AA batteries. Like the other Cobra walkie talkies we reviewed, this unit features a micro-USB charging port on the top of the radio.
The 390 has access to local NOAA weather channels, and if there is a local emergency, your radio will alert you. Note that this model lacks a silent mode and SOS signals. The ACXT 390 also doesn’t feature a flashlight or LED, while several of the other units we reviewed do.
This walkie talkie weighs only 4.8 ounces, which is tied for the lightest unit we reviewed. That portability means the unit is smaller and it can also be easily packed for a trip. However, our testers rated the grip for the ACXT 390 as the second worst of the units in our walkie talkie reviews. They do not have any rubberized grips, and they have no textured plastic to help the grip. If you have larger hands, this isn’t as much of an issue because your fingers can probably wrap all the way around the unit when you’re holding it, but two-way radios with rubber to help secure the grip scored better in our rankings.
The ACXT 390’s packaging states that the walkie talkie is weather resistant, but Cobra doesn’t list any IPX ratings with that statement. Because of the lack of a rating, we can’t recommend that you use this walkie talkie in any kind of rain or wet situation. Additionally, while there is a belt clip on the ACXT 390, it is non-adjustable and stiff, and it took some effort for our reviewers to attach it to their belts.
The Cobra ACXT 390 has a one-year warranty, which is average for the category. Cobra offers several support options from its website, where you can find a downloadable user manual and a FAQs section.
The Cobra ACXT 390 is a lightweight walkie talkie with several great features. Its range is not as good as the other two-way radios we reviewed, but it did perform fairly well up to a mile and a half on the FRS frequency. The ACXT 390 has access to NOAA weather channels and alerts and can run on three AA batteries if the rechargeable battery runs out.
The Cobra ACXT 390 is a lightweight walkie talkie with several great features. Its range is not as good as any of the other two-way radios we reviewed, with a maximum range of 23 miles. Fortunately, it has access to NOAA weather channels and alerts and can run on three AA batteries if the rechargeable battery runs out.