EMCI Wireless Blog

Which Motorola Portable Radio Is the Best?

Just this month, school security officers accidentally alerted police via two-way radio to a school fight. In this instance, it seems little harm came from two-way radio misuse. But it illustrates a larger issue.

Two-way portable radios are effective if used properly. But if you have the wrong model for your needs, it could easily mishandled. This leads to miscommunication, which can become dangerous fast.

That’s why it’s essential you investigate your options before you choose a radio model.

The Motorola portable radio has been leading the way for many years. Their offerings vary from simple push-to-talk (PTT) handsets to touchscreen and internet capabilities.

Which model should your business use? Read on for a brief overview of some of the most popular models and what kind of work they’re best suited to.

Motorola MOTOTBRO XPR 3000e Series

The XPR 3000e Series is one of the most basic and functional two-way radios available. Not only does it make the hardware affordable, but it’s also suited to almost all environments.

There are two radios within the series, each with its own strengths.

XPR 3300e

The XPR 3300e is the simplest of the two radios. It features no screen or alphanumerical buttons. This is the perfect radio for a workforce that needs minimal distraction.

For example, those working in public safety will like its lack of bells and whistles. Its only functionality is a PTT button for communication. That means you can always connect to your teams right away, without getting distracted by messages on a screen.

Despite its simplicity, it’s actually very technologically advanced. The radio can run on digital or analog frequencies, so any company can use it. And the handset connects to WiFi and Bluetooth for remote updates.

The lack of features gives it an extraordinary battery life of over 28 hours! This is perfect for those who may have to respond to an unexpected, drawn-out situation. The radio won’t run out for over a day.

XPR 3500e

The XPR 3500e delivers all of the benefits – including the battery life – of the 3300e. But in addition, it features a screen and seven simple buttons.

The screen is a basic two-line monochrome display. The minimal buttons allow for navigation without overcomplicating things.

This is a great choice for teams looking for an affordable, simple radio. It also suits teams who work in high-pressure situations, but who would want more than just a PTT button.

Motorola Ion

The Motorola Ion is one of the most advanced two-way radios available today. Its touchscreen interface allows users to access many applications compatible with the device. More than that, the handset has a rear-facing camera and an internet connection.

How do these features translate to a workplace?

  • Stadium workers can scan ticket barcodes and communicate on one device
  • Warehouse workers can scan inventory with the camera while staying in touch
  • Remote engineers can video call a colleague for assistance with a problem

In any case, this makes it the most versatile Motorola portable radio. Dozens of industries can find apps unique to their line of work to streamline their processes.

That being said, versatility isn’t needed in every situation. If you work in a high-pressure industry, the touchscreen may be a distraction.

Of course, the radio still has a PTT button. But if that’s all you need, the Ion’s complexity may not be necessary for you.

Motorola R7

Nowadays, there is complex legislation dedicated to sound moderation. But volume control is difficult in environments where the volume is always changing. If that sounds like your industry, you may like the Motorola R7.

The R7’s stand-out feature is its volume. Its standard maximum volume is 102 phons. But for extreme circumstances, you can even dial this up to 107 phons.

But it’s more than just a loudspeaker! What makes the Motorola R7 special is its intelligent volume control.

This feature registers the volume of your environment and adjusts your speaker accordingly. As you move from a loud to a quiet environment, the volume automatically dials down to an appropriate level.

Plus, the microphones themselves filter out feedback and background noise. So the chaos of your environment is never passed on, only your voice.

As for the handset’s functionality, it has buttons and a small screen. These offer messaging and notification capabilities. But they keep it simple, only showing what’s important.

All in all, this is the perfect Motorola handheld radio for loud work, and where messaging is helpful. Imagine transitioning from site to the office without even touching your volume! Conversely, it may not be the best choice for emergency response settings, as the interface could cause distraction.

Motorola APX Series

Motorola designed the APX Series with industry-specific requirements in mind. They worked with public safety teams to create radios that hold up in extreme situations. Most of these are therefore best suited to public safety, but other industries can also benefit from their unique features. They also offer advanced programming options.


The N70 is designed for those in public safety who also need to have situational awareness. As well as the PTT button, the handset features an all-weather touchscreen.

Even in the most difficult conditions, users receive and respond to critical updates. But they still have a small keypad for quick responses. This is all made possible by the internet connectivity of the device and its 14-hour battery life.


The N50 is designed with the same principles in mind, but is simpler to use. The battery life will last for 10 hours.

The display is a touchscreen, but users also have buttons for efficient communication. And it can still use WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS, though not LTE.


The simplest of these three radios is the N30; the most budget-friendly option. This radio pares down functionality to the basics, though it still has a touchscreen.


This series is designed with fire responders in mind. The NEXT XN is built to the latest fire service standards. And the radio is ergonomic even for gloved hands.

Users can fill the touchscreen with specific applications to help with communication. And it’s suited for use in all weather.


In the most extreme situations, you may need to stay connected even beyond your network. The NEXT XE is designed to handle long-distance communication with extended connectivity.

Like the XN, the touchscreen is weatherproof. But this radio is even more rugged, being built for the most extreme situations.


Moving away from touchscreens, the 8000HXE offers incredible durability.

It can withstand four hours of water submersion and temperatures of up to 500˚F. For context, the majority of house fires burn at just 100˚F at floor level.

But the radio doesn’t compromise on quality, with far-reaching connectivity and text messaging features.

APX 8000H

The 8000H is a valuable asset in critical situations for its volume control. Whether you whisper or shout, receivers will always hear you loud and clear.

APX 6000XE

Motorola designed the 6000XE specifically for those in the middle of the scene. For teams like fire responders and EMS, the radio keeps things simple with no buttons or a screen.

It is just a PTT radio, except it can withstand extreme conditions. And it has special features like Man Down and Intelligent Lighting to help with complex responses.

APX 6000

The 6000 is almost as rugged as the 6000XE, but it has more communication features. The color screen and alphanumerical buttons allow for alerts and messages. This is an excellent choice for those who want a bit more flexibility, but a rugged piece of equipment.

APX 4000

The APX 4000 doesn’t have the same ruggedness as the 6000’s. Rather, its appeal is its size. The 4000 is the smallest P25-enabled handset available!

That means users have some of the best connectivity out there without having to carry a large radio. It’s also equipped with GPS for safety, and a monochrome screen and buttons.

APX 900

Of the APX radios, the 900 is the simplest. It’s not designed to equip a firefighter that’s running into a blaze or to go underwater. But it can keep those in the education or security industry connected at an affordable price.

The Best Motorola Portable Radio for Your Business

By now, you should have a better idea of which Motorola portable radio best suits your business.

Do you need a handset with just a PTT button to keep things simple? Or could your business benefit from modern features like a camera for barcode scanning or live-streaming videos?

Either way, you’ll need to work with a Motorola provider you can trust.

EMCI Wireless is one of Motorola’s highest-tier Florida providers when it comes to radio. Let us know exactly what your business needs so we can develop a customized subscription. Get in touch with us today to get started!