Smartphones have made it easier than ever to communicate on the go. But for businesspeople, there are some situations where smartphones just won’t cut it. That’s where the new Cobra Chat Tag walkie-talkie comes in.
With a smartphone, you’ve got to use your hands, answer the phone, or get a text alert in order to communicate. However, that’s not always practical. Consider this:
- Construction workers or warehouse employees who don’t have a hand free to text or dial
- Customer-facing employees in event planning or hospitality settings who need to communicate, but don’t want to look at their phones and ignore the customer
- Settings where you don’t have cellular service or Wi-Fi
The Cobra Chat Tag is a small circular walkie-talkie that fits in your palm and clips to your shirt. (See photos.) According to the manufacturer, it’s the smallest wearable two-way radio on the market, thanks to its internal antenna.
I can think of dozens of business applications where Chat Tags would come in handy:
- At a trade show or conference, use it to communicate between those working the booth and those walking the show floor.
- Wedding, party or event planners can use it to talk to the catering team, time the bride and groom’s entrance perfectly, etc.
- Security guards can communicate with each other from different spots around the business while still keeping their hands free.
- Agricultural businesses can use Chat Tags to communicate among workers in the field.
- For landscaping businesses, Chat Tags allow hands-free communication across the work area without slowing down planting or maintenance.
- Food service or catering businesses can use them to communicate between front- and back-of-the-house employees.
- Child-care workers inside and outside the building, or on field trips, can stay in touch without taking their eyes off the children.
- Communicating between drivers of multiple vehicles (as long as you are all within the device’s 12-mile range) for deliveries or field service teams.
So I put it to the test. My business partners and I gave the Cobra Chat Tags a go.
There’s a very sturdy clip to attach it securely to your jacket, shirt, vest, etc. (You need to keep it about 6 inches from your mouth for best results, so you can’t attach it to a belt).
The Cobra Chat Tag is super simple to use. Just press and hold the Talk button to speak to others; when you’re done, release the Talk button so you can hear the response. It beeps to get your attention when a transmission is coming through.
The device is easy to use with one hand, because the Talk, Power, and Volume/Channel buttons are all shaped differently. That means you can identify them by feel instead of having to look down and fumble with the device. (You can see the buttons in the photo below.)
The walkie-talkies are easy to turn on and off: Just press the on-off button for four seconds and the device announces, “Hello, this system is on,” or ‘Bye-bye.”
I enlisted my business partner and we tested the Cobra Chat Tags in several different simulated business settings:
- Near loud machinery, such as in a warehouse or manufacturing setting
- Near loud music and conversation, such as at an event, party or conference
- Outdoors on a busy street with vehicle traffic
- On different sides of a construction site
- A couple miles distance from each other
The Cobra Chat Tag worked great in the first three situations. It was easy to hear despite (sometimes very loud) background noise. The + and – signs for volume up or down are raised and you can feel them with your finger so there’s no fumbling. You can also plug earbuds into the audio jack if you don’t want your conversation broadcast to the world.
However, when the two walkie-talkies were separated by multiple buildings, the sound tended to break up. Our test took place in an urban area with lots of structures; I can see these working well in a more wide-open location, such as an agricultural setting or driving on an interstate.
The walkie-talkies charge in about five hours with a micro USB cable and deliver about 10 hours of talk time per charge. The Cobra Chat Tag works with any other walkie-talkie so you can incorporate it into your existing technology easily—although at a retail price of just $49.99 for a pair, you can also afford to replace your current technology without blowing your budget.
The Cobra Chat Tag has a wide range of applications for personal use, too. Going on a hike? Taking the kids to an amusement park? Weeding in the garden while your spouse is working in the home office upstairs? Just grab the same set of Cobra Chat Tags you use for your business and use them to keep tabs on each other.
Photos © Jeff K. Dibble