There are many differences between Milos and walkie-talkies (or handheld radios), just as there are many differences between different types walkie-talkies. Here, we focus on comparing to out-of-the box walkie-talkies sold as license-free, but we also mention FRS/GMRS radios.
- Milo is designed to be easy to use, easy enough for a kid and straightforward enough for anyone to use immediately without spending time studying a manual with tiny font. Most walkie-talkies come with sizable instructions, button press combinations that are hard to remember for most adults, let alone for kids.
- Starting a conversation with another Milo is simple. All you need to do is hold the side button on both. Done. With walkie-talkies, you need to choose the channel, listen to check if that channel has other people on it, then try another channel. You also need to pick an available "privacy" key and make sure everyone uses the same "privacy" key so you hear only each other but not other people on the channel. If you change channel or code by mistake, you better remember how to set it again.
- Speaking of "privacy" keys... those keys don't actually make your conversations private.
Any user who tunes to the same channel and code that you are using can listen to your conversation. These codes actually eliminate interference, including other conversations using other codes. It's the trick walkie-talkies use to cram more people into the few available channels.
- Milo is intended primarily for hands-free and eyes-free use so you can focus on your activity and on sharing experiences rather than push radio buttons and wait for a response. Walkie-talkies are primarily push-to-talk (PTT) devices. But, you say, what if I want the PTT experience on my Milo? Milo lets you have your cake and eat it too! There is a seamless PTT mode for those who prefer it.
- With Milos, you can have a natural conversation with your group like you would around a camp fire or on a Zoom call: anyone can jump in to comment, people can talk at the same time and still be heard. The ability to talk and listen at the same time is called full duplex. Walkie-talkies are primarily half duplex: Only one person at a time can talk and be heard by the others, and they must wait for that person to stop talking before they start talking if they want to be heard.
- Because Milo's mic is on by default, you can start talking anytime without pressing a button. Some walkie-talkies have a VOX voice-activation feature that's intended to pick up your voice without needing to press a button. That VOX feature is still half duplex, allowing only one person at a time to speak. VOX often misses short responses, like a "yes" or "no" because it doesn't open the mic to transmit until it's sure there is speech. Or if it's set to be more sensitive, it usually triggers on background noises.
- Milo has an IP67 rating, meaning it's 100% protected against dust and sand, and protected against being under water up to 30 minutes at a depth of 1m (3ft). When you evaluate walkie-talkies, pay attention to the IP (ingress protection) rating. If they say IPX7, IPX6, or similar, it means no protection against dust or sand. Some claim to be waterproof or water-resistant but list an IPX4 or IP5 rating, which do not guarantee they'll work after being submerged in water.
- Milo is small and light, so it can be easily worn and out of the way. No external antenna sticking out and no heavy battery packs, like walkie-talkies have.
- Milo is a no-license communicator certified for legal use in many countries. Radio use is highly regulated with different laws in different countries applied to what radio frequencies can be used at what power. Any walkie-talkie that is able to transmit above 2 Watts on the shared FRS/GMRS frequencies requires an FCC license in the US.