TECHNICALLY, one should have a GMRS license to use these radios.
That “R” on the end of the model number (MS355R) means they support GMRS repeater use (listed in specs). If one strictly follows the current rules, that one feature means these are classified as GMRS radios, not FRS. As this model was originally produced before the 2017 rule changes, things are fuzzy.
The repeater feature is turned off by default and must be turned on manually in the settings. These radios meet all the other rules concerning FRS radios. As long as one does not enable the repeater option, no one will be able to tell the difference between these or any other FRS radio just by listening to your broadcasts.
I have the Hi-Vis Yellow version (MS350R), which I purchased prior to the rule change and continue to use in “FRS-only” mode. I paid $85 for the pair. I have used them on several road trips. In wide open spaces I easily get two miles. Woods or hills that goes down to under a mile, more like 1/2 mile, which is typical for FRS wattage radios.
I use Eneloop NiMH AA batteries instead of the included battery packs . I typically get 3 days usage before needing to replace batteries. When changing the batteries, the radios will keep their settings if you do the swap under 5 seconds. If it takes longer than 5 seconds all the settings reset to defaults (including repeater disabled).
There are two broadcast buttons: High and Low Power. This is a holdover from the pre-2017 rules which limited the wattage FRS could broadcast on the shared FRS/GMRS channels (1-7). After the rule change you are allowed to use the “Hi-Power” broadcast button on all channels. Just know this radio is “locked” to broadcast @ 1/4 watt on channels 8-14 (former FRS only channels) regardless of which button you press.
Have not had to test their waterproof or floating abilities. There is a warning that the radios may not float when using AA batteries instead of the included battery pack.
If you want to use the repeater function, it’s a $35 license which is good for 10 years and lets everyone in your immediate family broadcast with your callsign. That said, with a license one is also allowed more powerful radios.