Vertex Standard recently announced the VX-230 radio series of analog portable radios that are designed to provide greater band coverage and more signaling features than the company’s previous models, including the VX-160.

With a list price of $240 per unit, the first product in the new series is the VX-231, which is smaller--¾- inch shorter and ¼- inch thinner—than the VX-160 and two ounces lighter, primarily because of the use of a lithium-ion battery, said Chris Lyons, Vertex’s director of product management.

“We saw a need for a smaller, lighter radio with a couple more features at the bottom end of the tiering, so the engineers in Japan put their thinking caps on and figured out how to pack a whole bunch of features into a fairly compact radio,” Lyons said during an interview with Urgent Communications.

Some of the new features include slightly longer battery life, dual watch priority scan, dual-tone multifrequency (DTMF) automatic number identification (ANI), a DTMF emergency feature and squelch management, Lyons said. However the most notable feature of the radio is its band coverage—134-174 MHz and 450-512 MHz—which should be particularly appealing to dealers, Lyons said.

“The prime benefit of the [band coverage] is to the dealer who is selling the radio,” he said. “Where before, he would have had to stock two separate models of the VX-160, he only needs to stock one model of the VX-231, and he can serve customers across the entire band.”

Because the VX-231 does not have the high-end RF performance typically required by first responders, Lyons said he does not believe the product is suited for public-safety and utility field personnel. However, the low-cost radio could be ideal for warehousing applications and for personnel in parks or inspection departments, he said.