I second the Yaesu VX-150. It is very close to being the perfect 2m HT. Here is my little review...
***Good (best traits at top)***
1) 5 watts of output power with the stock batteries. Some bargain 2m HTs require either a power cable or an optional extra battery to get 5W. This one gives you 5W out of the box.
2) Wide-band receive (140 to 174MHz). Allows you to monitor weather and marine bands.
3) Lots of channels (200). What good is the extra receive is you have no place to hold the frequencies? I have mine loaded with ALL repeaters within 100 miles, all marine frequences, all weather frequencies, and still have room left over!
4) 7-character alpha tagging of the channels. This makes it easier to keep those 200 channels organized.
5) Digital and tone squelch transmit AND decode. Being able to decode tone and digital squelch is just what the doctor ordered for those simplex conversations.
6) Sturdy aluminum construction. Although not waterproof, this radio looks like it could survive being run over by a truck (not that I want to try it).
7) It features a REAL volume know, and a REAL squelch knob. No button-poking to change either the volume or squelch.
Backlit buttons. Makes dark operation easier. Note that only the buttons glow. The text printed above the buttons will still be illegible in the dark.
9) Beefy manly belt clip. It works, and it would take a LOT of abuse to get it to break. It can be a pain at times to get the radio off, though. So a separate speaker/mic is recommended.
10) Large speaker with nice audio output.
***Bad*** (most annoying at the top)**
1) The supplied battery is a 700mAh NiCad! I think that a package of capacitors would give more run time. To supply 1800mAh NiMH batteries would have increased manufacturing costs by approximately $10.00. Note that an aftermarket 1750mAH NiMH is available for well under $50)
2) No actual battery meter on the display. The only way to monitor the battery is throgh a menu selection, and this gives you the raw battery voltage? If the battery reads 7.3V, is this battery strong, or close to death? You will have to know this type of information. Also, if you do not actively check the voltage occasionaly, then your battery will die without warning. You also cannot easily tell when the battery is finished charging.
3) The menus could have been organized better. A heirarchial menu system would have required one extra button press, but would have been much easier to learn.
4) No freeware programming software is available. Even if you already have or can make your own cable, you will have to pay money for the software.
5) Size. The big three have much more capable radios in much smaller sizes. I do not see why this unit could not be one inch shorter.
3) Difficult battery clip. It is almost impossible to remove the batteries with your bare hands. And if you use a metal object to open the clip, you may scratch the finish off of the clip. I use the blunt end of a plastic ballpoint pen to remove the battery.