on August 28, 2012
I just received this radio. I purchased it for emergency purposes. Here is a summary of the features: AM/FM/7 weather bands. The reception in my area for all 3 functions is excellent. It comes with a retractable antenna which tucks away nicely when not in use. The radio is powered in 1 of 4 ways: solar (takes 10 hrs of direct sunlight to completely charge the NiMH battery); an included NiMH battery which is what is charged by the solar panel & the hand cranking (90 seconds of hand cranking yields 5-7 minutes of radio use per the instructions). The NiMH can also be powered by plugging the radio into a USB port on a computer (2 hrs to charge the battery this way). The radio can also be powered by 3 AAA batteries (not included). In addition, there is an adapter for DC power, but no charger was included (I need to call the manufacturer to inquire). The radio comes with a clock and alarm clock. A cell phone can also be charged via a "dump" from the included NiMH battery--the built in battery simply trickles the charge from the radio to the cell phone. The radio is indeed plastic, but doesn't see "cheap" to me, and if basic care is taken, the radio should do fine. The crank is also made of plastic, but again, with common sense, should provide years of service. I paid $45 for this radio on Amazon, and plan on getting several more for family/friends. There is a simple 2 white LED light and a blinking red LED. Someone criticized this light, but seriously, if you want a good light, then buy a dedicated flash light!! The built in LED light is adequate for a simple task, but it's not an "uber-lumen" light--I would suggest a Steamlight or Surefire light for a great LED light.
on July 26, 2012
I've had this radio for a little over a week now and have beeen putting it thru it's paces. All three bands, AM, FM and the weather band have excellent reception. I have no problem recieving the weather stations here in Western Massachusetts and both AM and FM recieve all the loca; stations perfectly. Audio quality which I admit isn't the primary reason to buy an emergency radio is really realy good. Sound quality is more than acceptable and volume is capable of being loud enough to be heard in a noisey room without distortion. I haven't tested the rechargable battery capacity yet but have confirmed that charging buy usb, solar or hand crank work as advertised. What makes this radio unique is the way it recharges a cell phone, instead of needing to use the hand crank, you charge the phone via a battery dump from the onboard rechargeable battery pack. You recharge the radio battery then plug in the phone which means you don't have to sit there and crank. After trying a few different emergency radios I find this one a keeper and I'm extremely happy with the purchase
on September 27, 2012
I own the eton FR160 Microlink, and the Kaito KA350 Voyager. Both are great for bug-out bags or camping, but I was looking for something for my home preparedness kit, and thought I'd like something a bit larger, with more to offer than the other radios. I was prepared to purchase another Kaito, mainly because it allows you to use batteries as a 3rd power source. But then I saw the FRX3 and after hours of research between the Kaito, the eton FR600, FR360, Axis, and the FX3, looking up the manufacturer's manuals rather than reviews, I decided to go with the FRX3.
The main feature that clinched it for me wasn't really even advertised. I compared this to the eton FR600 and the Axis. The FRX3 does state in the manual that it dump-charges like the Axis (and it DOES), but it's not really advertised anywhere else. The styling looks a little nicer too than the AXIS. But the FRX3 supports solar charging, and the Axis does NOT. They're both the same price, but an extra power source is a definite plus, especially if it's "free". You CAN tune the FRX3 with the knob, or the up and down buttons, a nice feature I stumbled upon. It also supports 24 hour time, but it's not in the manual. Just press SET for the hour, again for the minutes, and again for the 12/24 hour. The unit charges through a window even on a slightly over cast day, so I can leave it in the window and not worry about the battery going dead from non-use, or having to keep it plugged in. Compared to the eton FR600, you give up the shortwave capability, and the date on the clock, but the FR600 does NOT support the dump charge, nor does it use the USB input to charge - a big sticking point for me - all I need is a USB AC Adapter, a mini USB cable and a micro USB cable, and I can charge my phones, 2-way radios, GPS, and almost anything else I need, including the FRX3. Nice, instead of everything having it's own cable.
The flashlight it a little weak (I couldn't find a lumens rating, but it's only the top 2 LEDs, I'm guessing 50 - less than a square lantern flashlight), but it's good as an emergency one until you find your main light. The red LED beacon is kinda goofy, but I guess it serves a purpose. Some do SOS, this ones does not.
This radio has everything you could want, except for the shortwave capability. Like I said, you can move to the FR600, but you loose the dump charge, which makes a big difference, and you can't use a USB cable to charge it. And it's $20 more.
The only downside I've found is that you can't turn the unit off. You get ON, or STANDBY, which leaves the clock on. I guess you'd need that for the SAME function, but I have a separate unit for that and would like to shut this off to save the battery. Otherwise, LOVE IT. If you're juggling a few, BUY THIS ONE.
on November 27, 2012
The product is labeled a "dump-charge" for smartphones. Though we may all think that we can plug the USB end of the smartphone charger (in my case iPhone 5) into the USB port and start cranking to charge, This is a false assumption for such power-hungry phones.
I was very disappointed when i first plugged in my iPhone 5 charger to this and cranked and saw that it was incompatible (this just means that the charge output is too low to charge). But when I realized that after a while of cranking and putting the solar panel (on the side) under a lamp for a while and tried to charge my phone again: the result was very surprising.
The Dump-Charge simply means (or at least the way i see it) that the product will dump all the stored energy into the phone. When the charge is insufficient, the phone will not accept it as a charge device (there's nothing coming through). But when the radio is charged a bit and plugged in, the charging will proceed.
I apologize for my earlier hesistant and angry review before.
THIS DEVICE DOES CHARGE iPhones (probably other smartphones as well) -just follow these steps:
1.Charge up the device's battery by cranking, solar, plugging it into another power source
2. make sure the device is OFF and the turn-wheel marker is not on "Cell"
3. Plug in your USB phone charger
4. turn the turn-wheel marker to "Cell"
5. Wait until phone says "Incompatible" (it means that the device's battery has now ran dry -time to crank again!)
6. Charge your phone fully (I recommend frequent attempts to keep the phone's battery above 90% just in case)
##Charging is very slow##
**The manufacturer should definitely put this instruction in the manual.... -_-***
on August 7, 2012
I will just summarize this product:
construction is plastic- I don't believe it is waterproof (not a big deal to me). If you drop it, it may break depending on the height it is dropped from.
It has a cable for charging and comes with a rechargeable battery.
It can charge an iPhone4s and a Droid X2.
the crank is plastic so be gentle. You don't have to have brute strength to crank it or to utilize the recharge function.
The antenna is retractable and metal. It is easy to break but you can keep it tucked out of the way. The reception is good and dependent on your location. (am/fm/weather)
There is a solar recharging cell on the handle and it works nicely.
The flashlight is a joke. It is best suited for reading something close-up. Your best bet is to also have a flashlight around for emergencies. The flashing red light is also a joke. Again, have a handy flashlight to accompany this radio for emergencies.
Overall, I don't regret buying this radio. It is nice and serves the functions it was designed to perform. I would buy another if I needed to.
Good value for the money.
on November 14, 2013
Very poor radio. I ordered this radio mainly for the weather alert ability and secondly for the AM/FM receiving capabilities. I liked the idea that the internal battery could be recharged with the solar panel and by the crank magneto when needed. I tried two(2) of these radios from Amazon. Both radio's AM/FM/Weather reception worked fine. The problem I kept having was that the internal fully charged battery kept dying shortly after being fully charged. The battery charge lasted about one day. I couldn't figure what was killing the battery, so I returned the radio to Amazon and they sent another new one to me. The same thing happened with the second radio-a fully charged radio would die after one day of no use. I think I figured out what was happening. I had the radio switch set to AM, low volume, turned off, from the last time I used it. The "alert function" of one or more of the weather bands(7) was turning radio on automatically, as it should, but while in AM or FM mode, when I wasn't around and the radio stayed on continuosly thereafter and killed the battery. The radio never switched itself over to the weather band when it turned on automatically for an alert, or maybe a test signal from NOAA, and then never shut off after alert ended. The funny thing is that the weather was fine during this whole period. With a fully charged battery and listening to an AM or FM station at low volume, the battery pack included never lasted more than 1/2-1 hour before it died-very poor battery capacity and/or radio power usage. As far as solar charging of the internal battery pack, the solar panel is way under sized. It took 1-1/2 to 2 days of full sun(8-9 hrs. of sunlight/day, at that time) to complete a full charge. I also charged via the USB cable to my computer and that worked fine(~2-3 hrs. to a full charge from dead battery). The LED light works fine, but the switch is very easily turned on if you aren't carefull where you put your hand when handling the radio. Several times I found the radio with near dead batteries and the light was unintentionally on. The light switch should be harder to turn on, in a different location, or protected some how to prevent accidentally turning LED on. Overall, I would not recommend this radio as an emergency weather alert radio or even as a portable every day radio!
on December 6, 2013
If you purchase this product, be very careful to ensure that it works properly during the return period. I purchased one of these on Octoberr 24, 2013 and it failed completely by December 4, 2013. The length of time that a charge via the dynamo lasted kept getting shorter and shorter and batteries lasted less than three days. Initially, I wasn't sure whether it was me or the product, but I eventually kept careful records on it and saw the decline in usability. Based on the initial experience, I would have recommended it. Now, after six weeks it, I definitely would not recommend it. I should have kept better track of the date of purchase. Keep in mind that the return period is only 30 days. By the way, it is also not repairable so you could easily be out about $50.
on January 31, 2013
The one feature I was looking for in an emergency device was the ability to charge my smartphone via solar, the hand turbine, or AAA batteries. My impression was that I'd be able to leave the solar panel in the sun and it would charge the optional 3 AAA batteries, which I could use in the evening to charge my phone. Wrong, wrong, wrong!
Firstly, the integrated solar panel and the hand turbine will only charge the internal low-capacity battery. No, if you insert your own rechargeable AAA batteries, this will NOT charge them! The internal battery has enough capacity to power a USB device for 30 seconds. For a smartphone like an iPhone or Android phone, that's worse than useless. The power provided by a 30 second charge will last 30-35 seconds. That's not even enough time to let the phone boot up to the point where you can place a call.
The manual even explicity warns against having your phone plugged in while you turn the hand crank, citing possible damage to your device! You can fill the internal batteries after about 2 minutes of cranking. So... 2 minutes of cranking for 30 seconds of worthless charging.
I'm now looking at cheap solar recharging lithium battery packs from Chinese manufacturers. How sad.
on July 27, 2012
I put some thought into buying this radio it seemed over priced from the outset at $60 from Best Buy, but I thought it was a cool concept. After i bought it, brought it home and unwrapped it read all the features and played with it a little bit, it's a great radio. Bare in mind this isn't something that you are going to pair with you Beats by Dre Studio Headphones, but it's something you can take with you on a camping trip or just leave around the house just in case of emergency. Just today we had a situation where the power went out and the first thing that people worry about is how am i going to charge my cell phone. This little device/light/radio/charger is the solution. I'd love to see them come up with lanterns or even straight up cell phone chargers with the same concept. This thing makes me want to hook a generator of to my bicycle to power the computer for exercise. You can't get wrong with this purchase....there is always EBay.