Customer Review

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good emergency radio - Gilligan's Island scenario, November 9, 2012
This review is from: topAlert 2-PACK HY-88WB Emergency Dynamo Solar Self Powered AM/FM/WB(NOAA) Radio, Flashlight, Charger for Cell Phones: iPhone, iPad, iTouch, Android, Smartphone, USB device (Electronics)
These are excellent for the basic purpose they are intended, which is emergency light and AM/FM/Weather band radio. The fact that they are also capable of recharging other devices should not be the deciding factor for this purchase, because they are very limited for that purpose.

The value of these units is that they have internal rechargeable batteries and you can recharge with either solar power or hand cranking, so you can be sure to have emergency use of your flashlight or AM/FM/weather radio even if you run out of batteries for your radios and flashlights. I call this the Gilligan's Island Scenario, but it would apply to people who lose power for extended periods as well in situations where batteries are unavailable or running low. You can also charge these units up proactively before a storm or a trip using the USB charging input rather than using the sun or hand cranking. If you take advantage of the 2-pack, you can be charging one while using the other, so you have continuous emergency power for lighting or radio use if it came to that.

The biggest drawbacks of these units are that they have very limited capacity for recharging other devices, and they cannot do more than one thing at a time. That is, you can crank one of these units for about 5 minutes, and then connect it to your tablet or cell phone to get a couple of minutes of emergency use. That's about it. You'd be hard pressed to fully charge another device from one of these units it would take many hours of cranking. And you can't just connect the unit to another device and crank to power it while it is connected. It just doesn't work that way. You have to charge the internal battery first and then connect the device to be charged. So if you are in the Gilligan's Island scenario, hoping to charge up your cell phone, you will probably want to charge your device with one unit while cranking to charge the other unit, then switch. That's a lot of work for a few minutes of talk time, but if you were really isolated with no power and needed to make an emergency call, it could save your butt.

So I would highly recommend the two-pack for emergency charging, and as a valuable backup radio and flashlight that doesn't depend on batteries. But don't depend on this to power your devices. If you want that kind of emergency power, you will want to invest in rechargeable storage batteries that hold a larger charge, and generators that are more efficient.
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