Customer Review

91 of 92 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great product and good service from Ambient weather, February 13, 2011
This review is from: Ambient Weather WR-089 Compact Emergency Solar Hand Crank AM/FM/NOAA Weather Radio, Flashlight, Smart Phone Charger with Cables (Electronics)
Update 4/2013 - I had previously reviewed this as 5-star, but deducting 2 stars now. I really WANT this thing to be awesome, but the build quality turns out to be poor - the selector switches get stuck, and the USB might not charge more modern smartphones. There are some newer models that seem to have better tuning of weather and fix some of the switches, plus some other features. Look at the FRX1 for similar price (without cellphone charging), or the FRX2 or WR-333 for more comparable features (The WR-333 also lets you pop in AAA batteries to top off your cellphone from them too)

FRX2 here: [...] (you can also select the FRX1 and FRX3 at that page - read reviews carefully, as they are all mixed together as for which model they are for)

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The concept is great, and the unit is so tiny and cheap, it seems like a no brainer to keep one of these in an evacuation kit.

Every few months, top-off the internal battery by USB (from computer, wall adapter, or car). During use, charge by Solar or hand-crank. Besides the super bright LED flashlight and AM/FM radio, the weather-band radio is very handy, and the ability to siphon some of the internal battery power into another USB device is critical.

What sets this unit apart from other similar models is this "siphoning" -- with other similar models, you have to continuously crank to charge USB devices. It comes with both micro- and mini- USB to charge your devices. The internal battery isn't huge, might only charge your cell phone to 1/3 capacity, but given the compact size I'd say it's a good trade-off; you always have the hand-crank once the internal battery is dead.

The only improvement I could think of would be to allow me to manually choose which weather channel it tunes to. For some reason I don't totally trust the "auto-tuning" concept, since there is no indication of what's happening inside the radio. But I guess this makes the operation simpler, and makes it cheaper to produce, so I'll live with it.

I ordered 3 units, 2 as gifts, because they were so cheap and clever. One of the units had a problem receiving weather signal - it was extremely weak and noisy compared to the others. If your weather reception is spotty, especially compared to another weather radio, you should consider an exchange before writing the unit off. It was hard to reach Ambient Weather by phone, but eventually I got them by email and they worked with me to replace the unit - even before I had returned the bad unit, and even through some shipping snafus. I see now that orders are being fulfilled by Amazon, instead of directly from Ambient, so perhaps this will change the return process.
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Comments

Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 11, 2012 9:35:53 AM PDT
Good news, the WR-089 includes a weatherband tuner. Just released.

Regards,

Ed

Posted on May 14, 2013 10:46:31 AM PDT
DaftPunk says:
Looks like you're had it a while. How long before you had problems out of it?

In reply to an earlier post on May 14, 2013 11:15:02 AM PDT
The unit has gone through several design iterations and these issues we resolved. I believe this was purchased in 2011.

In reply to an earlier post on May 14, 2013 2:25:02 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 14, 2013 2:25:32 PM PDT
aberson says:
I think I got them at the end of 2010. No idea if the design has been updated as Ed the Weatherman says, but if these have been improved then they'd be a great value (same functionality as the FRX2 but much lower cost)

Posted on Jul 29, 2013 1:17:04 PM PDT
Chess Player says:
Thank you for the info and listing other comparable models, very helpful.
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