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.