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Weather radios are sort of a hobby of mine. There is just about no place I can go on my property that there isn't one within reach somewhere. Six different brands are represented presently by what I own, including a more expensive Eton that is not my best radio. This small, (and I mean small) new line from Eton is a whole new animal to be sure. Its controls and design are very user friendly. And the reception on all channels, including the weather, is very loud and clear. Its true that the dial numbers for the AM FM are very small as some other reviewers have mentioned and can make it hard to tune accurately. But that is something common, as well as for me expected in a radio so small. What sets this unit apart from all the others I own in my opinion is its price and solar power. It is without a doubt the cheapest weather radio I have come across that is solar powered. Big, small, or otherwise. Even though one has been able to buy solar powered calculators at discount stores for less than $10 for years now, for some reason the weather radio industry has treated solar power as something still high tech and to be appreciated only in their most expensive units. My only other solar powered radio cost me over $60. The only possible down side that I should mention about this radio is that it does not take batteries. It would have been nice if they included that option. But they didn't and its either the solar power or crank. This could be a very big negative for some folks who would feel comfortable knowing they could just stick some batteries in it if all else fails. Although 90% of the time the solar power is all you should ever need, if you will routinely keep this in a rather dark place, or happen to be lost out in the savage wilderness someplace with this radio in a continuous cloud cover, be ready to do a whole heap of crankin'. All in all, its finally nice to see a very reasonably priced unit that is solar powered and of a very quality build and design as well. I highly recommend the Eton for a portable unit that can be taken anywhere easily, powered effortlessly, and gives quality performance all in one package....
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on March 9, 2018
This device is horrible. I bought it 2 years ago thinking "Heck I may need this during one of the many bad storm that hit". Well I finally needed it the other day during a power outage. The device did not operate and was completely dead. Considering this is the second time I used it, I am completely disappointed. When I purchased this product, I took it out of the packaging to check its functionality. The device worked. However, the radio had horrible reception. The rechargeable battery stored and extremely small amount of energy. The build is extremely cheap. A few things to keep in mind with this product. 1) The solar panel is so small it would take an extremely long time to charge the battery. 2) Using the hand crank to charge the battery would also take and unrealistic amount of time. It is amazing to me that Red Cross would allow their logo on this device. I am baffled at their partnership with the manufacturer that constructed this piece of junk.

Additional Comment: I decided to take the device apart to see if I could fix it. The device has a very backwards and ill conceived electrical design.The only metal component in this device are the screws. Even the screws are of low quality. The rechargeable battery is a massive 350mAh (sarcasm). This device has a supposed weather resistant design (It does not have any sort of attempt at weather proofing)

THIS THING IS A PEICE OF GARBAGE. IT IS A COMPLETE WASTE OF MONEY. Red Cross, the manufacturer, and the designer should all be highly embarrassed for selling this product.
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on October 10, 2016
I finally had a reason to use my radio, and unpacked (still in original package). I had it packed in a dry, dark, ammo box, (think Faraday cage) When i removed it from the original package the entire radio seemed to be coated with a sticky substance, I used a damp rag with Dawn dishsoap to wipe it down and it was still sticky. I used Goop Off, no change. I am so disappointed. I can't stand to touch it because the "ick" gets on my hands and I have a tough time getting it off. Has anyone else dealt with this issue.
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on November 29, 2009
This radio is an excellent radio for the price. No, it is not a top-end emergency radio, but it should work rather well for anyone looking for a basic AM/FM/Weather radio with both a solar and hand-crank charging option. I purchased mine about a year ago and used it only occasionally for the first few months. Then I placed it on a shelf with limited light and there it sat for about six to eight months. About six weeks ago I dusted it off and it actually worked for about an hour or so with no hand-crank charging. Later that day I sat it in the front window where it would get plenty of direct sun light. A couple days later I picked it up from the window and have been using it a few hours each day since; some of those days it was used for more than six hours in the basement. I have not needed to crank it at all, but did crank charge it for about one minute total just while playing with it - for the record. Since then, I have been keeping it on the shelf out in the open where it is exposed to normal room daylight, no direct sunlight. The charging light does not light up in this setting, and I would not expect it to. I have occasionally taken it out on the front porch to sit a listen where there is direct sunlight, but only for about an hour or so each week. I really like the idea of not having to buy batteries, and the convenience of knowing I always have a charged radio.

The flashlight is minimal, but I would not expect more from an LED light source. I have my 6-D-Cell Mag light if I need a powerful (luxury) light source.

Tuning the radio is a bit sensitive and can be difficult to fine tune. I would consider this to be a SIGNIFICANT problem for an elderly person or anyone without the use of fine motor skills in their hands; but for me it is a minor hassle I am willing and able to deal with. I have considered getting the Eaton FR600 for its digital tuner. The reviews for that model suggest the battery life is pretty bad, so I have decided to wait for an improved model. For now, my FR160 is just fine. I would consider giving this 5-stars if the fine-tuning was much easier.

The USB charge does work, but know that it will not charge an iPhone 3Gs. This is more a problem/restriction of the iPhone 3Gs (a widely discussed complaint across the Internet for many-many generic charging devices) and is not because of the radio. Charging my old Samsung phone was not a problem.

The weather bands do pick up a signal, but to be absolutely honest, I have not used it much to provide any real opinion.

The hand-crank charger feels solid enough (I wouldn't abuse it) and tucks away securely when not used. I have found the manual crank-charger will provide about 25-30 minutes of radio time (at about 1/4 to 1/3 volume) for every minute of crank-charging. I average about 2 cranks per second or about 120 rotation per minute. Now I just count to 120 or so instead of watching the clock. This play-time per craink-time yeild has been very acceptable for me. After two minutes of crank-charging my hand does begins to tire a little, but just a little. If I leave the radio in a place with good direct sunlight when not using it, changing via the crank is never even needed.

In short, it works for what I want - a radio that that can be charged by sunlight or by hand-crank when absolutely necessary. If you want the construction and feature-set of a $100+ radio - buy a $100+ radio. But, for $30 (or less), I am pleased with the FR160.
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on September 22, 2017
I keep it in a bug-out backpack. Every once in a while, I check the pack and everything in it. The radio works every time, and even has a good battery after months of non-use. A few turns of the crank and it's alive again if the flashlight isn't strong enough. Pretty decent sound for a small radio too.
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on February 5, 2014
Purchased from Amazon in 2012. Worked when received, solar charging option died after a couple of months so cranking was the only option. Tried to keep it as just a flashlight, but battery would not hold a charge so threw it away. Eton and Red Cross should both be ashamed. Why is Amazon still selling it ??
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on September 25, 2010
First off, let me say I am NO "survivalist". I am not the outdoorsy type. I live in New Jersey. I live 20 minutes from New York City. I don't go camping. I originally wanted a flashlight that doesn't need batteries, because every time the power goes out my flashlights NEED batteries and I can't see to get them. and when I saw this thing,I decided "why not". And now my question is "WHY DIDN'T I SOONER?". This thing is fantastic! First off, the light is bright. It's not going to turn night to day, but it works just as well as any non-specialty flashlight I have ever used. If it goes dim, just crank it back up!

Speaking of the crank, I was worried that it would be flimsy and snap off under my violent style of doing things. Well I have no worries about it. It doesn't feel like it budges any direction it shouldn't. It moves in a circular motion, no up or down stuff.

The radio is a fun feature. Get's pretty good signal wherever you go. I gave the sound quality a 4 simply because it's not your car speakers, this thing is meant as an emergency tool, not a sound system. But it still sounds pretty good. I was using it the other day as a radio when I was outside doing yardwork. OH RIGHT, outside!

The solar panel thing on it REALLY DOES WORK AWESOME! I originally had the radio on my porch playing music, and it turned off (mind you after several hours of playing at full volume). I decided to put it in the light to see how it works, and as soon as it hit direct sunlight (read: it has to be in direct sunlight) BAM instant full volume! AWESOME!

It has a USB charge port. I haven't gone to measure voltage or anything on it yet, but if you are even thinking about it, this will NOT charge an ipod. Nope. It will charge a regular phone though. It actually DOES charge an iphone, but not an ipod touch or shuffle.

The casing seems to be mostly a plastic-rubber except the rubber nobs. Feels very sturdy, could definitely survive a good drop. I mean, it's an emergency tool, I hope it can survive falling off a shelf at least. The thing is also water resistant and somewhat water proof according to the packaging, but I don't wanna test that too much.

Overall I like the style of it, if that matters to anyone. I think it looks great. I leave it in my window to charge via sunlight, in case the power ever goes out I know right where it is and that it will be ready (that it matters) for me to use. The color doesn't seem to be fading from sunlight at all.

Overall features:

1) Sturdy, mostly rubber body
2) tri-LED flashlight
3) Full AM/FM/Emergency radio
4) Cell phone charger VIA USB
5) No batteries, charges via solar power and stow-able hand crank
6) telescoping radio antennae
7) wrist strap

it's my new toy :) My kids want one now. In the future, if I become more "emergency use" oriented, I might get one of the bigger, more feature packed models, but for my uses (walking the dog late at night, 3am strolls with my wife, outdoor radio, emergency cell phone charging, power-outage flashlight, camping trip tool [I actually do go camping a couple times a year]), this is perfect!
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on October 10, 2015
I received this as a gift. Put it in the sun to charge and now the entire outer red case is all sticky. I can't get it off. Tried a damp cloth, tried goo gone, soapy rag, nothing gets it off. I can't touch it, can't get the sticky residue off my hands. Anyway I can exchange this?
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on August 4, 2015
first saw this in National geographic online shop. I wanted one eversince for emergency and camp outs. Just wondered why the merchant does not want to deliver the latest version of this. So I ended up buying this instead. But still a great product.
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on September 16, 2013
Well it goes in and out a lot. Even on regular stations or weather band. I love it but it does not work very well. I would suggest shelling out money for quality when it comes to these kind of radios.
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