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Showing 1-10 of 2,316 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 2,455 reviews
on April 26, 2012
Overall this is a good product. The radio itself seems sturdy. I'm a bit hard of hearing and the radio is loud enough for me. The radio stations and weather station both came in very clearly. The cell phone charger worked, as well. But the feature I was most excited about was the "weather alert" mode, and that is where a bit of disappointment settled in.

When I first opened the box I removed the tab from the battery compartment and fully charged the radio with the USB adapter per the manual recommendations. I listened to the radio for 30 minutes and then set it on "weather alert" mode. I placed the radio in a sunny window so it would continue to charge through the solar panel. The next morning when I woke up I noticed the radio was no longer in weather alert mode and only the time was displayed on the radio. I turned the radio on and got about 3 mins of play before it shut off and flashed a battery warning.

I was confused as to why the radio only gave me 30 minutes of play before quitting on me after a full charge. I suspected either I had a faulty product or the "weather alert" mode was a power drain to the product.

I e-mailed Ambient Weather and got a very quick response from Ed, who confirmed my suspicion that the "weather alert" mode drains the battery. He recommended that I purchase a USB to AC adapter for when the radio is in "weather alert" mode. He also said that the solar charge feature wasn't enough to keep up with the "weather alert" mode. He did say that they needed to include that information in the manual in the future.

I am disappointed in the fact that I couldn't just set the radio in the window and kind of forget about it until I received a "weather alert." Other than that, I'm happy with the purchase.
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on May 27, 2013
If you don't normally read the comments that people make to reviews on this site I'd encourage you to click the comments link at the bottom of the reviews on this product. The reason is you'll see that the company rep for this company monitors this site and frequently comes to the aid of those that have either problems with their radio or those that just have questions. If customer service from a company is important to you like it is to me that alone should be enough to convince you to click the Buy button on this nice little radio. For me that level of customer service was the deciding factor in me deciding to purchase this radio.

I bought this mainly as a radio to take fishing and so far have no complaints and it has actually exceeded my expectations a little. Upon getting it I tried the hand crank function to verify it works that way and it functioned properly. Next I fully charged it by plugging it into a wall socket using an adapter I already have and made sure it was fully charged. I've gone fishing a couple times and used it a little in the house and have not had to recharge it yet since the solar panel is doing a good job of recharging it when it's just sitting around (usually not in direct sunlight).

One of the many nice things about this radio is the fact that the instructions that come with it are written very well, easy to understand and not frustrating at all! I'm so tired of products coming with instructions written by people overseas who have almost no knowledge of the English language that the instructions are so badly written that it would be comical if it was happening to anybody other than me. So for that I say thank you to the folks who put the instructions together for this product. If you're like me and want your product to come with instructions you can actually understand and will be beneficial to you then you'll want to seriously consider this product.

The volume is good and plenty loud enough for me to hear. I can even hear it good when fishing under a bridge here in Chicago where there are hundreds of cars driving overhead and generating a lot of noise. Even with the loud noise level at my fishing hole I'm able to hear the radio from a fair distance away and the solar panel is still generating some juice to the battery even completely out of direct sunlight.

My secondary reason for buying this radio was I wanted a better emergency backup radio for during power outages. I have another hand crank radio from another manufacturer and was not real happy with it, but this one meets and even exceeds my expectations. While power outages here in Chicago aren't a common event it's nice to know that I'll have at least a radio and flashlight that I can use without being 100% reliant on the power grid. I have not tried it to power my cell phone for an emergency call, but realistically that's not a major concern for me so I may never get around to trying that function out.

The flashlight is much nicer than the one in my other hand crank radio. This one had a nice bright light that is more uniform in how it lights up the space it's shined on with consistency. By that I mean it's like a solid beam of light from a regular flashlight rather than having separate circles of light from each LED like my other hand crank radio. I saw a couple of pictures of what the flashlight beam appears like in the customer photo section. I don't know for sure, but I suspect the manufacturer must have made some changes to the design because mine that I got a couple weeks ago just has the one strong beam of light and not all the circles of light scattered all over. To me that's a major improvement, but of course that's a matter of preference that others may disagree with. Who knows maybe the pictures posted are still accurate and I just got one that's a fluke with it having a much more conventional single beam of light, but I sure like it better than what's pictured from other previous buyers.

As far as the radio sound quality goes it's good, but it's not like say listening to a Bose system. Of course it's an affordable emergency radio so hopefully people will expect it to be functional, but not expect it to have the quality of a radio that costs hundreds of dollars.

The only thing I wish this radio has that it doesn't have is a display showing how much battery power is left before it's depleted. I do realize however that there are limits to how many bells and whistles can be added before it would drive the price up to where it could no longer be considered an economically priced unit or it's size would have to increase making it no longer a nice small sized radio. Personally I'd gladly pay a little more for that option, but of course I'm only one person and others may disagree that adding a power level display would be something desirable or worth paying a little extra to have.

Overall a very good little radio that's worth every penny that I'd recommend to anybody for use as a fishing radio, a home emergency radio/flashlight for during power outages and severe weather or for an addition to those that need a good radio for a bug out bag. I can't say I have knowledge on a lot of different models of these type radios, but I can say that I personally think this one is great and at it's price point while not cheap is affordable and worth every penny of the price here on Amazon.

Speaking of this "little" radio/flashlight, it's very compact and is very easy to fit into a jacket pocket or if you're into bug out bags would not take up hardly any space. I'll take a couple pictures of it with a $5 bill next to it so folks can see it alongside a common item we're all familiar with.
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on October 4, 2013
I was hoping this radio would have a solid feel to it and actually work, being that it is intended for emergency situations. Unfortunately, the radio was DOA right out of the box. It turned on but no sound would come out of either the speaker or when using the headphone jack on any of the 3 bands (AM/FM/WX). A hard reset and freshly charged battery didn't cure the problem.

In the past, I've had experience with the Freeplay brand of emergency hand-crank radios which have been field proven in many remote parts of the world. In particular, the Freeplay EyeMax is the radio that I compared to this Ambient Weather WR-111B as they are both about the same size though the FreePlay EyeMax has far more heft to it and is made with stronger plastics. Freeplay uses "failsafe" construction techniques, a sturdier hand crank and a heavier internal generator. The Freeplay EyeMax feels like it could easily take a 4 foot fall without breaking. This Ambient Weather WR-111B is far more flimsy & delicate.... and, apparently, unreliable, too!

The whole idea of an emergency radio is that it * MUST * work without fail when the emergency situation arrives. I would not want to risk that type of situation with this flimsy Ambient Weather WR-111B unit. Reviews I've read of the various Eaton hand-crank units sound like they fare no better in terms of reliability or quality of construction.

For people who really need to depend on an emergency radio, I would strongly recommend taking a look at the much better constructed Freeplay hand-crank radios. They've been making hand-crank radios for a long time and are heavily used in places like Africa. Freeplay uses a simpler and more reliable analog dial radio that consumes very little power and the sound is pleasant. Freeplay radios may be harder to find here in America but are worth the effort of locating.
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on August 27, 2012
This product is fantastic. It is very easy to use and unbelievable on weather updates. The reception is extremely clear and I have not had a problem with this radio. I would suggest it for anyone and everyone that lives in areas that are subject to nasty weather. The price was great and I received the product in a very short time. I have the unit in a window, and it charges whether there is direct sun or not, so we will not be without a news service any longer. In these days of cell phones and land lines that are push button and not dial - this is an excellent thing to have. I would, again, recommend this.
Update: Well, I have an issue now, especially since during the most recent weather trouble I could not get NOAA or any radio reception. I tried in several areas of the house, with the antennae in different directions. This could have been that the satellite (if this is what it works off of) just wasn't available - and the weather was so intense (Hurricane Sandy) that the signals just wouldn't go through. We had power (probably the only block in the area that never lost it) so was a little troubled that I couldn't get a signal. Will see what happens in the next storm - which the way it is going may be soon.
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on August 13, 2012
When handling this product it does not seem quite as 'cool' or 'sleek' as a couple of the Eton ones that I have used. The performance is great though! It does everything the product description says it will do. The solar charging on this device, in my opinion, is better than any other. It will charge even when it is not in direct sunlight. As soon as the sun starts to rise, the charge indicator is dimly glowing. I let mine charge all day in the sun, didn't really crank at all, other than a few cranks to show the device off.. That night, sitting by a campfire, I played music from my iPhone on the WR-111 till after midnight without any cranking. That was about 3-4 hours of use. After it finally drained, about 15-20 seconds of cranking and I was set for another 10-15 minutes. (I was using a low volume level, I doubt the results would be so impressive had I been using a higher volume)

I saw a review that mentioned the cables that come with the unit do not fit very well.. I had no issue with this, the cables did exactly what I needed them to do. I think it's pretty nice that you can use the headphone jack as 'audio in', it just overrides whatever is playing. (Note: the volume when using 'audio in' is constant, you have to change the volume on the external device). I thought that it was also nice/convenient that the unit came with the iPhone charging interface and another that looked like it would fit in my Kindle.

The only complaint I have, which I am not exactly sure who is to blame.. My iPhone indicates that the device is not a recognized charging device, then disables the charging. It is really annoying because you have to unplug it and plug it back in a few times. One would think that if a manufacturer sends a iPhone plug/connection with a device, they would ensure that it is compatible.. but who knows. Probably an Apple issue. So that is not worth de-rating the product. (I'm using the 3GS). It would be nice to have some features for impact resistance and waterproofing.. but again, I can't derate the product for this.. it wasn't advertised to include these in the design.

All in all, this is a great device. Especially when considering cost. This IS definitely worth every penny. Having something like this on hand is a good idea. If you have a power outage, you could grab this and have your weather radio and a flashlight all in one. You don't have to worry about finding batteries. May be nice to have in a roadside kit too.

UPDATE *** 10/29/2012
As you can see, I had everything good to say about this radio when I first got it, rated as 5 stars. I let the radio sit for a few weeks on my desk unused. I just picked it up tonight to use it.. and everything is dead. No display, no flashlight, no radio. I can crank the device or put it in light and get the charge indicator, but it is completely dead. Now it is past my return window and either the battery or the unit itself is defective. No battery should be shot from sitting for a few weeks. Kind of sad because this was a great unit for the first couple of months. Now I don't have much choice but to de-rate my review. I would hate to have this set aside as an emergency radio when an emergency arises..
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on February 14, 2016
Ive had this unit since 2013 and it's still working as well as it did when I first received it. It's main purpose as an emergency radio has performed flawlessly. Volume for the AM/FM radio is loud and clear. Weather bands are clear but not very loud. Reception is great and I often don't find it necessary to even extend the antenna.

As it's not being used, an LCD screen continuously displays the time. Buttons on the unit are VERY hard to press, hopefully that's been addressed by now.

I don't particularly like the harsh blue back lighting on the display when powered on. Blue light fatigues the human eye and the screen seems particularly harsh. Would prefer an orange or green backlight instead. Fortunately the blue backlighting only remains on for about a minute before going dim when listening to the radio. I don't really understand this trend of wanting something to look "cool" by using blue lighting or LED's, especially with "survival" products.

The flashlight is okay as a back up only. I would say that it's the unit's only weak point. If anyone disagrees, please compare this lighting to the more current COB LED lighting and you'll easily see what I mean.

I haven't had any issues with the crank as some users have had but I'm not particularly rough on the unit either. It cranks smoothly but with a little more resistance than other dynamo powered flashlights I own, such as the Goal Zero.

As an emergency source of power it worked on my (then owned) Nexus 5 for about 2 to 3 minutes before the low battery indicator displayed on the screen. From there, I had to continue to turn the crank to keep up a charge.

I have since replaced the battery with a higher 2000 mAh rechargeable CR123. Upon testing the new battery, the unit charged the same Nexus 5 for 18 minutes before the low battery indicator came on. There was nothing wrong with the original 800 mAh battery, I just wanted to upgrade it.

I don't really know how to measure how well the small solar panel charges the unit. I do know that it's not sufficient enough to charge a cell phone passively. Maybe an old flip phone but not any of the current smart phones. That's not a knock because that's not what this unit was designed for. I have found that when I'm not using the unit, placing it out (even in ambient sun light) will keep the unit fully charged. I have verified this by plugging the unit into my laptop's USB port (after sitting in ambient daylight for a week) - within a few minutes, the LED light indicating charge status will go from red to green signifying that the unit is fully charged. Other than this, I haven't tested to ascertain how long it will take to charge from "low battery" to full charge but I'm confident that it will eventually obtain full charge in the sun.

Finally, the unit is light weight with decent build quality. I haven't dropped it yet but I don't feel confident that it would take more than a few drops but that's probably from the hard plasticky feel.
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on October 15, 2012
+Like many of you out there, I always like to find an electronics device that serves a purpose, gets the job done, and is, if possible, fun to use. In the age of cell phones, we are all used to having either a wall socket, PC/laptop, or car charger at our disposal -- to accomplish the ever important task of recharging. Imagine for a moment that you do not have access to ANY of the electrical sources I just mentioned. And if you were on foot, you definitely wouldn't. The radio: this unit arrived with the battery pre-charged (nice touch), so the radio and light already worked. I then went for the ultimate test: my LG 290c cell phone. The micro USB charger tip fit my phone and when hooked up to the radio/charger, the indicator on the LG came right up and began accepting the charge -- and topped it off to maximum. Now, granted, the phone was far from dead when I tested this -- but it took the current right from the radio without me turning the crank at all. Sunlight, the USB cord -- or a lot of cranking, will keep that on-board battery in shape. The solar panel is real efficient. This basic radio works very well on all three bands and the sound is actually pretty good. The whip antenna is sensitive and makes a huge difference when extended. Great piece of gear and it is no toy. The rubberized black trim gives it a sure feeling when held, and the light is perfect -- for being it's modest size. Watch out about the charger tip aspect though: my previous LG 300G phone would not work with this charger, so I switched phones. For the folks out there like me, who run into this (but who don't want to get a whole other phone) there is a "female" charger tip included, which will allow you to plug a standard USB cord into it, (which has YOUR particular charge tip at the other end for your specific phone -- you have to buy one yourself though) and you'll be OK. It didn't seem very clear in the product description. And hey, there are thousands of potential customers out there, who would probably buy one of these great charger/radios,...that is -- if the proper cord tip was offered as an extra purchase option by Ambient.
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on November 7, 2014
Does what it's supposed to do. Sound quality is rather disappointing, but it works great, and will do in an emergency. UPDATE JUNE 2016: It died this morning. Worked as advertised until then. Was at a loss because the battery was fully charged. I read the following review on Amazon: "Mine stopped working and wouldn't power on. I found that you can take it apart and there is a reset button on the circuit board" When I tried it with the radio apart it didn't work. Then I hooked up the battery and VOILA! It works as always. NOTE: there is a tiny hole in the bottom of the battery compartment thru which you can push the reset button but the battery must be removed.. If it doesn't work, try connecting the battery with wires and I'll bet it works!
UPDATE JUNE 2017: It DIED AGAIN! I thought the no-longer-available 800-mah battery had worn out. I searched Amazon and I found a pair of 2000-mah for $10. They are a bit short but some foil folded on one end will solve that. When I put them in and tried to charge it I got no response. The radio was dead and nothing worked. I was about to change my review to 1 star when I saw what I wrote a year ago. I had forgotten about the reset button. I found that there has to be power in order for it to work. I used wires to connect the old battery to the contacts and pushed the reset button and all was back to normal! I am reducing my review from 4 stars to 2 because this is a PITA and no wonder this model has been recalled.
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I purchased this item to have on hand during storms, primarily for entertainment (via the AM/FM radio), the built-in flashlight and the charging port (for cell phones). Having the NOAA weather radio was important too, and the ability to charge it by solar or crank made it an ideal choice at less than forty dollars. I do wish it was waterproof and more ruggedly built, but at this price point, it's a good buy with a lot of useful features.

It wasn't until I received a higher end model Ambient Weather WR-335 ADVENTURER2 Emergency Solar Hand Crank AM/FM/SW/WB Weather Alert Radio, Flashlight, Siren, Smart Phone Charger that had more features that I began to question my love for this model. The higher priced one has a siren (not likely to use it...) and feels more substantial. It also has more charging ports, which are always nice to have.

The bottom line for me is that the WR-111B is great to have for an overnight trip, day hikes or in an emergency bag that I keep in the car. It's not quite as durable as I'd like, which is the reason for the 4 out of 5 star review, but it functions well and as expected. For extended power outages though, I prefer the other model. It too is not as ruggedly built as expected, but the additional features make it more desirable for extended time without power.
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on September 10, 2012
Haven't had too much time to use it but it was shipped on time and easy to set up.

PROS

It's ready to go right out of the box.
It's a nice size to stash away in a car, RV, garage etc
Has great reception. It's first test was in the middle of a national forest and it picked up everything.
Looks to have a decent shell.
Flashlight is fairly bright for its size
Battery lasted at least 2 hours on short solar charge

CONS
No bag for extra parts/radio. I ended up buying a cheap travel bag to store everything in but it would be nice if a better fitting one was supplied

The buttons are kind of hard to push and if your kind of "fumbly" with big fingers you sometimes hit both buttons

The digital read is an ok size for most but if you're hard of seeing the contrast of the LED and size of clock might be a little difficult but it's not too much of an issue

Overall worth the $40 paid for the amount you get. No excuse for lack of power considering it can charge phones!
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