Review: Eton FRX3 Hand Turbine Radio with USB Charger and Flashlight
December 10, 2012 by Beatweek
Beatweek Best Emergency Product for 2013
The Eton FRX3 aims to be that one indispensable product for campers, those without power, or those in distress. At its heart it’s an AM/FM radio which can also pick up NOAA weather alert bands. But as the crank on the front suggests, it doesn’t need a traditional power source in order to run. Turn that crank for a few minutes, and the unit accumulates enough energy to power itself for awhile. But with this multipronged product, that’s really just the start.
In recognition of the fact that most people have their cellphone on them most of the time, and can’t keep it running for too long without plugging it in for recharging, the FRX3 includes a USB charging port. That means you can use it to charge your iPhone or other device simply by cranking the handle. There’s also a built in flashlight, which again can be powered by hand crank.
In my tests I found that the cranking process took some time; this is more about pumping enough juice back into your phone to make an emergency call, and not realistically about fully recharging your phone by hand crank, unless you want to be at it for a long time. But under the right circumstances this is an essential feature. Moreover, the FRX3 can be fully charged before you head out into the wilderness, or before you electricity goes out, via mini-USB. So if you plan ahead, you’ll only need to crank the handle to push the device beyond its initial full charge. And if you get caught off guard, it also runs on AAA batteries. Comes in red or black.
Price: $60 • etoncorp.com