Keep yourself prepared! Never be left out in the dark and out of the loop again. The Eton FRX3 Emergency Radio will keep you connected even when the power is out. With a solar panel, hand crank, and battery options you can keep connected to the world with the radio, or by charging your cell phone. There are a lot of products on the market that allow you to charge your phone with a USB charger, but most of them don’t let you listen to music or give you weather alerts like the FRX3 does.
It is more then just a your typical radio, since it picks both AM/FM AND all seven NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) weather band stations. It also has an “Alert” system, so when the radio is switched on to “Alert” it will let you know about any severe storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, or even ice storms automatically by broadcasting emergency weather alerts. All three bands, AM, FM and the weather band have excellent reception thanks to the retractable antenna which can be tucked away nicely when for easy storage of the radio when not in use.
The primary reason to buy an emergency radio isn’t the audio quality, but the sound quality is more than acceptable, it is better then one would expect for a multipurpose device. The volume is capable of being loud enough to be heard without distortion in a noisy room. It also comes with a headphone jack so you can use it as with external speakers or though your headphones. If you wanted to change what you are playing with this there is an AUX-input so you can play your own music and your not stuck listening to the radio all the time.
It can be easy to find in the dark as well because the radio has a cool glow-in-the-dark function. If you do find yourself in the dark the FRX3 comes with a flashlight powered by 2 white LEDs which has a very low power consumption. It also has a mode for a red flashing light for emergencies to act as a beacon or warning light. The light isn’t the brightest but it will be adequate for most situations.
One of the cool features about the Eton FRX3 is that is also acts as a charge station for your other critical devices like your cell phone. If your cell phone can charge with a USB device, all you need to do is plug your phone into it. It will automatically “dump charge” power into your phone, by switching it to the “dump” mode. It will trickle the charge the power from the NiMH battery in the radio to your cell phone. All you have to do is recharge the radio battery then plug in your phone.
It gets even better! You don’t even need power to operate it, just set it in the sun and let the solar panel charge it up for you, or just the hand turbine to crank the juice. If you don’t have any sun, and are too tired to crank the handle, there is also the option of using some AAA batteries or plug it into a USB power source with a mini-USB cable that is included in the box.
More about the 4 ways to power the unit.
To completely charge the NiMH battery with the solar charger it takes about 10 hours of direct sunlight. So just keeping it in a window during the day will keep the charge up so you don’t have to worry about running out of power. This also makes it handy for having a radio while camping or being out doors.
It will take about 2 hours to charge the battery if you plug the radio into a USB port on a computer. Or you can use an USB AC power adapter which is not included with the package. By using an external “wall wart” power supply to charge the FXR3 from an electrical socket via the USB charger. So if you have access to electricity you can charge this up that way. You can also charge this up with almost any wall charger that has a USB connection with the cable that comes with the radio.
Most people have batteries around, no emergency kit is complete without them, so if you absolutely need to have power immediately then the quickest way is to use 3 AAA batteries. This is one of the products that has the label “Batteries Not Included” so keep that in mind if you plan on using them for the main power source for the radio.
If you didn’t leave it sitting in the sun or if you let the power run out in the dark you can always crank the power to get the juices flowing. This is one of the best features of this because you know that you will always have access to power even if the sun isn’t available and there are no USB power sources or AAA batteries around. It only takes about 90 seconds cranking to get about 5-7 minutes of radio use.
Eton FRX3 AM/FM/NOAA Weather Alert Radio
One of the coolest things about this radio is the way it recharges your cell phone.
Most other chargers require you to sit there and use the hand crank to charge up your phone, but this charges the phone with the battery “dump” form the NiMH battery inside the unit. You can charge the battery up by any of the 4 methods mentioned and all you have to do is just plug the phone in to let it charge.
Having 4 ways of charging FXR3 makes it the ultimate emergency power supply. Especially the hand crank since it delivers easy form of energy without having an external power supply like a USB charger, batteries, or even the sun. The crank turns VERY easily, and with a steady motion of around 1 revolution per second, you can easily charge it up without fatiguing. But keep in mind, if you crank it for a longer time or crank it harder you will get a longer lasting charge.
This makes it easy to charge your phones, GPS, 2-way radios, cameras. or almost any device that charges with a USB connection. All you need is a USB AC adapter, a mini USB cable, and a micro USB cable and you can charge almost anything including this radio. Combine that with all the other ways to charge this and it really is the Ultimate Portable USB charger! Plus its an emergency radio and flashlight.
The radio and the crank are made out of plastic, but it isn’t a “cheap” plastic. With some basic care, and common sense, the radio should be fine, and should last for years of service. Even though it is plastic it has a sturdy feeling and solid crank.
The flashlight part of this unit is not the brightest, so don’t expect an “uber-lumen” light. There are other options out there for ultra bright LED flashlights, but this one does it’s job. If having a bright LED flashlight is your main focus then maybe think about a Steamlight or Surefire.
The other things to consider before buying this is that there is no gauge to indicate the current power level, but there is a green light that will indicate when it is being charged. The FRX3 is not waterproof, it isn’t advertised as such, so don’t expect it to be so. It also would be nice if it came with an external power supply, but with so many other options to charge it so it isn’t a big deal.
The Eton FRX3 is not meant to be a day-to-day radio, but what it does what is is designed for. It is perfect for anybody to have on hand for emergency situations or for when the power goes out. It is great to have around because you can never really predict what will happen and it is always better to be prepared!