I have only used this for a day but I'm already very happy with it. I have the older FR160 for comparison and this one is much nicer.
Best uses would be for hiking and camping, or for blackouts. We carried the old model on the trail and used it around the campsite. We also used it during blackouts, but I really can't wait to use the new model's feature set during a blackout!
The dump charge actually works, I let the radio charge up all day and then charged my phone for 40 minutes before the phone was topped off. I don't know how much longer it could go but even 40 minutes is a pretty useful charge. (The battery capacity is 350mA-Hr, as written on the battery pack. Also, I have a Samsung Mystic, not a gigantic smart phone and your mileage may vary!)
It also has a mini-USB connector for charging the radio without solar power. The old model's "AC adapter" was a desk lamp, mini-USB is much better! Mini-USB is the same connector that my GPS uses so I already have all the relevant car and travel adapters.
They also made the back end flat and wide so it's easy to stand up to illuminate a dark room or tent. I estimate the light output at about 10 lumens, good enough to see what you're doing but not bright enough to read or play cards by.
- There is no place to store the USB cable, even a velcro strap would be useful.
- The radio dial does not illuminate so it's hard to tune in the dark.
- The main knob protrudes a half inch from the body (I measured with a caliper). This could make it cumbersome to pack if space is tight.
Summary: The only travel/emergency radio, crank flashlight and emergency phone charger you'll need.
Ideal for prepping
I bought this item to add to my bugout bag since it fits multiple requirements for a bug out situation. It provides light, a recharge for my phone, and several sources of news and weather information. Multiple power sources ensure that it is never without power.
The deficiencies are minor at this price point and size, but it could have been more ruggedized (i.e. - rubber-coated) for shock resistance and have a flexible antenna instead of a standard (fragile) one. The shape could have been slightly more "packable" as well.
Don't expect this to produce amazing sound at this size and price. Also, while a digital tuner might have been nice, it is probably less reliable - so I wouldn't knock it for that either.
yes, it does charge an iphone 4s
Everything on this radio works as advertised but i couldn't get it to charge my iphone or any usb device until i called them up. (i probably could have read the manual). so you switch the tuner to CELL which is right after the seven wether band stations and it activates power to the usb port. it can charge my iphone 4s via the internal battery, solar panel or crank which is a big deal and a major connivence in the woods or when you loose power at home. this radio is pretty cool and i hope the durability is lasting as it seems to be built inexpensively.. on the flip side it's a great price for all that it offers.
Ready for next power outage.
The last time power went out here, it was night, very dark, my 2 battery clocks went out, my flashlight batteries were barely working, and my cell battery was on red. And the landline wouldn't work w/o electricity. I went down to REI the next day, looked at all the options, and bought this. It's got a clear FM signal, a solar panel, a crank, a usb port and cell charger, a flashilght — everything I was needing (except hot h20). I don't know how the radio signal would be in the mtns. but it works for what I needed.
Works well so far
This radio works well so far. We haven't taken it camping yet and plan on using it mainly for emergency purposes, but we tried it out the night we got it and it has excellent reception and is easy to tune. The construction seems a little on the lower quality side, but since we haven't used it continuously to see how it holds up long term. So far so good, though!