Thursday, June 17, 2010

Gadget Review: Eton Microlink FR160

I'm a self-confessed gadget enthusiast, with a bit of survivalist streak on the side too. So when I saw this gadget at RadioShack I know I have to have it. It would come handy during camping trips, and as an addition to disaster preparedness as well (as the typhoon season is fast approaching).

The Eton Microlink FR160, co-branded by the American Red Cross, is a self powered AM/FM radio. It is capable to receive NOAA weather band in 7 channels. It also comes with a LED flashlight, a USB cell phone charger, and an earphone jack.

What's good is that the 241-gram unit is powered in 2 ways, via solar power through its built-in solar cells, or through a hand-cranked generator. Leaving the unit out for 8-10 hours under the sun would generate enough juice to keep the radio playing for 3-5 hours. Using the hand crank for 90 second would charge the unit to keep it playing for 30-40 minutes.

The hand crank can also be used to recharge MP3 players or cell phones, via the USB charger. Ten to 15 minutes of cranking would equate to one or more minutes of talk time.

The Eton FR160 is also available in for $30.

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