Technophile: No need for a plug with these portable radio chargers

Curt Brandao reviews three AM/FM radio chargers that can keep you powered up in the most remote areas.
EtÛn FR160GR Microlink Self-Powered AM/FM/NOAA Weather Radio with Flashlight, Solar Power and Cell Phone Charger (Green)
EtÛn FR160GR Microlink Self-Powered AM/FM/NOAA Weather Radio with Flashlight, Solar Power and Cell Phone Charger (Green)

Ambient Weather WR-088

Specs For those in outdoor or remote locations, the WR-088 delivers self-sufficient access to the world thanks to its radio, flashlight and power inputs that can charge mobile phones and almost any other small device that can take its charge from USB.

Power source The WR-088 can be charged using its hand crank, solar cells or through a USB adapter while you're in a civilised area with access to a wall plug.

Performance This handy, tiny device is encased in a soft rubberised plastic and plays well with most modern devices, including e-readers - but not iPhones or iPads. Don't expect miracles with dead or near-dead laptops, but the hand crank alone can provide up to 20 minutes of radio use for every minute you wind it up.



Etón FR160GR Microlink

Specs This tiny multi-use AM/FM radio and charger is only 13 centimetres long and weighs 240 grams - ready to fit comfortably in any camper's backpack. It also comes with three halogen LCDs to light your way in the dark wilderness.

Power source The FR160GR can be powered through its solar cells or hand crank, but it has no A/C power adapter for plugging into a wall.

Performance The rubberised controls keep the working parts of the FR160GR out of harm's way in windy, sandy or wet conditions, and it does a fair job powering small electrical devices. Cranking the device for just a few minutes will provide up to an hour of radio play.



Kaito KA350

Specs The small but sturdy KA350 offers AM/FM radio reception, a very bright flashlight powered by five LCDs, and a USB charging jack.

Power source Designed especially for use when disaster strikes, the KA350 can be powered in any way imaginable - AC adapter, solar, hand crank or AAA batteries. It can also take power through a USB connection from a laptop computer.

Performance The KA350 can handle small electrionic devices, like digital cameras or MP3 players, without any problem, but the AM/FM radio reception can be spotty at times. Still, for those who never want to be without juice for their modern gadgets, this useful device offers every power solution option available.


Published: August 27, 2011 04:00 AM


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