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Eton Microlink FR 160 Emergency Radio User Review

By Edited Oct 30, 2016 0 0
Features
 
Eton Microlink FR 160 Front
The radio is about 5.5" (13.5cm) X 2.5" (6.5cm) X 2" (5cm), and fits in the hand nicely, plus it has a wrist loop so the kids don't drop it. The functions include AM and FM broadcast radio, weather band radio, LED light and cell phone (or other USB device) charging. All this is powered from an internal battery that is charged by either the top mounted solar panel or the crank dynamo. The cell phone charging through the side mounted USB jack can only be accomplished by the crank dynamo. The battery has nowhere near enough power to charge a cell phone.
 
In Use
Eton Microlink FR 160 Top
The first position on the selector is AM then FM, easy enough to operate. Tuning on the small dial is a bit touchy but certainly adequate for the radio's intended purpose. To receive a weather station you slide the selector switch to 1 - 7, listening at each stop for a strong enough station. If you slide the selector all the way to the right you will be in cell phone charging mode, as indicated by the "CELL" designation. At this point you would plug your phone USB charger into the USB jack and start cranking. When I cranked it with my iPhone plugged in, it took 300 turns, in about 90 seconds, to move the phone battery status up 1%. You'd need to do a lot of cranking to truly charge a phone but in an emergency I suppose it could be very handy. The audio quality from the small speaker is not very pleasing but can be loud. There is also a headphone jack on the side for private listening or to conserve battery life. The three LED light is pretty bright, casting a wider beam more than a narrow distant beam. The light is sufficient for reading, looking at things at a table or any close range work. The telescoping antenna is useful if you are out in the backcountry or you don't have any strong local stations. Build quality seems remarkably good for something so inexpensive, though it is not built to be durable enough to withstand hard continuous use. It is not water resistant, there is no gasketing or sealing. The body is not shiny and slippery but rather slightly grippy and rubbery.
 
Conclusion
Overall, great value for the money, providing incredible versatility in a small palm sized package. 
 
Final Comments
The battery is removable, so I would assume you could buy a replacement, though I haven't checked around for one. The LED light cannot be switched in intensity from one to two to three LEDs, it is all three or nothing. I leave mine near a window so it is always ready and have found it to be very handy.
 
 
It is small and you will find many uses for this emergengy radio.
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