Eton SolarLink FR360 AM/FM/Weather Radio Reviews

Eton SolarLink FR360 AM/FM/Weather Radio

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Eton Solarlink FR360 Radio: Not For Camping Trips

Jan 31, 2013
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Flashlight, Light Weight

Cons:Horrible Quality, Plastic, Cheap Buttons, Sound Quality, Ease of Use, Charge

The Bottom Line: The Eton Solarlink FR360 AM/FM Weather radio, is one that you can live without. Campers, do avoid this one.

Eton has made so many good products over the years. I have been thrilled with their shortwave radios, which aren't as popular as they used to be due to the Internet and other diversions, so I was shocked to have found such disappointment with their SolarLink FR360. Its gone now, thankfully I was able to get $20 for it on Craigslist, even though it had some wear. This is because of how cheaply its manufactured, and this is supposed to have been a camping device. So much for that, as I would not even trust this, in the comfort of my living room. This radio looks neat, and looks all purpose, but here are the numerous reasons, you should purchase any other one.

First of all, the reception. I live in the D.C. area, where we have a multitude of close by stations, some of which generate a lot of wattage. It would not be fair to judge this in some rural area, although that has been done, with even more lackluster results. The telescoping antenna is easy to use, and I've always liked these, due to the fact that they can save room and potential damage during transport. I don't know for a fact if its this, or the actual digital based receiver that's the problem, but you can only get a few stations. Even then the sound quality stinks. The AM dial, don't even bother. 

The lack of clarity, and also the power of the speakers, reminds me of a Fisher Price radio I had a small child. It even sounds tinny, and you cannot put it on full volume. You will not understand anything, even a broadcast. This radio does have AM and FM, but it also has the NOAA weather channels. You can pick from seven frequencies, and while this can be useful for emergencies, I have to say that its difficult to hear also. That is often the case with any radio, but even here it cannot potentially "save the day."

I hate the hand crank. While I do appreciate that it can be placed back in its cradle in the radio, using this requires a lot of effort. You don't get much "bang for your buck" either. If you crank this for five minutes, you will get a maximum of fifteen minutes of service. That's abysmal, and even cheaper no name radios have done better than this. While it does have a DC adaptor, you aren't always going to be somewhere, where electrical connections are available. The solar power option doesn't seem to help much either, as I've had it out on the sunniest of days, with minimal play time. You really shouldn't have to, go to this much work for a radio, and one with inferior sound quality at that.

As for the screen, it is also hard to read. While I appreciate it showing the time, you have to put it in a shaded area to see it. This is due to a cheap screen, that reflects any bit of light, distorting the numbers. I have 20/20 vision, so its not me. The buttons to switch stations are small too. For those of you, who have beefy fingers, you will inadvertently turn the volume up or down while changing stations. You can charge a cell phone on here, but expect to do a lot of cranking, or just realistically place it in the DC outlet while attached to electricity. What's the point? 

It does have a flashlight, that is sort of handy. One advantage that this radio has over others, is that it does have a carry handle. The solar panels are above this, which seems logical, and the flashlight is helpful for quick ventures around the camp site. I wouldn't say take it hiking. However, I must say that I did like the low weight of this radio. Even though it is larger than some, I would surmise that it bearly weighs in at over a pound. Yes the plastic is cheap, but if you place it with clothing in a backpack, it should survive a relatively easy trek.

There is a head phone jack, and you can also put your ipod in here. I laughed when I did this, as my playlists sounded horrible. This is a good concept, in that its a "multi-tool of audio devices." Unfortunately, the execution of it is truly abysmal. The NI-MH battery just fails to hold charges, and with the required amount of work, all it does is add stress when you are trying to relax. I bought it originally for $70, and am saddened to have done so. It truly was a piece of garbage, and for a company with such a high reputation, its simply unacceptable.

Recommend this product? No

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