When it comes to making the Swiss Army Knife of portable radios, it doesn’t get much better than the Eton FRX5. Eton is known for making these high quality radios. And the Eton FRX5 is definitely cut out of that mold. With a light, radio, and multiple charging options, it seems to do it all.
Features and specs:
• AM/FM/NOAA weatherband
• S.A.M.E. and NOAA Weather Alerts
• 2000 mAh Rechargeable lithium battery
• Digital tuner and display
• Rechargeable lithium battery
• 5V 2.1A USB output
• High efficiency solar panel charging
• Hand crank power
• Rugged and IPX4 splashproof
• Bright, long-lasting LED flashlight
• Red emergency beacon
• Ambient light with dimmer
• DC power input via included micro-USB cable
• Glow-in-the-dark locator
• Illuminated buttons
• AUX-IN jack
• Headphone jack
• Alarm clock
The Eton FRX5 came in a nice looking box with photos of the product and specs. Materials used in the construction was mostly plastic, and the quality of the materials was good. Build quality and fit and finish was also good. It felt like a well made product, which is a very good quality to have, especially for an outdoor product. Also included was the owner's manual, and a micro USB charging cable.
Having previously reviewed Eton products, we were excited for the opportunity to do more for them. The Eton FRX5 did everything well, and the owner's manual was easy to follow. The built-in flashlight was sufficiently bright. And I liked the fact that it had 2, one standard flashlight mounted on the side, and a dome/ambient light on the top. Pressing the light button cycled it from the dome light to the flashlight, to off. Both of the lights also had glow in the dark trip around the light. Holding onto the light button will also allow you to change the brightness of the flashlight or dome light. There is even a red emergency beacon that can be activate.
The tuner was also easy to use, being able to change from AM to FM to Weather Band. The digital display makes it easy to see the tuning frequency, and the tuning knob and volume knob make it easy to tune and adjust the volume. The antenna stores flush into the body of the unit, and is easy to pull out and rotate to pull in the best signal. The built-in tuner worked well, and was able to pull in AM, FM, and Weather band stations fairly simply. The built-in speaker worked well and sounded as good as expected.
One the side of the unit is where you find the connection ports. This is where you would connect a power cord to the unit to charge the internal lithium ion battery. Below that microUSB connector is a standard USB connector, where you would attach a cable to charge a cell phone with the unit. Next to these connections are also two 3.5mm jacks. These allow you to connect a mp3 player to the unit to listen to your tunes thru the FRX5, or to listen to the radio or your connected mp3 player thru some headphones.
And I love the multiple charge options! If you are charging the device, whether be from the charge cord provided, the solar panel, or the hand crank, the display will show the charging indicator is lit. This tells you that the FRX5 is charging. And no matter your environment, you will be able to charge the device thanks to the hand crank! If you have some AAA batteries, that would be a simpler option. But remember that dreaded feeling you feel when your cell phone battery dies, and you realize you don't have your charger cable with you? Yeah, you won't have to worry about getting that feeling with the Eton FRX5. You will always have a source of power.
Some products appear so great, they seem too good to be true. The Eton FRX5 provides that same feeling, only it is true! Not only that, it is well made, and performed very well! If you do any camping, or just want to be prepared for potential emergencies, the Eton FRX5 is a must have. And being water resistant, there is no concern for having it outdoors. With an MSRP of $150, it is priced right and will be money well spent. Based on its design, features, quality, and performance, the Eton FRX5 has earned our Editor's Choice Award. For more info and complete specs, check out their website at www.etoncorp.com.