Eton FRX3 – Very Prepared
Eton describes their FRX3 as a “multi-powered, multi-function, smartphone-charging, weather alert radio that lights your way”. That sums it up so well , you probably don’t need to read my 500 or so words. But you should, because they can’t cover all the details in one line of copy, and you’ll want to know why this is one product everyone should have, in order to be truly prepared.
Many of the features are obvious, but it’s how they all work, and work together, that makes the FRX3 unique and versatile. The FRX3 offers AM, FM, and weather bands. In addition to a hand crank on the front, there’s a solar panel (with glow in the dark trim) on top, both of which work with the rechargeable battery inside. A pair of white LEDs on the side provide just enough light for finding your way around a dark house or footpath. Directly underneath them is a red LED that flashes. Under the carry handle is a row of buttons, with more on either side of the LCD display. Protected silver twist knobs control the volume and tuning. The overall design is a 6.9” x 5.8 x 2.6, and 1 pound, 5 ounce package that’s aesthetically pleasing, in a mildly industrial way.
All those features add up to a single device that can meet many needs in an emergency. And meeting those needs is key to being prepared. The weather band is handy for getting up to the minute warnings about weather, and there’s an “Alert” option that allows it to sit in a standby mode, yet it comes to life when there is something to broadcast. It’s also got the most flexible power options you’re likely to find. It will run on AAA batteries, as well as the internal rechargeable. Battery dead? No problem. There’s a solar panel on top. No sun? No problem. Wind the crank on the turbine for a minute, and you can run the radio for 15-20 minutes. That internal battery can also be used to charge your cellular phone via the USB port, so be sure to keep it topped up.
Since we promised that we’d share emergency items that are useful for more than just the zombie apocalypse, we need to point out that the FRX3 is a decent picnic, campside, or poolside radio too. While I’m not a fan of telescoping antennas, you can bypass the radio completely, and plug your phone or MP3 player in the auxiliary input in the back (next to the headphone out, USB in, and USB out), and the FRX3 will automatically recognize the audio input, and play it through the speaker. Sound quality and volume is surprisingly good, considering this radio’s first purpose is to save your behind, not impress your audiophile friends. Eton doesn’t mention water resistance, but it appears to tolerate a slash or light rain without incident.
Speaking of light rain, we had none of that during our test period. What we did have was a storm that caused flooding and evacuations, dropping the equivalent of 3 inches an hour. To put that in a proper perspective, feel free to stop by and check out the impromptu drainage ditch I had to dig by my front door. Had we activated the Alert function, we probably would have had a better idea of what we were in for*.
So there you have it. Light your way. Charge your phone. Wake up on time. Get weather alerts. Listen to Katy Perry while slaying zombies or cold brews. The FRX3 does it all. With an MSRP of $59.99, you can be very prepared too. etoncorp.com
*Quite ironically, we turned down the opportunity to review Eton’s ZoneGuard weather alert clock radio, as I explained we wouldn’t have any way of truly testing the weather alert warning function. My actual words were “unless we have a disaster during the review”. I have to wear glasses when driving, but my hindsight is perfect 20/20.
Disclosure of Material Connection: We received the Eton FRX3 radio for free from Eton, in consideration for review publication. And we’re quite thankful too.
Pretty cool that even if you run out of power you can crank it up and rock on into the night!