A couple of months ago, my husband wanted just a cheap radio supposedly for upstairs ( really for fishing), so I looked about online and found this at Argos on sale for £8.16 ( it is still on sale at this price so maybe it is really only meant to be £8). At any rate, I liked this one because it means we have an emergency flashlight should one be needed for power cuts ever ( as long as he isn't fishing at the time). The nice thing is that while this is usually used with batteries, you can charge up with a wee crank, so you don't have to worry about running out batteries. I actually think this is so handy I have thought of buying a second one and keep one in the car and one in the house. Power cuts are rare here ( unlike water cuts!) but with young children I think it always best to be prepared. This means a few candles and some torches if needed. Neither of my boys are frightened by dark, but children grow very very bored in the dark and might get frightened if they could not turn lights on for awhile. On the other hand, a few torches and a sheet and you can have shadow plays, read stories even play simple games until the power comes back.
This device is basically a FM and MW radio, with built torch, and a plug where you can use this as an emergency charger for a mobile phone. It can be powered by 2 AA batteries, or buy a built rechargeable battery which you charge by cranking the dynamo. The size of this is roughly 16 x 10 x 4.5 cm not counting the crank for the Dynamo.
This is pretty basic. I think the sound is decent, but it is mono, is not going to be loud enough for a party, and is not going to match the quality of proper stereo system or an I-pod. The reception is also adequate. We live in a really terrible reception area, but it is good enough, although not the very best I have seen. The signal is available in analogue only. I do not know if analogue will eventually be phased out with the digital take over, but it works nicely now.
I am not certain if the bulb in this is led or not and despite trying to find more details online, have been unable to determine this. It also looks difficult or impossible to change. If using a dynamo charge the light will dull as the charge wears down, but otherwise it is reasonably bright. I won't say it is the brightest torch I own, but it adequate and about middle of the range I would say. This would certainly be fine for indoors during a power cut, extra light to bait a hook fishing, or safety purposes if a car breaks down. It would not really do to spot a dog at a good distance when out in a filed at night, but as this is meant to be more of a camping or emergency light I will not mark it down for this.
I have weak hands but a minutes charge gets me about 4 minutes use of radio or battery, so it is going to take some effort if you are using this on dynamo charge alone. I think someone with better hands could do much better though. The dynamo is a nice extra for emergencies, and would be suitable if need be. It also is a nice educational toy as it helps children understand how electricity works.
THE PHONE CHARGER:
This came with a small bit of wire that plugs into the back of the radio and a fitting you plug your own car charger into ( please forgive non tech description). My husband did give this a quick try to see if the charging light came on ( which it did) but I am afraid we are both to lazy to attempt to fully charge a phone like this. I do think this is the type of thing you would really only use in an emergency - such as if your car broke down but phone battery was dead.
My husband loves this. It is a handy gadget for fishing as he can listen to the radio, or have an extra light. You can not however use both at once. My boys also love playing with the light or music and the oldest is interested in the dynamo and how it makes electricity. He did ask if you get something like that for TV and wii, but I am afraid the answer was no. I find this a nice radio just for listening to music upstairs and a useful emergency item. Although I did read some criticism of this due to sound quality etc... I think it is all a matter of what you expect. I never expected this to sound like an expensive stereo unit, nor did I expect a proper search light type torch. I do think this does everything it is meant to very well. My husband is also very pleased with it, and he does use it the most often, so I am giving this a full 5 out of 5 stars.