|A day in the park in Mackstown.|
Our family has several of these type radios. I received the Ambient Weather WR-333 Emergency Solar Hand Crank Weather Alert Radio, Flashlight, Smart Phone Charger a few days ago and what I noticed first of all is the rugged construction. The rounded reinforced corners, a built in, rigid handle that sports a quick release clip allowing the user to attach to belt loop, low hanging branch or tent ceiling. (Other units have a cord handle.)
The face has a digital read out which illuminates if you are in the dark trying to used it. The booklet explains clearly how to set the clock, with optional military time setting. The WR333 picks up even the weakest local station in our city. The speaker didn't really need any amplification, and came in nice and sharp considering the size, with no tinny sound. With the MODE button you can switch between FM, AM and WB (Weather Band and WB Alert) which, as usual sounds bizarre and robotic and repeats after a time. The station tuners are up and down arrow buttons which make tuning a bit tedious. The volume controls are plus and minus buttons.
The solar panel on the top of the unit is 10 to 15% bigger than the ones on comparable units. Along this panel is the telescoping antenna. A push button control works the 3 led lights for a really bright flashlight. The crank handle flips out of a notch as another mode of charging. Under the crank handle is a compartment which houses 3 triple A batteries and the rechargeable lithium. Other units have the access panel tightened down with a screw (which I've never attempted to open to see what's in there since it doesn't come with the micro-screwdriver) but this one has as teeny slot to stick in a fingernail to pry it up. My husband wasn't able to do it but I was with a little effort. The slot is so thin a dime doesn't fit either.
A half-inch wide dust protector covers 3 ports; a DC/in, USB and headphone (which worked great). It is also where you find the switch when you want to change from lithium to alkaline batteries. I had trouble using the GOAL ZERO speaker with this unit, which became so staticky that the station was drowned out. Possibly, because the solar charger was in use? I have several other types of travel speakers that worked fine, again the sound of the unit on its own was really impressive. The radio is a little bulkier due to its heavy duty appearance and larger solar panel. Instructions say it will charge a smartphone, but can't say to what extent because of variable power loads. It charged my text phone up 2 bars in under half an hour and I talked on it for 25 minutes. Ambient Weather WR-333 Emergency Solar Hand Crank Weather Alert Radio, Flashlight, Smart Phone Charger would be a great addition to any emergency kit, road trip gear, or camping provisions. You could take it boating or on vacation, but it isn't waterproof. I give this five stars.