February 28, 2016
Wind-Up Radios Are Now Smarter Than You May Remember
Do you remember when wind-up radios first hit the market in the 1990s?
They were certainly popular. But, they were also bulky and heavy.
I used to have one of the early Freeplay radios. It was great fun, but it involved far too much winding for my liking!
Twenty years later, technology has moved on in leaps and bounds. Wind-up radios are now cheap, lightweight and feature-packed.
A few months ago, I bought myself a $29.99 Duronic Apex. This is a radio, torch and alarm clock, that can be powered in three ways:
I’ve mostly powered my radio via the USB option.
A full charge has been sufficient to power the device for weeks (with an average of an hour radio time per day). I can’t comment on the charging ability of the solar panel, but dozens of user reviews suggest that the radio can be powered exclusively via solar by simply leaving the radio on a windowsill.
I’ve tried the wind-up option, and this works nicely. It’s smooth, easy and offers a red LED light to show when charging is taking place.
Here’s what to expect from the charging options:
- Up to 30 minutes radio time after 1 minute cranking
- Up to 1 hour radio time after 1 hour solar charging
- Up to 9 hours radio time after fully charged
Before I give you an overview of the device’s features, take a look at the common scenarios where you could use it:
So far, I’ve only used the radio at home, but I’m looking forward to trying it outdoors in the very near future (once the warmer weather arrives!).
To be honest, the above images don’t reveal just how small and lightweight the device really is. I think you’ll be surprised.
- Height 2.95 inches
- Length 5.9 inches
- Width 2.1 inches
If you’re still having trouble picturing the size, then think along the lines of a 500 grams tub of butter. Yes, it’s really that small. And in fact, it’s lighter than the tub of butter, coming in at just 381 grams.
Feature wise, you get plenty of bang for your bucks!
Check it out:
- AM/FM radio
- Background light
- Digital alarm clock
- LED flashlight
- 3-way charging options
The device can also double as a cellphone or tablet charger.
This works by connecting the appropriate DC/USB cable to your mobile device, and then cranking the handle. Using this method, you can expect up to 15 minutes speaking time on a cellphone – following 3 minutes of cranking. A very useful feature if you’re out and about, and your cellphone or tablet has gone flat.
In conclusion, the Apex Duronic is fantastic value for money.
While not the greatest sounding radio in the world, the device works extremely well and has an impressive built-in rechargeable battery. Furthermore, the torch is bright, and the digital alarm clock is easy to use and program.
If you want to take your radio listening off-grid, then the device’s wind-up and solar charging options will be right up your street.
As the Apex Duronic shows, wind-up radios have become smarter and more sophisticated than ever before.
For more information, or to pick up one of the radios for yourself, head over to Amazon.
Craig J Todd – Freelance writer with a passion for tech, trends and simplicity.
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