Editor's Note: We recently determined that this device is incompatible with USB cords.
You may not be Bear Grylls surviving in the middle of nowhere or even fighting off wolves in frigid temperatures, but you still want to be prepared with the best products out there. The Eton Scorpion is that product. This little emergency radio offers a huge variety of tools and features that will work during times of emergency or on a casual weekend camping trip.
Eton continues to come out on top with its emergency preparedness products, and their Scorpion claws its way to the top to earn our TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award. This emergency crank radio offers a sizeable amount of features, such as a large solar panel, flashlight and even a bottle opener, should you find yourself wanting to kick back after you fend off that pesky pack of wolves.
It wouldn't make sense to purchase a self-powering device that didn't hold a charge for very long. That is why when we evaluated crank radios, the top criteria on our list included how long each radio took to charge and how long that charge lasted. This top-tier trait cannot be ignored, and the Scorpion is well equipped in this area.
Cranking this radio 500 times, or for about a minute and a half, will give you two full hours of time to play with this device. This charge time surpasses many of the other emergency radios we looked at. The pleasing design makes it easy to hold and to crank the radio without letting it slip out of your hands. Plus, the size of this gadget makes it easy to store when you aren't using it.
Coupled with superior charging, this emergency crank radio has an excellent LED flashlight that can help you find your way back to the campsite in the middle of the night. The crank charges the light that will shine out up to 20 feet and can last longer than the radio's two-hour play time. If your light begins to fade, just give it a few quick cranks to power it back up.
The Scorprion also has a few extra features added to it. You can charge your mobile phone with a few cranks of this radio, at least if that mobile phone can be charged through a USB cable. By clicking a button on the side of the radio and cranking the radio for 10 to 15 minutes, you can charge your mobile devices. It does take a while, but it's a great bonus if you find yourself in an emergency and need a phone. Make sure you check that your devices can handle such a charge because some can burn out.
Should you find yourself in an emergency with no radio stations, this crank radio does have seven NOAA weather station presets just for that scenario. These are special stations that give out alerts for storm warnings and other conditions in your area. If you are just casually listening on the back porch, you can use the AM or FM tuner to listen to the radio. There aren't any station presents, like some other radios offer, but you can scan the entire range of AM/FM frequencies. There is also an AUX port so you can plug your MP3 into the radio and use the Scorpion as a speaker. There is also a headphone jack.
This survival solar radio also comes with a few extra features. There is a bottle opener located on the side of it, since in any emergency, it's always useful to have a good bottle opener. You can also attach the radio to your gear using its carabiner. While it won't support a person repelling down a cliff, it is useful to clip on the back of your backpack when hiking or camping. You can also set the clock on this crank radio. It can be set to either a 12- or 24- hour format, but you cannot set an alarm. Hopefully Eton will add this in future upgrades.
A harsh outdoor environment can leave you with some bumps and bruises. The Scorpion, as it name implies, is built to stand that environment. The outer casing is made of thick rubber that allows it to take high-impact shots. While we wouldn't recommend hurling this device at the next boulder you see, just know that if it drops or falls from your pack, chances are it will be in one piece. Even though the Scorpion crank radio isn't water proof, it is splash proof, meaning a little water from the rain or streams isn't going to make it malfunction.
This is a crank radio and using the crank to charge it is the most effective way to get power to this device. There is also a good-sized solar panel on the side, but the unit takes much longer to charge on solar power alone – up to 10 hours of direct sunlight. Although it takes a while if the radio is already charged, keeping your charged radio in the sunlight will provide constant power to keep it fully charged at all times. You can also use the DC jack to charge the radio, but the unit does not come with an adapter.
The Eton Scorpion is very easy to use and you won't need much assistance on it. If you find yourself with a few questions, Eton has an email form you can send them, or you can call their telephone number. The Scorpion, along with all their products, comes with downloadable specifications and manuals that you can get at the product's website.
For a crank radio that has it all, the Eton Scorpion fits the bill. You'll find features such as a crank (of course), NOAA weather stations, a LED flashlight, a carabiner and a solar panel. This emergency radio can be an effective gadget to have during times of unrest as well as times of prosperity. The tough, splash-resistant casing, quick charge and long play time will allow you to enjoy this crank radio in any scenario.
The device can hold a charge for up to two hours with only a few minutes of cranking.
The solar panel is big, but it takes several hours to fully charge the device.
This emergency crank radio has everything you will need to keep informed, and it can charge your other devices, as well.