Gear Review: Eton Raptor

Eton Raptor

The rugged Eton Raptor Solar Charger/Radio is a jammed pack with features for the outdoor adventurer. This solar charger is built with many all-terrain guidance functions which include: compass, altimeter and barometer. This all done in a splash proof case that has a built in bottle opener for the post activity celebration.

When I first received this unit I was excited to take it out and see just how well it worked and how rugged it really was. I was impressed by how little amount of light was needed to get the Raptor to start charging. As with all solar chargers the more sun the more power though. The Raptor features an 1800mAh rechargeable Lithium Ion Battery to power the utilities of the device. Also the unit can be charged via DC power if you want to have a full charge before you head out.

One of the nice features of this device is the ability to transfer its charge to a cell phone or other electronics via a USB connection. This makes this unit a great backup when out in the backcountry or in any emergency situation. Weighing in at just over 11 ounces the Raptor is a great companion to take hiking, backpacking, biking or just left in a car for emergencies. The housing is rugged, rubberized and splashproof that provides protection against water and dust. The first time I used it was on my back porch. I know that this wasn't too extreme, but my two year old daughter grabbed it and dropped it down our cement stairs. To my amazement it was still working with no problems, just some minor cosmetic damage. My kids are some of the best gear testers I have found.

Packed with many features, the Raptor houses the ABCs of an outdoor adventure tool; altimeter, barometer and compass. After the initial setting up these seem to work pretty well.  Also the Raptor features  an AM/FM/WB digital radio tuner with presets and NOAA weather alerts, as well as a digital clock with an alarm function, an LED flashlight, audio line and DC input, and battery charge indicator. It has a built in speaker so you can listen to the radio or plug in a mp3 player to listen to your own tunes. The sound from the speaker works but is not the best in the world.

One of the downsides side to the Raptor is the user interface. I consider myself to be pretty handy and able to get things to work without reading a manual. But this was not the case with the Raptor. I was messing around awhile before I was able to have it switch between modes or make certain selections. But ultimately to get all the functions to work and work properly I had to read the manual. So that said, if you will take the time up front to read and understand the manual, you will not have to go through the same trouble I did.

This is a great little unit that can be clipped to the outside of your pack to charge while hiking or any other outdoor activity. It is also a great emergency device to put into a 72 hour kit or just left in a car. You can learn more and check it out on Eton's website. The following information was pulled off their site.

Features

Monocrystal solar panel w/ solar charge indicator

Solar powered USB cell phone charger (5V, 500mA)

Digital display

Altimeter (altitude information)

Barometer (pressure and temperature)

Compass

Chronograph

AM, FM, WB digital radio tuner

NOAA weather alert

10 AM / 10 FM station presets

Digital clock w/ alarm

IPX-4 splash proof

Audio line input

DC input with mini-USB plug (5V, 500mA)

1800mAh, rechargeable lithium ion battery

Battery charge indicator

Bottle opener

Thin form factor

Carabiner

Includes: owner’s manual, warranty card

Product provided for free by the manufacturer for review purposes.

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