PROS / The 3.5mm audio input allows you to play music from your phone or MP3 player.
CONS / The analog receiver dial makes it difficult to find specific radio stations.
VERDICT / The WeatherX WR-383R crank radio is an excellent affordable option if all you need is a simple radio for your emergency preparedness kit, but it lacks the crank efficiency and reception quality of better weather radios.
The WeatherX WR-383R is an affordable crank radio that receives all the NOAA weather band stations and AM/FM stations, making it a great addition to an emergency preparedness kit. However, the below-average reception quality and long charge time don't compare to the best crank radios in our review.
In our tests, the hand crank produced an average of three minutes and 53 seconds of battery life after two minutes of using the crank. This is below average, but it isn't terrible. Several of the crank radios produced less than two minutes of battery life. However, the best crank radio produced almost 13 minutes of battery life with the same amount of cranking.
The rechargeable batteries took 10 hours and 32 minutes to fully charge using a wall plug, which was the second-longest charge time of the radios we tested. Once fully charged, the battery lasted for five hours and 12 minutes when we played the radio at full volume, which is average. You can charge the battery via a solar panel that pops up from the side, as well as with a USB connection or a wall plug. The radio also takes disposable batteries, which are the primary power source.
The WR-383R’s biggest downside is its reception quality. While the weather band reception is as good as it is with any of the other emergency radios we reviewed, the AM and FM reception is poor. The analog receiver dial, which scrolls through the radio stations manually, is difficult to tune precisely on each station. We tested the quality of the reception from every AM and FM station in our area and scored on clarity in comparison to all the other weather radios we tested. It received a B-minus in AM reception quality and a C in backcountry reception quality. The best score it received was B-plus, which it earned for its FM reception.
The best feature is the 3.5mm audio input, which allows you to connect any music player or microphone with an aux cord. This means you can play music from your phone or MP3 player through the speaker. You can also connect a microphone and use the speaker to amplify your voice, which can be an important advantage in a survival situation.
The WR-383R is one of the few radios with a thermometer, which is a handy feature when you're camping. However, the plastic casing isn't water-resistant and doesn't feature any impact-resistant points.
The WeatherX WR-383R is an affordable crank radio with an average hand crank and below-average receiver. The analog tuner makes it difficult to find the radio station you want, and the overall reception quality is poor. While the WR-383R wouldn't make a good backcountry weather radio, the low price makes it a good addition to an emergency preparedness kit.