Editor's Note: This review has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it no longer ranks as a top 10 product. The original review is below, but check out our current top 10 about Crank Radios here.
The POWERplus Cheetah is a small crank radio that performs one job admirably well: it plays music and other radio programming. There is little to this compact device, and no extra features beyond the conventional radio. It does come with a solar panel, although it is more efficient to use the crank or the USB port to charge the internal battery.
The charge time on this crank radio is really good. One minute of cranking equals 20 minutes of radio time. On the other hand, the solar panel charging option is less impressive: five hours of sunlight only equals 30 minutes of play time. To fully charge this device you need between 20 and 30 hours of sunlight. When the device is fully charged it can last upwards of 7 hours, which is useful.
If you don’t want to wait around for the sun to charge the battery you, can use the USB port and hook the crank radio up to the computer. In eight hours you can reach the full charge. This USB option is a great way to get the wind up radio up and running, and then you can just use the crank or sunlight to replenish the change and keep it going.
The design of this crank radio is fairly simplistic, making it easy to use. It has two knobs which control the station and the volume, an antenna, the USB port and the crank. Though this dynamo solar radio doesn’t have much, it performs its job admirably. The sound quality is pretty good for such a small radio, and it is easy to pack and carry around with you. The crank handle is actually quite large compared to the size of the radio itself. The end has a good grip that makes it easy to crank while holding the radio with your other hand.
While this crank radio is easy to take with you, it doesn’t have the durability options we like to see on dynamo solar radios. There is no resistance to water, and the case doesn’t have the rubberized protection found on many of the other products. This isn’t a problem if you don’t intend to use the radio in the outdoors too much, but it means this crank radio isn’t the best choice for an emergency preparedness kit.
Other Crank Radios reviews
The help and support offered for this product is limited, but since it doesn’t have many complex features this wasn’t a concern. The website offers some information in a specification sheet, and they've posted an email address and phone number so you can contact them if you have any questions about using the product. Since the original manufacturer is located in the United Kingdom, we were pleased to see that the reseller offers support for this product as well.
This small crank radio doesn’t have much to it. All the POWERplus Cheetah can do is play music, which isn’t a bad thing. But if you are hoping for something more, another wind up radio might be a better choice. If all you need is something to listen to while you are sitting at your desk or working in the yard, this crank radio is worth looking into.