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The iGadgitz Xtra Wind Up Radio is a small and inexpensive AM/FM radio that can be powered in three ways: Winding the hand crank, via USB cable or via the solar panel on the top of the radio.
Since you don’t need batteries or mains power to use this radio, it could be a good radio to take on camping and hiking trips. Find out more about what this radio can do and how it performs in this review…
- AM/FM radio
- 3 charging methods: Hand crank, USB cable, solar panel
- Extendable aerial
- Headphone jack
- Charging light indicator
Dimensions: 13 cm wide x 7 cm high x 4 cm deep
Weight: 203 g
Performance and use
The first thing you’ll notice about the iGadgitz Xtra Wind Up Radio will probably be its compact size. At just 13 x 7 cm, it fits in the palm of your hand, and it’s very light and easy to carry around.
Unsurprisingly for such a small radio, the sound quality isn’t particularly impressive, but it’s fine for listening to speech programmes and has a decent amount of volume. However, the sound will distort if you turn it up full.
The design isn’t particularly stylish but is instead functional and straightforward. One disappointing thing about this radio is that the rubberised coating can become sticky after a while, making it unpleasant to touch.
This radio can be fiddly to tune. You might need to spend a while adjusting the aerial length and position, especially if you’re listening in the countryside. The aerial extends from 10 cm to 26 cm so you can adjust it until you get the best signal. It’s important to note that this is an AM/FM radio, not a digital radio, so DAB-only stations won’t be available.
The best thing about this radio is that you can use it without having to charge it using the mains. Instead, you can wind the hand crank or leave it in the sun the charge the built-in battery. This is very convenient if you’re camping or using the radio outside, and it also saves money on energy costs and replacement batteries.
If you leave it on a sunny windowsill you should be able to use it daily without needing to charge it via USB.
The manufacturers state that the built-in battery will last for 7 hours before needing to be recharged. The battery takes about 6-8 hours to charge via USB and 20-30 hours to charge from the sun. The solar panel only really works in direct sunlight, which isn’t always plentiful in the UK! However, if you leave it on a sunny windowsill you should be able to use it daily without needing to charge it via USB.
The iGadgitz Xtra feels robust and should withstand being knocked about in a backpack, so it’s a good radio to take hiking, fishing or camping. Unlike on some other wind-up radios, you can’t use the iGadgitz Xtra to charge a phone or other device in emergency situations. If you’d like a radio with this feature, check out the Duronic Apex.
- Good value for money
- Feels quite tough
- Economical to run
- Compact and light—ideal for camping
- Sounds distorted at higher volumes
- Can be fiddly to tune
- Rubberised coating can become sticky
Overall, the iGadgitz Xtra is a very good radio for the price. It’s ideal if you’re camping or hiking, or just want something that’s simple and cheap to run. As you’d expect given a radio of this size, the iGadgitz Xtra doesn’t have very impressive sound quality, but it’s fine for listening to speech programmes and keeping up with sporting events.
There are several other similar wind-up radios available, all of which have quite similar price tags and features. One popular alternative to the iGadgitz Xtra is the Duronic Hybrid Radio. Apart from the colour and branding, the Duronic Hybrid is almost identical to the iGadgitz Xtra. The two radios have pretty much the same features and dimensions, so your choice may come down to price or colour.
A more versatile alternative is the Degen DE13 Crank Solar Radio which features a solar panel and hand crank in addition to lots of extra features. Some of these features include a flashlight, an alarm siren, a shortwave radio receiver and the option to be powered by 3 X AAA batteries.