The Eton Scorpion tends to get more accolades from professional reviewers; owners are much less enamored of this portable crank radio. In terms of design, the Scorpion has some definite advantages over other crank-powered units; like the comparable Eton Microlink FR160 (*Est. $30) , its batteries can be charged by solar panel or crank-powered dynamo. In addition, the unit can be powered by an optional AC power supply purchased separately.
The Scorpion's rugged, rubberized cladding is designed to make it tougher and more water-resistant. It includes an LED light, a bottle opener and a built-in carabiner, all of which add to its appeal for outdoor enthusiasts. Radio reception is said to be acceptable, even on AM and FM stations, and it has an auxiliary jack for use with an MP3 player or another device.
Where this radio falls down, owners say, is function, not form. Numerous users complain about the unit failing to charge or hold a charge with either the crank or the solar panels. Others say the Scorpion is a lot less durable than it looks, and that build quality is poor.
Editors at WorldTravelGuide.com offer a helpful video review of the Eton Scorpion emergency crank radio. TopTenReviews.com provides coverage as well, but it's not clear how much of it is based on hands-on testing. Amazon.com is the best place to read user reviews and ultimately get a handle on how the Scorpion performs.
Ratings for the Eton Scorpion are mediocre at best, with just as many 1- and 2-star reviews as 4-and 5-star ratings. While many owners call it a great choice for backpackers or outdoor enthusiasts, the unit is knocked for performance and durability issues. A significant number of users say its batteries lose the ability to take or hold a charge over time, and sometimes relatively soon after purchase.
Review: Eton Scorpion NSP100GR Multi-Purpose Solar Powered Digital Weather Radio, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of March 2012
This article doesn't seem particularly helpful at first glance, but a video review at the bottom of the page does a nice job of showing the ins and outs of the Eton Scorpion. Observations include that the unit needs more cranking than expected to get a reasonable amount of radio playtime, and an awful lot of cranking to power a cell phone. The solar cell is judged to be gimmicky rather than useful.
Review: Best Emergency Portable Radios - The Best Solar and Hand Crank Wind Up Radios, Editors of WorldTravelGuide.com, Not dated
In this profile, the Eton Scorpion is rated on criteria such as features, durability and support. While the radio draws raves here, it's not clear if reviewers did any long-term testing. Many of the strengths listed, like ease of use, directly contradict usability issues brought up by owners. Still, editors give the Scorpion a Gold Award for 2012.
Review: Eton Scorpion, Editors of TopTenReviews.com, Not dated