As an amateur radio operator I've been familiar with the Eton brand for some years. Needing a replacement wind-up radio for my camping activities gave me the opportunity to try their Axis radio. You can read the specifications in the product description, but having the facility to charge phones through the dynamo appealed to me, as did the inclusion of the short wave bands. In the US they make use of these short wave bands for emergency weather reporting but sadly the UK is not so advanced and there's no UK based amateur activity on the SW bands available on this radio. The FM and AM bands offer a full availability of commercial stations. In terms of function, this device ticks all of the boxes, offering conventional AA battery operation alongside the built in (but replaceable) Ni-MH. It provides radio, light and a power source for your other devices.
Keeping the Axis Powered Up : The three AA batteries are obviously replaceable. Being 4.5v means that the Axis can also be charged off a USB input and so for those who have a car charger or back up power for their phones it can be kept topped up easily enough. The built in dynamo and decent sized hand crank serve to provide another means to charge the Ni-MH batteries so you should never lose power.
Powering Up Other Stuff : The built-in Ni-MH batteries and the hand crank can be used to charge up your phone. You just plug it into the USB on the rear of the unit and let the batteries do their work, supplimenting it with a bit of handle cranking if required.
Build Quality : This is where the Axis disappointed me. While the whole unit feels fairly robust, the plastics are glossy and cheap looking, lacking the panel fit and robust feel expected from a radio of this price. The built in lamp switch and the radio band dials have a rather vague and loose feel about them, as do the volume and tuning controls. The control buttons are positive and functional but the whole device has something of a thrown together 1970's feel to it. The dynamo and hand crank are excellent though, being well sized and providing a fluid resistance when charging.
In the US, this model is jointly branded by Eton and the American Red Cross, advertised as an emergency radio. The Americans certainly have a culture of preparedness and this device fits their bill perfectly with access to their Emergency shortwave channels, sadly of no use to us in the UK. Come the Zombie Apocolypse, you'll certainly want one of these since it provides information, light and power for your other devices. It's versatile, and has the useful 'sleep' and 'alarm' features required for everyday use. Sound quality is acceptable rather than outstanding and it's easy enough to use. Time will tell how tough it is and I'll come back and report on progress in a while.
I first tried out an Eton Raptor. It does not have a crank, which will make it fairly useless in the UK.
Both of these will only give you about a 1% charge to your phone on a full battery dump. Both of them the flashlight is just a gimick, they are totally useless.
I thought Eton were smart incorporating the 3 x AAA module in the design. What they didn't do is allow you to dump the power from the batteries to your cell.
All in all, its still too much like the Raptor, just a glorified radio, which gives you the same volume as a mini burger speaker. For the size, you are better off owning individual items which do the job properly.