Seattle Sports Active Traxx Solar Radio/Speaker Comparison


Photo via: Seattle Sports

This month I was given the pleasure of putting one of Seattle Sports new solar/crank-powered radio and iPod speaker to the test. Let's see how it stacked up to a few of its competitors...
The Seattle Sports ActiveTrax™ Audio Speaker is an all-in-one unit. It is an AM/FM/Weatherband radio and it is also a self-powered iPod® player. You can plug the iPod® into the side jack and it literally works as a small amplified speaker.

General Specifications:
Internal Battery Type: Lithium Ion
Radio play (not iPod) on full charge: 7 hours
Amount of cranking until fully charged: 40 minutes @ 180 rpm
Time in sunlight until fully charged: 35 hours (radio off)

The best part about this system is it is completely self-powering through either the sun or a crank which is fitted to the rear. The company says you'll get 20 minutes of speaker play for each minute of cranking, although I hit the 30 minute mark on several occasions with my test unit, although that could be from the slight amount of sunlight shining through the window.

Another neat addition to this system is a side USB jack which can be used to charge to your iPod® or other USB-compatible device (cell phone, GPS, etc.)... and it actually works. I was able to crank the charge on my iPod mini for about two minutes and it would provide me with over an hours playtime with headphones.

I found that the solar worked great in direct sunlight. It was practically capable of sustaining continuous play throughout an entire day. Keep in mind that the solar panel is only intended to charge the internal batteries of the radio and does not have outbound charging capability, so your iPod is on its own, although you can crank charge it if need be.

In general, I really did enjoy my time with this audio device. It has respectable sound for its small size (3" X 3" X 2"), it easy easy to use, durable, has a nice look, and does exactly what it advertises itself to. There are several other self-powered radios out there, so to help you get an idea of how the ActiveTraxâ„¢ Audio stacks up against them, I have provided a few comparisons.

Solar/Crank Audio Comparisons:
Model: Seattle Sports ActiveTraxâ„¢ Audio
Radio Type: AM/FM/Weatherband
Mp3 speaker: Yes
Crank-Powered: Yes
Solar-Powered: Yes
Provides Outbound Charge: Yes, USB charger
Backup charging option: No
Power from 1 minute of cranking: 20 minutes of radio/iPod play
MSRP: $39.95

Model: Seattle Sports ActiveTraxâ„¢ Multi-Charge Deluxe
Radio Type: AM/FM/Weatherband
Mp3 speaker: Yes
Crank-Powered: Yes
Solar-Powered: Yes
Provides Outbound Charge: Yes, USB charger
Backup charging option: Yes
Power from 1 minute of cranking: 20 minutes of radio/iPod play
MSRP: $49.95

Model: Forever Last Radio
Radio Type: AM/FM
Mp3 speaker: No
Crank-Powered: Yes
Solar-Powered: No
Provides Outbound Charge: No
Backup charging option: No
Power from 1 minute of cranking: 20 minutes of radio
MSRP: $29.95

Model: 6 Sony ICF-B01
Radio Type: AM/FM
Mp3 speaker: No
Crank-Powered: Yes
Solar-Powered: No
Provides Outbound Charge: Yes- cell phone charger
Backup charging option: Yes, batteries
Power from 1 minute of cranking: 1 hour of AM reception, 40 minutes of FM and a cell phone charge that lasts for 3 minutes
MSRP: $49.95

Model: Eton FR400
Radio Type: AM/FM/Weatherband
Mp3 speaker: No
Crank-Powered: Yes
Solar-Powered: No
Provides Outbound Charge: Yes, cell phone charger
Backup charging option: Yes, AC adaptor & batteries
Power from 1 minute of cranking: 1.5 minutes of cranking gives you an hour
MSRP: $59.95

Model: Freeplay Eyemax WB 2009
Radio Type: AM/FM/Weatherband
Mp3 speaker: Yes
Crank-Powered: Yes
Solar-Powered: Yes
Provides Outbound Charge: No
Backup charging option: Yes, AC adaptor
Power from 1 minute of cranking: 1 hour
MSRP: $80.00

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Tags: Electronics | Gadgets | Solar Gadgets | Solar Power

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