Crank It Up: XC-253 Flashlight Review

Here in the states with the change of seasons, there is always the possibility of inclement weather, power outages at home or being lost in the campgrounds with nightfall approaching.

The Boy Scouts have a motto: Be Prepared.

“Be prepared for what?” someone once asked Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the World Scout Movement.

“Why, for any old thing.” he replied.

While I don?t doubt that any Boy Scout can start a fire with two sticks, for guys like me, I need a little technology to give me a head start. Courtesy of Vavolo, here?s a very cool looking Handle Shaking Flashlight XC-253.

Inside this easy to grip package is a flashlight that uses environmentally friendly hand cranking to generate the power needed not only for illumination, but an audio alarm complete with flashing red light to alert others and a FM radio.

The crank folds into the base of the flashlight. According to the specs, winding the crank for 120 turns could light the flashlight for six minutes; play the radio for 8 minutes or via the outlet to charge your cell phone for 10 minutes. Somebody please tell me how cool that is!

The two-LED flashlight beam throws a bright light ? the manual claims 15 meters (590.551181 inches) – with a bulb life of 10,000 hours. While reassuring, I?m not planning to be lost in a cave that long anytime soon!

The FM radio comes in loud and clear ? simply extend the antenna, give a few cranks and touch the SCAN button. The XC-253 will move up the FM dial stopping at each signal it picks up. The volume is adjusted by rotating the dial. Pressing the reset button restarts the Scan function at the lowest frequency.

If you have a 5V Center Positive polarity power adapter, then the XC-253 will not only charge the flashlight, but also play the FM radio concurrently! The manual also states should your Nokia, Motorola, Ericsson, Seimans or Samsung cell phone is dead, with the proper adaptor (not included), a few cranks of the handle may be just the ticket you need to call 911.

While I didn?t see this particular model manufactured by Shenzhen Smallware Electronics available online at Vavolo, here?s a similar model with more features: Appollo Hand Crank FMAM Radio+White Light LED Torch-BH-8188.

MRSP: $36 sale $20.79 plus shipping from China (Appollo model)
Yep, I am placing this Handle Shaking Flashlight XC-253 in my gear bag. Being prepared is a good thing. It might not be a bad idea to keep a similiar type device at home or have a spare in the glove compartment.
What I Like: The simplicity of an emergency device. The FM radio picks up stations well. Good volume. Strong light. Environmentally friendly with no battery disposal.
What Needs Improvement: None.

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