The AM radio operates on a range from 520KHz to 1710KHz; the FM measures 87MHz to 108MHz.
The device is equipped with an 0.5-watt LED flashlight. While I do like its auto option, given how wide the device is and how much light I'd need during a power outage, I think the light should be brighter and larger.
The radio also comes with an emergency siren, which could come in handy should you need to call for help or let people hear your location. It's loud and definitely does the job of getting people's attention (at least in CNET's office, anyway).
The battery life on this device depends on how you plan to charge it. Using AAA batteries, the manufacturer reports that the radio should play for about 22 hours, depending on reception and speaker volume. Also, it can charge a phone on standby for about 15 hours, and if talking on said phone, only about 30 minutes. The LED light can stay on for 45 hours, and the siren can play constantly for 16 hours.
After charging the built-in battery with the AC adapter, the radio should play for about 25 hours. The device should charge a phone for about 150 hours on standby or 5 hours on continuous talk. The LED light will stay lit for 50 hours and the siren will go off for 22 hours.
When cranking the device for a minute at a rate of 150rpm, the radio should play for about 30 minutes. It can charge a standard smartphone for about 40 minutes, if the phone is on standby, and about 2 minutes, if it's on continuous talk. The LED light will stay on for 35 minutes, while the siren will ring for 15 minutes.
The Slive-88 picked up radio signals easily and clearly. Bay Area radio stations were tuned in with ample clarity and audio quality. I could hear news announcements and music well, and the volume level can up quite high. On its maximum setting, the radio was very loud. The LED light for the radio tuning is especially helpful; when the device can pick up a signal well, the light turns green. It shuts off when it only picks up static.
Using the crank is easy, and since the unit is petite, it wasn't difficult maneuvering the handle. The knob at the end of the handle can rotate freely, making it that much easier to crank the radio. There's little resistance when spinning it, so someone like me, who isn't built of muscle, can easily power up a charge. Unfortunately, while you crank it, the device gives off a high-pitched mechanical noise that someone at the office described as "a cockroach screaming." Personally, it didn't bother me, and in times of crisis I especially don't see a reason to be annoyed. However, this is something to consider.
One thing I noticed was that you couldn't charge your phone and listen to the radio at the same time. In an emergency situation, this could be a downside: you can't power up your phone while listening to news alerts simultaneously.
The power source estimations from the manufacturer were pretty accurate to real-life testing. When I cranked the radio for about 5 minutes, I was able to gain about 10 minutes of talk time on my phone. After plugging the Slive-88 into an AC adapter for a full charge, I was able to then charge several other phones that were on standby to their full charge capacity.
With its USB charger port, the Slive-88 knows what people need: their cell phones to be powered up. Sure, this extra charge can spare you a few extra minutes for your phone to update your status, but it can also save your life if you need to contact emergency personnel. Its compact design also makes it great to slip into an emergency kit. And with its built-in flashlight and siren, and if this device makes it stateside, it's definitely something I'd want beside me in a blackout.