The Freeplay Companion

The Freeplay Companion is one of those products that, ten years ago, would have been absolutely revolutionary. However, we’re in 2012 so how good is it in light of recent technological advances?

Essentially, the Companion is a wind up torch that is also an AM/FM radio. Or it could be a wind up AM/FM radio that is also a torch. Throw in the fact that it’s also a mobile phone charger and you get the idea. With the recent glut of wind up torches for rock bottom prices, is there still a space in the market for a 'premium' wind up device with more than just the usual light giving properties? We're not entirely sure, but we did end up liking the Companion more than we thought we would!

Firstly, the good bits... It works exactly as advertised. It winds up quickly (we were able to get e torch working well with just a few turns) and the reception on the radio receiver is very good. We were able to find our favourite radio station (JackFM in case you were wondering!) within seconds and the reception was stable moving all around the room. Surprisingly for such a small device, the volume was quite good and didn't distort right until the upper regions of the volume control. Granted, you wouldn't buy one of these units for the sound quality alone, it was a nice surprise nonetheless!

Unfortunately, although the built in mobile phone charging port is a very good idea, the Companion ships with an adaptor for a Nokia phone probably not seen this side of England's last world cup victory (the rugby one in 2003, not the football one). It would be nice to have a more contemporary mini USB cable sent along with the device.

As well as the wind up charging method, the Companion also has a small solar panel and can also be charged from a mini USB port, which should save some winding when the weather is good... 'when' being the operative word in that previous sentence.

All in all, this is a useful little Companion for your next camping trip, even though it's not the most essential bit of kit. It would also be pretty handy to keep in a shed or garage or even in the cubby hole of your car.

Quick, enter our competition to win your very own Freeplay Companion! Entries close on the 28th August 2012.