Eton Elite Executive AM/FM/SW/Air Radio
As of Summer 2019 Eton has revamped their lineup of multiband radios with the new Elite Designation and in addition a November introduction is promised for the new flagship Elite Satellit. Their multiband portables will now be named Elite – the new model lineup includes the Elite Mini, Elite Traveler, Elite Executive (formerly the Satellit Executive Edition) and Elite Field (most recently the Field BT). The upcoming Elite Satellit externally resembles the former and very highly-regarded E1 and as I am a big fan of the E1 I am eager to see the new one when it is available, but the other new models are available now so I ordered the new Elite Executive to see how it compares with the earlier versions.
A Little History of the Eton Elite Executive:
Released near the end of 2014 the original travel-size Eton Satellit was not actually a proper successor to the more sophisticated, higher priced and very highly regarded Grundig Satellit radios, but rather, it was the logical evolution of the earlier E5/G5/G3 radios. I will refer to this Satellit as Version 1. It was a black radio supplied with a separate soft carrying pouch and was an excellent performer. In fact, I rated it best in class with better AM reception (and similar FM/SW/Air reception) to other similarly-sized radios. Because of its superior AM reception, it became my travel radio of choice. I commented though that, although it was an excellent radio in its class, it should not have been called a Satellit because the previous Satellits were top of the line radios – larger and more fully featured, with closer to state-of-the art (by portable standards) performance. The Satellit name didn’t seem to make sense for a travel-sized radio but nevertheless I liked it very much.
Shortly thereafter it was rebadged with the name “Grundig Edition” and there were some minor improvements such as a rewired Aux Antenna jack which eliminated a quirk of the very early units, slightly reduced muting while tuning and a brighter display. Perhaps we might call this Version 1A and I believe most of the Version 1 Radios sold were the 1A models.
In Spring of 2017 Eton released what I call Version 2 – the Executive Satellit. This radio kept the same cabinet and control layout but the radio was now silver and was supplied in an integrated tan leather hard case. The radio is a real looker in the fashion of the much earlier G2000A Porsche Edition. The attractive case fastens to the radio elegantly with magnetic snaps and offers good protection but I commented that it could have been far more usable if it had speaker holes to allow listening while still protecting the radio, but perhaps that is nitpicking. Additionally, although you can deploy the rod antenna with the case on the radio you still have to remove the case to swivel the antenna. The good news is that basic performance seemed identical to the Version 1A model in every way so it was still best in class. Many readers who owned the Version 1A radio wrote to ask if they should spring for the new radio and I told them that performance was identical, so yes, buy the new radio if you love the looks of it but don’t buy it expecting anything different in performance.
Now in the summer of 2019 Eton has released the newest update, the Elite Executive. Note that it is no longer called Satellit – Eton’s new Elite Satellit will be a larger, more complex radio and will hopefully be a great continuation of the Satellit name.
The first thing I did was to put the new Elite Executive side by side with my Executive Satellit to see if I could discern any operational differences…I could not. I scanned all the bands comparing performance and features in every detail and the two radios behaved absolutely identically in every way.
Next I took the backs off of them and found they are indeed the same radio. At least, they have the same circuit board number and revision date. While I can’t say for certain that there aren’t some tiny changes somewhere, I couldn’t see anything different and again, performance is identical. The pictures give pretty good detail for you to compare for yourself.
Although some might look askance at changes which are external only and more of a marketing strategy than a true evolution of the internal design, it is also fair to rate the radio solely on its merits and in this light, it still comes up smiling. As I’ve said before, the Elite Executive, like the Executive Satellit before it and the Satellit Grundig Edition before that, is still my favorite travel size radio, for its size, RF performance (especially on AM where it beats its competitors) and overall good design.
It is not perfect of course. One quibble which seems to afflict many Eton radios is the odd On/Off switch performance. You generally have to hit this switch twice to make it work. Not always, but usually. Every recent Eton radio I have acts just this way so it is not a defect…it is a quirk, although I don’t see people complaining about it.
One feature I like is that, unlike most travel radios, you can toggle the AM/SW bandwidths Up or Down, rather than cycling through in one direction only. This makes comparing two adjacent settings much nicer. The display is easily readable in any light. Indoors it is bright orange when the illumination is on and dark when it is off but in sunlight it displays a deep blue background and is visible at all times even with the illumination off. It really pops…this picture was taken in direct sunlight but doesn’t do it justice. And it’s AM performance is tops in this class.
All the details of operation and performance are the same as before so check out the Executive Satellit Article for all the operational and performance details.
Also of note: If you don’t care about the latest color version, Amazon has a sale on the Executive Satellit ($109.99 as of this writing) which makes it a steal:
Or See The New Elite Executive At Amazon:
Addendum: Eton’s published announcement of this radio advertises it as offering HD in the US and DAB elsewhere. That is an error. Although the display includes an unused DAB indicator there is no HD function on the US version. I expect there will be no DAB version but that is speculation.