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Recently, whilst listening to this very radio, I heard the news that by 2015 the UK government plans to switch over to digital transmission only. I'm a little concerned about how I might be able to listen to the radio in my car in future, along with about 99% of the UK population apparently, but in my kitchen, with this Pure Radio, we are good to go.
What's in the Box?
Being somewhat "early adopters" in our house, due to my gadget-freak husband, this is actually the second Pure radio we have owned, it's the third generation of this radio, we previously had the very first version. This model has a few improved features which I shall mention later, most notably it has FM as well as digital reception, which may or may not be a future proof aspect. It's called a "Portable" radio, which is actually a bit of a misnomer in my opinion as you will need a battery pack if you wish to use this radio anywhere not near to a power point, and this will set you back an additional £24.99 or so. It's not a stereo radio, though you can buy an additional speaker, should you wish to add this on to the radio, again for about £25. I have purchased neither of these two items so use the radio as pictured above, for which we paid £75.
Is it any Good to Use?
We live in a very poor reception area, and our previous radio struggled to pick up more than about 15 channels. When first plugging this in then, and setting it to "auto tune" - a simple affair due to the fact that there are not too many buttons to confuse a techno-klutz like me, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I can receive 60 channels on this model, I've tested out a fair few and all of them seem to have good, clear reception - something that our previous radio struggled with. There's no hissing or whistling and in FM function the sound is clear too.
The digital display is clear and easy to read. I do find that it is a bit cumbersome to find channels if not using the 6 "preset" buttons. Basically you use the tune button on the front to scroll through the channels and then press to select the channel you require. You can only see one channel at a time, on a positive note the controls are intuitive in a "even my mum would understand it" kind of way - there really isn't much to learn; the menu button allows you to select a number of different display options such as scrolling text to tell you what is playing, what Pure call "Intellitext", which is more or less informative depending on the channel you are listening to, and there is a clock, which is on permanent display when the radio is on standby. It's all pretty simple and the OLED display is clear and easy to read.
A new feature on this model, which impresses me more than my husband who has deemed it a "gimmick", is that there is a sensor on the front of the radio which adjusts the brightness of the display depending on light levels in your room, in my case the kitchen. The display is yellow on black and easy to read. There is also a timer function, as opposed to an alarm on other models, but I have yet to use this, or to use the USB port to update my radio, as I apparently can do.
I do think the finish on this radio, which has a wood case, is very good, it looks attractive as it is real veneer, and is pretty compact at 175 high x 210 wide x 110 deep. I would have to say, however, that one slight criticism I have is the way that the power supply ( a 230V AC to 6V DC external power adapter), adds unnecessarily to the depth and counter space this item takes up, the input juts out at the back and also for some reason the wire comes out of the top of the plug in the wall, which just makes the whole thing look a bit messy in my opinion. Admittedly the power supply is less bulky than on the previous model but I do think they could have thought this through as it detracts from the look of the radio. The aerial on the back does just out a little too, but this is not too much of an issue.
A positive aspect to this item is that it has quite low power consumption, figures according to the manufacturer are as follows: "in standby 0.9W (industry average 2.64W); in operation 2.48W (industry average 5.49W).", we have tested the standby level, and those figures seem to be correct. It's good to know too that the radio is made of sustainable and recycled components.
What's most important here is whether this radio is actually good to listen to - for me it is, I haven't connected an i-pod to it, as I could via an input apparently, but as a straightforward "plug it in and switch it on" radio I have found this item very good. If you are looking for a device that is stereo or which can record, then this is not it, and it is quite pricey for what it is. As I have explained the sound is very good and I think the item looks attractive, and its simplicity of use is a plus for me too. When I am cooking away in my kitchen this radio is my continual companion and does all that I need it to do - and that's good enough for me.
More details and specification here: http://www.pure.com/products/ product.asp?Product=VL-60884&PageType=Specific ation&Category=