My partner and I take a few camping trips each year up to Aviemore to enjoy the occasional sunny weather we experience in the summer time. Part of what makes our camping trips enjoyable is our ability to sit outside in the sun with an ice cold drink, relaxing and listening to the radio. Taking a radio away on a trip with you is risky business, especially when being outside and exposed to the elements, so we thought it was important for us to get something that was going to be a little more portable, solid and robust...and of course, waterproof should the weather change suddenly, so we opted for a DAB radio manufactured by Pure called the Oasis flow. We had previously purchased the Pure Oasis, and this radio is basically just an up scaled model of that same radio.
Who are Pure
Pure in the simplest sense are responsible for the digital radio revolution. A UK company that dominates the international radio market, they have brought us as consumers a large range of digital and internet-connected radios, suitable for pretty much any room in any house, from the kitchen to the bathroom, the bedroom to even outside in the garden.
A radio is just a radio isn’t it?
I guess it would be normal for people to assume that any old radio would do having the same every day functions as any other old radio, well then those people would be wrong, a radio can be so much more than something that just broadcasts music. That’s how I feel about the oasis flow, it’s so much more than just a radio, it’s a device that lets me choose what I want to listen to, anytime, anywhere. It has a weatherproof casing which means you can listen to your favourite radio stations outdoors. Perhaps you have some urgent maintenance work to do to your car and it’s a little dreary and drizzly outside, you can simply take your radio outdoors and make the task a little more bearable by listening to some of your favourite radio stations, or like me you can take it off camping with you. What sets the Oasis flow apart from other digital radios is that it also has an FM transmitter, so if you’re in a location where the digital signal isn’t that strong, then you can easily switch to FM frequency transmission and get the radio that way. On top of the digital and FM transmitters, this particular radio is also has wireless internet radio access allowing you to listen to programmes again, podcasts and music streaming when in range of a wireless network.This Sturdy, durable and rugged offering is rechargeable giving you hours of portable listening – approximately 9 according to Pure, based on DAB stations only. The radio is preset with 30 DAB stations, 10 FM stations and you can enjoy unlimited Internet favourites and because this particular radio is wifi enabled you can ensure that you are always up to date with the most recent upgrades and, if you are in the possession of an iPod or any other kind of MP3 player, you can easily connect this to the Oasis Flow via the 3.5mm auxiliary port located on the side of the radio and listen to your stored favourites, so even if you’re without a signal, you can still use this radio to play your music.
Using the radio
Featured on the front of this radio is the power on/off button, volume control knob, station selection knob, digital display and speaker. The Ariel is removable and extendable with a storage compartment located at the back of the radio casement for easy storage and portability, it simply screws into the top of the radio when you’re ready to use it. The radio is also complete with a handle for easy handling and portability.
The digital display
As with a lot of digital displays, the Oasis Flow display provides information on the radio station you are currently listening to along with information regarding the music you are listening such as artist and song title, but this digital display is also partial touch screen allowing you to pick from 3 separate menus consisting of; pre-sets, flow or options. Pre-sets allow you to flick through all of the radio stations you have pre-set in each of the 30 pre-set channel options, or you can add to your pre-set list. The flow option takes you into the flow songs service which is a Pure flow service that allows you to purchase music currently playing directly from your radio, options takes you through a series of menus that allow you to set certain features and preferences on your radio.
setting an alarm or timer
In the options menu you can choose to set an alarm or timer. You can get into the options menu by touching the digital display where it says options. To select the alarm / timer menu simply press the select button and this will take you directly into the menu. When you're in the alarm / timer menu there are several options to choose from - the first being the sleep timer which you would set if you were listening to the radio and wanted it to go off after a certain length of time in which case you would select this option and set it for the appropriate time using the select knob on the front of the radio to move the time up or down in 15 minute increments from 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes, moving in a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction to move the time up and down. To save your settings just press save on the digital display. Personally I have never used the sleep timer but for the purposes of this review I went into the menu, set it to go off after 15 minutes and the radio switched itself off so I can safely say that this radio feature works just fine. The 2nd option in the menu is the kitchen timer, which works in the same way as any other timer really - set it for when you expect your food to be ready. The alert that the radio emits for the kitchen timer is like a clock alarm which interrupts the radio if it's playing. To stop the radio from beeping all you have to do is press in the select button and the alarm will stop sounding.
Setting the actual alarm is relatively easy simply select alarm 1 or alarm 2 and the current settings for that alarm will appear on the digital display. On the bottom right hand corner of the digital display there is an edit option, simply tap the screen to adjust the settings using the dial on the front of the radio pushing the dial in to confirm your changes. The alarm is much the same as any other alarm that you will find on your phone etc where you have the option to have the alarm go off once, daily, only on weekdays, only on weekends, every Saturday or every Sunday and you also have the option to choose between your alarm sounds choosing between FM radio, Digital Radio, Lounge stations or a simple beeping tone…..to exit and save simply tap the save option and hey presto your alarm is set. You can easily see if the alarm is set because the little bell icon will be visible on the display screen next to the time when the radio is in standby mode. One of the mistakes my partner and I made when we first used the alarm was the volume settings - we had it set to 12 and when the alarm went off it was far too loud so I suggest having the volume set to 4 or 5 for waking up to. The instructions indicate that an alarm will sound for a maximum of 1 hour before cancelling itself out – to be honest I can’t verify if this is the case as I’ve never really had a need to use the alarm on a regular basis, but I know it’s a feature at least if I ever need to use it. One thing to note with the alarm is that it will not sound if the radio is operating on the battery only, the radio has to be plugged into the mains for the alarm to sound.
It is also in the alarm and timer menu that you can set the radio clock choosing from the 12 or 24 hour clock, although the clock should set itself using the wi-fi or digital radio signal.
The next sub-menu in the options menu is the display menu. In the display menu you can select how you want information to be portrayed on the digital display choosing from; scrolling text where the text will scroll up the screen with information such as song title and artist, radio station and so on, broadcast info which will provide additional radio frequency details, reception info which will display signal strength and quality, or alternatively you can default the digital display to show only the date and time.
The next option is for editing active settings which affect the digital display while the radio is in operation. From the active settings you can adjust the brightness of the display using the manual options.....to be honest I just let the radio choose the brightness automatically changing according to the lighting level in the room - it defaults to setting one generally and that is bright enough, you can also choose the screen display duration, choosing from always on or switch off after 7 seconds. Setting the digital display to go off will obviously prolong the life of the battery but for how much longer I couldn't really say. We choose to have the display on all the time when the radio is in operation. You can adjust the same settings for the radio in standby mode.
I could go through each and every menu and sub-menu featured on this radio but I don't want to bore you with technical Jargon so I'll just stick with the main features on the radio.
Connecting your radio to wi-fi
To access your radios wi-fi settings you need to first be in either the lounge menu or the media player menu. Simply enter options and select wi-fi settings, click into the connection wizard and scan for wireless networks to connect to selecting the most appropriate one.
The FM Radio
To use the FM radio you need to find the FM settings in the options menus where you can choose to tune the radio manually or via a seek option very similar to any other radio. You can also choose to listen to the FM radio in MONO or Stereo
The Oasis flow also has a feature called the Lounge which allows you to store favourites and organise them into folders on the internet Lounge, making it easier to manage the content of your radio. Any changes you make on your radio will be reflected in the lounge and any changes made in the lounge will be reflected on the radio. To use the lounge you first have to register your radio with the Lounge by following these simple steps.
To register with the Lounge you must have a valid e-mail address, because part of the connection set up involves a couple of e-mails being sent with information to allow you to activate your lounge membership and connect your radio. You also need your radio serial number located on the bottom of your radio Go to www.thelounge.com and click the join button, fill in all of your details and the lounge will send an e-mail with an activation link in it. click on the link and your ready to rock and roll. To connect your radio, log into the lounge and click on My radios and select connect my radio followed by start. You will then be sent another e-mail with your radio;s unique connection code in it. The remainder of the connection process is done through your radio itself. In the options menu find Lounge settings and select register with the lounge and proceed with entering your code. The select dial will allow you to select the characters that make up your connection code and there is a touch screen option that will allow you to delete any characters entered in error, once you've entered the code simply tap save and your all registered.
Wi-Fi Software upgrade
The radio itself is Wi-Fi enabled so it's easy to source software updates. Do this by simply accessing your main menu, selecting additional setting from the sub-menu, and the option to upgrade on the next menu page.....please note that when updating via Wi-Fi the radio must be plugged into mains power as software updates may take some time. In the upgrade menu it also offers the option to upgrade via USB connection which upgrades via plugging the radio into your computer or laptop via a USB/mini USB lead (not supplied with radio). Don't worry if you don't have a computer or Wi-Fi in your home, if you are buying a radio purely to be able to listen to the radio it is not entirely essential to complete software updates as this will just provide little improvements to the overall radio software and will not affect your ability to listen to music.
There are some very basic safety instructions that you should follow for this radio to ensure that you don’t damage the product or even worse yourself. The radio itself has 2 air vents located on the back which should be kept clear at all times, blocking the air vents could damage the product, and you should keep the radio clear of any heat sources such as radiators. The radio should only be cleaned with a dry cloth and you should never attempt to open the radio casing as you will putting yourself at risk of electric shock. It is suggested that the radio be unplugged during lightning storms or when unused for long periods of time.
Cost and where to buy
You can buy the Pure Oasis Flow from a number of different retailers and it ranges in price from £134.99 at House of Fraser to £179 in the Very catalogue, but there are a few retailers to choose from so it's definately worth it to shop around and make sure you get the best deal.
My overall thoughts and opinion
Although this is quite an expensive radio you could literally spend hours playing around with all of the different features this radio offers. Not only is it sturdy and durable but it also has great sound quality and although a little big and bulky is relatively easy to transport from location to location. Our radio is a hit in the bathroom where we're not concerned about condensation ruining the unit and we like to take it along with us on our camping trips or even just outside when washing the car. I guess making use of the features will depend on how exciting you find them.....we registered with the lounge and to be honest don't really use it, but for those of you who love features such as this then it's a great tool to help you maximise the use of your radio. There are so many features to this radio that I don't think this review really does it justice but hopefully I've given you enough information to let you make up your own mind.