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Pure Evoke Flow DAB/Internet radio review

Pure's new table radio has the power to tame the Internet

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Our Verdict

The table radio just grew up. If you have Wi-Fi, you now get seamless Internet radio alongside your DAB and FM broadcasts. Don't expect wide-bandwidth sound, but do expect the way you listen to radio to change forever

For

  • A radio-changing product (you won't go back to 'mere' DAB/FM afterward)
  • Sound is good
  • The way it makes Internet radio integrate beautifully with conventional radio is remarkable
  • The Lounge's library of sounds is good

Against

  • Lacks a wired Ethernet connection

It's no exaggeration to say that Pure's Evoke-1 set the standard for DAB and the new Pure Evoke Flow does the same for Internet radio.

It makes listening to stations around the world almost as simple as tuning into Radio Four.

The formula for success found in the Evoke has not been broken with the Flow; this time it's in piano gloss – with a single speaker to the left of the front panel and a yellow on black OLED display to the right.

The handle doubles as a snooze button if you use it as a clock radio. DAB and FM are also included and it's possible to switch from one to the other using the multifunction knobs and a quartet of touch buttons.

Online radio

There's also an optional ChargePak battery and a matching auxiliary speaker (both costing an additional £30) to bring stereo to the party.

If you have a wireless network at home (and can remember your WEP password), the Flow connects to your router in a matter of seconds and then offers you a sortable range of stations.

The key word there is 'sortable'; you can filter by genre, location, language even sampling rate – which is simplified into a star rating. There's even a keyword search.

You can extend this further by opening up a free account at Pure's Internet Radio hub (www.thelounge.com), either through your Flow or on your PC. This allows you to store podcasts on The Lounge to listen to at your leisure.

There's even a line input for connecting up an iPod or similar. You can also browse music from a UPnP music server. A wired Ethernet connection would be handy, though.

User-friendly device

The Evoke Flow demystifies Internet radio at a stroke. You have to navigate through menus, but it whittles down stations to find the perfect one, instead of leaving you thousands to browse. You pin down stations with that keyword search; if you really want to listen to Death Metal, that's what you search for.

Like the Evoke DAB radios, the sound has no deep bass, no extreme treble. This means it doesn't butt up against the limitations of DAB and neither does it challenge the performance of Internet radio. It's never going to compete with separates hi-fi, but that's not the point.

This is the radio where you can sit in your West London living room and switch from George Lamb's banal Shabbas to cerebral Seattle talk radio without reaching for the laptop. It will change the way you view radio.

Tag and download tracks

The Pure Evoke Flow also allows Listen Again facilities without recourse to downloading from a PC.

Later developments will include music 'tagging', whereby you can listen to a piece of music, click to buy and download the album to your PC.

All of which means you have a table radio that performs brilliantly now and yet will keep at the top of the tree for some considerable time to come.