By Mike Wheeler
Pure is one of the most prolific producers of digital radios in the world, and are now producing units that have plenty of other features that just the ability to tune into your local and international radio stations.
I note that the manufacturer is keeping away from calling it a digital radio, even thought that is its main purpose. I guess it is because of the wifi ability and to connect (ha! ha! – ‘connect’ – get it?) to other media that makes it different from some other products that has Pure put out in recent years.
Out of the box it’s a very smart looking piece of gear. It is shaped like a rugby ball, but obviously heavier due to the internal mechanisms. The top and bottom have a lacquered gloss finish, while the speakers one each side are standard fare (if you press you hand lightly on the speakers, you can feel the multitude of cones underneath).
Front and centre is its 7-inch screen, which is a touch screen. And while it’s very easy to navigate, if we were to be a complete pedant, we would say that the graphics are not at the high end of the spectrum.
So what is on offer? You have the obvious, such as FM and Digital radio and the plethora of stations and subjects they offer. This is all good. Works fine. Then you can crank up your wifi to include such things as the Pure Lounge which gives you access to 10s of 1000s of podcasts – there are interview, music plus a plethora of other content. We listened to a couple of interesting interviews including one with the late Hawaii ukulele player Israel “Iz” Kamakawiwo’ole. There are also internet radio stations from around the world that you can listen in on, which cover a huge range of subjects. As a side note, instructions say that you must register your radio first before joining the Pure Lounge, and we must assume Pure did this itself before sending out the review unit because I didn’t have to do anything to join the lounge.
Another feature that will be of interest – probably only to the most ardent radio fans – is its recording ability, which is basic and easy to use. Just plug in a USB stick into the slot at the rear of the unit, and hit the record icon on the touch screen and you’re away. The length of time you can record depends on the size of the USB. The 30 seconds I recorded took up about 100KB of space on a 4GB drive.
Finally you can also run a third-party device like an MP3 player or smartphone with music either via cable or using wifi. Just be aware of the amount of data you would be using via your handset.
And the sound quality? It was good without being outstanding. When cranked up to the maximum sound limit there was no noticeable distortion, which is always a bonus.
Also, it is worth noting that some Sensei Connects come with an optional chargePak, but the one we reviewed did not.
Our overall feeling was that we liked this one – a lot. It would be an excellent addition to any kitchen, bathroom or bedside table, and you can be rest assured that you would have enough variety to never get bored with the content. The only real issue some might have is wifi, but that would depend on how good your router is, and your connection.
Pros: Tonne of functionality; easy to use; lots of variety
Cons: Screen graphics not great; pricey
4.5 Shacks Out of 5