Review: Pure One Flow Digital Radio
By Mike Wheeler
Pure’s One Flow digital radio is a cute little beast that would fit nicely on the kitchen bench, bedside table or office desk.
To be honest, when I first took it out the box it felt a little flimsy – I don’t mean like two pieces of plastic glued together trying to pass itself off as a toy at the $2 shop, just the weight, and over all feel made me think it might not be that robust. Maybe it’s because it doesn’t come standard with its rechargeable battery – you have to pay for that separately. Most batteries add a little weight to such a device, and therefore would give it a much more solid feel.
Also, the LCD screen looks like something from a mobile phone circa 1995. The last time I saw computer-generated writing like that scrolling across a screen was in the original space invaders game back in ’82.
Anyway, enough whining. What is there to like? Quite a bit. Take those negatives out of the equation and you have a device that fulfils its brief, and then some.
First off, navigation. Easy? Too bloody right. There are five settings – digital radio, lounge (which is internet), FM radio, Auxiliary and media player. As you would expect, the digital radio button takes you to, um, digital radio. Ditto FM etc.
The Lounge setting allows you to connect to the internet and offers a service called Flowsongs, which you have to become a member of in order to reap the benefits. Apparently you can get a 90 day free trial for the service, which identifies songs on the radio, and if you like them, you buy them in MP3 format. Connection to the internet also gives you unlimited access to internet radio, which has literally thousands of stations. Be aware that streaming is via wifi or USB Ethernet adaptor and that this will eat into your monthly bandwidth allocation.
Two settings you are likely to use the most are digital radio and FM radio. I like my sounds, so music quality is off importance, even if the wife does prefer listening to the ABC. For what it is, the quality of the music is good. I did the Mike test – crank her up to full volume and check out the distortion. Well, there was no distortion at all when Whitesnake’s In the Heat of the Night was played at full blast, nor when cranking up Paramore’s Careful. Don’t get me wrong, you’re not talking about a couple of Bose or B&O speakers here, but for what it is, the One Flow does enough to keep me interested.
The media player setting allows you stream music from your computer (after hooking it up of course!), or UPnP compatible network-attached storage device, while the auxiliary allows you to hook up your iPod or other MP3 player.
There are two main buttons you need to familiarise yourself with – the ‘volume’ (self explanatory) and ‘select’. When you are scrolling through menus you turn the ‘select’ button either clockwise or anti-clockwise. When you come to the part of the menu you want, you push the ‘select’ button towards the radio and that particular part will come up on the LCD. You can also push the button to pause a track when in media player mode, or a podcast.
Overall, I really like this unit a lot. It is portable, robust (despite my misgivings), and does what it set out to do, which is give people a nice, compact sound experience that won’t break the bank.
Pros: Good sound, easy to navigate, portable and robust
Cons: No battery included, dated LCD, form factor could be better
4.2 out of 5 shacks