Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/10/24/review_pure_digital_evoke_1s/

Pure Digital Evoke 1S DAB digital radio

A DAB hand?

By Lewis Caliburn

Posted in Hardware, 24th October 2007 12:56 GMT

Review Going back a few years, Pure Digital's parent company, Imagination Technologies, only made chips and wasn't involved in the manufacture of radios in any way. So to come as far as the company has in such a short period of time is surely testament to its ability to deliver desirable and reliable products.

To our mind, a good radio should need as little adjustment and interference as possible. Once it's set-up, it should be able to get on with its job with the minimum of fuss.

The third generation of Pure’s most successful model does just that. From the reassuring solidness of the Evoke 1-S when it first comes out of the box, to the more advanced - but simple to use - features, the radio proves to be both easy to use and of high quality.

Pure Digital Evoke 1S DAB digital radio
Pure's Evoke 1S: available in maple...

For a sub-£100 product, the machine is built well. Tiny things that matter, like the solidness of the little rubber feet on the bottom of the radio, have all benefited from close attention. We've seen other radios for the same price where the feet have fallen off after a short while as a result of the cheap adhesive used.

Turn the Evoke 1S on and it leaps straight into its stride, before you can say, "I hate Chris Moyles", the time is stored and the set begins its search for stations. And it does it well too. This little radio picked up as many stations as a much higher-end separates deck that we'd set up in the same location. The decent-sized aerial helps here. A total of 30 stations can be stored, some DAB, others FM.

The other thing that's also immediately obvious is the brightness and clarity of the display. We were testing the unit in a bright office, and the screen was very easy to read even when there was a lot of information scrolling across.

This is down to the OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) display, which in addition to consuming less power than a traditional LCD, also adjusts itself to the ambient light conditions to make the screen easier to read. The unit also comes with TextScan and Intellitext. The former is initiated by pressing the Tune button whilst station-transmitted text is scrolling across the screen. This pauses the flow so you can note down a competition address, phone number or date of a live gig, say.

The current text set can be scrolled through using the same Tune button as was used to freeze the text, so all the relevant information is available, not just what was on the screen at the time it was paused.

A more advanced text function is available through Intellitext, an on-demand text-delivery package that is supported by stations like Virgin and all the main BBC stationsT.

Pure Digital Evoke 1-S DAB digital radio
...and in cherry

You can choose which stations you want to receive information from and which categories of service from those stations, so a bespoke information delivery service can be established. It's relatively early days for this kind of thing, but we think there could be some good potential here for broadcasters adding value to their brands. But we're also sure many of them will see it as another avenue on which they could piggyback some advertising.

The 1S' sound performance is really strong for a product of this size. There is a full-range 3in speaker that delivers a detailed and warm sound with not to much brightness, but enough detail. Bass response is particularly good, and there is an all round clarity that helps the Evoke deliver a good performance regardless of whether talk radio or planet rock is your thing. There is also an optional standalone speaker, which can add a genuine stereo dimension to the radio as the drivers can be placed far enough apart to get proper stereo spacing.

The 1S' battery is billed as providing around 24 hours of fully portable listening. This can drop of a fair bit when listening at high volume, but the company has gone a long way to answering some of the battery life issues which have dogged the portable DAB radios of all kinds. At any time the percentage of battery power that's left can be viewed on the radio’s display.

Pure has attempted to improve the 1S' eco-friendliness. This product is the second from its EcoPlus range, and Pure claims it has reduced significantly the amount of power the radio uses in stand-by. We'd suggest it simply does away with stand-by altogether.

Still, Pure scores better by making sure the packaging is made from a minimum of 70 per cent recycled material and finishing the product in a water-based varnish. All documentation is printed with soya-based ink on recycled paper.

Verdict

This little radio has a lot to live up to given the strong popularity of its older brother, the Evoke 1. Thankfully, the Evoke 1S is leaner, with more functions and with a better sound, all in the now familiar Evoke package. The machine’s looks have also been tweaked for a sharper appearance and all the controls feel solid with a tactile ‘click’ operational action. If its a compact digital radio you are after, then the Evoke 1S is hard to beat.