Hands on: Pure Music review

Hands on: Pure Music review
Pure Music - out this month

Radio manufacturer Pure has announced Pure Music.

It's a new subscription-based service available in the UK through the company's Wi-Fi capable DAB radios, smartphones using the Pure Lounge app and via its website.

Taking a leaf out of Spotify's book, the service is all-you-can-eat, with a monthly subscription of just £4.99 giving you access to millions of songs.

Given this is half the price of Spotify Premium – the top version of Spotify which allows music streaming to phones – it's certainly enticing price-wise, but how does it compare when it comes to usability?

TechRadar has been playing with the service for a good few weeks now and, on the whole, we're impressed with it.

We've been trying it out using the iOS app - an Android version is also available - the website and through a Pure One Flow. And, while the experience on each platform do differ quite significantly, the service is easy to use as long as you can forgive the rather fiddly set-up process.

Before you can use Pure Music on your DAB radio you need to make sure it is registered to your Lounge Account. This does take a few minutes but once it was done we never had any problems with the service not recognising our devices.

We had to do the same thing with our iPod touch – once the app was downloaded, our device then had to be registered to our Lounge Account.

Pure music

It's easy to keep track of the devices you have registered as they all appear on the favourites section of the Lounge website.

Playing a song on our devices was a cinch – on both the app and the website, the service is fairly easy to get around.

There's a search bar in the top right of the site and this feature is also situated on the top of the app.

One other way to drill into the content when using the app is to use the A-Z quick jump feature. Unfortunately, the presentation of this leaves a lot to be desired. When we searched, we got plain old folder icons instead of album art. Hopefully this will be something that is ironed out when the service officially comes to market.

Pure music

When we did find the song we were looking for, we found that buffering took quite a while. In the iOS app, it seemed that song choices lingered on 'now tuning' for quite some time. When tracks did eventually play though, the quality was decent.

Buffering is a lot quicker through both the Pure ONE and the website.

One of the great things we found with Pure Music is that we could use multiple devices streaming off of the same account.

We had the Pure OneFlow radio going, while a song was also streaming through our iPod touch. It's a nice addition, given the amount of devices you can have tethered to the service.

Pure music

As for the content available, the majority of chart hits were at our fingertips and when we delved a little deeper, the archive content seemed plentiful – everything from Rihanna to the Wu-Tang Clan seemed to be catered for.

At the moment, there are a few things missing from the service that need to be added if it is to have any longevity.

For example, there's currently no offline access to tracks. Pure is promising this in the future. There also seems to be a lack of collaboration and social features with Pure Music.

Spotify thrives on its playlists and this doesn't feel like a service that will garner the same sort of collaborative community.

Pure music

If you have a Pure radio with Wi-Fi connectivity then signing up to Pure Music is definitely a logical step. It may be a touch fiddly to search for content through your radio but once mastered it's great to know that pretty much anything you want to listen to is a knob twiddle away.

Pure Music UK release date is out now and the first month is free. Go to TheLounge.com for more information.

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, Shortlist.com at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.