Pure Sonus - 1XT review

A digital radio that really does speak to you

TechRadar Verdict

Unless you're an oversleeper with lots of cash, you'd be wise to wait for the two-speaker version


  • +

    Great sound

    Great looks

    Voice/alarm innovations and lots more besides


  • -

    £120 still seems quite a lot

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As Apple is to digital music players, Pure is to digital radio - a pioneer, a first mover, a charismatic brand that shouts "accept no substitute". Faced with competition from every direction, Pure is fighting back with the Sonus-1XT. And it's very cool.

According to Pure, the Sonus is the first digital radio with "unique iVOX voice feedback technology" - in other words, it speaks to you. The Sonus tells you what DAB stations are available in an optional female/ male voice that manages to sound soothing, sexy and imperious all at the same time.

This means you don't have to squint at the radio's LCD as you change channel. It's a bit belt and braces, however, as the Sonus' LCD is a lot easier to read than the older Evoke's. Another bonus feature is the Snooze Handle. Grab hold of the handle and the radio tells you the time (there's a more conventional radio alarm function as well, and the 'voice' talks you through how to set it up).

While these touches are neat, we've been enjoying digital radios without them speaking to us for quite some time, so we're hardly talking life or death stuff here. More essential is the sound, and we're pleased to say that the Sonus is one of the best sounding digital radios we've heard.

Even though our review sample only had one speaker, it managed to sound beefier than our battered stereo Evoke 2, and certainly has more options. Bass is punchier, too, making the Sonus a much more convincing performer than its predecessors.

There's even a widget in there called Volume Equalisation Technology (VET), which monitors the audio levels of stations so you can jump between one and another without having to change the volume.

We'd recommend coughing up the extra for the second speaker, unless you mainly intend to listen to it through headphones. While you can certainly get more strikingly designed digital radios, the 1XT looks great, with Pure's trademark maple cabinet, and feels as if it's built to last.

It also comes with a nine-event timed record function for use with MiniDisc or other recording device, and a USB jack to enable you to download updates from the net. The clock automatically updates itself for British Summer Time, too.

While all of these extras are good to have on a radio, some cynics would say they're just shoehorned in to justify the price. Pure is going to have to work hard to convince people that they really need those functions, especially when the £120 asking price would buy you a cheap mini hi-fi that included DAB functionality.

We'd argue that the improved sonic performance still makes the Sonus worth the money, but we wouldn't be at all surprised if market pressures mean that Pure brings out a stereo version for roughly the same money, six months down the line.

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