Those of us that have been around for a few years will know that Pure Digital is was only a few short years ago a PC company primarily known for sounds cards, speakers and left-of-field graphics solutions, such as Power VR. All of this actually held it in good stead when it made a move into Home Cinema and then exclusively into digital radio. It's now up there with Roberts as far as sales goes, which isn't bad considering that compared to Pure, Roberts has been doing radio for an awfully long time .
DAB itself however is something a troubled technology, a subject that I touched upon just yesterday, and suffers from low bit-rates, and limited reception. This latter aspect in particular is an issue for the Pocket DAB 2000. If you're fortunate to be in an area of very solid reception you'll be able to enjoy DAB's benefits such as covenient tuning via station name and helpful text information broadcast alongside. However, if you don't have good reception, listening on DAB can be something of a frustrating and painful experience on the ears, with dropouts and digital noise even more annoying than the hiss and fade of analogue. Essentially then, when it's good, DAB is good, but when it's bad, it's awful. But when you're on the move, you can't predict how good the DAB reception is. It could be good one minute and terrible the next. When walking along with the Pocket DAB attatched via the supplied belft clip I found that it was fine if exposed but if my coast covered it, there were frequant drop outs. This meant holding it in my hand - hardly convenient. Sure, Pure has included an FM tuner into the Pocket DAB, but when you're having to constantly switch it kind of defeats the purpose of having a digital tuner in the first place.
This however, is not the fault of Pure Digital. But what of the Pocket DAB 2000 itself? As the name suggests, this is a follow up to the Pocket DAB 1000 but adds two new features, MP3 playback support and ‘Revu', which enables you to pause and rewind radio, a concept familiar to anyone who has a PVR such as Sky + or a Media Centre system.
In terms of design the two are closely related but the Pocket DAB 2000 enjoys a larger LCD screen. However, first impressions of the 2000 weren't great. The curves on the facsia and the arrangement of the buttons gives it a retro fifties look but not in a good way. While Roberts has this down to a fine tee with its kitchen radios, the Pure looks like a reject from the Flash Gordon film set. Things aren't improved by taking it out of the box. Size wise it looks as though it's swallowed two iPods for breakfast, though it actually weighs the same as one at 160g. The thing is, even though the Pure can play back MP3s and record, I'm still not sure why it needs to be so big, not only compared to an iPod but also compared to the recently reviewed PD100 DAB radio.