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10 Best Portable Speakers 2014: Bluetooth Speakers to Buy

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Pure Voca

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Pure Voca

Originally reviewed by 28 November 2014


Key features:

  • aptX: No
  • NFC: No
  • dB at 3 feet: 77dB
  • Tone: Bassy and powerful
  • Mic/Calls: Yes
  • Aux in: Yes
  • Charge out: No
  • Netflix lipsync test: Pass
  • Battery life: Up to 10 hours
In recent years, Pure has opted for a cute, (optional) colourful design with its Jongo wireless speakers, but the Voca is an altogether classier prospect. It features a brushed metal outer shell and classic black grilles on the front and back.

It’s a design cribbed from the Bose SoundLink Mini, and while the Bose is a little smaller, the Pure Voca is rather the better-looking of the two. We’ve seen it on sale for as little as £79.99, and at that price it is simply outstanding among Bluetooth speakers.

Thanks to its use of Bose-a-like dual bass radiators, its the cheapest speaker on test to provide a satisfying bass response, making bass drum hits sound right, rather than like someone flicking a bin lid. We think Pure has hit a perfect storm of price, size and sound with the Voca, offering a fairly good-value option in a space still largely inhabited by overpriced speakers.

That it looks nice too is just a bonus. As well as being fairly impressed by the weight of the sound, the Pure Voca also offers some of the clearest treble of all the units we tested. It doesn’t quite go as loud as the Bose Soundlink Mini or Sony SRS-X5, but for most uses it’ll be fine: registering 77dB at four feet with our sound meter.

There are some little tweaks Pure could apply in an update, though. At top volume there is a hint of bass distortion at times, although nothing like as bad as we heard in the first-generation Cambridge Audio Go. The passive radiator system has been implemented very well, just not perfectly. We’d also ideally like to see the speaker use a microUSB charging port rather than the 12V one seen here. It no-doubt allows faster charging, but having the option to use the same charger as your phone would be welcome.  We don't miss the lack of aptX here, but it could have a minor impact on sound quality in a speaker of this size.

While the Bose Soundlink Mini and Sony SRS-X5 beat the Pure Voca in some sonic respects, most notably their ability to fill rooms thanks to their wider dispersal and grander sound stages, this is a top budget pick if you’re after a small speaker.

Price: £79.99

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