Controls and Usability
Just six buttons are used to control the Pure Contour 100Di, with Power, Source and Favourites on the left side of the silver arch, and Mute, Volume Down and Volume Up on the right. All the buttons, while not backlit, are large and easy to feel your way around in the dark, with a nice defined click so you know when you've pressed them. With so few of them, it takes little effort to memorise which one's where - they really are a cinch to use.
Controlling your iDevice is done purely through the device itself unless you use the remote. Sadly the remote is one of the least accomplished aspects of this device as its little popper buttons are not backlit and are uniformly arranged, so difficult to pick out by feel alone. It works but we can see you seldom using it if used as a bedside radio, and once you've set up your fave radio station. One very neat trick is that the remote docks into a magnetic recess on the back so you should never loose it even if used infrequently.
When it comes to radio, you've got both DAB and FM, though AM and DAB (which is coming but not yet used in the UK) don't make it in. You can store up to 20 presets for each type of radio and we found reception to be very good.
Internet radio is also an option if you take advantage of the Pure Lounge app on your iDevice. This provides free access to thousands of internet radio stations, on demand content like podcasts and ambient sounds such as whale song and crickets. You can also download and stream music from the subscription based Pure Music service.
So the Pure Contour 100Di is stylish and easy to use, but what of how it sounds? Well, it's not going to blow your socks off. If you're familiar with other Pure radios like the classic Evoke range then you'll be familiar with the level of clarity on offer, but what the Contour 100Di adds is a bit more wollop. There's a fuller bass sound and slightly more expansive sound stage thanks to its stereo speakers. We're not talking Hi-Fi by any stretch, with even the mono Vita Audio R1 giving it a thorough spanking, but in isolation it delivers what feels like a satisfying full sound that's at home playing rock and pop as it is spoken word on Radio 4. Certainly for the money, we can think of few devices that offer this range of features and markedly better sound quality.
What we particularly like is how well it works at low volume, giving a pleasing sound at night-time listening levels. You can also adjust the volume in fine increments, allowing you to get just the right setting so as to, say, not keep you awake but still give you a satisfying listen when nodding off.
The downside is that it doesn't really excel at high volumes. It doesn't distort or sound outright bad but simply lacks the bass and general scope to fill a room to party listening levels.
In fact, just before we sum up, this touches on something we've felt for a little while with Pure's products. While largely excellent for the money, we'd really like to see a more premium range providing better build and sound. In the case of this Contour 100Di, if you could get a version that had an OLED display, metal strips in place of the silver plastic and a slightly fuller sound that's edging towards the premium iPod dock level, for say £200, we'd go crazy for it. Instead, the Contour 100Di, great as it is, leaves us wanting just that bit more.
The Pure Contour 100Di is a cracking modest radio cum iPod dock. Its sound is full and fun at modest volumes, it's easy to use and has a perfect balance of features, with support for iPads as well as iPods and iPhones. It's keenly priced too. However, it doesn't mesmerise with its audio performance and both its screen and dock mechanism could do with a bit of refining. Still, for the money we think this is a great buy.