Accessing the DAB radio functions is pretty straightforward: simply select what you want from the list, adding favourites (up to 30) if you so desire. In some instances broadcasters push slideshows to the visual panel, but the examples are few and far between and are of only limited value. We can see the appeal of this should more broadcasters adopt it, but for the moment the potential remains untapped.
Unsurprisingly the Internet radio options are rather more extensive. Pure makes good use of its Lounge service, which allows you to link your radio to an online account accessible via a web browser. This makes it easy to shortlist and favourite stations, podcasts and PURE Sounds – a collection of atmospheric background noise clips – to then be accessed on your radio. When you see the number of online stations available, you’ll appreciate why this is useful. There’s also support for the BBC’s ‘Listen Again’ service.
In addition to the Internet Radio functionality you can also stream music stored on a PC or NAS to your Sensia. Album art is even displayed in the visual panel, while the info panel below it switches to playback controls and the list panel to your music library. This is a nice addition for those that stream their music across their home network and those that don’t can always rely on the auxiliary jack.
Of course one thing we’ve ignored up until this point is sound quality. Clearly an all-in-one box like this will never live in the realm of high-fidelity, but the spec talks a good game in proclaiming two full-range 3in drivers each outputting 15W RMS. The end product is passable without ever really impressing. There’s a noticeable burble of bass and enough clarity to produce pleasing enough audio, but somehow the output never hangs together as well as it might. It’s good enough for casual listening, however, which is about as much as it needs to be.
Or at least that would be the case were it not for the price. At close to £250 there’s no escaping the fact that the Sensia is a very expensive device. Unfortunately the patchy performance of its touch-sensitive UI, particularly the headline social media apps, makes it a difficult device to recommend. It’s easy to see the potential here, especially if the likes of Spotify, Last FM and Napster choose to jump on-board, but given how slow it is it seems unlikely the Sensia would be able to cope with more demanding services.
As such we’d recommend opting for Pure’s own Evoke Flow, perhaps adding the auxiliary speaker, instead. It might lack the street-cred of the Sensia’s eye-catching design and social media apps, but its Internet radio and DAB delivery is just as good and it’s a good deal cheaper. We look forward to future versions of the Sensia’s, but for now it remains a work in progress.
There’s plenty of promise in the Pure Sensia, but given its shortcomings and the high price you pay for them it’s only worth considering if you’re after style above substance.
Score in detail