Pure Contour review

Pure takes on B&W with this iPod dock/Web radio

Image 1 of 3 Pure Contour top
Pure Contour top
Image 2 of 3 Pure Contour
Pure Contour
Image 3 of 3 Pure Contour in situ
Pure Contour in situ

Calling the Pure Contour an iPod dock is like calling your PC a word processor – it simply doesn’t do it justice. Among its other talents are built-in DAB, FM and internet radio, as well as music streaming from PCs and Macs on your home network.

Contour is so called because of its gorgeously curvy shape, which will bring a touch of class to any surroundings. The black cloth grille on the front and the ‘satin-touch’ rear panel not only look great but give the unit satisfyingly sturdy build quality. Trace the apex of the curve and you’ll encounter touch-sensitive power, volume and mute buttons.

On the front is a plastic panel housing a 128 x 64-pixel LCD display, surrounded by luminous green touch-sensitive buttons for controlling menus up-close. Press the panel and a retractable iPod/iPhone dock smoothly glides forward with what Alan Partridge would describe as a ‘nice action’.

Rear-panel connections are more generous than you might expect. As well as a 3.5mm minijack input for non-Apple MP3 players and headphone output, you get a composite video output and a joint component/S-video output, both of which allow you to watch iPod videos on your TV (using Pure’s optional interconnect). They’re joined by a USB port designed for Pure’s optional Ethernet adapter, which also allows you to update the unit’s software. The telescopic aerial attached to the back tucks away neatly when not in use.

Pure Contour – Features

The star attraction for many will be built-in Wi-Fi (802.11b/g). This makes it blissfully simple to connect to your wireless router and access thousands of internet radio stations, podcasts and ‘listen again’ broadcasts through ‘The Lounge’, as well as Pure’s sound library. You can also stream music from a Mac or PC (running UPnP software) through the Media Player feature, which supports WMA, AAC, MP3, MP2 and Real Audio.

Also on board are DAB and FM radio tuners with 30 favourites (unlimited for internet radio), while other features like alarms and timers simply add to the unit’s appeal.

Inside Contour are two full-range, 3.5in speakers, driven by Class D digital amplifiers with ‘digital audio shaping’ courtesy of Pure’s Clearsound technology. It musters 2 x 18W of power, and although it lacks the subwoofer found on Pure’s AVANTI Flow, it makes up for it with superior speakers that are said to deliver higher volume and better clarity.

Pure Contour – Performance

Thankfully Contour isn’t difficult to set up – key settings are entered on first boot up, while helpful wizards guide you through potentially tricky stuff like internet installation. It finds access points quickly and keying in your encryption key is straightforward using the virtual keyboard.

The unit is supplied with a full-function remote, which features an ergonomic shape and decent button placement. Cleverly, it sports three generic buttons whose functions change depending on the current menu display. However these displays are very sluggish to respond, which can get frustrating.

In action, internet radio stations and PC music stream smoothly with only the occasional drop-out, while audio quality is superb across the board. Bass-heavy tunes by the likes of Fatboy Slim played from an iPod sound admirably deep and punchy, with plenty of taut bottom-end to really get those drums going. It’s also naturally powerful, which means you don’t need to push the volume much above half-way to make an impact.

High-frequency performance is equally impressive – hi-hats, breathy vocals and high-pitched effects are clean and crisp, resulting in a sound that easily lives up to the unit’s price tag, which is hefty for a web radio, but reasonable for a mid-tier iPod dock. Its wide range of music options and refined sound quality make Contour more than just a pretty face, although the GUI needs work

Pure Contour launch date: Out now, link Pure

Pure Contour price: £199