Pure Jongo S3 review
- Battery-powered portability
- Gets lost in large rooms
- Fiddly Wi-Fi synching
- Multi-room limitations
At £170, the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi supporting Jongo S3 costs less than the travel-sized Jawbone Jambox, but offers Sonos-style multi-room functionality with battery powered freedom. It's an impressive proposition, but has Pure done enough to please both the penny pinchers and audio purists?
Pure Jongo S3: Size and build
Measuring 1.25kg and just 135mm tall the Jongo S3 is a compact treat. Available in a choice of red, yellow, green, black and white speaker grilles (also available separately for £13 each) with a choice of white or black plastic casing, it is well built and feels surprisingly solid.
Add in the bonus of battery power (10hrs quoted), and this is the ideal size speaker to carry between rooms and out into the garden.
Pure Jongo S3: Features
For such a small unit Pure hasn't scrimped on spec. Boasting 360° sound from five speakers and four different audio configurations - Mono 360°, Stereo 360°, Stereo Forward Facing and Outdoor Boost - you can tweak the sound to suit the situation.
There's a 1in LCD display showing battery life, stereo configuration and source input - a welcome upgrade to the 'press twice, hold for three seconds' approach usually added to wireless speakers.
With both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity the Jongo S3 has the flexibility to play content from just about anywhere. Streaming over Wi-Fi (Apple iOS only for now, Android App on the way) requires the Pure Connect App and opens up the ability to control multiple devices and create a multi-room set-up, while Android users can stream from any music app using Bluetooth.
Unusually, Bluetooth comes via a separate plug-in USB dongle, but it is so small we're not deducting many marks.
Pure Jongo S3: Setup
Connecting via Bluetooth is a quick and painless process. Push the big power button, search for 'Jongo' on your phone/tablet, pair and play.
Connecting using a WPS-compatible router is equally easy, but give yourself a little more time for the manual Wi-Fi set-up. It isnít a disaster by any stretch, but feels needlessly fiddly having to enter a 'http://192' style url into the mobile browser to access Setup Manager.
But read the instructions carefully and you shouldn't have a problem, and once synched you can forget about it and just enjoy the results.
Pure Jongo S3: Pure Connect app
At the heart of Pure's multi-room plan lies the excellent Connect app. Stream locally stored music from your phone or tablet over Wi-Fi, access over 20,000 free internet radio stations and an impressive selection of podcasts and on-demand programmes.
With a subscription (£4.99 per month) to the Pure Music on-demand service the app becomes a rival to Spotify with access to 15million tracks.
But the real reason to get excited about the app is the potential for creating a bargain-priced multi-room wireless network. Connect up more than one S3 (or the A2 or T6 when they finally get a release) and, just like the superb Sonos, you can stream to any number of devices around the house.
Sadly though, unlike the Sonos, if you want to play Drum & Bass in the kitchen and Country & Western in the bedroom you'll need two devices both loaded with the Connect app. This is an irritating omission and one that prevents the Jongo being the multi-room marvel it deserves to be.
Pure Jongo S3: Sound quality
Given its size we wouldn't expect the S3 to replace our main stereo - the larger soon to be Jongo T6 should fill that gap - instead think of it as a superb-sounding radio replacement for every other room in the house.
The five speaker combination (4x 3/4-inche, 1x 3.5-inch drivers) delivers a solid sound that punches effectively at volume and beats the majority of similarly priced Bluetooth speakers in the race for bass.
It's a compact unit ideal for the office, kitchen or perched on the patio and things get better if you pair two S3 speakers together. We did notice a bit of a delay as the speakers synched, but once playing the sound filled the room impressively even at lower volumes.
Pure Jongo S3: Verdict
On its own the Pure Jongo S3 is an impressive bundle of wireless fun. The combination of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and all-day battery life plus good looks, great sound and competitive price should see it fly off the shelves.
The added bonus of multi-device support and the excellent Connect app make it a mouth-watering proposition and with more Jongo speakers soon to be released Pure's multi-room adventure is only just beginning.
Pure Jongo S3 release date: Out now
Pure Jongo S3 price: £169.99