You can play back MP3 files on the Evoke-3 via SD cards inserted into the front of the unit. This DAB has no problem dealing with MP3s in folders.
If you have other stereo equipment -- such as an iPod or Sony NW-E507 MP3 player -- you can use the auxiliary 3.5mm connector on the rear of the unit to amplify the sound. You'll need a 3.5mm to 3.5mm lead (not bundled) to run between the MP3 player and the rear of the Evoke-3.
If PURE releases firmware updates for the Evoke-3, these can be uploaded via the USB port. Very occasionally DAB companies do release updates, which can be used to tweak the interface, correct bugs or add new features. Most users can ignore this feature, but if a problem is discovered with the software on the Evoke, this may provide a quick repair.
As with all the digital radios we've tested, the Evoke-3 occasionally suffers from reception problems in some places. Londoners are unlikely to have problems tuning into a strong signal, but as you move outside areas of good reception, you may find that you have to be more discerning over aerial placement.
As reception quality decreases, old analogue broadcasts suffer interference which gradually gets more severe, but digital broadcasts simply stop altogether. This gives DAB an all-or-nothing reaction to bad reception. We didn't have any big reception problems with the Evoke-3 even with the aerial retracted, but you should bear in mind that some environments may be less forgiving. Check with friends to see what DAB reception is like in your area.
The Evoke-3 sounds impressive in action. The bass-reflex port on the underside of the radio gives everything a slightly warmer tone than a closed unit would. Listening to Radio 4, the Evoke gave an especially refined performance -- it was comfortable and unstrained, ideal for extended listening. Listening to Radio 1, the Evoke was similarly impressive.
Though DAB music broadcasts always leave a little to be desired on account of the low bitrates, the Evoke coped well. We were happy to listen to some broadcasts as background music while doing other things. Concentrated listening will reveal a slightly muddied low-end, but how much of this is simply down to the broadcasters rather than the radio is difficult to assess.
What really makes the Evoke-3 an enticing choice is the built-in EPG. Although this took a few minutes to get going, the EPG gives you an advanced recording system similar to the Sky Plus system. We loved this, using it to record a selection of Radio 4 shows we then listened to on the way home from work. Selecting shows to record is a simple scroll and click action -- PURE couldn't have made this easier.
The Evoke-3 may not break any thrilling new ground, but PURE has successfully honed their already excellent 2XT to come up with an extremely capable and enjoyable kitchen DAB.
Edited by Mary Lojkine
Additional editing by Kate Macefield