As with most DABs, setup on the Oasis was painless. As soon as the radio was switched on it auto-tuned itself to all available digital radio stations and displayed their names on the built-in LCD. Pressing the Info button cycles through all the available information about a specific station, while the Menu button gives you some basic options like switching off the LCD backlight.
The Oasis can tune into all Band III broadcasts, meaning that every DAB station in the UK can be received on the radio at a quality of up to 256kbps. The autotuner on the radio is relatively fast compared to other DABs we've tested, but you're unlikely to need to retune the radio very often during its lifetime.
One of the most impressive features on the Oasis is its battery life, which stands at an impressive 15 hours. When you pick up the DAB it's easy to tell where this extra battery power is being drawn from -- the radio is pregnant with ChargePAK power cells, which make it notably heavy to lug around. When you do finally run the internal battery flat, the radio will take a 9V power supply that powers the device while charging the internal cells.
If you have an existing iPod, CD or MiniDisc player, you can connect this to the Oasis for amplification using the aux-in connector on the side of the radio. There's also a USB connection, which doesn't transfer music, but will let you update the firmware on the Oasis if PURE introduces new revisions of the internal software.
Despite our reticence over mono-speakered DABs, we've been impressed with other mono devices before, not least the Roberts Gemini 10. The Oasis has a more modern tone than the less expensive Gemini, and reproduces digital radio with an uncoloured and crisp approach. Listening to Tied Up Too Tight by Hard Fi revealed an acceptable low-end for a small speaker. The high end had a typically trebly sound that made it impossible to confuse the source for anything but radio. However, our overall impression was good. Especially impressive was PURE's decision to volume-limit the amplifier to within its ability to drive the internal speaker. This means there is absolutely no clipping, even at the highest volume. This will increase the lifetime of the radio as well as avoid the nasty distortion common on most radios when the volume is maxed-out.
Listening to a play on BBC Radio 4, the Oasis demonstrated excellent sonic characteristics. Voices were clean and rounded, with no distortion even at maximum volume. The background sound effects came alive even though the Oasis is monophonic, and we were surprised by how good a mostly plastic chassis can sound with such a small speaker cone. If you're looking for a rugged radio that is also one of the best-sounding mono units out there, the Oasis is, like its namesake, a pleasure to pass the hours by.
Edited by Michael Parsons
Additional editing by Nick Hide