There was a time when DABs were for the sociocultural elite, a badge of entry into a world of triple-laminated kitchen worktops and Habitat spice racks. With the One, PURE Digital has taken this formerly luxury item and turned it into something accessible for all -- a Volkswagen for the radio-loving proletariat. This is the first sub-£50 kitchen DAB we've reviewed, and PURE has worked a small miracle keeping the cost down.
The biggest shock with the One is its colour scheme -- it's available in a garish pink. More reasonable shoppers will opt for the safety of the alternative colours, black and white. But when something looks this dramatic in pink, who can resist?
The big sacrifice you're making if you opt for the One is the general build quality. It feels solid enough, but at the same time completely devoid of internals. We didn't stoop to cracking it open, but we suspect that inside the plastic chassis there's little more circuitry than the average musical birthday card. This is a seriously light package. Still, it's not weight that counts, but usability and sound quality. Can the PURE One hope to match its fully grown competition?
We've said it already, but this needs emphasis: the PURE One is light. It's a snack box of Frosties light; a paperback novel light. Be careful when you place this on the kitchen worktop that the breeze you create from opening the dishwasher door too enthusiastically doesn't send the whole radio see-sawing across the room like a leaf. We jest of course, but compared to something like the PURE Digital Evoke-3, the One is insubstantial. This is no bad thing -- the Evoke-3 is a monster.
Our review model came in a relatively sedate white, making it vaguely reminiscent of a piece of hospital equipment. A retractable aerial conceals itself in a recessed groove on the top of the chassis and telescopes out to improve reception.
The front panel is clear and uncluttered, with a large chrome tuning/volume control surrounded by buttons to activate the radio's main functions. To the left of this there's a mono speaker covered by a perforated grill that's part of the chassis moulding. PURE's designers seem to have lost interest when they got to the back of the unit, and there's a standard-looking battery compartment, which takes six C-size batteries.
On the right-hand side of the DAB, there's a USB port (used to update the firmware, should that ever be required) and a standard 3.5mm headphone socket.
If you've set up a DAB before, you'll have no problems with the tuning system on the PURE Digital One. Either way, it's essentially impossible to get this wrong. The automatic tuner inside the One activates itself when the radio is first switched on.
Provided the external aerial is extended and well-positioned, the One will automatically seek out all Band III (ie UK standard) DAB broadcasts and list them on the LCD. The tuning speed was snappy and first-time users will have little problem getting the radio to a stage where it can play.