Other features of the Pure-Fi Elite include iPod charging while it's docked and an auxiliary input for connecting other audio devices. Aside from the aforementioned ability to display videos and images stored on your iPod, you also get a built-in AM/FM radio and a clock with a sleep timer, though again Logitech has failed to include an alarm. Yes, the company's step-up model, the $250 Pure-Fi Dream, does offer alarm functionality. But the fact is that when you see a clock on a system, you expect there to be an alarm as well. (How much could that cost to add, anyway?)
On a more positive note, you can store as many as 8 preset stations for AM and 16 for FM--8 for FM1 and 8 for FM2. Logitech now includes numbered buttons on the remote, which makes it easy to toggle between presets (no such buttons existed on the previous remote). We also appreciated that the Pure-Fi Elite has fully adjustable bass and treble levels, and they're easy to tweak with a couple of button presses on the remote (once you figure out which buttons to push).
As for sound quality, like its predecessor, the Pure-Fi Elite quickly established itself as one of top performers in the iPod speaker category. To be clear, if you were to compare the Pure-Fi Elite with a decent $300 home-theater-in-a-box system (or even to certain $200 HTIBs), which usually has a separate subwoofer, the Logitech would probably come out the loser. But compared with other compact iPod audio systems, this little guy can belt out tunes with a decent amount of gusto and clarity. And while it doesn't possess the kind of tight, thumping bass that a good subwoofer delivers, the low end holds together well enough at higher volumes.
Like a lot of speaker systems of this type, the Pure-Fi Elite has very little in the way of stereo separation since the speakers are essentially next to each other. But Logitech has equipped the unit with a 3D stereo feature to help widen the sound field. To call the effect "dramatic," as Logitech does, is a slight exaggeration, but we definitely heard a difference for the better.
Because these types of tabletop/shelf systems' strong suits are generally in the midrange and treble, we didn't expect the Pure-Fi Elite to have a problem with acoustic albums like the Pretenders' Isle of View. The bigger test came when we fired up Prince's 3121 album, which has a number of bass-heavy tracks. For good measure, we then threw in Snoop Dogg's Drop It Like It's Hot and gradually increased the volume. The bass might not have been quite as pronounced on the Pure-Fi Elite as the AudioStation, but the difference in the two units' sonics are subtle at best. In the end, we weren't blown away by what we heard, but we came away feeling that most buyers' expectations would be satisfied, as long as those expectations weren't too high to begin with.
The lower price on the Pure-Fi Elite versus that of the AudioStation certainly helps temper our criticisms as well. Widely available for as little as $150, we expect the Logitech Pure-Fi Elite to challenge some of Altec Lansing's more popular InMotion models as the high-value alternative for those who just can't bring themselves to pay upwards of $350 for the likes of the Bose SoundDock. It's too bad Logitech didn't throw in an alarm, but if that isn't a deal-breaker for you, we have no problem recommending the Pure-Fi Elite. It's an impressive little system.