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The PURE Contour is an FM and digital radio that can also connect to thousands of Internet radio stations. It looks funky too, with a pop-out iPod dock, domed design, and touch-sensitive buttons. It's not cheap, though, at around £200, so is it worth the beans?
Black hole sun
The Contour's design reminds us of the sun appearing over the horizon, except that it's black and not a ball of fusion and light. It's also quite chunky, and one of the tallest digital radios we've ever seen.
From a styling point of view, we think it's a success. Our only minor gripe is the LCD display. It's functional, but it's tricky to tell what it's showing from a normal standing height -- you'll have to bend down.
On the back, there's a headphone socket and an auxiliary input. There's also a long, extendable aerial. If the radio's near a window, you may not need this, but it can help you to get a clear DAB signal. The Contour's Wi-Fi connectivity is handled by a separate internal aerial.
DAB, FM and Internet radio
Many people aren't enamoured with DAB. After all, it's not as widely available as FM and the quality can, at times, be less than optimal. That said, we use it in London with virtually no problems and the sound quality isn't a huge issue, especially given the way FM sounds without a good, strong signal. Indeed, in our Southwark office, the FM reception is zero, but we get great DAB reception.
If FM and digital radio don't suit you, you can just use the Internet radio functionality. You can access thousands of worldwide radio stations on the Contour, including many from British providers. It's slightly trickier to find what you're looking for than it is when using DAB, but there's far more choice. The quality of both content and audio is variable, but there are some real gems out there.
Another benefit of using the Internet radio is that you can take advantage of the PURE Lounge software. This lets you organise and store your stations using a standard PC browser, with your choices then being fed back to the radio. Likewise, any favourites set on the radio itself are saved in your Lounge account, giving you an unlimited number of Wi-Fi presets.
Podcasts are handled well -- you can choose them on a computer and then listen to them on the device itself. We did notice one annoying bug, though. If you lose the Wi-Fi connection during listening, the Contour doesn't seem to resume podcasts when it reconnects. This is even more annoying seeing as you can't skip through them.