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PURE's first Evoke digital radio picked up a shelf-full of awards, and version 2 improves on a winning formula. It's better looking than before, boasts better speakers and includes a feature called Active Audio Filtering that's designed to get the best sound from your broadcasts. You also get an input for iPods or MiniDiscs, a clock display, alarm clock and kitchen timer. There's a USB connection for installing any future software updates.
You'll love or hate the styling, but there's no arguing over the sound quality: whether you listen to speech or music, the audio quality is top-notch. It's good value for money, too, with a typical price of around £150, although if you shop around you should be able to find it online for about £130.
The Evoke-2XT is an attractive blend of modern and retro design, although the cherry wood case and the metal front look very plasticky. The bright blue LCD display is mounted between the stereo speakers, with three control knobs -- volume, tone and tuning -- and 12 buttons arranged underneath. In this grid you'll find six buttons for storing and accessing presets and a button for accessing station info and a standby button. The remaining buttons control the backlight, the tuner, the built-in timer and the radio's menu system.
It's functional rather than flashy, which means it should look fine whether you put it in the kitchen or the front room. The design shouldn't date, either, so it's unlikely to embarrass you in a few years' time.
On the back you'll find a Charge-PAK-compatible battery compartment that takes six standard type-C batteries, together with the connector for the supplied 9V DC adaptor. There's a headphone output and a line out, together with an Aux In for playing audio from an iPod, MiniDisc or other audio source. The Evoke-2XT also boasts a USB port for software upgrades via your PC, and there's a digital output for connecting the radio to other hi-fi equipment.
With digital radio you should be able to get up and running almost instantly, and it's a test that the Evoke-2XT passes with flying colours. Simply plug it in, switch it on and press the Tune button to start searching for available digital radio stations. You won't be able to access every station, though: one of the annoying things about DAB is that unavailable stations such as London-only stations will be listed no matter where you are in the UK.
The autotune process only takes a few seconds, and you can then move between stations by giving the Tune dial a quick flick. For FM, you can choose between manual tuning or 'seek' tuning, which skips through frequencies to find the strongest signals.