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While the first generation of DAB radios were bulky, dedicated receivers that were far from portable, companies such as PURE have been busy finding ways to pack DAB into increasingly small packages.
The PocketDAB 1500 is (drum roll) a pocket-sized DAB radio. Unlike the iPod?, it does not have the ability to record live radio in MP3 format onto removable SD cards. It is however slightly smaller, cheaper and lighter. Although pocket-sized DABs are still bedevilled by reception problems, the 1500 is a welcome improvement. The 1500 moniker would suggest it sits neatly between the previously reviewed and 2000 models, which it does. So have pocket digital radios come of age, or would you be better off sticking with an
The PURE Digital PocketDAB 1500 is not far off the size of the original iPod, at 65 by 110 by 21mm. You can squeeze it into a pocket, but it's not as svelte as a dedicated FM receiver.
The chassis is finished in a jet black, with a wrap-around silver edge. It's relatively solid and well constructed, but does feel surprisingly light. The back of the chassis is fairly smooth, and the unit could slip out of your hands during a sweaty workout. The unit collects some dirt, but it's a world away from the greasy mess that the PSP, for example, can build up.
Controls on the PocketDAB 1500 are neatly organised. The central joypad -- used for navigating stations -- is surrounded by a function puttons which control 'info', 'preset', 'DAB/FM' and 'menu' options. At 123g, this radio doesn't compare to the credit-card style offerings from analogue radio manufacturers. DAB technology is new, but this will weigh down a suit pocket enough to be visible to thieves. Hopefully these weight problems will be overcome as receiver technology evolves.
The PocketDAB 1500's LCD screen is resilient. It's slightly recessed beneath the surface of the display. Pressure exerted on the flexible plastic cover will cause the LCD to distort, but it's tolerant of knocks.
A 3.5mm headphone jack is available on the right-hand side of the radio, and a 5V power input on the left. You can listen to radio on the bundled headphones, which are visually unremarkable. Although they bear a resemblance to the headphones you're handed on long-distance flights, we were surprised by the quality of sound they produced -- more on that later.
Power for the PocketDAB 1500 is supplied via an internal battery that inserts into the rear of the chassis. This is a proprietary cell pack and is charged in the unit using the bundled power adaptor.