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PURE Digital The Bug review: PURE Digital Bug

The Good Looks great; easy to use; genuinely useful; plays MP3s.

The Bad Control buttons feel cheap; no battery option.

The Bottom Line Its unusual looks won't be to everyone's taste and we found the navigation pad unacceptably fiddly, but The Bug is packed with features that bring you the best of digital radio

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8.3 Overall

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Pure's Evoke-1 shaped the way digital radios looked for almost three years, and they've continued to push the design of their products, in this case enlisting celeb product guru Wayne Hemmingway to create the Bug. The Bug's "look at me" styling won't be to everyone's taste, but nobody could call it boring.

In either black or white plastic and metal, the Bug seems more like an extra from a Star Wars film than a radio. Think of the front end of a Porsche. Now imagine a shower hose leading from the top to a large egg. Top it all off with two eyes blinking at you from a screen. It takes a minute or two to get used to.

Built into the base are two speakers covered in rugged wire mesh. Running down the middle are four tacky silver-effect function buttons: Info, Autotune, Menu and Record. In the centre is a large navigation pad, and underneath is the Pause button.

The navigation pad feels insubstantial and occasionally doesn't register a click properly. This is a disappointment given the quality of the rest of the unit. The head can be moved thanks to the adjustable neck that attaches it to the base, and boasts a large LCD screen with enough room for three rows of text. This is useful both for menus and for visibility from a distance. On the back of the base is a detachable 0.5 m adjustable aerial and an indented bank of other inputs and outputs, including headphones, stereo and optical out, USB connector and SD memory card slot.

Setting up the Bug is simple. Plug the power supply in and away you go.

As soon as the power is on the screen lights up and a couple of animated eyes blink at you. The Bug tells you it's checking the time and date, and a few seconds later you're in standby mode with the time on the screen. This is highly visible in white-on-blue and large enough to be seen from the other side of the kitchen.

Also on the standby screen are your alarm settings, a shortcut to the timed recorder, and a sleep function, perfect if this is doubling as your bedside alarm clock.

One press of the navigation pad wakes the Bug up. It automatically tunes itself as it starts up. Navigation is intuitively laid out. Nudging the pad up or down scrolls through the available stations, and a quick click of the pad confirms the change, while the volume is controlled by nudging the pad left or right.

The Bug comes with ten presets that you can access through the Info button. To save a station just hold down the button until it's stored. Other info includes the usual scrolling text, details about the station, the time or the blinking eyes you see during start-up. Other features like the alarm clock and the timed recorder are all accessed through the Menu button.

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