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Not content with dominating the upper end of the Internet radio market with its Sensia and Avanti Flow models, PURE has turned its attention to the cash-strapped consumer. The PURE One Flow, available for around £89, is a DAB, FM and streaming device that, while clearly more cheaply made, shares much of the magic of its grown-up siblings.
The One Flow's design is well thought-out. The aerial is sunk into a channel on the top of the case, so it's out of the way when not in use, while the combination of a slightly countersunk speaker and a groove on the back of the rubber-skinned case take the place of a physical handle. It's extremely light without the optional battery pack, but it doesn't feel cheap. The power button and controls below the backlit LCD display have a firm action, while the volume and select knobs have a subtle ratchet that stops you scrolling past what you need. The only thing that lets it down slightly is the bass response, which feels a touch light.
Set-up is a breeze, with the One Flow scanning for available DAB stations the first time you turn it on and, when you switch to Wi-Fi, saving your network password and negotiating an IP address with your DHCP server. As well as streaming, it uses this wireless connection to download firmware updates -- something it did the first time we switched it on.
Online stations are organised through PURE's Lounge service. Set up a free account and register your radio at thelounge.com, and it'll synchronise your favourite stations across multiple radios. These, and PURE's own ambient background channels PURE Sounds, are additionally available through your browser, and indeed in many cases this is a better medium through which to keep them in order as it saves you scrolling and clicking through your radio's menus.
The One Flow is the latest in a long line of Wi-Fi-enabled radios from PURE that stretches back to the original Evoke Flow, and while it doesn't have the wooden case, optional second speaker or add-on remote of that original it does have one small addition that makes a big difference: a dedicated home button. This helps flatten out the on-screen menus, which in our Evoke Flow review we criticised for being 'deep and sometimes confusing'. The addition of this single button, which should have been there from the line's inception, makes this radio far more usable than its predecessors, taking you straight back to the top level menu, from where you can switch between the various available sources.
Tune to DAB, FM or an Internet station and a button gives access to FlowSongs, PURE's online music store. This identifies whichever song is being played on the service to which you're tuned so you can buy it directly. Purchased tracks are added to your Lounge account, from which you can download them as unprotected MP3s for playing back on any MP3 player or iPod. Tracks cost between 79p and £1.29 each.
The One Flow can stream your downloads and any other AAC, WMA, MP3 or Real Audio files from a UPnP server, or directly from your PC or Mac using the free FlowServer software, which again is downloaded from The Lounge. We store our music library on an NAS attached to our local network using Ethernet. The One Flow had no problems finding it using our conventional wireless router and streaming our music from there, without the help of any third-party add-ons.
There is much to like about the One Flow, but no single factor so much as its price. At under £90, it massively undercuts less feature-laden rivals and is, quite simply, the perfect kitchen or bedroom radio. The speaker could be better, and for that reason we wouldn't make it our primary set, but for catching up on overseas sports reports courtesy of its Wi-Fi tuner, streaming a music library through your house or making impulse music purchases, it has all you need and more. This isn't just a radio; it's an aural entertainment station.
Edited by Jennifer Whitehead