Reviews

Pure Elan One DAB+ Portable Radio with Bluetooth

. Review by Editor.

The Pure Elan One is a DAB/DAB+ and FM portable radio with Bluetooth. A full colour screen and easy to use controls from a known brand make this a good option for a kitchen radio.

The Elan One is one of a few new models of DAB and Internet radios from Pure in 2020. It’s available in black or white with an RRP of around £40. The radio has a single speaker, colour screen and simple controls for the radio modes. Weighing in at 0.45kg it’s light enough to be moved around the home.

Now playing information shown on the Pure Elan One display

Now playing information shown on the Pure Elan One display

In our review we’ll look at setting up the radio, how it sounds, the radio and Bluetooth modes and how easy it is to use.

Features and setup

After connecting the radio to the mains or inserting the batteries a push of the knob will switch on the radio. The radio will scan for digital radio stations the first time that it’s turned on and subsequently return to the last listened to station.

Reception of DAB and FM radio stations is comparable to other portable radios we have tested. The radio struggled to receive Times Radio in our location, but this is the same with radios we’ve tested from Roberts and Sony. Sometimes FM stations can sound distorted as it attempts to receive the station in stereo. An option in the menu allows for ‘forced mono’ which may help with weaker stations.

Digital radio station list on the Pure Elan One

Digital radio station list on the Pure Elan One

The radio does not come with a power adapter and instead has a short USB lead. The USB type A to Micro B lead will look familiar to many smartphone and tablet users. An old USB power adapter or wall sockets with USB ports can power the radio. Another option would be to buy a new USB wall adapter. It’s good to avoid the electronic waste from producing power adapters many people already have. But as new iPhone users may find, if you don’t already have a suitable adapter it could be frustrating.

Headphone and USB power sockets are found on the rear

Headphone and USB power sockets are on the rear

The provided USB lead is slightly short and a longer one may be required if the radio won’t be particularly close to a power socket. The lead included with our white radio is black and is fine on a kitchen worktop. On a sideboard or dresser with a socket near the floor a longer lead may be needed.

A paper quick start guide is included in the box. This covers basic operations for the radio modes, presets, Bluetooth and alarms and timers. A full user guide is available on Pure’s website which has much more detail on the operation of the radio, such as the backlight and equaliser settings. Operation of the radio is quite intuitive and the quick start guide should be enough for most users.

Support is available from Pure’s website and technical support is via a web form. The radio has a two year warranty which is less than the three year warranty with some other Pure devices.

Comparing the new Pure Elan One with the Pure One Mi Series 2

Comparing the new Pure Elan One with the Pure One Mi Series 2

As of December 2020 the Pure Elan One is the cheapest digital radio we can find from the brand.

Sound quality from the Pure Elan One

The radio has a single 2.5″ full range driver and the specifications give the output as 3 Watts. At full volume the radio fills a kitchen and can still be heard over a kettle or cooking without the sound distorting.

Out of the box the radio sounds reasonably good for a radio at this price. Music sounds a little bass heavy and when tuned into Heart on DAB digital radio the bass can be too imposing and the vocals sound a bit dull.

This could be due to the equaliser settings in the Pure radio. The ‘Normal’ option is enabled by default and other presets can be chosen for Pop, Rock, Classical and so on. A custom option under ‘My EQ’ is also available. Here the bass and treble can be set to zero and Loudness switched off. Compared to the Normal setting the radio can then sound quite flat. After tweaking the bass and treble, and leaving the Loudness turned off, it’s possible to get a more subtle sound for pop and rock music.

Side view of the Elan One in white

Side view of the Pure Elan One in white

In Bluetooth mode there is a slight background hum but it’s only noticeable if you’re listening closely and the volume is high enough. This noise is more apparent when listening with earphones.

Headphones can be plugged in to the 3.5mm socket on the back of the radio. Even at the lowest volume setting the audio from the radio and Bluetooth is loud and clear. It could be wise to plug in headphones or earphones before putting them on.

Stereo reproduction appeared to be accurate on FM, DAB and with Bluetooth, even though the radio has a single speaker. Not all DAB radio stations are broadcast in stereo and this would explain why some stations are still in mono when using headphones.

When adjusting the volume of the radio or changing radio stations sometimes a sound can be heard through the headphones. This seems to occur in time with the change of information on the display. It’s disappointing to find this on the radio and whether it bothers you could depend on your own listening experience.

User interface

A single rotary control is used to switch the radio on and off, change the station and adjust the volume. With many stations on DAB digital radio now it’s quicker to turn the knob to select a different station than to press up and down buttons. Pushing the knob will turn the radio on and off. When the radio is switched on the sound can be muted by pushing the knob briefly.

Buttons and station/volume knob

Buttons and station/volume knob

The rotary knob is quite small but responds well to changing the volume or looking for another station. When pushing to select or switch the radio off it sometimes clicks but doesn’t respond. The other buttons on the radio offer very positive feedback but the knob doesn’t always work as well.

Those other buttons include a few dedicated preset buttons for radio stations. On the same row are play/pause, back and forward buttons for the Bluetooth mode. These can be used to control playback of media from a smartphone without having to open the app on the device.

To browse the list of stations the forward/Stations button has to be pressed first. This opens the list of stored stations which can be browsed by turning the rotary knob left and right. A different station can be selected by pushing in the knob. This works well but if you forget to press the Stations button first you’ll find yourself changing the volume.

The Menu button opens the various options which are relevant to the current mode. The large display makes these quite easy to browse and alter.

The information shown on the display can be changed with the Info button. Unfortunately it doesn’t appear to be possible to see information, such as the current track name, in Bluetooth mode.

DAB, FM and Bluetooth modes can be selected by pressing the Source button. The sources switch over quite quickly.

The 2.4″ TFT colour display has a resolution of 320×240 and in digital radio mode shows the name of the station and programme information, the time and signal strength.

Tuning into Classic FM in the FM mode

Tuning into Classic FM in the FM mode

The benefit of a small TFT display over a traditional LCD display is that you can see more information at once. This means programme information, such as the name and artist of the current song, can be seen at a glance rather than waiting for it to scroll across. The larger display also makes it easier to browse radio stations as seven can be shown at a time as a list.

Viewing angles are reasonably good which is helpful when glancing at the time and date in standby mode.

A potential downside of the display is that the text is much smaller than on some other Pure radios and the similarly priced Roberts Play 10. Although the display is bright and the text is clear some users may still prefer larger text with less information.

Our verdict on the Pure Elan One

The Pure Elan One has some welcome improvements over the Pure One Mi range. A larger full colour screen, a rotary knob for the volume and battery and mains power options are all useful updates. Compared to other budget radios the less shiny plastic finish makes it feel like a more premium product.

A recommended retail price of around £40 feels about right for this radio. It’s the same as the Roberts Play 10 and less than Sony’s cheapest DAB radio, neither of which have Bluetooth connectivity. If you don’t already have a USB power adapter or wall socket you will need to add that to the price.

The time and date shown in standby mode

The time and date shown in standby mode

The radio is easy to use and sounds good in this size and price bracket. It is a shame that the main control knob doesn’t feel as ‘clicky’ as it could. The headphone output could be disappointing for frequent personal listeners. It’s a good buy for anyone looking for a small portable DAB+ radio for the kitchen or home office.

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