If you like the idea of being able to enjoy crystal clear DAB radio broadcasts wherever you go then Pure's in-car Pure Highway is likely to appeal.

The first self-install DAB radio to hit the market, it's a reassuringly solid unit that curves gently backwards. One of the best aspects is that Pure has gone for a small circular magnet with which to attach it to its retaining arm. This saves you having to fiddle with a cradle when you want to use or remove the radio from your vehicle.

Unfortunately, other design decisions aren't quite as successful. For example, the Pure Highway has an over-long trailing antenna cable that you attach to the windscreen behind the passenger's sun visor.

The Pure Highway's manual suggests you coil extraneous length round the rectangular magnetic bracket, but it's not the neatest of solutions.

In areas such as a built up metropolis, tuning in via the FM signal can an issue. We found south-east London simply too crowded with competing radio stations for us to successfully lock on to a frequency through which we could use the DAB tuner. In this case you also need to grab another cable (not supplied) and link the Pure Highway to the regular car stereo setup, which makes things somewhat messy.

Pure needs to look at some of the usability issues we experienced too. The Pure Highway very quickly finds both FM and DAB radio stations and 20 presets for digital stations and four more for FM stations can be accessed via the hardware buttons on its top right.

However, while driving we found it impractical to cycle through the station lists or alter the volume using the Pure Highway's circular control wheel.

One of the more useful features of the Pure Highway is its Revu function. If you miss that all-important news bulletin or sports report while involved in an in-depth 'discussion' about the best route with your other half, all is not lost – it'll be there to listen to later. Hardware buttons on its top let you move forwards or backwards through these automatically captured snippets to where you left off.

The Pure Highway can be battery-powered and functions pretty well as a portable unit that you can sit on a desk. Plug in your earphones and you're away. Tellingly, we are far more likely to use it for this than for its intended purpose of in-car entertainment.

For the latest games and home entertainment news and reviews visit Digital World.

Pure Highway: Specs

  • DAB Band III 174-240MHz
  • compliant with ETS 300 401
  • FM transmit range: 87.6-107.9MHz
  • 5V mini USB DC power adaptor socket (also for software upgrades)
  • 3.5 mm aux-in, 2.5mm aerial connector
  • 3.5mm stereo output
  • 20 DAB and 4 FM transmit presets
  • green backlit LCD display
  • 12-24V DC to 5V DC (0.5A) mini USB power adaptor
  • 2 x AA batteries (not supplied)
  • 122x70x29mm
  • 156g
  • DAB Band III 174-240MHz
  • compliant with ETS 300 401
  • FM transmit range: 87.6-107.9MHz
  • 5V mini USB DC power adaptor socket (also for software upgrades)
  • 3.5 mm aux-in, 2.5mm aerial connector
  • 3.5mm stereo output
  • 20 DAB and 4 FM transmit presets
  • green backlit LCD display
  • 12-24V DC to 5V DC (0.5A) mini USB power adaptor
  • 2 x AA batteries (not supplied)
  • 122x70x29mm
  • 156g

OUR VERDICT

With too many cables to contend with and no safe way of switching stations except by cycling through the presets, we just don't think Pure has got it right – yet. The Pure Highway is a good first stab at a self-install DAB radio for the car and there's likely to be a good market for what is undoubtedly a great value gadget. We're looking forward to seeing the Highway 2.

Find the best price