The Contour works with the FlowSongs service it introduced in August last year (an update to this service is expected later this month) and also offers access to The Lounge. This is PURE’s portal, used for quick access to favourite radio stations, podcasts and songs and where you can tap in and view others’ Twitter updates, should you wish. Flickr photos and video from your iPod can also be played back on this screen; the latter taking advantage of the speaker, of course. We found it useful mainly for saving internet radio stations we’d stumbled across. Unlimited station bookmarks are possible. The Contour’s options to search by location, type, content and genre work well, but there’s an awful lot of web radio stations out there. DAB radio stations are so numerous and can just as easily be saved as one of 30 presets, along with FM stations you favour.
Navigation is either via the less-responsive-than-it-might-be mono touchscreen display, or the neat remote control PURE supplies. You need to use the LED panel to set up the network options, which is rather laborious. You need only do this once, however. Volume output is a decent 36W, with plenty of oomph to the bass. Despite the size of the speaker for this 370x210x265mm audio player, it’s best as a personal entertainment player and won’t compete with your guests’ chatter at a house party, for example.
We also like the fact it doubles as an iPod dock, but has a retractable tray (hidden behind its screen) for when you’re not using yours. Adaptors for all versions are included in the box and, as is de rigueur, you can control the Contour via your
FlowSongs is currently still better in theory than in practice. We like the idea of being able to tag a song you like on the radio, have it matched against an online music-matching database and saving it for later listening or downloading it. Songs are DRM-free and any bought via the £2.99 a year FlowSongs subscriptions can be downloaded to a PC or copied to an external device and can also be called up via the FlowSongs app on your iPhone or iPod. Playback on another PURE device is also supported.
Streaming tracks to the PURE Contour can be done from a PC or a UPnP device such as a media hard drive. As before, the sluggish interface makes rather hard work of this, even though we had no issues getting the Contour to recognise drives on our home network. There is a separate Music Library option that goes straight to the Music folder on your PC. Be warned, though, that a comprehensive music library will be frustrating to scroll through. Lengthy file names – such as ones that start with the artist’s or album name – can be confusing to distinguish between.
The design of the PURE Contour won’t be to everyone’s taste, but the audio quality is decent, the combination of DAB, FM, internet radio and iPod playback, plus of course the FlowSongs and The Lounge features distinguish it from the standard Wi-Fi iPod dock. UPnP support and easy access to your PC music library add to its strong feature set, but a clunky interface holds it back.