REVIEW: Pure's in-car DAB add-on hits the road

One of the things we do on this site is bring you tests of products we reckon are a bit special, either ahead of, or at the same time as, they're available in the magazine itself.

And the Pure Highway is definitely one of those gadgets we've been very much taken with in recent weeks, as it solves the familiar problem of upgrading your in-car entertainment system to receive DAB radio.

Whether you like listening to comedy on BBC 7 or the music on BBC 6, or you simply want to follow your favourite team on Five Live's sports services without all the fading and crackle of AM, the Highway could find a place in your motor. And best of all, it's very affordable – here's our review from the March issue, on sale now...

Pure Highway


5 stars


Great idea; impressive sound; easy to use; stable performance on the move; excellent value for money


Involves too many cables; not recommended if you already use sat-nav


A great idea well executed at a reasonable price

PURE SEEMS TO have an endless supply of DAB radios covering every eventuality from home listening to summer picnics. The Highway is its latest offering and, as the name suggests, it’s an in-car device.

Unlike standard in-car DAB radios, however, the Highway is an add-on to the FM radio already fitted to most cars. It receives the DAB signal via a strip aerial you stick to your windscreen, and then, like an iPod FM transmitter, it broadcasts that signal via FM.

Once in situ, the Highway quickly searches for available DAB stations, and scans for a free FM slot. It then tells you what frequency to tune your radio to, and even appears in RDS text as ‘PURE DAB’. The DAB signal locks on quickly and keeps a firm grasp of the station.

The FM is slightly less reliable: when you’re driving around, broadcast stations occasionally muscle in. But a press of the ‘QuickScan’ button finds the next available FM slot. We drove from our Teddington offices to Bournemouth and back with only the occasional re-scan called for, and no loss of DAB.

The sound quality is very good too, at least as good as the FM our car is capable of anyway, plus of course you get all those extra stations – and crystal-clear Radio Five Live. Extra features such as pause and rewind and a socket for you to plug an MP3 player into are real winners.

The only downside is that quite a few wires trail over the dashboard. If you use portable sat-nav we wouldn’t recommend having both boxes taking up windscreen space. That aside, the next time we travel, we’ll be heading for the Highway…

Technorati Tags: DAB

Andrew has written about audio and video products for the past 20+ years, and been a consumer journalist for more than 30 years, starting his career on camera magazines. Andrew has contributed to titles including What Hi-Fi?, GramophoneJazzwise and Hi-Fi CriticHi-Fi News & Record Review and Hi-Fi Choice. I’ve also written for a number of non-specialist and overseas magazines.