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Pure Connect review

Much to admire, especially for tablet-using fans of live radio Tested at £5

Our Verdict

Much to admire, especially for tablet-using fans of live radio

For

  • Well-designed app
  • Strong catalogue
  • Can incorporate local music
  • Live radio will be a draw for some
  • Ability to purchase tracks

Against

  • Low bitrate
  • Platform compatibility could be wider

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Much to admire, especially for tablet-using fans of live radio

Pros

  • + Well-designed app
  • + Strong catalogue
  • + Can incorporate local music
  • + Live radio will be a draw for some
  • + Ability to purchase tracks

Cons

  • - Low bitrate
  • - Platform compatibility could be wider

Pure Connect is a streaming service that uniquely offers music streaming alongside live radio.

It has recently spread its wings, launching in the US as well as in the UK.

Features

It’s very much a service in its own right, and offers over 15 million tracks, 20,000 live (rather than personalised) radio stations and 200,000 on-demand podcasts.

Tracks local to your device can be controlled via the app too.

App compatibility is limited to iOS and Android, but there is that coveted tablet-designed app for both platforms, which is really nicely considered.

It looks great across devices, and offers some useful music discovery features.

Playback controls are a little on the small side, and we’d argue they could have been given a little more screen space.

Social features are on the limited side too; you can share music to Twitter and Facebook, but there’s no way of seeing what your friends are listening to.

Performance

Pure’s catalogue was largely competitive in our tests, only hiccupping on two of our ten picks – Led Zeppelin’s IV and Beyonce’s recent, self-titled album.

Most other popular music, save for the standard no-shows, proved to be pretty well stocked though.

You can buy tracks via Pure Music too (only via computer) at 320kbps, though we generally found them to be a touch more expensive than iTunes or Google Music.

Its streaming bitrate, however, is low; streams max out at just 128kbps in MP3 format.

It held up surprisingly well in listening tests, however, sounding decently detailed and punchy, if a touch on the smooth side in comparison with something like Google Music.

Verdict

Pure Connect might not be the first streaming service that comes to mind when deciding where to spend your money, but it has fared admirably in our test.

If live radio is a draw and you’re an iOS or Android user, this combination could be a winner – though we’d like to see those low bitrates improved upon.

Tech specs:

Catalogue: 15 million

Bitrate: up to 128 kbps

File format: MP3

Countries: 3

Mobile platforms: Android, iOS

Desktop app: No

Tablet optimised: Android, iOS

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.


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