This is an interesting set-up. We’re big fans of the Pure Jongo S3 – the small and colourful portable wireless speaker that comes with its own wi-fi, Bluetooth and battery.
It’s well designed, sounds good and – more importantly for this test – it can be paired with another S3 to create a stereo system.
It’s a feature we’ve seen in other single-unit wireless speakers such as the UE Boom, but we’ve never actually reviewed speakers that have it.
Does it work? Do these two sound as capable as dedicated wireless stereo speakers, such as the Ruark MR1s, Audio Pro Addon T8s and Q Acoustics Q-BT3s?
Set-up requires a bit of patience, a wi-fi connection and the Pure Connect app (free for iOS and Android).
The app is crucial for pairing the two S3s together and assigning left and right speakers.
We stumble across our first hurdle once we’re all paired up ready to go: we can only play music that’s stored on the smart device being used, and only via the Pure Connect app.
On the one hand, the Connect app is neatly organised, fairly easy to use (barring some interface hiccups) and gives you access to the Pure Digital Connect streaming music and live radio service (£5/month).
And you can’t use Bluetooth to stream to both speakers at the same time – you have to stick with wi-fi (and the app) to play music to both speakers at once. The 3.5mm input can’t be used in stereo mode, either. It’s a frustratingly closed system.
You can use Bluetooth to stream to one of the speakers on its own, but not the pair. Pure has promised a software update that'll enable Bluetooth streaming to both speakers but there's no sign of it at the time of writing.
This will solve all our problems, as you’ll be able to stream from third-party apps such as Spotify.
Sure, the app is still needed for the set-up, but this update will offer a lot more flexibility. We’ve seen a brief demo of this new update in action, and are happy to report that it works.
Play Jimi Hendrix’s Voodoo Child and we’re struck by how big the S3s sound.
Using a pair of Jongos rather than one gives a wider, more authoritative presentation, and it easily fills the room with a strong delivery that also goes fairly loud (for the speakers’ size).
What’s more, the clever driver arrangement (four 19mm tweeters placed on each side of the cuboid speakers) integrates really well with the upward-facing 9cm subwoofer.
It’s not the clearest and most precise sound, though.
There’s a surprising amount of heft to the bass, but it doesn’t have the agility found in rival speakers such as the Ruark MR1s, and the treble could do with a touch more bite.
Part of the Jongos’ appeal is just how small and sturdy they are. They feel reassuringly weighty and durable.
The finish is smart (available in white or black), while the removable mesh grilles come in black, red, green or yellow.
Since each Jongo has its own power, amplification (20W for each) and built-in battery, they’re not restricted by cables connecting a pair, giving them another tick in the flexibility column. The battery lasts for around 10 hours, too.
The imminent software update saves this Jongo S3 stereo set-up from a three-star rating, but we have to admit to being a touch disappointed with the sound; at this price level it needs to do a little more to challenge the class leaders.
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