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Pure Jongo S3 review

Tom Morgan
29 Aug 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
170
inc VAT

A relatively inexpensive introduction to multi-room streaming that you can unplug and take on the move

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Multi-room speaker systems used to be reserved for owners of high-end home entertainment systems with deep pockets, but that's no longer the case - Pure's Jongo S3 is one of the most inexpensive setups yet, letting you start small and add extra rooms when you want.

Roughly twice the size of the average coffee cup, each Jongo S3 squeezes five speaker drivers into its diminutive chassis. There's a high frequency tweeter on each of its four sides, plus a larger driver in the top for mid-range and bass. The colour-coordinated speaker grilles that protect each driver can be popped off and swapped with other colours to better match the rooms in which you place them.

From the front, you can only see the illuminated power button at the bottom and volume and mute controls at the top, but turn an S3 around and you'll see an LCD display to let you know which audio mode you're in, buttons to switch between them and to disable the Wi-Fi, a USB port and a 3.5mm auxiliary audio input. It's a shame Pure didn't fully integrate Bluetooth into each S3 - it's still available, but only using the USB dongle bundled in the box.

Pure Jongo S3

Rather than use its own proprietary wireless network for multi-room audio, each Jongo S3 connects to an existing Wi-Fi access point. If you have a WPS-compatible router, connecting each S3 to your wireless network is as easy as pressing a button on each device - if you don't, it's a little more complicated. The S3 creates its own Wi-Fi hot-spot, letting you log into its local IP address to scan for your wireless network. There's no one-touch button to add additional Jongo speakers to a system, so you have to repeat this process every time - it's nowhere near as slick as Sonos mesh system, which is about as simple as it gets.

One major benefit the S3 has over other multi-room systems is an internal battery. As long as you can get Wi-Fi reception, you'll be able to take it anywhere inside (or outside) your home, for up to ten hours at a time from a single charge. Thanks to Bluetooth, you could take it just about anywhere and still play music from a smartphone or tablet.

Pure Jongo S3

Once connected, you can start streaming music from your smartphone or tablet, or from Pure's Connect music service using the official Connect app. It's fairly comprehensive, with high resolution text and graphics on both iOS and Android, an easy-to-navigate interface and access to the music stored on your device. If you subscribe to Pure's £5-per month Connect service, you can stream from a 3-million strong content library, which may not as comprehensive as iTunes or Spotify, but there's a reasonable selection from all the major genres, as well as many more esoteric ones.

When you hit play, there can be a few seconds' delay before your music begins, but it's otherwise responsive to changing tracks, raising and lowering the volume or pausing playback. There's barely any delay when using Bluetooth, but there's no way to send music to multiple devices without using the official app.

Pure Jongo S3

When it comes to audio quality, the S3 doesn't exactly follow the traditional Pure DAB radio signature sound. It's nowhere near as bass-heavy, with a greater emphasis on mid-range and a very clear high-end – a side-effect of having four tweeter drivers. This is great at low volumes, as the S3 has far greater fidelity than most speakers of its size, but the same can't be said once you turn up the volume. This is mainly because there's a lack of bass presence, which also gives the mid-range an unwanted harsh edge.

The outdoor mode boosts the mid-range, but really should only be used in open areas. It makes the high-end sound very sharp when used in the home. You also have the option to run in full mono sound or single stereo, leaving the second set of tweeters powered down. For indoor listening, however, you'll want to leave it on full 4-driver stereo.

Setup could be simpler and sound quality isn't able to compete with more expensive multi-room systems, but Pure's first multi-room speaker still manages to hit plenty of the right notes. The internal battery lets you move it around, the controller app is attractive and easy to use and the price is right – there's no other multi-room speaker system that is as easy on the wallet as this.

With more Jongo products due imminently, you'll soon have more choice when it comes to larger speakers or Hi-Fi integration too. At £170 per speaker it still isn't cheap, but if you're looking to stream music throughout your house on a budget, The Jongo S3 is a great way to start.

Specifications

Rating****
Speaker configuration2.0
RMS power output20W
Power consumption standby0W
Power consumption on3W
Analogue inputs3.5mm stereo
Digital inputsUSB
Dock connectorUSB
Satellite cable lengthsN/A
Cable typeN/A
Controls locatedmain unit
Digital processingPure Digital
Tone controlsnone
Price£170
Supplierhttp://www.johnlewis.com
Detailswww.pure.com

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