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Pure Evoke F4 review

Kat Orphanides
14 Nov 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
180
inc VAT

This radio and audio streamer’s great of features are let down by a clumsy menu interface

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Pure is a big name in digital and internet radio, producing attractive and reasonably priced audio equipment that fits neatly into any home. The Pure Evoke F4 is the update to the Evoke Flow, released in 2008.

Like the Flow, the F4 has a DAB radio. It also has support for internet radio, DLNA audio streaming from devices on the same network and a USB port. You can use the USB to play music from directly from a connected drive, but the F4 comes with a Bluetooth dongle already inserted in the USB port. This allows you to connect a phone or even a laptop easily and use the radio as a Bluetooth speaker. We streamed locally stored audio tracks as well as content from Spotify, YouTube, Bandcamp and other streaming services that wouldn't otherwise be supported by the F4.

Pure Evoke F4

It doesn't support the higher quality Apt-X codec for Bluetooth, but it would make little difference on a mono device such as this. Although it's small, the 3.5in sounds great. It's not very loud, but it filled our kitchen and sitting room, and reproduced everything from Nina Simone's I Put A Spell On You to Dark Tranquillity's Haven with as much detail as we've heard from any speaker of this size and price. A bass port at the rear helps round out the bottom end.

An optional battery pack is available (ChargePAK F1, £35 from www.johnlewis.com), which would greatly add to the F4's flexibility as a household radio. At the back of the radio are three 3.5mm ports, so you can connect a stereo speaker, a pair of headphones or plug in an auxiliary audio source. The F4 also has a full range of alarm clock and sleep timer functions, plus a kitchen timer. The convenient carry-handle at the top doubles as a capacitive snooze button.

Pure Evoke F4

The F4 has an attractive white and black screen, but the 128x64 pixel OLED display still feels primitive compared to the colour LCD screens we've seen on internet radios such as Logitech's Smart Radio UE (see Reviews, Shopper 299). The controls are also somewhat restricted. You control it using a volume knob and a selector knob with built-in buttons, three context-sensitive touch-buttons and three fixed-function touch-buttons: Home, Back and Record. Because you're limited to only three context-sensitive buttons, many options we'd expect to find on a media player are missing. There's no pause button when playing music from a DLNA server, for example.

It all works, but often feels clumsy if you wish to perform tasks more complex than selecting your favourite DAB radio station. You use the dials to enter your Wi-Fi password, which is tedious, as was scrolling through the thousands of artists and albums on our NAS's DLNA media share.

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