Advertisement
Advertisement

Pure Avalon 300R Connect review

Tom Morgan
13 May 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
350
inc VAT

A great looking PVR with music in mind, but it’s expensive and lacks smart TV features

Advertisement

The Avalon 300R Connect is a Freeview+ HD PVR with catch-up TV and an on-demand music library provided through Pure’s cloud-based subscription service, the latter coming in handy when there’s nothing to watch on TV.

Like its DAB radios, Pure has taken a minimal approach from the front, with an all-black chassis that should fit in with the rest of the kit in your AV stack. It’s only 44mm tall, which is fairly compact for a PVR, so you should have no trouble making room for it. On the front panel, there’s just a large power button and a single USB port, hidden behind a plastic flap. The huge Pure logo takes pride of place in the centre of the unit, and there’s no LCD display to distract you if you place it in your line of sight.

Pure Avalon 300R Connect

Around the back of the unit, Pure has fitted four HDMI inputs, which makes it well-equipped for connecting Blu-ray players or video consoles to your TV. This won’t be much use if you have a dedicated surround sound system, but we can see the appeal for anyone using a 2.1 system or speaker bar with limited inputs. There are also analogue RCA, digital optical and coaxial audio outputs, as well as Ethernet and USB ports. It also has an aerial input and output for passing a signal through to your TV. With integrated Wi-Fi, you won’t need to run a cable from your router in order to get connected.

Pure Avalon 300R Connect

Pure has made a start with its on demand service for the Avalon 300R, adding BBC iPlayer catch-up and YouTube web videos. It can’t compete with the likes of Samsung, though, as that manufacturer includes ITV player, 4OD and Demand 5 on its hard disk recorders. There’s also no Netflix or LoveFilm, which may come as a disappointment to film fans. The one saving grace could be Pure Connect, which lets you access thousands of internet radio stations, listen-again programs and podcasts, and stream music from Pure’s extensive library.

DLNA support is also included, so you’ll be able to play files stored on a networked PC or NAS device. It has fantastic file format support, too, which meant we could play all our test videos including MKV, DivX and MOV clips. You should be able to play any videos, regardless of their file type.

The Avalon 300R stands out from other PVRs with its gorgeous and intuitive interface. A picture-in-picture overlay gives you a preview of each channel as you browse through the EPG, without taking over the screen or obscuring what you’re currently watching. If you just want to see what’s on now and next, a separate menu appears from the side of the screen. There’s a small delay before you get a picture, but it’s certainly better than not being able to see it at all. Everything has a transparent background to avoid blocking as much of the currently playing channel as possible, and looks crisp on a 1080p resolution TV.

Pure Avalon 300R Connect

All these effects require some serious horsepower, which is why Pure has used an Intel Sodaville processor and PowerVR graphics. This would be overkill for a more restrained interface, but it proves its worth when you activate the numerous channel transitions that slip, wipe, dissolve and ripple the screen as you change to a different program. We found this rather gimmicky, and we’d rather just change as quickly as possible without having to sit through fancy effects. Thankfully, there’s an option to turn the transitions off should you prefer not to see them.

Freeview+ HD might be lacking channels compared to subscription TV services such as Sky or Virgin, but it’s steadily increasing its collection of high definition content, with BBC One HD, BBC Two HD, ITV 1 HD and Channel 4 HD all available. Unfortunately, the Avalon 300R doesn’t have a CI card slot, so you won’t be able to use it for your subscription TV services.

Pure Avalon 300R Connect

We had no criticisms of its picture quality, with the box doing a great job at processing HD content and upscaling standard definition video, although the final image will depend greatly on the settings applied to your TV. Recordings looked equally crisp. The 1TB model we reviewed can hold up to 600 hours of standard definition content or 250 hours of high-definition video. We had no problems with recordings being cut off or starting late, even on channels which are notoriously bad at handing PVR flags. Along with Series Link, you can also pause and rewind live TV.

As Pure’s first foray into video, the Avalon 300R is a well-rounded effort that has plenty of features. Not all of them will prove useful to everyone, especially if you own a modern amplifier or home cinema system, and the lack of on-demand content holds it back against more well-known brands. It’s refreshing to see so much attention paid to the interface, which is big, bold and easy to navigate, but it’s still an expensive piece of kit that lacks the catch-up features we’ve come to expect from Sky, Virgin and YouView.

Details

Rating****

Features

Analogue tuners0
Digital tuners2
Hybrid tuners0
RadioDVB-T
EPG days8
Dual-channel recordingyes
Series linkyes
Video recording formatFreeview HD
Teletext (analogue/digital)digital
Certified Freeview Playbackyes
Picture in Pictureyes
Interactive content supportyes

Connections

Digital tuner RF inputs1
HDMI outputs1
Component outputs0
Output resolutions576p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p
Total SCART sockets0
S-Video input0
S-video output0
Composite inputs0
Composite outputs0
Stereo phono inputs0
Stereo phono outputs1
Coaxial S/PDIF outputs1
Optical S/PDIF outputs1
Surround sound formatsDolby Digital Plus
Other portsUSB, Ethernet

Storage

Capacity1TB
Optical driveno
Optical drive typeN/A
Audio playback formatsMP3, WMA, WAV, AAC
Image viewing formatsJPEG, GIF, BMP

General

Power consumption standby0W
Power consumption on19W
Extrasremote control
Size430x265x45mmmm

Buying Information

Price£350
Warrantyone year RTB
Supplierhttp://www.johnlewis.com
Detailswww.pure.com

Read more

Reviews