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PURE Sensia – fancy touch screen DAB/WiFi radio player

By Damir Beciri
6 January 2010

sensia-lifestyle-whiteIf you wanted to own a fancy, yet practical, radio player you’ll be pretty happy to read the rest of this article. The PURE Digital Sensia is an eye-catching gadget capable to tune into FM, Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) and Internet stations, and streams MP3s from your PC or some MP3 player. The gadget distinguishes from many similar and even better performing ones with its VGA touch screen. Besides being easy and fun to use, the display adds additional functionality since it is able to connect to additional applications available on PURE ‘s website.

PURE Sensia is egg-shaped and comes in black, white, red or yellow color with a pretty distinctive look and a high-gloss finish. Although it looks compact, it is almost 30cm wide. When in use, it sits on a shallow cupped stand, which lets you adjust the display’s angle which suits you the most. It has a 145mm (5.7”) capacitive full-color touch display which performs on a resolution of 640×480 pixels. Despite not being fixed, the stand holds it well and it doesn’t tilt while you use the screen. Sensia also includes an RF remote control in the box, which doesn’t require line-of-sight in order to work. It can be powered by optional rechargeable PURE ChargePAK, ensuring hours of portable listening per charge and listening to internet or streamed content anywhere within range of your Wi-Fi network, or the FM when Wi-Fi is unavailable.

Its interface is divided into logical sections for scrolling through radio stations or accessing downloaded applications. At the moment these extend only to weather, Facebook, Twitter and gallery apps, but PURE Digital has plans for other applications which could be developed by third-party coders since they plan to release a software-development kit for it. All applications are hosted on PURE’s own servers, and are free to use. There are also alarm, countdown and sleep timers.

Sound quality is solid, thanks to the 30W RMS (two full-range 3″ drive units with 15 RMS per channel) speakers in the fabric-covered ends of the oval casing, and the shape ensures faultless separation as the left and right channels are fired in opposite directions. While the Euro version gets DAB digital radio, the US Sensia doesn’t get the rough equivalent – HD Radio – though you do still get FM RDS support along with room for 40 FM presets and unlimited internet radio presets. For people that want to listen to the radio privately (or crank the volume on some additional amp) there is a 3.5mm headphone output socket.

You can tune the radio directly by either tapping a spot on the dial or dragging the tuning marker to the appropriate position. It is intuitive as well as changing the volume, which can be done by dragging your finger left and right across the screen, or tapping to mute and demute. You can skip straight to a set of stations by entering the first letter of their name, or use the on-screen menus to specify genre, country, language and even quality to filter Internet streams. Stations can also make use of the screen to display their own slideshows which are downloaded over the Wi-Fi connection rather than the DAB multiplex.

So, what could spoil such a gadget? Besides a bit laggy response of its touch interface, which could be fixed in some of the next series or firmware updates it automatically obtains by Wi-Fi, it is a bit pricy. Let’s hope that the folks from PURE will lower the price and that Sensia gets a proper support by the programmers, enabling it to become even more practical than it currently is.

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