Revo offering discounted DAB Radios this weekend

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

Revo, manufacturers of some very nice DAB radios, have a half price offer on two of their top units this weekend. To celebrate their 10th Anniversary in business, they have the Revo K2 and Revo HERITAGE with 50% off, which means the units are priced at £149.95 and £124.95 respectively. If you are considering either of these two models, now is your chance to pick them up with a massive discount.

These offers finish on Sunday. See Revo Special Offer for more details.


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Pure Highway 300Di now available

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

When launched back at the end of November, the Pure Highway 300Di car DAB adaptor was due to be available within a week or so.  Just to let you know, it’s now available at Halfords (and I’m not sure they have the Exclusive any more either, so you maybe able to find it elsewhere too).  It’s still £180 (plus £25 fitting if you need the service, and most will), but I think that’s good value for a fitted additional DAB radio that’s nicely styled, and will allow a level of future proofing existing cars (if the old FM radio signals are ever turned off, which still isn’t definite).

In my original article, I mentioned a free fitting offer during the “initial launch”; I can only conclude this period has already finished, as the free fitting doesn’t appear to be available anymore.


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Pure launch new Highway DAB Radio

Friday, November 25th, 2011

One of the first articles on the UK Gadgeteer website back in 2007 was around the PURE Highway, a portable DAB radio designed for car use.  This turned out to be a very popular device, although one small complaint about it was that it had to connect to the windscreen mount, and you had to have wires all over the dashboard (aerial & power).  Competitors, such as Revo, produced DAB addon car units which needed more permanent fitting in the car, however, Revo have now left the car market.

Well, Pure are addressing these issues and have launched a new Highway DAB radio, the Pure Highway 300Di.  This unit has a small control unit (removable, for when you want to hide the presence of the unit) using an OLED screen (and backlit buttons).  In fact, the simple display / buttons and control knob remind me of the very successful Parrot range of Bluetooth car kit control units).  This connects to a control box designed for placing behind the dash, or in the glovebox.  This needs permanent connections to the car (I suspect it’ll possible to DIY fit it, but it’s not designed for plugging into a cigaretter lighter, unlike the PURE Highway, which remains on sale for those who want a truely portable unit).

As well as providing DAB (via a DAB aerial which needs external fitting), the unit has a USB port allowing you to plug in USB memory sticks, USB devices, or you can use your Apple USB cable and the device will be able to fully control (and charge) your Apple iPod or iPhone.

Most DAB radios only have one tuner, whereas most car radios adopted the idea of dual tuners quite a few years ago; this allows the second tuner to go hunting for a stronger signal without impacting the radio playback, and in fact, the Pure Highway 300Di has a second tuner which will automatically keep the station list up to date with only the stations available as you travel around the country.

To connect it to your car, you can either use an AUX-IN type socket, or it can use an FM transmitter, either wireless using the car’s existing aerial, or it can be wired into the aerial circuit giving a crackle free experience.

In addition, Pure have added a couple of innovative new modes:

  • Forcourt mode, where the device will go into standby for up to 15 minutes, allowing you to return to your car, and the unit will already be ready for action with the same music.  In you are listening to the DAB radio, you can pause (for up to 8 minutes) and continue listening when you return to the car.
  • Picnic mode, where the device is able to continue playing the music for up to an hour after the car ignition is switched off.  The 1 hour limit is to prevent the car battery being drained, although some cars will limit you to only 15 minutes even though the unit could do longer.

For those wanting to add DAB to your existing car, and want something a little more permanent than the PURE Highway, this may well be the device for you.  Pricing will be £179.99, although it’s not yet available, it will be sold exclusively through Halfords for a period.

Having said it’s not available, I believe it should be on sale within the next week or two, and during the initial launch, Halfords will be offering free fitting (normally around £25).


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Gadget Show Live suggestions

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

I headed to a special Preview Day today at the Gadget Show Live yesterday, and can report that’s it’s going to be a good show this year.  The first year it was run I felt there were a few too many small companies selling fairly useless gadgets, but whether it’s the economy or not I don’t know, but this year there were very few useless gadgets to be seen.  Equally, two years ago everyone was selling iPhone docks, and although there were still a variety of iPad accessories, it generally felt a much more balanced show.

If you only get an hour or two to attend, my suggestions for companies to visit include:

  • LG, if only to view their ultra slim OLED TVs, which look very impressive
  • Samsung, for having a wide variety of options from TVs, home appliances and the Galaxy Tab
  • 3View, for having a Freeview PVR with a range of additional functions, such as BBC iPlayer
  • Revo, for having a decent range of good looking and quality sounding DAB radios
  • Viewsonic, for promoting their risk free ViewPad trial (which we covered here)
  • Orbitsound, for their range of impressive speakers (both portable and for your TV) using their airSOUND technology

A couple of others companies caught my attention with new gadgets, and I’ll cover those later.  I will say that although Samsung had a massive banner running the length of one of the halls advertising all 3 Android Tablets (the Tab, the new 8.9″ and the new 10.1″ tablet), they only seemed to have the original Galaxy Tab on their stand.


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Revo release new AXiS software

Friday, January 21st, 2011

Revo Technologies have released an updated firmware for their Revo AXiS Internet / DAB radio. This adds two features of note; firstly, the device now supports the DAB Slideshow feature (more information on this feature here), which allows the unit to display graphical content provided by the DAB radio station.  It also adds the ability to specify how long the backlight stays on when the unit is in standby.  With this feature, you are able to turn the screen back on by moving the volume control either way to light the screen, and then after the preset period, the backlight will turn off again.

Revo Technologies have confirmed that they are planning a similar update for the Revo Ikon, although there is no date for release available yet.  If you have a Revo AXiS, then it should find the update automatically, and prompt you to install.

It’s nice to see a manufacturer releasing updates for existing hardware which adds new features, instead of only incorporating these new features into new hardware.  The update was released yesterday, so should appear soon on your DAB radio. In terms of UK radio stations that support DAB slideshow, these include BBC Radio 1, Capital Radio, Heart Radio, XFM and Magic (possibly Virgin Radio Xtreme and Kiss as well), and only a handful of DAB radios support it, including the PURE Sensia and the Revo AXiS.

Revo Technologies have also indicated there are working on 3 new models for 2011, which will be on sale in Q3 / Q4 this year.  They have also announced a limited edition “Black Oak” variant of their Revo HERITAGE radio should be available for sale at some point in the next few weeks.


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Pure announce new iPod / iPhone dock

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Pure are promoting this as an advanced Apple iPod / iPhone dock, but to be honest, they could have easily promoted it as a DAB radio or an Internet Radio with a dock.  It also features a smooth satin-touch finish, a full-function remote and backlit touch-sensitive controls.  The Pure Contour offers a whole range of features, including:

  • DAB, FM and Internet Radio options
  • iPod / iPhone dock
  • Digital end-to-end technology (Pure ClearSOUND)
  • 36W RMS of class-leading audio
  • Digital, FM and Internet radio
  • Flow technology for internet radio, on-demand content including podcasts, PURE Sounds and media streaming from a computer
  • 30 digital radio favourites, 10 FM favourites and unlimited internet favourites
  • Retractable dock with smooth damped movement
  • Component (YPbPr), S-Video and Composite video outputs for viewing iPod/iPhone video on your TV
  • Stereo headphone socket
  • Alarms and timers
  • Upgradeable via Wi-Fi, Ethernet or USB

All in all, a very nice, well specced unit.  However, it should be given the price; it will retail at £200!

No word on availability yet.


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Nokia launches DAB Headset

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Here’s something that you don’t see everyday; we’re getting used to phones coming with FM radios (and needing to use the wired headset to provide the antenna), but Nokia has gone a stage further and created a portable DAB headset.  Now, we’ve covered many DAB radios here at UK Gadgeteer, including portable ones, but being able to utilise the device for battery etc. seems an interesting option.

You’ll need one of the new Symbian^3 handsets (Nokia N8, Nokia C7) and it also needs to support USB On The Go to allow the device to be powered by the phone. “The adapter works automatically when you plug it into the micro-USB port on the N8 and comes with ergonomic, in-ear headphones – it can also be used with your own headphones provided they have a 3.5mm jack. The device also offers call-handling, channel and volume controls. The adapter weighs 30.5g and measures 55 x 23 x 14.5mm.

Radio software on your mobile device allows you to choose and save stations, shows artist and track information and will show pictures when offered by the broadcaster. Using a feature called Smart Tuning, it automatically chooses the clearest reception in cases where your chosen station exists on alternative frequencies. The software will either be included on your mobile device or be downloadable from Ovi Store and the device’s support pages.”

It’s good to see Nokia bringing devices like this out, although given the general problems with FM and DAB radio reception in the UK, you’ll need to make sure the places you want to use this are strong DAB signal areas before spending the £40-£45 the device will cost when it is released in the next few months.


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Revo announce new colour touchscreen DAB radio

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

After the successful launch of the Revo Ikon (released last year), Revo have now added another touchscreen DAB radio to their portfolio, and have released this unit as the first “under £200 colour touchscreen digital radio with multi-format reception”. What does that really mean? It means DAB radio (and DAB+), FM radio, Internet radio, ability to play Last.fm music streams, ability to play music from a PC, ability to play music from an iPhone / iPod attached via it’s dock, and if that’s not enough, it’s got an AUX socket and stereo RCA sockets for piping other music to the device.

The radio features a 3.5″ TFT colour touchscreen, with a similar user interface as that used on the Revo Ikon, and has an 8W amplifier and NXT’s Balanced Radiator loudspeaker technology.

I like the range of technologies that Revo put into their DAB radios, and expanded their touchscreen range makes sense, especially by introducing a cheaper device (although with a less powerful amplifier and it appears to not have the stereo speakers of the Revo Ikon).  As with the Revo Ikon and the PURE Sensia, the device only comes with a limited trial subscription to Last.fm (in this case, 31 days), so to continue to use the streaming facilities you’ll need to pay £3 per month.

The Revo AXiS will be available from 1st October 2010, and be sold at £199.95.


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Pure Digital FlowSongs, new radios and Sensia update

Friday, August 13th, 2010

Over the last month or so, Pure Digital have been busy.  They’ve launched two new radios, updated the PURE Sensia software, and have now released a new service, Pure FlowSongs, which is a very interesting (and nicely integrated) service for some of their Internet radios…

Firstly, the Pure One Mi (pronounced Me), only costs £34.99, and includes DAB and FM radio, a clear digital display, 16 presets, multi-lingual menus and a USB socket for future updates, and is one of the more compact models they have ever produced.

They’ve also release the Pure Oasis Flow, a weatherproof and splash resistant, rechargeable internet-connected digital radio, costing £169.99, which features DAB and FM radio (as well as the internet radio via Wi-Fi), and should work for up to 15 hours on DAB.  It also supports the new Pure FlowSongs, covered below.

The PURE Sensia update is interesting.  When the radio first launched, I wondered how many additional plugins we would see over time for this device, and whether Pure would be able to continue to support it with new features.  Well, last month, Pure added Picasa support to the Twitter, Facebook and Weather applications already available.  This allows you to login to your online Picasa account and view a slideshow of your online pictures, either in the smaller visual panel, or full screen.  Some photo information can be overlaid on the picture, and you can change the timing of the slideshow, as well as pause it.

However, the most interesting item is Pure FlowSongs, which was announced this week.  This is only available in the UK (as a public beta), and is supported on the following radios:

PURE Sensia, PURE EVOKE Flow, PURE AVANTI Flow, Pure Oasis Flow and PURE Siesta Flow

The new software to support Pure FlowSongs will be released on Monday (16th August) and will allow you to identify, and then purchase any song you hear on the radio.  Importantly, you can be listening to the DAB radio, FM radio, or an Internet radio station (the software is limited to the internet-connected radios due to what happens next, not that the radio source needs to be internet based); the radio will then use a Shazam service (well known for their mobile application to detect what music is being played) to identify the song.  In the case of the PURE Sensia, there is an addition button on the screen (see below) whereas other radios will need a button combination to be pressed.

If you want to use the service, your radio needs to be registered at the Pure Lounge, and you’ll need to provide a credit or debit card to topup your online account, but then you’ll get a free 90 day trial of the identification service (normally £2.99 a year), and if you decide to purchase a song, they will cost an additional 79p to £1.29, and this uses the 7Digital music service.  The purchasing function on the device will be protected by a 4 digit PIN for security.

Once purchased, the song can then be downloaded (as an mp3) to your PC or Mac, but it will also be located within your Lounge account, allowing you to stream the song to your radio too.  Pure Digital also state the songs can be uploaded to an iPod, and have stated the mp3 files are DRM-free, allowing them to be played back on any mp3 device.  When you stream, the mp3 will be 128kbps, but the downloaded files will be up to 320kbps.

The integration of the Shazam service to allow you to identify any music being played is a very powerful extra facility for these radios; over the last year I’ve been impressed with both Pure Digital and Revo for adding support for Last.fm into some of their devices, and I think this ability to identify and even purchase songs adds even more to the experience.  Even better, although not yet available as part of the beta, Pure Digital are looking to enable you to buy whole albums using this method, which is likely to work out better value.


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iPod Nano offers iTunes tagging in London

Monday, November 30th, 2009

iPod Nano Silver

Absolute Radio (105.8FM, also available online and via DAB) have released an interesting feature which works on the iPod Nano.  It’s called iTunes tagging, and it works like this; you tune your latest generatino iPod Nano into Absolute Radio and listen to their songs.  Should one of the songs catch your attention, you can tag it, and then when you dock your iPod, you’ll be able to see who the song was by, what is was called, and you will even be able to buy and download the song from iTunes.

This is a nice level of integration between the non-connected iPod Nano and the well-connected iTunes PC, and could prove a nice feature for many people.

Absolute Radio have more information on this service, including a video on their website here.


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