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Radio-Now at Bristol Sound and Vision 2004 : Pure Pocket DAB review

Sound and Vision logo 2004 - The Bristol Show

Pure PocketDAB 1000 digital radio review

DAB digital radio logo

The PocketDAB 1000 made its debut last year at the Sound and Vision show - then it was an early, pre-production model housed in a plastic casing. The proper model itself is extremely well-built, with an anodised aluminium case, making the PocketDAB feel substantial enough to take knocks and a few drops. It is also remarkably small and compact - a marvel of miniaturisation. Pure Digital were showing it off in a rather nice leather case, with a clear plastic cover to enable you to see the display.
Pure PocketDAB 1000 DAB handheld radio
The PocketDAB certainly has a high "wow" factor, with its glowing blue backlight and dual-line matrix display. Underneath, a four-way rocker switch controls the volume in the up/down direction and scrolls through the station selection in the others. A "hold" slider switch on the top of the unit (alongside the power button) ensures the station and settings are locked, even when the PocketDAB is sitting in a pocket.

Alphabetical, "by multiplex" and "ten favourites" station ordering is possible and the backlight can be preset to switch off after a number of seconds if required, to preserve battery life. The display is surprisingly informative, with icons for volume, battery level, signal strength and even the time.

Around the back, a cover gives access to the battery compartment that houses no less than 3 AA batteries to give a whopping 18 hours' use from one set. There's also a DC input socket located on the left-hand side of the unit for when you happen to be near a mains supply. The PocketDAB is actually supplied with a mains adapter and Duracell batteries to ensure you can power it up straight from the box.

...headphone cable is noticeably longer than usual...

The headphone cable is noticeably longer than usual - a hint that the PocketDAB uses the cable as an antenna. The supplied in-ear headphones feel well-built and look as if they would last a good while. They also did a reasonable job for me of blocking out background noise.

The Pure PocketDAB 1000 produces a fantastic sound. With the equaliser in the "flat" setting, the sound is balanced if a little unexciting, but probably ideal for listening in a quiet room with little background noise. Repeatedly pressing the "EQ" button, however, brings up several more settings, reflected in the icon displayed. More bass? No problem. A treble boost for jazz? Coming right up.

...plenty of detail and an involving, captivating listen...

The best setting, however, saw an increase in both bass and treble on the "waveform" icon displayed, producing an exciting, foot-tapping experience. The PocketDAB really excels with guitar rock stations like Planet Rock, The Arrow and The Storm, with plenty of detail and an involving, captivating listen. With the bass enhanced, the PocketDAB coped well with the complex cymbal, drum and guitar-driven output of Planet Rock. There were some artefacts in the sound, more obvious on some stations, but these are unlikely to annoy too much.

Slightly more challenging was BBC7 and the Beeb's national multiplex, which caused the PocketDAB to grumble and stutter. This isn't really the fault of the PocketDAB - more that the fill-in transmitter for Central Bristol has yet to be switched on. In an ideal world, the PocketDAB would always have a strong signal to decode. Neverthless, with the headphone cable doubling up as the aerial, a quick re-arrangement of the cable managed to sort this particular interruption out. The cable, I note, seems thick enough not to coil up and therefore keep pulling in a signal. Dialogue was clear and lacking in sibilance on the "flat" setting, with other settings allowing more plumy sounding voices if desired.

...a rather appealing digital radio...

The PocketDAB is a rather appealing digital radio - superbly well-built, offering some sensible design features such as equaliser settings and benefiting from long battery life.

Retailing at around GBP130.00, you can check current prices and buy the Pure Digital PocketDAB 1000 via this website.

For: Solid, anodised aluminium finish. Clear display. Useful equaliser settings. Exciting sound.
Against: Stutters with a poor signal, though this isn't the fault of the PocketDAB - it's usually to do with the lack of a transmitter serving a given area.


Pure Pocket DAB 1000
Pocket DAB 1000 Technical Specification


Stereo handheld personal digital radio with full Band III reception capability. Fully compliant with ETS 300 401 and capable of decoding all DAB transmission modes 1-4.


In-ear headphones (supplied)

Frequency range

Band III (174 - 240 MHz).


Info button switches bottom line of display between scrolling text, programme type, date, etc. Menu button accesses setup functions such as station list order and autotune. Preset button cycles through presets. EQ button cycles through EQ settings. Central joystick button navigates menus (including station selection) and provides volume control. Power on/off button and keypad lock switch.

Input connectors

4V DC power adapter socket.

Output connectors

3.5 mm stereo ouput for headphones

LCD display

Blue backlit LCD display with 16 x 2 characters, function icons (volume, battery life, time, favourites mode, EQ mode and signal strength) and clock. The backlight is activated by any key-press and switches off automatically after a short period during battery operation.

Power supply

3 AA alkaline cells (Duracell Plus supplied) or 230V AC to 4V DC external power adapter (supplied).

Battery life

Up to 18 hours.

Dimensions and Weight

65 (w) x 110 (h) x 21 mm (d); Approx 160g


Supplied headphones also act as an aerial

Related links:
Buy the Pure PocketDAB 1000, via this website.

guide to DAB digital radio, on this website.
where to buy DAB digital radio, on this website.
what to buy - a guide to DAB digital radio products, on this website. promo banner