Pure Evoke Play in the test: digital radio with stereo sound

Shortly

Pure Evoke Play offers you comprehensive radio reception – whether it’s DAB, FM or internet radio. It creates a decent sound despite its small dimensions. Streaming via Bluetooth and Spotify Connect completes the offer, you only need to do without physical connections.

advantage

  • Extensive radio reception
  • Good stereo sound
  • Allows streaming
Disadvantages

  • No physical connections
  • Battery operation only optional for extra charging

British radio brand Pure wants to build modern, stylish receivers that can do more than just radio. Evoke Play has a lot more on the compact box than just playing the morning show from your local station. We have taken a closer look at what the compact radio can do in the test.

Pure Evoke Play is available in the colors Coffee Black and Cotton White:

The Pure Evoke Play in a nutshell

With the Pure Evoke Spot and Pure Evoke H3, we were able to welcome other radios from the Evoke series to our test lab. What is striking at first glance: the orientation is different, the Play is wider than its sister models. Behind the fabric cover, it hides two tweeters and a woofer that delivers stereo sound. With Evoke Play, not only radio stations should sound great, but also streamed playlists. Add to that the stylish, homely design of the Evoke range, and the Play presents itself as a calm, modern companion for your home.

Pure Evoke Play top carry handle
Classic and calm in muted colours: Pure Evoke Play cuts a fine figure, no matter where you set it up.

Sources and connections: DAB+, FM, internet radio and streaming

Pure Evoke Play offers you the three common types of radio reception: DAB, FM and internet radio. In addition, you have several options for streaming your music. Spotify is integrated directly into the piece. So if you register a device with Spotify in the same WLAN as the digital radio, you can control it as a speaker directly from the app. Other streaming services are not directly integrated, but you can also stream your playlists on Tidal or Amazon Music: via Bluetooth.

So if you want to stream music, Play is by your side. However, we miss physical connections. There is neither AUX-In nor headphone output.

Pure Evoke Play back
On the back of the Play you will only find a service connection and the socket for the power.

Stereo sound and clear voices

Pure Evoke Play uses a two-way system to give you great sound. In our tests, the radio also sounded more voluminous than other models. When you stream, the wandering instrumental of Zella Days plays East of Eden quite full. However, the sound can become tiring and uncontrolled at higher volumes. In the menu you will find an equalizer to adjust treble and bass individually. In our opinion, the DAB radio cannot replace a good Bluetooth speaker, despite the streaming ambitions.

Podcasts are easy to understand

On the other hand, the Pure Evoke Play shows its qualities, especially when it comes to voice reproduction. The 1Live moderators sound beautifully bright and clear, but never fatiguing from the receiver. Podcasts also sound very pleasant and understandable. The radio even dedicates a separate menu item to them in the source overview.

Practice check: setup and everyday life

When setting up, Pure Evoke Play has the same advantages as all DAB radios: It can find the time and date independently, and the station search runs automatically and quickly. As the radio also offers internet radio and needs WiFi to offer Spotify Connect, you’ll also need to enter a WiFi key – this is quite tricky with the Pure Evoke Play as you don’t have a dial for input, just arrow keys. What could also be annoying if you want to give the digital radio to your grandparents: the setup is only in English. You can only switch to German in the menu after you have started using it for the first time. The accompanying “Quick Start Guide”, on the other hand, is multilingual and helps with the installation.

Switching between the different playback modes is quite easy thanks to the “Source” button on the device. There are also four preset buttons at the top of the playback. You can store a total of ten favorites for each type of reception (plus 40 internet radio favorites). You can access the remaining presets via the little heart button.

Pure Evoke Play buttons from above
Many of the Pure Evoke Play’s buttons are below the display.

The alarm clock is hidden a little deeper in the menu, but once you find it, it’s easy to set.

Battery operation for 70 euros extra

There is a rechargeable battery for the Pure Evoke Play, the “ChargePAK Evoke Play”, which we were also able to test. Mobile use of the radio seems clearly intended – it has a built-in carrying handle. We therefore think it’s a shame that the ChargePAK has to be purchased separately for a rather high surcharge (around 70 euros) and used with great effort. With a weight of around 2.1 kilos, the Pure Evoke Play is also not as easy to take along as, for example, a Sony XDR-S41D. The battery operation is therefore a nice extra for taking Evoke Play with you on the terrace or in the bathtub. If you are looking for a DAB radio for on the go, there are better solutions.

Pure Evoke Play inserted battery from below
To insert the ChargePAK, unscrew a flap under the radio.

Operation: On the device or via app

You can operate Pure Evoke Play conveniently directly on the device. If you don’t need it, you can simply fold the display away. Unfolded, you are greeted by a bright LCD color display, which is unfortunately a bit small compared to the overall size of the radio. Thanks to the high contrast and brightness, the writing is easy to read. The display can also show graphics broadcast by DAB stations.

Pure Evoke Play controls at the top
The display shows the usual information that DAB stations show, such as station and artist.

You navigate the menu with the buttons arranged in a circle below the display. The “Source” button makes it easy to select source, but it takes several clicks to find the main menu. The buttons feel tight and require some pressure to press. But they work reliably and quickly.

In addition to operating the device, you can also control the Pure Evoke Play via the UNDOK app for iOS and Android. The connection worked perfectly in our tests and navigation is much easier here than on the device. In particular, the ability to scroll through the channel list is a significant improvement. Going through about 60 stations click by click on the device is very cumbersome.

Design: Sustainable fabric cover in coffee colours

The Evoke range relies on cozy brown and beige tones for a homely design. In this way, the small radios fit discreetly into any living room – including the Pure Evoke Play. Overall, we like the unfolded display better on the Play than on its sibling the Pure Evoke Spot, as it looks more proportional. The hinge feels firm and securely installed on both models. According to the manufacturer, the front fabric lining consists of 90 percent eco-certified and recycled wool. It gives the Pure radio a luxurious look.

Pure Evoke Play from the front
Cozy and sustainable: the front of the radio is covered with eco-certified fabric.

The carrying handle is also well made and fits into the overall picture. What is a bit annoying is that the antenna can get in the way when you fold it up. With the carrying handle, the display and the tall antenna folded out, the Play becomes quite cramped.

Our verdict on Pure Evoke Play

Pure Evoke Play is by your side as a versatile playback device – as long as you don’t value physical connections. It delivers decent stereo sound for its size. In terms of sound, the digital radio cannot replace a Bluetooth speaker, especially in the price range. But if you’re looking for a radio that can also play your Spotify playlist or your favorite podcast in decent quality, it’s recommended that you go for the Pure Evoke Play.

Pure Evoke Play is available in the colors Coffee Black and Cotton White at MediaMarkt:

Technical specifications
design type Compact
performance 40W
radio reception DAB, FM, internet radio
drive
Other sources Bluetooth, Spotify Connect
service on the device via the app
Dimensions (WxHxD) 12.1 x 14.9 x 22.1 cm
weight 2.1 kg
available colors Black and white
alarm function Yes
Price (recommended price/street price) 279.99 euros / approximately 260 euros

Do you like Evoke Play from Pure? Should a radio do more than just radio for you? Tell us in the comments!

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