Top positive review
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Top marks for PURE with this new Sensia
on 21 August 2012
When PURE brought out the Sensia in late 2009, my hopes were high - on the surface it looked as though PURE had designed a DAB/internet radio that was streets ahead of its competition.
Unfortunately this wasn't quite the case - the original Sensia had a number of design flaws that meant it didn't quite deliver what it had promised. The main issues with it included
Clunky, laggy touchscreen control
No equaliser for sound
Volume control only accessible through touchscreen
Only one alarm (on or off)
Alarmingly bright red power button which also got in the way each time the radio was moved or picked up
very slow boot up and mode changing
So although it had it's good points, it seemed that the radio hadn't met its full potential
So enter the Sensia 200D in 2012 - the updgraded version. As soon as I read what the main changes to the radio were I purchased it - I have been waiting for an improved Sensia and I am not disappointed - this really is the radio that the original Sensia should have been - and is the best internet radio on the market by a long way.
Main improvements are:
Two Alarms (you can now set a weekday only alarm)
Greatly improved touch screen
No annoying red power button
Volume controls included on radio (not just touchscreen)
Much faster bootup and operation
Pure Flow capability (stream audio from IOS or Android devices to the Sensia through the PURE application)
Record timer (programme record to a USB device) - I haven't tested this yet
Out of the box the Sensia 200D looks similar to the original model - but on closer examination there are two volume buttons included on the top of the unit, the annoying bright red power indicator has vanished and there is a neat recessed power button in its place. Apart from that the design looks identical to the original Sensia. It was easy to set up the radio - the set-up wizard took me through all the steps necessary and it was then a case of connecting to my home router which was also very straightforward to do. I was up and running in a few minutes. The 200D manual that came with the radio was more comprehensive than the manual available on the internet and it didn't take me long to figure out how to set up the equaliser and a weekday alarm either. The DAB tuner found about 40 Digital stations on its first scan and it was pleasing to hear that the radio had plenty of tone control - enough to set a pleasing level of bass and treble. With the equaliser enabled and set-up the 200D sounds as good as it looks at low and reasonably high volumes, where it can fill a medium sized room.
The touch screen isn't as responsive as an Iphone's but it's a heck of an improvement on the old one. It's easy to navigate around the various menus and options, select a station or one of the Listen Again programmes available. Searching is also easy to do- the touch keyboard works much better than the old one - and it is easy to scroll through long lists of search results (which was frustrating on the original model). You could manage without needing a PC to manage favourites on the Lounge.
For those of you who don't know, the Lounge is the PURE application that allows you to connect with thousands of internet radio stations, Listen Again programmes and PURE music (which is a service similar to spotify that allows you access to a large number of album tracks and singles for a small monthly subscription). When you use the Lounge for the first time you register from a PC and are given a unique access code which you then input into your PURE product to gain access to your own personal account. PURE's lounge used to be a very clunky user hostile experience - but they have worked hard and transformed the site into a user-friendly, very capable site that is a pleasure to navigate. PURE have also produced free Lounge applications for IOS and Android phones - an excellent complement to the main site. With the 200D, you can now stream music, internet radio stations, Listen again programmes from your IOS or Android device to the radio. It really works extremely well and is a really nice feature - the 200D really scores highly in the connectivity stakes.
Having two alarms and losing the piercing red power light are also two excellent improvements to the original Sensia. The red power light could feel like having a high powered laser being shone in your eyes when trying to sleep (it was best to tape it over) and with only one alarm with an on/off setting only, it was easy to forget to turn the alarm off at the weekend (or having done that, to turn it on for monday morning) with predictable results. Not any more.... The main screen dims at night time and provides a clock display or can be turned off altogether if complete darkness is required. I don't find the light of the clock obtrusive so prefer to have it on.
The radio comes with a new, improved remote control - when used, larger indicators appear on screen to make it easy to navigate - using the remote with the original Sensia required a good pair of binoculars. PURE have put a lot of thought into the improvements for Sensia, that's for sure. There is also a rechargeable battery that can be installed for portability - it's not the same one as the old Sensia for anyone who's thinking of upgrading. The battery is an additional accessory - it doesn't come with the radio.
I still have a couple of small niggles - I'd like to have a Sleep dedicated button rather than have to go through the touch screen to access it (I can just about do it in my sleep now though which is good). And PURE persist in showing a couple of screens of advertising for new products which can't be turned off. I've bought an expensive new radio and don't like having to put-up with adverts for other products - please give us an option to turn these off!
But all in all, PURE have done exceptionally well here - this is such a greatly improved Sensia that its practically a different radio from the original one. There are a lot of good reasons for buying one - if you want access to thousands of internet stations, like the Listen Again functionality and would like lots of control from the radio rather than the PC than Sensia 200D does this better than anything else on the market. The PURE stream feature is a touch of genius too - it's great to be able to stream stuff from my ipod or mobile phone directly to the radio. I think that there are enough real improvements for it to be worth upgrading from the original Sensia (even though this will be expensive) but certainly for new buyers, this radio is well worth the asking price - this is certainly a return to form for PURE and positions them as the number one for connected radios.