Digital radio is supposedly the next big thing, bringing CD-Audio quality sound to the radio waves. With Hi-Fi based digital radio players flying off the shelf wherever they’re sold, can digital radio perform the same trick with a portable handheld device that fits in your pocket? Pure, one of the major manufacturers of digital radio equipment, hopes so.
The device itself is about the size of a packet of cigarettes (65mm (w) x 110mm (h) x 23mm (d)) and is powered by three AA batteries making this as portable as a mobile phone. It's also styled to look very much like an iPod. The device is clad in a dulled metal casing and presents five buttons and a largish LCD display that lights up blue when any button is pressed. The buttons allow you to access info about the station selected, favourites, equalizer settings ad a menu to offer automatic tuning to all the available stations either in the UK or across the entire Digital Radio spectrum.
There are currently over 20 channels available to digital radio listeners at the moment (see link below) and this includes everything from the six or so BBC digital radio channels to more far out channels such as Planet Rock - a Rock only radio station.
Signal strength is determined via where you are in a building and to some extent how tall you are, as the headphones supplied in the box double up as an aerial. There is constant feedback to signal strength and this unfortunately means that you know when you are in a bad area as your signal will cut out rather than simply adding some hiss.
While digital radio works perfectly at home from a Hi-Fi unit, taking it out and about and being constantly on the move doesn't allow you to benefit as much. Signal strength even in different parts of London wasn't ever at 100 per cent and walking about town did cause the signal to drop in and out occasionally - giving you a digital crackle and sharp-pitched noises.
The other downside to the PocketDAB 1000 is the cost. At £170 this makes this one expensive radio and something that we think will put a lot of people off purchasing it. Yes it allows you to listen to all this new radio stations, but then through the headphones you get in the box, you are never going to appreciate this quality to the full.
* For the official DAB website, copy and paste this link: