At $499 plus installation, the Pure 300Di might seem like a tough purchase to justify, but if you want to experience digital radio in your car this is one of the few viable options available… And it doesn’t disappoint.
The EFTM Mazda 2 has had its share of review technology in it over the last year, including a previously installed dash mounted digital radio from HiTV. That was a great unit which suffered in the heat but gave a great digital radio experience.
A Pure 300Di takes your installation dollar one step further by not only adding digital radio to your existing car stereo, but also USB, and iPod and auxiliary input to your range of audio options.
Once installed (roughly $150), the Pure 300Di is visually very impressive. The dark black screen is brought to life with a crystal clear bright yellow font which can show a range of options from station name only in large full screen mode (single line, roughly 1.5cm tall), or two lines of information such as station name and scrolling text, or signal strength and quality.
You have 30 presets to save your favourite stations, which is almost ridiculously large, especially given there are only 50 stations available. You’ll most likely stick to your top ten in reality.
Reception across Sydney where we tested the device was comparable to any other in-car installation. Unfortunately the tunnel re-broadcast and black spot areas will not be fixed for a little while to come so you will find yourself switching back to AM/FM when you’re driving under the harbour.
One stand-out feature of the PURE 300Di has to be the pause feature. This is rarely seen on home digital radios despite being a much hyped feature, so to see it on an in-car unit blew me away.
Why would you want to pause your radio when driving? Ever found yourself waiting in the car while you sit at the bowser before filling up because a song was about to come on, or the news was on or you were glued to an interview? Press pause and then restart when you’re done in the shop. With eight minutes of rewind time available that’s going to suit most people.
iPod connectivity will likely be as big a selling point for this radio as the digital radio is itself. Many new cars – let alone the millions of older vehicles on the road – simply don’t have iPod connectivity, let alone auxiliary input. With so many cars coming with non-standard radio installations, your options for replacing it entirely are almost zero.
All the brains of this device are installed out of sight with just the display unit and USB connection showing inside your car, and you can choose where the USB is placed when your installer gets to work.
The iPod/iPhone function works well, but you are restricted by the simple navigation that comes from such a small device with very few buttons and a rotary dial as the main navigation mechanism.
That said, just making your playlists available through your car stereo is likely to impress most.
Key areas where there is room for improvement in the PURE 300Di are really the navigation which can seem difficult at times in modes other than DAB+, and given this is an in-car unit, I’d like to see automatic station selection when flicking across the dial rather than the secondary push to tune which is a feature of many digital radios.
Finally, I would like to see a set of 4-6 preset buttons on the device, allowing you to reach and change to a preset station without even looking. We want our eyes on the road after all.
Aside from that, this is a cracking little unit, with a price of up to $650 including installation it does seem a bit steep, so hopefully you can drive a hard bargain at your local car radio retailer.
Installation includes a windscreen mounted aerial, which was a surprise to me, given the quality of reception I received with the HiTV unit which I’m told by my installer actually had an aerial built into the dash mounted head unit.
EFTM recommends the Pure 300Di as the choice for in-car radio listening, crystal clear sound, more stations, extra broadcast information on screen and the surprise inclusion of Pause makes this a cracking option despite the high price.
Price: $499 (plus installation)
Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.
He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.
Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.