Pure Elan Connect DAB/Internet Radio review


One-minute review

For those looking for a radio for the kitchen or bathroom, the Pure Elan Connect offers a fantastic one-box solution. A simple DAB/DAB+/FM radio that can play internet radio stations – including podcasts – as well as stream from a smartphone, the portable Pure Elan Connect delivers maximum flexibility for minimum spend. 

Among the best DAB radios, these two sides to its character can be seen all-round. Utilitarian plastic chassis meets an advanced colour display; slightly hollow-sounding clicky buttons but access to 25,000 web radio stations; and clunky AA battery-powered portability with impressive Bluetooth streaming. 

Measuring just 109 x 85 x 187mm and weighing just 438g, size-wise it will take up barely any space. Its shallow depth means it will happily slip onto a kitchen side, bathroom shelf or beside table without fuss – a physical trait partly helped by its lack of power bank. 

The majority of DAB radios are both deep and supplied with a bulky power supply adapter. The Pure Elan Connect ships with just a micro-USB cable, helping its form factor to remain slim. Sure, it’s a tad old fashioned – we’d have preferred a more up-to-date USB-C slot – but it cuts down on hardware. Besides, you have a spare USB plug – and perhaps even USB ports on the power sockets in your kitchen. 

Corners have been cut to squeeze the generous number of features into one small unit, but the Pure Elan Connect’s audio is good enough to justify the price tag. It won’t suit everyone, and doesn’t get close to audiophile-quality, but for casual users who insist on internet radio and/or podcasts playing in the background, the Pure Elan Connect could be the perfect choice. 

the pure elan connect dab radio in black

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Pure Elan Connect price and release date

Originally launched back in October 2020, the Pure Elan Connect costs £79.99 from the manufacturer’s website, but look online for deals and discounts. 

It’s the mid-range product in Pure’s Elan family of travel-friendly DAB radios, which also comprises the Pure Elan DAB+ (£49.99) with DAB and Bluetooth, and the Pure Elan Connect+ (£99.99) with DAB, Bluetooth and Internet radio. 

The former is essentially identical to the product on review here, but doesn’t include internet radio, while the latter is a stereo version of the Pure Elan Connect. So, if internet radio isn’t essential, then you can spend less; if you want the same features and stereo sound, you can spend more. 

All three models feature colour displays, are powered by a micro-USB cable and/or four AA batteries, and come in either Stone Grey or Charcoal finishes. 

a closeup of the buttons on the pure elan connect dab radio

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Design

Weighs 455g Lightweight plastic chassisComes in Stone Grey or Charcoal

The Pure Elan Connect’s design is unlikely to catch the eye. While other manufacturers of DAB radios deliver retro designs or opt for post-modern use of wood panels, the Pure Elan Connect’s shell is plastic. On the positive side, this means it’s extremely lightweight at 438g – although the four AA batteries you’ll need to make it portable will increase its bulk. 

Sadly, it doesn’t feature a handle, but at 109 x 85 x 187mm, it’s easy enough to move around the home. To call it travel-friendly would be going too far, though; the Pure Elan Connect is best left in a kitchen or bathroom and only occasionally taken outside. 

It may have a plastic build, but that’s not to say the Pure Elan Connect is unattractive. Dominating the front is a 2.4-inch colour LCD panel, with three preset buttons sitting above it, and playback buttons, on-screen menu controls and a large tactile volume dial positioned below. 

On the rear is a panel including both a 3.5mm headphone jack and micro-USB slot. The latter is used to power the Pure Elan Connect via a USB plug – slightly unusual for a DAB radio – but only a micro-USB cable is supplied in the box. 

Pure presumes you’re likely to have a USB plug already. Our eco-conscious side agrees with this, but … micro USB? Really? Sadly, you can’t power the Pure Elan Connect from a portable battery. Instead, you’ll need to open up a hatch on the product’s rear and insert four AA batteries. Also on the rear is a telescopic aerial that measures 52mm when fully extended. 

the back of the pure elan connect dab radio, showing an empty battery cavity

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Setup

Connects to a Wi-Fi network via WPS25,000 internet radio stationsColour display shows icons and artwork

Pure’s Elan Connect DAB and Internet radio is mostly a cinch to use. The highlight for some will be its tactile dial for navigating the colourful on-screen menus and volume, although note that it does produce a rather loud click.

Switch-on the Pure Elan Connect and you’ll be taken straight to network settings, not only for fetching internet radio stations and podcasts, but also to keep time. There follows a slightly confusing set of choices for things such as daylight savings – for which the default is ‘no’ … why would anyone want a radio that gives the wrong time for half the year?!. Nevertheless, at least connecting to the home Wi-Fi network is easy if you’re using a WPS-enabled Wi-Fi router. 

Once setup is complete – the world is your oyster, with the Pure Elan Connect providing access to 25,000 radio stations. But the real advantage of web radio is access to podcasts, which the Pure Elan Connect presents in a simple file structure. You can scroll down lists of podcasts and episode titles, for which the display is just about large enough. 

With DAB selected as a source, we were able to tune in a plethora of digital radio stations in under a minute, each one with scrolling text and other station information nicely presented in a compact and colourful way. 

Switch to Bluetooth and the Pure Elan Connect immediately pops up in a smartphone’s Bluetooth menus, with a big green tick appearing when a connection is made. You can then operate music either from a smartphone or via the playback buttons on the front of the unit. 

a closeup of the pure elan connect dab radio display

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Audio performance

3W speakerSpoken word sounds greatBluetooth streaming is underwhelming

The Pure Elan Connect isn’t the best-sounding DAB radio on the market, but it’s pretty good considering its tiny size. It lacks depth when compared to many of its DAB rivals, presenting a soundstage that’s all about the mid-range. However, for voice-based content it’s absolutely fine, with spoken word radio plenty clear enough. Music, too, is acceptable – as long as it’s ‘background’ rather than hi-fi. 

Can you use the Pure Elan Connect outdoors at a party or a BBQ? Sure, it goes loud enough without any distortion. However, it’s better for Test Match Special than Last Night Of The Proms. That goes double for Bluetooth streaming, which is a tad underwhelming and suffers from a distinct lack of clarity. 

Should I buy the Pure Elan Connect?

the pure elan connect dab radio in black

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Buy it if…

You want an affordable DAB radioThis DAB/DAB+/FM and Internet radio is all about affordability, from the lightweight all-plastic chassis to the inclusion of micro USB rather than USB-C to connect to power. However, build quality is decent and the inclusion of Bluetooth streaming is a nice bonus. 

You want to stream music from your phoneThe Pure Elan Connect can stream from a smartphone, computer or laptop via Bluetooth 5, which works fine on a basic level. It lacks volume and, ultimately, sound quality isn’t the best – but it works great with podcasts.

Don’t buy it if…

You only want USB-C devicesYou’ve made the change to USB-C with your last smartphone and you have no intention of investing in anything that relies on micro USB. Although it comes with a micro-USB cable in the box, the Pure Elan Connect does come across a tad behind the times. We’re also slightly disappointed that it doesn’t come with a built-in lithium-ion battery. 

You want top-quality sound The Pure Elan Connect is primarily about affordability, flexibility and value. Although the sound quality is fine for spoken word and thoroughly acceptable for background music, don’t expect audiophile-quality from a 3W speaker. 

Source