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TECH REVIEW: Pure Jongo S3

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I’ve been waffling on for too long now that wireless speaker systems are the future of music, thanks largely to the popularity of Sonos.  Now, digital radio and iPod dock pioneers Pure have entered the arena, creating the Jongo wireless music system; a system they hope will give the all-conquering Sonos a run for its money.  The entry level speaker in the range is the S3 model and I got my hands on a pair to test out.

I must first give my apologies if you are reading this and thinking what on earth a wireless music system is?  Well in a non-technical nutshell, the system allows you to connect speakers to your home WiFi router and play songs directly from other devices connected to the router.  Very impressive when it works well, so with Pure’s expertise in the digital music industry, I had high hopes for their wireless solution.

There are 4 Jongos in the family, from the 100 watt T6 down to the tiny 20 Watt S3 I’ve got.  I say tiny, but the S3 is pretty heavy for its form; thanks largely to the 4 inbuilt speakers and subwoofer on top that gives out 360 degree sound.  At just under £170 they are around the same price as the Sonos Play 1 but with one big difference; the S3 also allows for Bluetooth and auxiliary socket connectivity.  The S3 also has a 10hr playback rechargeable battery, making it fully portable for impromptu parties on the move.

After a brief read of the manual, setting up my two S3s was pretty simple.  I strategically place one in the centre of my living room and the other in the bedroom, my two favourite rooms in the house.  All music is controlled via the free Pure Connect app, downloadable on any Android or Apple based tablet or phone and there are 4 audio settings, including a noticeably powerful ‘Outdoor’ mode .  I’m soon dancing and singing along to reggae in the bedroom, while Drake’s new album blasts from the living room; all controlled from my mobile phone, and I can’t help but show off to guests I have round for dinner.  Although impressed that the technology was working well, we were let down by the sound quality.  Despite the presence of a subwoofer, the sound was quite tinny and monotone; however when paired up in the same room, the S3s really showed their worth, offering a much more pleasant listening experience.

However, after much play things took a rather annoying turn for the worse.  My first annoyance came from the app itself.  It doesn’t allow you to transfer your playlists held on other music apps, nor will it allow you to access any shared media folders from your personal computer.  Not only that, the app is also infuriatingly slow to respond, and in 2014 I don’t think it’s not too much to ask for a quick response when I want to change track!  My other major irritation is that too regularly my music would suddenly and inexplicably stop playing and the only way to get it to work again was by switching the device on and off again.  Just thinking back is making my teeth gnash!

And ultimately it’s because of these little failings that I can’t recommend the Jongo system over Sonos.  In fact, I can’t even recommend it over a wired HiFi system.  The tech is simply too buggy at the moment and what use is modern tech if it doesn’t make life easier?  I still believe wireless systems are the future, but it may not necessarily be Jongo.

Pure Jongo S3, RRP £169.99 available from http://www.pure.com/wireless/




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