We’re like tech magpies, us. One sniff of something odd-looking that has Wi-Fi, and we’re all over it. And we don’t mind admitting that we salivated when the Sensia arrived at Stuff Towers.
On one hand, it’s another quirky-looking internet radio for the bedroom or kitchen. But the way the Sensia operates, and the features it packs (and hopes to have in the future), means the sound it makes isn’t the be-all and end-all.
The rugby-ball-shaped unit comes in red, yellow, white and black (each with a matching remote), and houses wireless internet radio, DAB and FM tuners, two 3in full-range speakers and a claimed 30W of power.
Then there’s the input for an MP3 player or Pure’s i-10 iPod dock, mains or rechargeable ChargePak battery operation, and wireless streaming of most audio codecs via a UPnP (Universal Plug and Play)-equipped server or computer.
The real attention-grabber, though, is the 14.5cm full-colour capacitive touchscreen, which serves as the Sensia’s control interface.
It offers access to apps such as Twitter (well, access to an app, which is Twitter, though Pure is promising a new app every month for the foreseeable future) and it makes every other bedside device look about as up-to-the-minute as a top-loading VCR.
As far as sound goes, the Sensia is as poised and coherent as you’d expect from a box like this. The soundstage can get a little vague, but it’s still a great listen.
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The frequency range is balanced, with no low-frequency bluster or top-end fizz, and there’s good clarity and bite to the midrange. Speech-heavy broadcasts sound intimate and immediate, and music charges along with gusto.
Losing its touch?
The touchscreen interface is a more qualified success. At the time of writing, it’s gives you a slightly awkward, less-satisfying take on Apple’s iPhone scrolls, swipes and taps – Pure is promising weekly upgrades (via Wi-Fi, naturally) in an effort to deliver a little more slickness and predictability.
But still, it’s far more logical, attractive and simple to use than the more common dot-matrix controls we all know and love – but until the screen is a little more fluent, it’s just a bit frustrating.
But that’s a (soon-to-be-fixed) niggle. The Sensia’s an exciting, up-to-date interpretation of the bedside clock radio – and that bright, colourful control layout is likely to win as many hearts and minds as its unflustered, balanced sound.