Channel 5

Pure Jongo S3

Wednesday 24 April 2013

G-Rating

Rating of 4

The basics

Move over Sonos - there’s a new player on the music streaming scene. With the Pure Jongo S3, the British company is trying its hand at multi-room audio in your home that won’t break the bank. Can this little streaming speaker change the way you listen to music? Let’s find out.

Read our full Sonos Playbar review here

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The good

Wireless music is meant to be convenient, but set up rarely is. Thankfully, that’s not the case with the Pure Jongo S3, which couldn’t be easier to hook up to your network. Just plug it in, follow the simple steps and you’ll be streaming music stored on your tablet or tuning into internet radio stations in minutes.

Just fire up the Pure iOS or Android app, and you can start controlling music all over your house, adjusting the volume, lining up tracks, and even play different tunes in different rooms if you’ve got more than one Jongo hooked up.

Sound quality is equally impressive for something so small: five booming speaker pump out rich audio that fills smaller rooms. That’ll really come into its own this summer: unlike any of Sonos’ quality gear, the Jongo S3 is also portable (and small enough to pop in your bag), and can belt out tunes over Bluetooth, making it perfect for the park. And to round off the connectivity options, you can plug in any music player via 3.5mm audio too.

Did we mention it looks the part too? Whatever shade of S3 you go for, it’ll fit right into your living room with its compact design and pastel hues draped across it.

Lastly, there’s the price - the Pure Jongo S3 will set you back £169.99, substantially less than Sonos’ cheapest system, the £250 Play:3 (which may also require a £40 Sonos Bridge to work on top of that). That cost difference is a big one, and as Pure rolls out more products in the Jongo line, we can see kitting out every room in your house costing a lot less this way.

The bad

We said it filled small rooms with sound, but inevitably for something so small, it’ll struggle to do more than that. Despite Pure’s claims of 360 degree sound, the Jongo S3 still sounds like it’s coming from the corner of any reasonably sized living room - for this reason also, it doesn’t really work as a soundbar plugged into your telly.

But hey, more Jongo devices are on the way that may. More of an issue is the software - it’s hard to make wireless technology instant as well, and Pure just isn’t there yet. There’s noticeable lag of several seconds when hitting pause or play or dialling down the volume that you don’t get with a Sonos system: when you’re blasting out the tunes and suddenly need to take a phone call, that second or two really makes a difference.

The apps, too, aren’t quite as polished - on Android especially, the lack of controls in the dropdown notification tray make controlling the Pure Jongo S3 that much more time consuming, although the good news is the company says an app update is on the way.

But it’s the approach to where the music comes from that we reckon Pure’s got wrong. For £4.99 per month you can pay for a Pure Music subscription, which gives you a la carte access to a huge catalogue comparable to Spotify’s - and it is cheaper than Spotify Premium too. But Spotify is the lingua franca of sharing music online these days, and if you’ve stockpiled playlists on it already, you’ll miss them here.

Spotify’s also not the be all and end all of streaming music. Sonos encourages other music companies to port their services to the platform: Pure would do well to do likewise rather than remain closed off. If you’re an audiophile who wants to discover new music, rather than listen to you already own, this could be a dealbreaker.

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The bottom line

The Pure Jongo S3 is a great little gizmo for the price, especially since it pulls double duty as a portable speaker away from the mains: if you just want a way to stream your music collection in one room or the garden, this is it.

But as the start of an entire multi-room set-up? We’re not so sure - Pure’s internet music service and interface need some work. If you’ve got more than one room to kit out, we’d wait to see what the company follows up with.

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Pure Jongo S3 is tagged with pure, jongo s3, jongo and audio. Select a tag (pure, for example) to find everything on The Gadget Show about the subject.

User comments (2)

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Adam

I got my Jongo a week ago and it is amazing. So quick to srtup, amazing sound, cheap, portable. It works really nicely on low sound levels too. I didn't think I 'd need the built in battery pack but it so useful when moving the Jongo into other rooms temporarily if the kids want a dance or I want to listen in bed or in the garden. The app and the streaming service are great on the ipad and easy to use since the update. All I need now is another one for the living room

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wayne

At the end of the day, you pay for what you get.I can honestly say there are better products in that price bracket! However this product does not have a patch on my SONOS. From the sound quality down to the app interface. I brought one of these products to see if they really can compete/offer a better solution than sonos. The only plus point that i could see if that the product is fully portable. I think I'll stick to my sonos thanks!

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