PURE Contour 200i Air
Good looks and sound; super-simple Wi-Fi setup
Dock doesn’t retract; no digital radio
Back in June we reviewed the Pure Contour 100i, a docking bedside speaker system with alarm and digital radio. We gave it five mice and an Editor’s Pick button.
The 200i Air is a larger, similarly designed version, which adds support for Apple’s AirPlay music streaming technology, but subtracts the alarm clock and digital/FM radio. The latter is quite a departure for Pure, which promotes itself as a digital radio brand.
The rounded black-and-silver unit goes with the modern minimalist trend by not having a display, and features four simple buttons – On/Standby, Mute and Volume Up and Down – and one status light.
At the back are ports for Ethernet, Aux In, Digital Coaxial and power, plus a Wi-Fi Setup button, and on the front is a 30-pin dock connector that can accommodate an iPad as well as iPhones and iPods.
One thing I don’t like about the dock is that it stays permanently extended from the front of the unit, rather than revolving discreetly from view, like the one on the 100i.
The use of AirPlay requires that the speaker unit is connected to the same network as the source units – your Mac, iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. This can be either wired or unwired.
If you’re going the wired route, you just string an Ethernet cable between the speaker unit and your router. Easy. To use wireless AirPlay, however, you need to specify which Wi-Fi network is to be used, and enter the password if there is one (and there should be!).
This is generally done by either entering the details using a tiny screen and fiddly little buttons, or by hooking the unit up to the router via Ethernet and then entering the settings via a web browser on a computer.
The 200i Air, on the other hand, makes setup super-simple by establishing a temporary network to which you can connect to make the initial settings. The entire process took us about three minutes.
Inside the unit are two full-range 3.5in drivers, with twin downward firing bass ports, delivering 18W RMS per channel.
Because you use your iOS device or Mac as the audio source when using the Contour 200i Air, the sky is the limit when it comes to the origin of the music. Play tracks from your iTunes library, use a service like Spotify or Pandora or just tune into internet radio using iTunes on the Mac or an iOS app such as TuneIn Radio or Spark Radio.
As many audio-visual companies are doing these days, Pure also offers a free service – accessible via a web browser or iOS app – to add functionality to its devices. Pure Connect (formerly the Pure Lounge) lets you find internet radio stations and save them as favourites, and then syncs your data across all your Pure products, your Mac and your iOS devices.
It also offers some on-demand audio such as podcasts and radio programs, plus ‘Pure Sounds’ such as loops of ocean surf, rain or forest birds for ambient background sound.
The Contour 200i Air has a good, rounded and mellow sound with quite a bit of detail. It’s a real pleasure to listen to – especially for its size and $400 pricetag – but don’t expect to push the volume too high.
One thing neither the app nor the Contour itself has is any tone adjustment, but this isn’t a major omission as you have a built-in equaliser on both your Mac (iTunes > Window > Equalizer) and your iOS device (Settings > Music > EQ).
Macworld Australia‘s buying advice.
A really nice addition to the Pure stable, and a good buy at the price. We miss the digital radio, though.