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Published on October 23rd, 2012 | by Greg

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Air­Play It All With The Pure Con­tour 200i Air

If you’re like us, you’re anx­ious­ly await­ing yet an­oth­er set of news from Ap­ple, let­ting you know that an­oth­er de­vice is out of date, and in­form­ing you of the next shiny ob­jet d’art to come out of Cu­per­ti­no. The live­blogs have al­ready be­gun- iPad mi­ni? iPad nano? (up­date: iPad mi­ni it is!) Ei­ther way, Ap­ple’s ecosys­tem keeps grow­ing, and even the re­lease of Win­dows 8 in a few days can’t de­rail the mo­men­tum of Air­Play. It’s a bit wonky, to be sure, and has had some se­ri­ous is­sues with con­nec­tiv­i­ty, but iOS 6 and the new iPhone ap­pear to have fixed some of the bugs. Of course, now we can’t eas­i­ly dock our new phones, thanks to the up­dat­ed port.

Re­gard­less, we’ve been en­joy­ing stream­ing mu­sic to the new Pure Con­tour 200i Air. We’ve checked out a lot of gear from Pure in the past, in­clud­ing their cute EVOKE Flow. Though they’re bet­ter known abroad (this mod­el has been mak­ing waves in Eu­rope and Aus­tralia for a bit), we ap­pre­ci­ate the sleek take on de­sign and styling, as well as their un­usu­al ap­proach to­wards apps. More on that in a bit, though, as first we want to tack­le the hard­ware.

Su­per­fi­cial­ly, the 200i looks a lot like the orig­i­nal Con­tour that we re­viewed about a year ago. The curves may be sim­i­lar, and the sound qual­i­ty is as well, but quite a bit has changed. For in­stance, gone is the front pan­el, which of­fered an LCD screen and con­trols. We missed the clock, to be hon­est, and the lo­go now feels a bit large, but it does look more mod­ern. Be­sides, most con­trol will be done from your de­vice, thanks to the oth­er big changes- the in­clu­sion of Air­Play and the sac­ri­fice of built-in ra­dio. Most Pure de­vices have fea­tured DAB dig­i­tal ra­dio, which isn’t avail­able in the USA, but they’ve al­so in­clud­ed FM. This mod­el does away with that, and thus al­so the need for tun­ing con­trols to be handy. In­stead, the 200i fea­tures Ap­ple’s wire­less stream­ing pro­to­col, great for those who use iOS de­vices like the iPhone or iPad. You can al­so stream from any com­put­er run­ning iTunes, or through third-par­ty apps like Air­foil that al­low you to stream from oth­er ap­pli­ca­tions on a PC.

Brief notes on sound qual­i­ty, since we cov­ered it in our re­view of the orig­i­nal in more de­tail: the sys­tem is a sol­id, un­ex­cep­tion­al per­former, of­fer­ing 36 watts of pow­er. This is enough for a small apart­ment, but for larg­er par­ties and thus high­er vol­umes, we did no­tice some dis­tor­tion. Bass re­sponse wasn’t as­tound­ing, though sat­is­fy­ing, but tre­ble was a lit­tle weak- though sound­stage did seem im­proved over the pre­vi­ous mod­el. Sound qual­i­ty seemed large­ly un­af­fect­ed through Air­Play, as we’d ex­pect. A small re­mote is in­clud­ed, but as men­tioned, when stream­ing from your mo­bile de­vice or iTunes, you’ll want to con­trol the au­dio pri­mar­i­ly from there. There are on­ly four but­tons on the de­vice- not quite as min­i­mal­ist as our top-rat­ed con­tender, the Bow­ers and Wilkins Zep­pelin Air, but close. In terms of ad­di­tion­al hard­ware specs, an aux­il­iary head­phone jack is in­clud­ed for those who want to plug in an­oth­er de­vice, and a bit of a dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion is the eth­er­net port for hard-wiring as well as a dig­i­tal coax­i­al out­put that we didn’t test but is an in­ter­est­ing in­clu­sion. The dock adapter is sol­id, and al­so handy, since some “docks” like the  lat­est from Audsyssey have start­ed skip­ping the ac­tu­al dock. It’s not portable, as it can­not be bat­tery-pow­ered like the SoundRing, but does sit nice­ly on a kitchen counter or bed­side table.

As with all Air­Play de­vices, we did have an oc­ca­sion­al is­sue with cutout, but gen­er­al­ly good per­for­mance. And we are im­pressed with Pure’s app, which al­lows you ac­cess to a wide ar­ray of in­ter­net ra­dio sta­tions, as well as your de­vice’s mu­sic li­brary, all in a sin­gle app that works well in the back­ground- and even in­cludes some fun ex­tras like ocean and white noise sounds. It’s free, doesn’t re­quire a lo­gin, but un­for­tu­nate­ly isn’t iPad na­tive and didn’t seem op­ti­mized for Reti­na dis­plays. We did face a cou­ple of bugs as well, but it’s a pret­ty good app with a lot of free con­tent, and is easy to use. At $250, avail­able on­line and in stores, we’re hap­py to rec­om­mend the Con­tour 200i- a com­pet­i­tive Air­Play dock with plen­ty to ap­pre­ci­ate.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.



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