The wireless option is welcome, not least because physically planting our test iPad 2 into the dock was like trying to park a bus in a multistorey car park, requiring an awful lot of lining up and wrestling to make sure it fitted neatly in the slot. The iPhone 4S slipped in with significantly less rigmarole, however, and AirPlay setup was commendably hassle-free.
In terms of features, the Contour 200i Air is barren. There’s no DAB or internet radio as you might expect from Pure, nor even as much as an LCD display on its semi-circular dome. That isn’t a criticism, though.
Pure is instead relying on iOS apps – both third party and its own Pure Lounge – to provide access to all the music, podcasts and digital radio streams that you may wish to listen to.
The Pure Lounge app provides free access to most of these, as well as the £5-per-month Pure Music service, a Spotify rival that allows you to stream “millions” of tracks to any of your Pure apps and devices.However, the music catalogue isn’t as comprehensive as Spotify’s, and the iOS app is poorly designed, needlessly complicating music searches and playlist creation.
There’s no option to control the bit rate of streams either. We’d prefer to take advantage of the AirPlay option within Spotify, even if a subscription costs twice as much.
In terms of sound quality, the 36W speakers deliver a convincing wallop of volume with decent clarity, but the bass is overbearing and booming. Even the most nasal of newsreaders is made to sound like Brain Blessed trapped down a well.
With no EQ settings on the Contour itself, we found ourselves resorting to the Treble Booster setting on the iPhone to redress the balance.If you can live with the cavernous sound, though, the Contour 200i Air is a delightfully convenient way to listen to music for iOS devotees, and the price isn’t too punishing either.