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Saturday, May 4, 2013

Pure Jongo S3 review: a portable multiroom wireless speaker

The Jongo S3 is the first of several speakers in a new wireless range from Pure. It's a fairly compact unit and comes in a range of colours to suit most tastes.

It's more versatile than a lot of wireless speakers as you can stream to it via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. It also has a built-in 10-hour battery which means you can take it outside, use it in the bathroom or anywhere really.

The Jongo S3 can also form part of a multiroom system, where synchronised speakers (either other Jongo S3s or the forthcoming T6 or A2 speakers) play music together. Currently, you can't use a pair of Jongos as a left and right stereo pair, but that might come in a firmware update. You can even use Pure's other streaming products as part of a multiroom system, including the Sensia 200D or One Flow.

There's a 3/4in tweeter on each of the Jongo S3's four sides, and a 3.5in driver pointing upwards in the middle. You can choose various setups, including 360-degree stereo, stereo forward facing and outdoor boost. A small LCD panel on the rear displays the mode along other information.

Awkwardly, Bluetooth is provided by a tiny USB dongle which sticks out of the rear, but it's not a problem unless you happen to want to use the USB port for the optional Ethernet adapter instead.

If you're connecting via Bluetooth, the Jongo S3 is simple to use. There's no aptX support, but quality is more than acceptable.

You can connect the Jongo S3 to your Wi-Fi network using WPS if your router supports it, but if it doesn't you have to establish a direct Wi-Fi connection with your smartphone or tablet. Then you have to browse to the Jongo's web-based management page in your device's browser, select your network and enter the password.

To control the Jongo S3 via Wi-Fi you'll need the Pure Connect app (iOS or Android only at the moment) or you can use the website: The app is reasonably well designed and lets you play music that's already on your device, internet radio and on-demand content (such as podcasts). It also ties in with Pure's own music streaming service which is much like Spotify. It costs £4.99 per month and has a big catalogue on offer.

Both smartphone apps need a bit of spit and polish, though. For example, on the iPhone app you can't lock the volume controls of two Jongos so they're always the same, and the volume control isn't on the main playback screen, which it should be.

We tested the Jongo S3 both indoors and outdoors and were impressed with the volume and sound quality. Bass is unsurprisingly lacking, but the overall sound is well-balanced, detailed and rich. Even at maximum volume, there's no distortion

Using a pair of S3's in multiroom mode, audio was perfectly synchronised. This is where the Jongo really comes into its own and, thanks to the long-lasting batteries and 360-degree sound, they're perfect for parties, particularly outdoors. That's something that Sonos kit just can't do - and you can't pop a Play:3 speaker in your bag and take it to a mate's house. With a Jongo S3, you can.

Playing audio from the Connect app on an iPhone, we noticed a delay of a few seconds between starting a track and it playing through both Jongos, but once going, it continued without a hitch. It doesn't like jumping between tracks or jumping to different points in a song (the delay can be even longer), so it's best to use a playlist.

For a compact wireless speaker, the Jongo sounds great and is really flexible. You can quickly play audio from a Bluetooth source, or use the Pure Connect app to stream a multitude of content via Wi-Fi. It's a shame you can't use an existing Spotify account, though.

The Jongo S3 is a considerably cheaper way to build a multiroom system than going down the Sonos route, and is a great alternative.

View the original article here

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