25th September 2022 – Written by Nick Rowe @ Technuovo.com
It has been some time since we last had anything from Pure land on our desk but that’s all changed. They’ve just sent over their new Evoke Spot, a smart speaker/radio/alarm combo and I’ve had it on my bedside table for the last couple of weeks, and here are my thoughts.
Taking the speaker out of the box, I’m a little bit surprised by the weight of it, it’s lighter than I expected but that’s not necessarily a bad thing but more on performance later. The Evoke Spot comes in two colours, a very dark brown, almost black, or white, so you can pick whichever best suits your decor. Plastic in construction, tall but the footprint isn’t too big so when it’s on my small bedside table, it doesn’t swamp it and I’ve got space for other stuff. A non-removable mesh grille to the front, with four rubber feet to the bottom, plus the bass port. To the rear is the power in and micro USB port for ‘service’, plus an extendable aerial which is just so old school. On the top, the lift up display, plus volume control and various buttons for control.
I think it looks good but there is just something a little off. The display is very small, there are alot of buttons, could they have done something a little neater, a little more modern, perhaps a larger touch screen display? This is nearly a £200 speaker after all.
Spec & features:
- DAB / FM / Internet Radio
- Spotify connect out of the box
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Clock/Alarm/Timer functions
- 20watt power / 3” driver
- Colour LCD display
Set up was straightforward, plug it in, turn it on and the setup wizard will begin. Run through the steps, connecting it to your local wifi and you’ll be good to go.
There are various sources to choose from, standard DAB or FM radio, or internet radio once connected to your network. You can browse and search for popular stations or type your favourite one to find it. Typing isn’t that fun with the controls but the choice is vast so it will be quicker to type than browse to find the one you want. Hit that source button and the other options appear too. Podcasts, browse and select, although there is a better selection via Spotify. Spotify Connect has it’s own option which will work if the speaker is connected to your network, or Bluetooth. Pair your phone or another device to the speaker like you usually would and play any third-party audio source. Spotify is the only built-in direct service, if you want Apple Music, Amazon, or Tidal, these all need to be used via your phone or smart device.
Now if you wanted to use the speaker without the screen up, there are four preset buttons, volume and track controls outside of the screen area. Also, at any point, you can raise or lower the screen and it won’t affect the content being played. With the preset buttons, you can go find your favourite radio stations and save them to a number and then switch between them on the fly at any point. There are only 4 preset buttons BUT you can have more presets, so you can assign a station to buttons 1 to 4 but then 5 to 40 can also have presets, but you need to hit the heart button, then scroll down to the preset you want. 40 is plenty in my mind.
Moving onto the alarm feature, which is an important one for me. To set the alarm, head into the main menu, go down to alarm and then you have an array of options to choose from. You can set two separate alarms, select frequency of daily, once, weekends or weekdays only (I like that), You can select the time and select the audio source, DAB/FM/Internet and select either ‘last listened to’ or pick a station/preset. If you don’t want radio, you can have a buzzer sound instead. Now you’ve set the alarm, when it goes off, you have to hold down the volume knob for two seconds to turn it off. If you wanted to snooze, you press the same knob but just a press, don’t hold it down. This will then snooze for however long you want and you can adjust the snooze time within the menu.
If you’re not keen on using the buttons, you can download the UNDOK app to your smart device and it will allow you to control the speaker that way.
Audio performance is ok, more than enough for bedside listening, alarm wake up or background music but when you turn the volume up to 20 or more, the bass is lacking, the sound is overly bright and a bit disappointing if I’m honest. I set the volume to 15 and that gave a nice sound for waking up to.
The screen is nice, although I’m not sure about the hinge. At first, I went and touched the screen, thinking it was a touch screen and not remembering it wasn’t. That’s just what we’re used to in 2022. The display is bright enough, it shows plenty of information and the album covers shown through Spotify are a nice touch.
The alarm works well, is very easy to set up and as the speaker was connected to my network, the automated date and time were spot on, there was never any delay or drop in accuracy. I like that I was able to set weekday only, so I could leave the alarm on for the week and not have to worry about it going off at the weekend or forgetting to set it Sunday night ready for Monday. Snoozing and turning the alarm off were fine.
There is a horrid lag on the volume knob, I’d scroll it down to turn the volume down but the volume ended going from 17 to 18, then down to 15, which was very bizarre.
I’ve used this as a speaker and alarm clock and it’s been on my bedside table where I also charge my phone and watch. Now my current alarm radio speaker includes two USB ports so I can charge two devices at once overnight. I can’t do that with this which is a real shame, it would have been great if I could charge a device or two through it. There is no headphone out either, so if you’re sitting in bed listening to a podcast and your partner is next to you, you both have to listen to it or you don’t.
Price, for what it does and its performance, the retail price of £179.99 here in the UK is steep. Given what other smart speakers can offer, this seems very expensive. Echo’s are a really affordable way of getting a connected speaker and alarm, or even the Echo Show, you can do so much more with that and it is half the price.
Overall, mixed views on this. I like the shape and size, the screen is nice but it folding in and out, I’m not sure. Ample features, internet radio offers endless choices and the alarm works well. If the audio performance was better at higher volumes, making it a more versatile speaker and it could do a bit more, maybe it’s worth the price tag but right now, I wouldn’t spend £180 buying this.
For more info, head over to the official Pure website.