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John Lewis mini hi-fi and Pure Move radios tested: one is a Don’t Buy

Rare mini hi-fi and personal radio launches, plus a versatile pocket radio

This week at the Which? audio lab we’ve reviewed John Lewis’s new all-in-one Cello mini hi-fi and two new little Pure radios – find out how well they did in our tests.

The best mini hi-fis have superior sound compared with their arch-rival wireless and Bluetooth speakers, but there aren’t many launches these days, with many people preferring the convenience and simplicity of wireless speakers. With the Cello mini hi-fi, John Lewis aims to combine the convenience of a wireless speaker and the powerful full functionality and sound of a hi-fi.

If you’ve got a large CD collection or are looking for the very best sound available, there’s no beating a top-of-the-range mini hi-fi, and they’re not as expensive as you might think. Many also come with FM, DAB and internet radio built in as well – and the John Lewis Cello is just one of these.

Best Buy mini hi-fis and Best Buy radios – head straight to our top picks.

And, if instead you’re looking for a radio to use on the move, Pure gives you two feature-packed new radios to choose from, including a rare new personal radio and a very powerful pocket-sized radio.

The Pure Move R3 is a lightweight little personal radio with in-ear headphones included that seems ideal for private radio listening on the move. And it’s packed with the latest features, including a built-in rechargeable battery and an OLED screen more normally found in modern high-end TVs.

The T4 on the other hand is a pocket-sized radio that aims to pack a punch. It’s got exactly the same range of functionality as a traditional-size radio and goes just as loud but it takes up much less space in your home and has the benefit of portability as well.

But are these models any good? See how the John Lewis Cello and Pure Move radios performed in our tests by clicking on the links below.

John Lewis Cello mini hi-fi, £199

The John Lewis Cello mini hi-fi gives you DAB+/FM and internet radio, a CD player and built-in stereo speakers. It’s got a full-colour LCD screen and comes with a remote control for easy use.

Plus there’s a whole host of ways to connect to your smartphone and other devices. It’s got not only Bluetooth and wi-fi, but wired options as well, including USB, aux-in and a headphone socket. You don’t have to worry about setting up separate speakers either, with the speakers built in to the main unit.

Mini hi-fis are ideal for those looking for a flexible audio system. With the John Lewis Cello you can easily listen to your CD collection, plug in a record player, and listen to radio or even music stored on a USB stick or hard drive. Plus you can link it up to your home network so it can play music stored on a whole range of devices on the network, including your computer or a NAS drive.

Has John Lewis crafted one of the best-sounding and modern mini hi-fis around, or are there better mini hi-fi options available? Find out in our expert John Lewis Cello review.

Pure Move R3, £90

Aimed at listeners with an active lifestyle, the stylish-looking Pure Move R3 DAB+/FM radio is a lightweight personal radio with a dimmable digital clock, a sleep timer for listening when falling asleep, and a handy lock switch to disable the controls when it’s in your pocket.

You can store up to 10 DAB and 10 FM radio stations for easy access to your favourites. Pure advertises the radio with a three-year warranty and also claims an impressive 15-hour battery life from the built-in rechargeable battery – we see whether it actually achieves this figure.

But, most importantly, how does it sound and how easy is it to use? We give you all the details in our full Pure Move R3 review.

Pure Move T4, £100

Tired of big and heavy radios that seem to have changed little as your smartphone’s got thinner and thinner? Pure proves that radio listeners value innovation as well. Say goodbye to having to take your batteries out of your radio to charge them or buy a separate battery pack – the Pure T4 has a rechargeable battery built in.

It’s got a large glass colour LCD screen, a light sensor to automatically dim the screen for easy reading in any light conditions, 20 easy-access presets, two independent alarms, a sleep timer, a kitchen timer and a headphone socket for private listening.

What’s more, it’s just about small enough to put in your pocket, but proves to be an incredibly flexible radio. It goes loud enough to rival a larger traditional radio, has a full-length telescopic aerial for optimal reception and seems just at home on your kitchen tabletop as in the garden or on the move.

It’s even got Bluetooth, so you can use it as a wireless speaker to stream music from your smartphone rather than using its tinny speakers.

Find out whether this is the latest revolution in portable radios or just a disappointment in our Pure Move T4 review.

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