Pure Oasis Flow Wi-Fi Internet Radio Review

By Ben Rossi on 26 June 2011
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If Indiana Jones were going to buy an Internet radio, Pure’s Oasis Flow would probably be at the top of his list. This radio is tailor-made for a rough and tumble existence, at least by the standards of Wi-Fi radio. At the same time, the Oasis Flow lacks some of the functionality and frills that are offered by competitors.

With its splash resistant case, cast aluminum frame, rubber seals, and prominent carrying handle, the Oasis Flow is as well suited to barbecues and beach parties as to a quiet hour of music in the den. Its 10W speaker punches well above its weight, and can easily fill a garden with music. Most importantly, from the standpoint of portability, the Oasis Flow sports a 10 hour rechargeable lithium ion battery pack, an outstanding feature that effectively frees the user from battery anxiety. However, at 9” tall and nearly five pounds, the user pays for the radio’s ruggedness with heft and bulk.

The radio’s interface, which combines touch sensitive buttons and rotary dials, represents an attractive marriage between old and new. Learning to use the controls was simple and fairly intuitive, although I found it confusing that the “back” button takes you back to the home menu instead of the list of stations when playing internet radio. With four lines of text, the OLED display provides more than enough information, and those who are sensitive to its light at night can shut if off in both standby and active modes. Some other radios come with remotes, and I would have liked to see one for this music player.

Like every other Wi-Fi radio on the market, the Oasis Flow offers access to thousands of free internet radio stations through the Lounge, Pure’s online radio portal. It can also stream a wide variety of audio files, including AAC (.m4a), WMA, WAA, and mp3, from a PC or Mac using Pure’s Flowserver software. The Oasis Flow picks up FM radio, although I would have liked to see an AM option as well. There’s also an aux input for iPods and other MP3 players.

The Oasis Flow’s sound quality varies depending on the audio source, but in general it is on a par with other Wi-Fi radios. That’s not necessarily a high compliment: for virtually all radios of this kind, small design, mono speakers, and compressed files can render a symphony into an indistinct drone, as if emanating from a well-insulated cellar. Still, most music is quite listenable on the Oasis Flow, and, for better fidelity, you can listen to it with headphones or attach external speakers using the 3.5 mm jack.

Customizing one’s music options is quick and easy. Internet stations can be grouped into folders on your Lounge account and synched to the radio, but scrolling through stations can still be tedious, and a search or filter function would have been nice. However, by far the greatest of the Oasis Flow’s limitations is that it cannot stream any of the popular online music services such as Pandora, Slacker, and Rhapsody, which could be a decisive shortcoming for some audiophiles.

At a retail price of $212, the Oasis Flow certainly isn’t the most expensive Wi-Fi radio on the market, but it also isn’t the cheapest. Those looking for a music player bursting with options and applications probably can find a better one, but the Oasis Flow’s rugged design, long battery life, and good quality sound should win over most music lovers.

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