Logitech Pure-Fi Elite Review
Reviewed by: nismozcar
Reviewed on: October 9, 2007
For most people, having a vast collection of media that can follow them wherever they go is priceless. Knowing that all the dull, everyday chores and errands can get a boost from your favorite song or movie, helps brighten an otherwise dim outlook. Apple has made it so simple to enjoy our passions while gliding through the day with the invention of the iPod and iPod Video. Yet, all this attention focused on mobility leaves most wondering, "how do I enjoy all the same media when I get home?" However, the question is not just "how can I play my media", but, "how can I plug into it, become involved and truly immersed in it?"
Well, Logitech has an answer for you - the Logitech Pure-Fi Elite. This small, modern and highly capable device, will allow you to plug in like you never thought possible. Boasting “Audiophile acoustics” and compatibility with a wide-range of iPod models, the Pure-Fi Elite stands out among the competition. All features aside, it is necessary for us to find out if the Elite can satisfy our entertainment needs.
"Focused on innovation and quality, Logitech designs personal peripherals to help people enjoy a better experience with the digital world. We started in 1981 with mice, which (new at the time) provided a more intuitive way of interacting with a personal computer. We became the worldwide leader in computer mice, and have reinvented the mouse in dozens of ways to match the evolving needs of PC and laptop users. Since those early days, we have expanded our expertise in product design beyond the computer mouse, with a broad portfolio of interface devices that are the “last inch” between you and your computer or your console game, digital music or home-entertainment system."
The Pure-Fi Elite comes in a very sharp, bold box that displays its contents with a glossy photo on the front. A couple of the key features are detailed along the left-side and a sticker indicates that this product is compatible with the iPod nano and iPod video. On the back is a smaller photo of the Pure-Fi Elite with all the remaining features listed along the left edge. Information regarding the "Audiophile acoustics" abilities of the product, are posted on the right, next to the center photo.
You can find the Elite's technical specifications listed in three languages (English, French, and Spanish) on the right-hand side of the box. On the opposite end, is a nearly-scale photo of the Pure-Fi from the side.
Logitech spared no expense in making this box as appealing to the eye as they could. The top is covered by a large, green silhouette of the tweeter and woofer used by the Elite. The contents of the box are posted on the bottom, accentuated by a smooth silver background.
Upon opening the top of the package, the tray of accessories will be visible, resting snugly above the main unit. Once the tray is removed, the Pure-Fi Elite will be accessible.
The Elite comes shipped wrapped tightly in plastic and then sandwiched between two contoured foam blocks. The User Manual is casually tucked into the front of the box, also wrapped in a large plastic bag that is taped to the unit. A large 6-foot power cable protrudes from the backside of the Pure-Fi. This allows the rather large AC adapter given in the kit to remain close to the wall socket.
Each speaker is fitted with a black removable grill and they only require minimal pressure to remove. Notice that the grills themselves are not flat but mimic the shape of the woofer and tweeter. Pictured is the Universal Dock; with the correct adapter provided in the kit, a number of different iPod models are compatible.
The front LCD is kept very simple yet distinctively sharp. The buttons are symmetrically placed along the lower edge. The Power button is located in the middle of the panel, with the Source(SRC) and Select buttons on either side. The Volume UP/Down and Change Up/Down buttons placed along the outer edges. The video outputs (S-Video and Composite), radio antenna inputs and the Aux (3.5mm) input can be found on the backside of the Elite.
Bundled with this package is a well designed remote control. It has a long, slender shape and the layout is simple and clean. The remote contains all the functions that the front panel has, but also a few extras. It exclusively houses the StereoXL, individual Source, playlist Preset, Menu, Shuffle, Repeat, and Sleep buttons. It takes 2 AAA batteries, which are provided.
The Quick Install guide can be found in the bag that the User Manual is shipped in. The front side details all the parts included in the kit. All the items shown have been numbered and listed for your convenience. The opposite side explains which of the 9 adapters correspond with the various makes of iPod. The guide finishes by detailing all the remaining connections that have to be made in order to make the Pure-Fi Elite operational.
Pictured is the User Manual which houses all the information concerning button layout (Unit and Remote), operation, and troubleshooting. The items included in the accessories tray are as follows: 9 Universal Dock adapters(each numbered 2-11), power cord, FM antenna, remote holder, AC adapter brick, the remote (backlit), and finally the AM loop antenna.
To begin the install, you will need to first select the appropriate adapter for your iPod. I own the 5th Generation Video iPod, which narrows the selection of adapters to just two. And since mine is the wider 60GB version, I am required to use adapter 10. Then, gently seat the adapter in the Universal Dock.
With the adapter in place, you can set your iPod into the dock and continue making the necessary peripheral connections. First, connect the power cord into the AC adapter and then connect the power cord from the main unit into the AC adapter as well. Connect the AM loop antenna into the two terminals and finally, the FM antenna into its terminal.
Upon powering up for the first time, you will be prompted to select a couple of options. First you will be asked to choose your language (English, Spanish, French, Deutsch, Italian and Nederland), followed by your preference of a 12hr or 24hr time format. The last step is to enter the current time, which upon hitting select will be posted in the LCD. You are now ready to enjoy your Pure-Fi Elite. To begin listening to tracks on your iPod, press the Source button until the iPod icon is seen on the LCD, or simply press the iPod button on the remote.
Unfortunately, you cannot navigate your iPod’s menus through the unit, so you will need to select the artist, album or track you wish to play through your iPod. After choosing an album (Pick A Bigger Weapon- The Coup), you can freely skip tracks, pause and play throughout the entire album. While playing, you can change the appearance of the LCD and by pressing the Select button, you can toggle between the clock and a set of EQ bars that react to the music.
Although the Pure-Fi is incapable of changing albums or artists, it does support the use of playlist presets. The remote has six buttons (labeled 1-6), that each remember a single playlist. To set, hold one of the six buttons for 1 second. A beep will be followed by the first screen shown. From here you can choose which playlist to program, the first choice being all the songs on your iPod. I created a mix in iTunes that is comprised of tracks from five Coup albums named Coup MIX. If you scroll through the choices you will see the playlist you created. Upon selecting it, the Elite will give you the option to shuffle the playlist. Select 'yes' or 'no' to finish the procedure and the button will now remember the playlist and options when pressed again.
Along with music playback from the iPod, the Pure-Fi Elite is capable of displaying photos and movies on your television. To configure, simply connect a Composite or S-Video cable to video output on the Elite to an open port on your television. You will need to enter the Video Settings menu in your iPod and turn the Video Out option to On, as this passes the signal through. Then, select a movie and press play. I chose an MPEG4 copy of the Fantastic Four as an example. Notice that the movie is broken into chapters, of which I am capable of changing between.
A cool feature of the Elite, is its ability to display station information when listening to most FM frequencies. Simply tune to any of your local stations and the song artist and song title while be displayed on a rolling banner. I tuned into my favorite local rock station 101.1 KUFO in Portland and the Elite informed me I was listening to “State of Love and Trust” by Pearl Jam.
Aside from FM radio and iPod playback, The Pure-Fi Elite is also capable of receiving AM radio. The Am band extends from 520 through 1710kHz, but unlike FM, doesn’t receive station information. Older iPods (models without the dock output) and other audio devices can be connected through a 3.5mm Aux input jack.
You may have noticed a little icon in the lower left-hand of the LCD screen. It signifies that StereoXL has been activated. This feature increases the sound stage beyond the physical boundaries of the speakers, creating the effect of surround sound. Another wonderful feature of the Elite is its Sleep Timer. By pressing the Sleep button on the remote you can set the Pure-Fi to turn off after 5 to 180 minutes.
By holding the Select button for 1 second or pressing the menu button on the remote, you can access the Speaker Menu. To progress to the next option, simply press the Select button again. The first options you can adjust are the Bass and Treble settings...
...followed by Brightness settings for the LCD during playback and when powered off.
Through this menu, you can also adjust the backlight on your iPod. It can be set to remain on while playing or only illuminate when a key is pressed.
Finally, the Clock Format and Language settings are available, allowing you to modify your choices if needed.
-1" high-definition, soft-domed tweeters
-4" high-power, long-throw woofers
-Power: 80W RMS
-Max SPL: 110 dB
-Frequency Response: 36kHz-23kHz +/- 3 dB
-DSP-controlled dynamic, digital EQ and filtering
-Bi-amplified tranducer design with digital electronic crossover
-Tweeter amplifiers: (2) ultra-linear, Class AB
-Woofer amplifiers: (2) high-efficiency, Class D
-Sealed, tuned speaker enclosures
-Adjustable sound field (bass, treble, StereoXL)
-3.5mm aux input
-Composite and S-Video output jacks
-Support all iPod models with dock connector (including iPod nano and iPod with video)
-Supports 1st, 2nd, and 3rd generation iPod models via 3.5mm auxiliary input
- Digital AM/FM radio
- Backlit remote control
- Presets for iPod Playlists
- Charges your iPod
- Audiophile acoustics
- Digital clock
The testing for the Logitech Pure-Fi Elite was fairly simple and straightforward. The first test I conducted was a test of the dynamic-range and abilities of the speakers. I played an entire album (Pick A Bigger Weapon - The Coup, AAC) from my collection and listened at various levels of loudness from low to max, to see if the Elite had any issues. For the second test, I chose a movie (Fantastic Four, MPEG4) and tested the range during cinematic scenes and the ability of the unit to pass video though to the television. I was lucky to also have an Altec Lansing iMV712 on hand to test the Pure-Fi against. Both have the ability to output a video signal through Composite or S-Video and are compatible with many versions of the iPod. The last two graphs are based on my opinion of form and function, and given a rating for comparison.
- Logitech Pure-Fi Elite
- Altec Lansing iMV712
- iPod Video (60GB)
- JVC 30" Digital DirectView
- S-Video cable
The Pure-Fi Elite handled extremely well in the first test. The dynamic-range was excellent and I was able to turn the volume all the way up with minimal distortion. It faltered slightly on tracks with generous bass lines, but the problem was solved by reducing the bass in the Speaker Menu. Maxed out, the Pure-Fi made my room shake and I was half-convinced I was in a concert. I felt the Pure-Fi edged out the Altec in this test because of the distortion experienced when turning the iMV712 up past halfway. During video playback, the Pure-Fi was docked because I felt that the volume of the movie on max wasn’t enough to fully encapsulate me in the movie. Both players scored well in this test, but the extra points went to Altec for having a higher max volume. The Elite’s picture output to the television was sharp and clear. I found it hard to detect any pixilation and it ran smoothly and timely without any noticeable hesitation. Enabling StereoXL made little difference during music playback, but was a nice addition to the video as it provided a wider range that help liven up the atmosphere.
When judging the styling of the components, I took into account a couple of things, those being the size and use of design. The Altec is the larger of the two, mostly due to its large LCD built into the front. However, the Logitech uses its design more wisely. I enjoyed that my iPod was safe while connected. The design allowed it to be cradled, keeping it out of harm’s way from objects and passing strangers. This really made it feel integrated into the device and gave it a smooth, classy appearance. The removable speaker grills are a nice touch and the player looks awesome with them on or off. Finally, the cool-blue backlight really ties the whole package together. In the next category, ease of use, the Altec Lansing iMV712c once again steals the show. Having the ability to navigate the iPod’s menu was a great feature, and not having it is what hurt the Pure-Fi Elite, although, I still feel the Elite has the richer set of features. Six playlist presets, a sleep timer and both AM and FM radio capabilities are all great, plus, the player charges your iPod while it’s docked.
After all that investigation, we still have to ask: "how well does the Logitech Pure-Fi Elite involve you in the action?" The answer is that it immerses you in it. At no time during the experience do you notice anything but the crisp, clear, unrestricted acoustical abilities of this small, attractive device.
Logitech has found ways to make small feel big, bold seem beautiful and caused form to function. The Pure-Fi Elite most-notably features great dynamic capabilities, a secluded docking station, digital AM/FM radio, a handy Sleep Timer and up to six preset playlists. The only real drawback from a nearly-flawless design, is that fact that you cannot navigate through your iPod’s menus. This is a small, but important feature. that is conspicuously missing. However, the Pure-Fi Elite bounces right back. It offers the user the ability to enjoy their iPod movies, music videos and photos on their television via a Composite or S-Video cable. This feature turns any room in your house into your own private screening room or concert hall. Finally, my favorite feature is not worrying about battery life whenever you decide to get up and go, but simply popping it off the dock and enjoying the feeling of having a full battery. All things considered, out of a long list of great features, I can only name one real flaw. Logitech has designed an awesome device that would make any audiophile happy.
- Form and function
- Video out (Composite & S-Video)
- Digital AM/FM radio
- Sleep timer
- Preset playlists
- Charges iPod
- Unable to navigate the iPod's menu