Car Advice

REVIEW: Pure Highway 400 DAB Digital Radio adapter

Pick up digital radio stations and turn your phone hands-free

By Nick Watkins Published

products | Pure Highway 400 DAB Digital Radio adapter


RRP at time of test: £129

Check prices at Halfords

IF YOU'RE driving around in a car without a digital radio you'll no doubt be getting increasingly frustrated at the lack of radio stations to choose from.

That's where the Pure Highway 400 DAB Digital Radio adapter comes in. It's a small device that picks up digital stations and makes your phone hands-free.

Installation ★★☆☆☆

The Pure Highway 400 requires quite a few wires to fully install, but all can be tucked away under the dashboard, roof lining or seats. The trickiest part is making sure what’s known as the Grounding Tail sticks to your vehicle. Pure recommend pushing it underneath the lining and using the magnet to make sure it attaches itself to the underside of the roof. Make sure you leave some overhang by the windscreen to clip the receiver and antenna to the end of the Grounding Tail. We ran the cable along the windscreen and underneath the passenger seat to plug it into the cigarette lighter.

That’s the hard part out the way, then it’s a case of plugging in the USB cable into the now converted cigarette lighter, with the other end going into the AUX socket.

The unit sits in a bracket which you can place either on the windscreen or dashboard. It’s a sticky pad rather than a sucker mount, so make sure you’re happy with the position before sticking it on, as it’ll be hard to remove and may leave a mark. Finally, plug the microphone into the receiver and attach the mic itself to the sunvisor, or somewhere fairly close to the driver so you can make hands-free calls. Compared to other devices we’ve tested (dash cams/sat navs) this was trickier to set up because there are more cables required. Having got the Grounding Tail sorted it didn't take too long thereafter. See the video below for a visual explanation. Alternately Halfords will fit the unit for £25.

Ease of use ★★★★☆

Once it’s all installed the Pure Highway 400 is pretty straightforward to use. There’s a big button in the middle which you turn left and right to scroll through the menus, whether you’re looking for a new station or phone contact, then you press it in to select. You also control the volume with it. To answer a phone call, which you connect to via Bluetooth, press the button on the left to pick up, and button on the right to end the call. All the buttons are on the front of the unit as well as a screen displaying which station you’re listening to and your phone contacts.

Functions ★★★★★

The device picks up DAB digital radio stations so if you’re driving an older car it saves you buying a new radio, and it also connects to your phone for calls making your car hands-free. It also has a Siri-type function where you can send text messages simply by speaking them aloud (hold down the button on the bottom right to do this). It took the device a little while to get this right, we sent a text to the wrong number which had a few words wrong, but then that could have been because we weren’t speaking clearly enough into the mic. You can also stream music to device from your phone, so if you want to play songs through iTunes you can, and it’ll also recognise songs (in the same was Shazam does) you like on the radio and save them to your Spotify, so they’ll appear on your phone.

Video/audio quality ★★★☆☆

Once you’ve used the unit it’s hard to go back to using just a few stations on your AM/FM radio as the sound quality is noticeably better, and of course there’s loads more choice. The phone calls we made were ok, if not a big crackly, but that’s just as much to do with poor reception than the device itself. Some calls were clearer than others. We’d like  a bigger screen with a jazzier, colour display.


The Pure Highway 400 is great if you’re driving an older car and it certainly does more than you’d expect, thanks to the Siri/OK Google voice messages and Shazam-type song recognition. However, for the £129 asking price, you could buy a whole new radio, so it depends on your priorities. This unit is ideal for those who make calls and send texts in the car, but for those who just listen to music, you’d probably be better off getting a new DAB Radio to free up the cigarette lighter for a dash cam/sat nav/phone charger.

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