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TrekStor Vibez Review

last updated: 13. February 2007


I was searching for a DAP which should work perfectly with Linux.
For me that meant that it is accessible as a Mass-Storage device so that it just shows up as an external drive in nautilus.
Furthermore it should support Ogg Vorbis as I backup my music in this format since it is free and is superior to mp3 at average bitrates(160kbit/s)
and thus I don't want to transcode(and lose quality by doing so) my music when transferring it to my DAP.

an additional requirement was that the capacity should be at least 5GB, so I don't have to think too long which songs to put on the player.

amazingly up to now no vendor offered an appropriate device, but luckily TrekStor seemed finally to listen.

Quality And Hardware

The player scores with its extravagant organic design, which is not only an eye catcher but also offers a better hold. The back of the player consists of one solid metal jacket, which can be pulled off using a special key in order to change the battery or install the FM radio card which is available separately.

61/front.jpg 61/back.jpg

Some might criticise that one has to additionally pay for the radio functionality, but I'm pretty confident with this, since I never used the radio on my former audio players anyway.

The front is made of some rubber like material which is not only scratch resistant but also gives you some grip to turn the wheel. A bit more ambivalent is the display; it is quite small compared to what the competitors offer, so that you merely will be able to use the Vibez as a picture viewer, but on the other hand it increases its battery life time and thus will suit you more if you only want to use it as an audio player.
The resolution of the display is quite good which allow the player to display 2 status bars with and 8 songs at a time. The only real point for criticism is the reflectiveness of the display which makes it hard to read on sunny days. (although you can compensate this to a certain degree with a higher brightness)

Nevertheless TrekStor must have disabled the player when measuring the battery life of 20h - when you actually listen to music it only lasts about 10h.

On the bottom of the player you will find the headphone jack, which can alternatively be used as audio-in for direct recording and an USB2.0 connector.
There is no hardware hold switch.

Besides the scroll wheel and the display, you will also find a small metallic triangle on the front which acts as a power switch and also offers a digital alternative to turning the wheel. (I doubt you will ever need this)

The main control is the scroll wheel, which was obviously adopted from apple and thus also inherits similar properties; you can press its corners/ centre to perform several actions like browsing and pausing songs.
The magnetically mount works; it offers one enough resistance to control fast rotation without hindering too much when scrolling slowly.

Software And Features

The player firmware offers features out of the box which one usually only gets with alternative firmwares like RockBox. These include Ogg Vorbis and FLAC support in the format field and gapless playback, crossfading, visualisations and native m3u playlist support on playback field and easy accessibility as a mass storage device in the integration field.
Nevertheless there is still one feature I miss, which is replay gain support.

You can navigate your songs by directories or by tags, where the latter is really advanced and can surely still offer easy navigation, even if you use the full capacity of the player.

There is also a quite advanced DJ-Mode which automatically groups your music in most/ least listened etc. or even by moods. (You still have to tell it in which mood you are before start listening ;))

detail view of current track overview of selected tracks

But there are still annoyances regarding the player navigation. First there is no fast way to browse ones songs: you either have to navigate through the main menu or use a timer based hotkey. At least for me it is kind of awkward, not being able to access such a central functionality directly.
The other annoyance is that the player brings up the wheel menu if you adjust the volume. In this Wheel Menu you can change several properties like volume(initial), display brightness, playback speed or seek inside the track. But since you switch between these using forward/ backward, it effectively overloads the functionality of these keys, which is a big design error.
This couses that you always end up in that menu if you want to switch the track before the volume timer runs out and the other way round switch the track if you want to bring up the seekbar.

The software hold works quite well: you can enable/ disable it by pressing the key combination "centre + power", which is not much worse then using a single hold button.

Bottom Line

There is no perfect player for everyone; the Vibez will be to small for people which don't like compressing their songs with a lossy codec or simply have a larger music library. Its display wont fit the needs of those which want to view pictures with it, but it pretty much suits me and the few inconveniences I still have with it can be solved with a firware update.

Update 05.12.06: there actually is a way to browse through selected songs. Thanks to Peter