Pros On board feature set; Rio Karma heritage; EQ; Gapless; Crossfade
Cons Capacity; I'm not a fan of microdrives.
Summary Nice balanced review. For anyone wanting to understand even better what this player can, take a look at it's predecessor the Rio Karma. Though the power of the Vibez pales in comparison to the Karma's 55 mW per channel, so does everything else on the market.
The Vibez derives most of its features, including the menu system, from the Rio Karma and improves upon most. The heavily customizable 5-band parametric EQ is there, the RioDJ is there re-dubbed "DJ Mode". The very powerful on-the-fly running playlist is there. The gapless playback and crossfade are there.
The playlisting I think deserves some extra attention here. What most players describe as an On-The-Go Playlist can't touch what the Vibez can do. Most OTG playlists let you add songs/albums/artists/etc. to the list of songs your currently listening to. The Vibez also lets you remove songs/albums/artists/etc., reorder tracks, save the list as a new playlist using whatever name you choose. When adding music, you can "Append" it to the end of the list or "Insert" it anywhere you want within the list. It also has an "Enqueue" option that allows you to insert music immediately after the last thing you added to the list. This is key for when you want to insert multiple selections in succession.
The Vibez also has a powerful "Sessions" feature that essentially saves the current list and your current position in the list so you can return to it later. I'm not sure but I think it also saves the current EQ selection.
In addition to support for the "Composer" tag, it also supports an "Original Artist" tag. If you have music that has this tag populated, the Vibez adds another browse option: "Covers". Just in case you're in the mood for listening to cover versions of your favorite songs.
The on board DJ Mode is something I use on my Karma very very frequently. Though it's not customizable like the Smart Playlists you build in iTunes, the Vibez DJ Mode dynamically builds each list on the fly, meaning it is always up-to-date.
Price: While the price may look very attractive compared to the iPod nano, the comparison is really not fair to the nano. The Vibez uses a new generation of Cornice 1" microdrive, not flash. This allows Trekstor to keep the price lower than flash players, but I'm not sure how much of an appetite there is for low-capacity hard drive players.
Because the platform I have fallen in love with over time and the stellar reviews on sound quality, I plan to order the Vibez as soon as the 15 GB version becomes available.
Is this player right for you? That's highly subjective. But, IMHO, what this little player can do on its own is unparalleled in the DAP industry.
PS. From what I understand, they made the FM card an add-on option to keep taxes down. Apparently in Europe, you have to pay an additional tax on FM radio devices. by keeping the FM card separate, consumers only have to pay the tax on the $15 for the card instead of the $200 for the entire Vibez.
A little annoying for us Americans, but makes sense for Europeans.
Rating it an 9 out of 10 docking it 1 point for volume compared to Karma and storage capacity relative to 1.8" hard drive players.Updated
Based on some screen shots posted on another board by a current Vibez owner, it appears the Vibez is missing the ability to create or edit saved playlists while you're listening to something else. The Vibez allows you to save your current Now Playling list as a playlist, and you can rename or delete saved playlists, but that's it.
Personally, I think it was a mistake not to include this function. It's something I use on the Karma routinely. If I could, I feel I'd have to drop my overall rating to 8.
Still a fantastic player, but I seriously hope Trekstor rethinks this and restores this key function.Updated
About three weeks ago my beloved Rio Karma finally bit the dust. Within days I hopped on the PATH train to J&R to pick up the 12 GB Vibez. So far I can honestly say I'm enjoying it more than I expected. My biggest complaints are:
- Menu animation lags when playing Ogg Vorbis tracks.
- No ability to edit/create playlists independent of what's Now Playing.
- When you add music to the Now Playling playing list (Insert/Append/Enqueue) there's no quick way to get back to where you left of in your music library. (This was added to the Rio Karma in its final firmware version 1.68 but didn't make it into the Vibez.)
- Albums and Tracks that start with "The" appear under T. (Artists appear under the correct letter.)
- You have to use both hands to enable/disable the lock.
On the plus side:
- The sound to my ears is among the best of any player available today. The SQ blows the pants off the iPod and iPod nano.
- Power is very respectable. The Vibez is optimized for earphones with 32-Ohm impedance. It has no problem driving my Grado SR-60 headphones.
- The wheel is incredibly efficient, on par with the iPod clickwheel.
- Dedicated volume buttons
- Gapless playback is more reliabel with Ogg Vorbis thanks to a faster processor.
Current and former Rio Karma & Carbon owners, I think, will fall in love with this baby very quickly. People who have never owned a Rio Karma or Carbon will have a harder time learning the interface and adapting to the nature of the Now Playling list. Personally, I think it's completely worth it.
Pros Playlists, Search Options, Sound, Gapless, Crossfading, User-replacable battery, 12 GB for 200€/200$
Cons Batterylife could be better
Summary I have the vibez for 3 weeks now and I'm truly impressed with what it can do.
First I considered buying an iPod nano or a Zen Micro Photo, but the vibez beats both of them.
The sound is awesome, the battery is user-replacable, navigating with the wheel is very easy after 5 minutes.
The playlist options are better than anything else on the market, as is the searchfunction.
The vibez is detected as a mass storage device by Windows, Linux and MacOS, so you can simply copy the files you have. It supports everything save AAC and you don't have to convert anything.
The only thing annoying me is the batterylife, which is closer to 10 than to 20 hours, but since batteries are available for 20 € and are user-replacable, that's not too big a problem.
I can't wait to get the dock with infrared remote control to hook it up to my stereo...Updated
As I read the iPod nano 2nd gen review, some things stick out:
You gave the nano an 8.3 rating and made it an editor's choice. But there are only 3 things that the iPod does better than the vibez: battery life, album art and size.
Like mentioned in the vibez review, they are equal in style. The display's the same size. The vibez is cheaper, sounds better, has a larger capacity, better search options, better playlist options, can record via mic or line-in, has the optional FM tuner on the inside instead of attaching it on the outside and there is even the possibility of purchasing the videocard.
So why only the 7.3 rating? Because it's not Apple? Because being smaller outweighs the mentioned advantages the vibez has over the iPod? Almost everything you criticized on the iPod is there on the vibez. And more. Yet there is a whole point difference between them... which i wouldn't mind if the vibez got a 9.3...
But I think when it comes to iPods, there is no being impartial...
Pros Fantastic Functions
Cons Software lock player function, FM reception
Summary After spending a week with this cat.. I must say that I'm impressed. This player has a robust auto-DJ feature, an excellent library-navigation system, a full function equalizer are all up to par or better than other mp3 players I've messed around with by brands like Apple, Sony and Creative.
The FM function (sold separately I'm told because of a tax issue in Germany) is so, so. It takes a while to figure out the preset/scan function and the reception for some of my favorite stations is poor. I had much better reception from my Sony core.
My other gripe is the software lock function. Why not a hardware hold button? Frustrating. Was this an afterthought?
There are other toys such as a stopwatch, an image viewer (which I will never use) and a voice recorder.
The plus side for me after leaving a brand like Sony is that no proprietory software is required at all. I just plugged the player in and Windows Media Player started right up and accepted the Vibez as if it was it's own son. It handles MP3, WMA, WAV, OGG and FLAC files, as well as WMA DRM.
The coolest thing again is the DJ feature which actually offers a fun option called 'Entertain Me!' which will mix a combination of your most played music. In addition to this, the DJ options include Deja Vu and Memory Lane which will play tunes not heard in a set period of time.
I didn't even try the Sennheiser earbuds. I plugged in my Sony's and the sound is O K. The EQ allows a huge range of sound and I figure one of the high end pairs will be a great fit. I think I'm going to be buying the V-Moda Vibe's for my Vibez (for their low end range) or the Shure E2c's to keep the price fairly reasonable.. (the 3c's are kinda steep).
Anyway, overall a much better buy than the $250 8 gig iPod (the Vibez is $199 for the 12, $169 for the 8, not including the $15 for the FM tuner.
I give the Trekstor Vibez a rating of a solid 'Excellent' 8.
Pros cool looking, compact, attractive ui, replacable battery
Cons sound is mediocre, os lags, wheel not sturdy, software
Summary I was all excited to hear the supposed replacement for the dearly departed rio karma. gapless, ogg, flac, parametric eq, etc. I loaded in some high bitrate vbr mp3s; sounded quiet & clean but, despite much tweaking the 5 band eq. the unit sounded cold, sterile & bright --no better than an ipod. encoded some hibitrate ogg/vorbis files. the bundled "magix" software made sure 90% of them were corrupted & unusable even in my iaudio player. if too many of these "bad" files showed up too quickly, the unit crashed.
at first the os appeared to mimic the convenience of the ipod's, but turns out to it's really convoluted and bloated. more than a few unnecessary functions in the way of ones that should be higher up --too many instances to name here. the large dial that controls most of the functions has loose control; it's easy to hit it in the wrong place and cancel what you're doing --very frustrating, especially if you've gone a few submenus into the os. the wheel seems floaty and like it won't put up with much use/abuse.
the microdrive is overactive for even simple functions & uses the battery more than it should.
also, the "magix" software keeps asking you if you want to purchase the "complete" version --more than once per session. at least itunes is freeware & jetaudio (iaudio's proprietary software) is bundled without having to pay for it --not free otherwise.
The player's ergonomics are also suspect; it feels like it will slip out of your hand. despite being made out of metal and rubber, the vibez does not seem sturdy & I needed both hands to comfortably operate the unit. that shouldn't be the case for a device only slightly larger than an ipod nano. despite the hefty promises and tons of features crammed under it's tiny hood, the trekstor vibez ends up falling --way-- short of acceptable, especially considering its price. if you want a buggy, mediocre mp3 player that looks like a trendy cell phone, then this might work, otherwise steer clear.
Pros Very stylish, good sound quality, customizeable backgrounds, very simple song transfering
Cons Firmware is terrible, corrupts many tracks, freezes often, takes forever to load songs
Summary I was excited to first recieve this player, and like many other mp3 players with terrible firmware, it has great potential. Its very sleek, has many great features such as crossfading songs, putting your own pictures as backgrounds, a cool DJ mode, and very simple to put songs on, and the ability to customize and save or delete various playlists on the player itself. The player itself also has a very nice feel, a nicely lit screen, and I loved the magnetic scroll wheel.
When I got the vibez I put all my song onto it which was very simple, simply connect to USB and windows media player uploads songs very smoothly with no problems. However, start using it and you'll discover that its a fairly slow player. A playlist can take a while to begin playing songs, and many of my tracks (which worked perfectly on previous players) were labeled as "Bad Tracks" which couldn't be played. The player froze multiple times as well and turning it off sometimes took up to a minute.
Besides the obviously terrible firmware and slow drive of the player, many simple functions are too complicated. When starting to play a track, say from a playlist, you have to click "Play All Tracks" at the top and then, after it has started playing the first song, go back, select "Now Playing", and then scroll to the song you actually want to play. Simply clicking a song will put that one song alone into its own playlist, which yes you can add more songs to but there should be another way for that. And it bugs that when your listening to a song in a playlist or by an artist, simply going back a menu doesnt take you to the list of songs being played, it goes to the main Music menu which from there you have to click what is now playing to get back to your list of songs. A function that I'm sure had I kept the vibez for longer would have really annoyed me.
In conclusion, steer clear of this one. You can try it out for yourself but I gaurantee you'll pack it right back up and send it off for a refund as I'm doing right now.