TrekStor Vibez Hands On

It’s very rare for an MP3 player to get my mark of approbation. The iPod gets it because it “just works” and the Zune, grudgingly, gets it because “it might work soon.” However, the TrekStor Vibez gets it for having the stones to not go with a milquetoast aesthetic.

This is an 8GB audio player and photo viewer. Fairly standard stuff. It charges via USB, has a removable battery—it encourages you to stick a paper clip into this thing to pop off the back, which is a fairly refreshing—and very intuitive interface. The design, however, is the best part. The front is clad in rubberized plastic while the back is chromed metal. It is bulbous and very tiny and has a bright, readable screen. It also has a scroll wheel. But this isn’t just any scroll wheel, it’s a physical scroll wheel that lets you turn it 180-degrees. There’s even a little pip on the wheel that glows and lights up when you hit one of the cardinal points on the wheel. Then you have a center button and four cardinal buttons for controlling things, almost like the iPod.

That’s kind of the key, here, isn’t it? “Almost like the iPod.” Well, it’s an interesting design for what would have been otherwise and also ran MP3 player. TrekStor is popular in Europe and is just trying it’s luck here this year, so the company is definitely one to watch.

One unusual aspect of this player is that it doesn’t come with and FM tuner built-in. You actually have to buy the tuner separately and it comes on a tiny chip about 1/4-inch per side that you have to press into a little slot. This is not a major issue, but clearly anyone who buys this has no intention of putting a little chip into a slot. They have to remedy this before it goes to market.

Audio quality, if you’re interested is standard with no surprises. It’s a good MP3 player.

Otherwise, this clever little MP3 has a fairly nice user interface and a unique DJ feature that acts almost like the iTunes dynamic playlists except they’re run right on the device itself. If they had added a video player to the Vibez, I’d marry it. However, as it stands I can recommend it for the $219 they’re selling it for on Amazon and elsewhere.