They say that first impressions last. If so, the Veho Quinque, a sharp-looking 4GB video and music player, will do well.

From its chic black front and large 3in screen to its brushed-metal back, the Veho Quinque looks the business. But here's another useful maxim: don't judge a book by its cover. Get past its slick exterior and you'll find some significant problems with this product.

The problems started when we attempted to load songs on to the Veho Quinque. Despite trumpeting its Mac compatibility on the spec sheet, the Quinque wasn't recognised by any Mac we tested it with.

For ease of use, the Veho Quinque falls behind its contemporaries. Instead of an iPod-esque clickwheel, it employs a set of tiny thin buttons positioned awkwardly along the top of the device. You get forward and back (which translate into up and down on menus), a play/select button and Esc, which moves you up one menu level.

While there is a dedicated volume button, it doesn't directly control the sound level; it simply switches the forward and back buttons on to volume-controlling duty. And you can do this only from the music playback screen. There's plenty of room around the edge of the Veho Quinque, so we can't understand why the manufacturer refused to provide proper volume-up and -down buttons.

The interface looks nice, with a Mac OS X-style horizontal 'dock' with expanding icons for each application. Oddly, a WMP icon stands for video playback and the iTunes logo represents audio; the latter a particularly inexplicable choice, since the Veho Quinque won't have a thing to do with Apple's all-conquering music-management software. Somebody might also point out that naming the miscellaneous app 'OtherFuc' gives the wrong idea.

Even build quality is a concern. Our review sample Veho Quinque's USB port was loose, which is never reassuring, as was the join between the front and back portions of the chassis.

NEXT PAGE: on the plus side...

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They say that first impressions last. If so, the Veho Quinque, a sharp-looking 4GB video and music player, will do well.

But there are some silver linings. For one thing, the Veho Quinque is cheap. It's available for £55 plus postage on Amazon UK. By comparison, Apple's 4GB iPod nano costs £99, and comes with a screen that measures just 2in. The Veho's screen displays fairly sharp photos – we weren't totally convinced of the quality of fast-moving video – and there's a comparatively rare e-book reader function.

Finally, audio quality is average, showing reasonably clear and detailed sound, given better headphones than those supplied. The Veho Quinque is still a little bass light overall, yet surprisingly high volume levels are available when needed.

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Veho Quinque: Specs

  • 4GB capacity
  • 3in (480x234) LCD screen
  • MP3/WMA/WAV/Flac/APE audio
  • AVI/RM/RMVB video
  • photo browsing
  • e-book function
  • FM tuner USB 1.1/2.0
  • 4GB capacity
  • 3in (480x234) LCD screen
  • MP3/WMA/WAV/Flac/APE audio
  • AVI/RM/RMVB video
  • photo browsing
  • e-book function
  • FM tuner USB 1.1/2.0

OUR VERDICT

It looks good and doesn't cost much money – that's pretty much the beginning and end of the Veho Quinque's appeal. The unit feels fragile, synching is unreliable and the controls are fiddly and unintuitive. If you're on a severe budget, it might be worth a look, but we feel that the hassles of using the Veho cancel out the benefits.

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