Fabulous – an attractive albeit limited music player (review)

Overview

Music is personal; how you consume and manage your music can also be just as personal. For some, a simple folder structure is enough, while others need more bells and whistles. There are a ton of music library management apps. Fabulous is like most in that it is a simple and attractive no-frills music player aimed towards a library that is properly tagged and organized. If this is how you manage your library, Fabulous will fit right in.

Review

Dark and light options screen.
Dark and light options screen.

Fabulous’ incorporation of material design makes the app feel right at home on your Android screen. The menu structure is much like the Play Music Google app. You can customize the look between a light and a dark theme, as well as change accent colors.

When first launched, Fabulous scans your device and then imports your media files. You can then browse your library by artist, album, genre and you can also browse for or create playlists. But, in order for this navigation structure to work well, your music needs the correct ID3 tags (correct artist / album / genre fields in media tags).

Different display options for current track.
Different display options during playback.

Fabulous does not yet support updating tags, but Last.fm integration is in the works. Thus, to maximize the user experience, it is best to update your music tags on your computer before importing files. If you have missing tags, Fabulous will import your media but you will need to preview (or look at time stamps) to see which file you are playing.

File support is standard, with wav, mp3, ogg, flac and some of the other more popular file types supported. Fabulous offers a variety of display views, with the basic setting showing the full album art with navigation buttons in the window.

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Playlists screen. Swipe to switch.

You can create playlists by pressing the menu button (3 dots). From there, you can play the next song, add the song to the current playlist or a new one, or go to the song album or artist. There are 3 automatically generated playlists based on the number of plays, rating, and the last file import. In turn, the current playlist can be a combination of other playlists and individually added albums or songs. This list can be further organized by dragging the songs around into the order of your choosing.

Although creating playlists from the app is easy, I wish importing of playlists was supported. If you have a large library (I do) with a lot of playlists (I do), it is tedious trying to recreate that in Fabulous.

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Equalizer supports custom and preset settings.

Fabulous also includes an equalizer with fx, bass boost and surround effect features. I do not make it a priority to play around with these settings (but maybe I should, as they worked flawlessly and provided interesting results). There are a lot of presets, and the ability to save your own settings is also offered under the “User” menu.

Impressions

Although I am not an audiophile, I did test several songs with different formats and bitrates. I listened first with Fabulous and then with other music apps. I could not discern a difference with the equalizer set to off.

Navigating a tagged library is pleasant and vibrant, with the album art displayed and the artist and title under each picture. There is also a list view, which is by nature not as aesthetically pleasing.

Ads display every time you interact with the app (change songs, change settings, or navigating to another view). Once you are playing your music, there are no interruptions with the player going from one song to the next seamlessly.

What we like

  • multi-format support
  • attractive design
  • customization options
  • equalizer
  • auto-playlists

Room for improvement

  • file tagging
  • Last.fm integration (currently in development)
  • no external playlist support
  • sharing options

Conclusion

Indeed, as promised by the developers, Fabulous is an attractive music player. It is straightforward in how it organizes your library and how you interact with your music. Yet, it does not offer enough options to make it stand out.

Navigating your music library is intuitive (artist / album / song) and music playback is what Fabulous does best. The customization options are a nice touch but not enough to make this music player pop among the sea of music players out there.

Fabulous is still marked as beta software and a few users report it crashes on the app page (I did not experience this over a weekend of use). There is also more functionality promised in future releases and I am hoping the ability to import playlists will make the cut.

With added features, Fabulous can be a contender for the music library management app on your device. As it stands, Fabulous is an attractive and good music player but provides just average functionality.

Fabulous
Music Player (Fabulous)