Puzzle Brand Comparison — Trefl

 

This page is part of our Puzzle Brand Comparison. You can find the overview page here.

REVIEW DATE: 7/30/2016         PUZZLE TESTED: “Great Dreams” and “Winter”, 2016

OUR RATING: 57 points, B Grade

CATEGORIES: photographic landscapes, cityscapes, photo collages, painted landscapes, fine art, fantasy

CUT: Grid-cut          FINISH: non-relfective

PIECE FIT:  normal                                    PIECE SIZE: normal

Trefl website         Jigsaw Junkie’s Trefl Coverage      Trefl on Puzzle Warehouse

SUMMARY: 

The Polish brand Trefl is a solid mid-level brand. Their puzzles have a standard grid cut with basic grid piece shapes. The pieces are a little on the small size but almost as thick as Ravensburger with solid backing and no fraying. The image reproduction is excellent. The non-reflective coating is also a plus. The finish is seamless but doesn’t lay as flat as it might. The boxes are basic and contain nothing but the bag of pieces. In terms of their image catalog, they carry a good number of puzzles. If you like photographic landscapes, cityscapes, or collage puzzles, you’ll likely find something to add to your wish list from the Trefl brand. They don’t carry any commissioned images, “puzzle plus” type puzzles, or holiday images and only have a few puzzles in the illustration, fantasy, and fine art categories. However, they do offer some larger 3000 and 4000 piece count puzzles.

 

1. BOX  —  7/10

How deluxe does the box looks and feel? Is it sturdy? Will it hold up over time?  How nicely does it arrange on the shelf?

The Trefl box is rectangular and about the same size as Euro puzzles boxes, such as Ravensburger and Jumbo. The size is 10.5″x16″.

Front:

The front of the box has a simple and basic design. The focus is on the puzzle image. The title of the puzzle and artist’s name are not shown on the front, but are only given in fine print on one side of the box. The box top and bottom are sturdy and should hold up well over time.

Trefl_GreatDreams_box1

Side:

I like the look of the sides with the half moon curves. The Trefl logo is nice and prominent, and we get a detail close-up of the image and the piece count. A group of Trefl puzzles would look good shelved vertically with the short side out. However, I would have liked to have seen the puzzle title, “Great Dreams” provided on all four sides. The name of the artist is only on one side in fine print. The date of manufacture is not given.

Trefl_GreatDreams_box3b Trefl_GreatDreams_box3a Trefl_GreatDreams_box3d Trefl_GreatDreams_box3c

Back:

Trefl_GreatDreams_box2

The back of the box is common to all Trefl boxes and talks about the brand.  In English it says:

First column: “Tradition and Modernity. We have been manufacturing our jigsaw puzzles since 1985. Thanks to our experience and constantly increasing offer, we have become one of the most recognized puzzle brand both in Europe and worldwide. Trefl-branded puzzles are produced in a polish factory exclusively. Trefl company is located in Aglomeration of Gdansk, Gdynia and Sopot, which is one of the most dynamic growing area in Poland. Our collections combine both tradition and modernity.”

Second column: “We Connect Generations. We create for Children, their Parents and Grandparents. Piecing together jigsaw puzzles is a perfect way of having a great time together with the family and friends. It strengthens interpersonal ties, provides relaxation, enhances powers of observation, concentration as well as precision.”

Third column: “Quality. Our high quality materials and state-of-the-art machinery provide premium quality products. Premium quality is achieved by using appropriate thick cardboard, a special non-reflective layer, and puzzle pieces perfect fitting. We also cooperate with best artists. Last but not least, we use environment-friendly materials while producing our products.”

Final Score for the Box Exterior:  

The box exterior scored decently. I deducted points for a generic bottom, a lack of prominence in the puzzle title and artist name, and missing date of publication. Overall score is 7.

JJ_Trefl_boxExt

2.  INSIDE THE BOX:  7/10

How deluxe are the internal goodies (such as posters or brochures)?  When you remove the pieces is there puzzle dust, pieces stuck together, hanging chads, and places where the image has begun to separate from the backs?

The box came with the bag of puzzle pieces and nothing else. As you can see, there’s quite a bit of wasted space in a box this size.

Trefl_GreatDreams_box4

The bag of puzzle pieces was in good condition. The pieces were fully separated and undamaged. There was no image lift or bent knobs.

Trefl_GreatDreams_box5

There was some puzzle dust in the bag, as you can see below. This was left on my JigBoard cover after I dumped the pieces out and sorted them.

Trefl_GreatDreams_custr

FINAL SCORE: 

JJ_Trefl_boxInt

3. PIECE THICKNESS:  9/10

How thick are the pieces compared to other brands? How does a piece feel in your hand? How easily are pieces damaged or bent during assembly and separation?

We use Ravensburger as our ‘benchmark brand’ for good quality thickness and density in puzzles. We compared Trefl to Ravensburger head to head, as you can see below.  The Trefl piece is slightly less thick, but not by a large amount. Further, the Trefl piece is densly packed with very smooth cut edges and no fraying. So I’ve deducted only 1 point for being a little thinner than Ravensburger.

JJ_Trefl_Thickness

FINAL SCORE:

High marks for this category.

JJ_Trefl_ThicknessScore

4. PIECE SIZE AND SHAPE:  8/10

Are the pieces standard shapes? Special shapes? How much variety do they have? Are they large or small?

The Trefl piece cut is a very standard grid-cut. It has a fairly decent mix of shapes (two-knob-two-hole, 3-knob-one-hole, etc). However, the knob and hole sizes are close in size and the sides aren’t slanted by much, so the piece shapes are more straight-forward than creative. As I assembled the two puzzles for this comparison, there were times when a piece appeared to fit, but then later, when I tried to attached adjoining pieces, it was clear the piece didn’t fit there after all. This comes from having a fairly uniform cut with pieces that are quite similar to each other. It wasn’t a frequent or particularly frustrating issue in the case of the puzzles I tested.

Trefl_GreatDreams-CU5

The piece size is slightly smaller than Ravensburger. If you’re used to larger pieced brands such as White Mountain or Springbok, the pieces will likely feel quite small to you.

JJ_Trefl_Size

Trefl_GreatDreams_WIP2

FINAL SCORE:

I deducted a point for the pieces being on the small side. I also deducted a point for a pretty basic grid cut with some variety in the piece shapes.

JJ_Trefl_shapescore

5. PIECE FIT:  7/10

Do pieces interlock well? Can it be confusing if a piece fits or not?  Can you move groups of pieces together? Does it look snug when it’s done?

The piece interlock on this puzzle is what I would call average tightness. You can move small groups of pieces that are assembled around, but only with great care. If you try to pick up the puzzle without gluing it first, it will fall apart (like most brands). On the plus side, the puzzle is not so loose that it falls apart when you accidentally nudge it with your arm or body while leaning over the table. So… average.

The finish is not as smooth and flat as some. As you can see in the close-up below, even after smoothing the puzzle down with your hands, some edges are slightly raised.

Trefl_Winter-CU2

Looking at the completed puzzle, you can see the cut but it’s not hugely distracting from the picture.

Trefl_GreatDreams_main

FINAL SCORE:

The piece fit score got a dinged in a few areas–needing great care to move a group of assembled pieces, some edges sticking up a bit in the final puzzle, and a few pieces appearing to fit where they didn’t (due to many pieces being quite similar in shape).

JJ_Trefl_FitScore

6. IMAGE REPRODUCTION: 10/10

Are the colors bright and vivid? Is the image sharp or feel like a bad Xerox? How is the finish/texture on the pieces?. 

The image reproduction is really good on the two puzzles I tested. Very crisp detail. You can see in the girl’s hair below how fine the detail is.

Trefl_GreatDreams-CU8

Also the colors are bright and true and not overblown. The darks don’t get too dark.

Trefl_Winter-CU1

 

The box mentions that the Trefl brand has a non-reflecting coating and I would agree with this. I didn’t notice any issues with reflection or glare from overhead lights.

FINAL SCORE:

Full marks for this category.

JJ_Trefl_ImageScore

7. IMAGE VARIETY:  9/10

Does the brand have a wide variety of fun images and good artists?

Trefl3-in-one

Above: “Afternoon Idyll” 4000 pieces, “Fantasy Collage” 1000 pieces, “Muffins” 1000 pieces. (click for a closer view)

Trefl has a good-sized catalog of images. They carry a lot of photographic landscape/cityscape puzzles. I’d say that’s the bulk of their catalog. But they also offer a little fine art, fantasy, collage, painted landscapes, and animals. They have larger puzzles as well, up to 4000 pieces. You can see their entire adult catalog here.

Most or all of their images appear to be licensed images. They don’t have anything that looks commissioned or is part of a special series or is a ‘puzzle plus’ concept like wasgij, what if?, mystery, or spot the differences.

FINAL SCORE:

Trefl’s catalog has some nice images, especially if you like photographic landscape puzzles or food collages. But there isn’t really anything you don’t see elsewhere. I didn’t deduct a lot from their score, other than a point for being on the bland side. But they also missed out on many extra points that companies like Ravensburger, Gibson, Jumbo, White Mountain, Sunsouts, etc. earn for having great illustrative artists and offering more interesting commissioned images. There’s also a sad lack of holiday images of any kind in the Trefl catalog.

JJ_Trefl_VarietyScore

WHERE TO FIND:

Trefl is out of Poland, so they can be hard to find in the US, but Puzzle Warehouse has a good selection of Trefl puzzles.

SUMMARY: 57 points

The Polish brand Trefl is a solid mid-level brand. Their puzzles have a standard grid cut with basic grid piece shapes. The pieces are a little on the small size but almost as thick as Ravensburger with solid backing and no fraying. The image reproduction is excellent. The non-reflective coating is also a plus. The finish is seamless but doesn’t lay as flat as it might. The boxes are basic and contain nothing but the bag of pieces. In terms of their image catalog, they carry a good number of puzzles. If you like photographic landscapes, cityscapes, or collage puzzles, you’ll likely find something to add to your wish list from the Trefl brand. They don’t carry any commissioned images, “puzzle plus” type puzzles, or holiday images and only have a few puzzles in the illustration, fantasy, and fine art categories. However, they do offer some larger 3000 and 4000 piece count puzzles.

YOU CAN DOWNLOAD OUR TREFL ASSESSMENT AS A PDF HERE

 

JJ