Tablet PCs have really never taken off. They are a niche item and most people prefer laptops. Hopefully with Electrovaya’s latest round of tablet PCs that might change.
- State-of-the-art SuperPolymer® Lithium-ion 75 Wh battery
- New BOE Hydis 180° viewing angle screen
- Dual Array Microphone System for better quality of sound
- Fast Intel Centrino 1.6 GHz processor with 2MB L2 Cache ensures superior performance, efficiency and power management
- Very bright 12.1 inch Pressure Sensitive Screen
- 128 MB Intel GMCH-M915GMS Graphics Controller
Packed full of features the SC3100 has probably got something for everyone. It even has some things that no one will use. When you first take the Tablet from its box it has its cover attached. When you flip the latch and remove the cover you will actually discover that the cover is also a keyboard. The keyboard attaches to the tablet by lifting up the cradle and setting the tablet on it. Once the tablet is attached, the tablet will take input from the keyboard and also the touchpad that can be attached. Unfortunately, the Tablet can only be attached in one direction. This means you can only use the Tablet wide and not tall.
The Dual Array Microphone System is a way to increase the clarity of the sound that comes out of the Tablet by using both microphones to detect and eliminate environmental sound. This is only used while recording, and not while playing back sound. In the software you can define an angle that you expect your sound to come from. Any sound that is outside that angle is decayed and any sound that is inside the angle is enhanced. The Microphone Array also uses the recognition feature of MS XP TABLET O/S and other third party applications to enhance the accuracy of speech. Dual Array Microphone and Acoustic software also provide echo cancellation and background noise suppression.
The screen, which dominates the entire front of the device, is 12.1″ in size and pressure sensitive. It does not however respond to the touch of your finger. The pen that comes with the Tablet is what is used to interact with the Tablet, and when you have the right software, like a drawing program, the harder you press the thicker the line is. There is also an optional Outdoor Viewable Screen. This screen Enhances the visibility of text and graphics and under direct sunlight the display gets even brighter, rather than becoming washed out. In low light conditions, the display’s front light can be adjusted to enhance viewability. This option costs an additional $289. No matter which screen you get they are powered by a 128 MB Intel Graphics Controller. This is a decent Graphics Controller, but as we will see later it does not have enough power to play modern games at even their lowest settings.
You don’t have a lot of configuration settings with the Tablet PCs. There are only two configurations. Both configurations are powered by the Intel Centrino 1.6 GHz processor. The cheap configuration has only 256MB of system memory and a 40GB hard drive. The more expensive model has 768MB of RAM and a 60GB hard drive. The more expensive model also comes with the Keyboard Stand with Touchpad, Wirestand, and Leatherette Portfolio Case. Those last three things can also be added to the less expensive model.
The front of the tablet is dominated by the screen. Compared to the rest of the tablet it is a massive 12.1 inches. With it taking up so much space there is not much left for anything else except a couple of buttons. Along the top of the tablet is a set of buttons, from left to right they are: Tablet PC Input Panel, Windows Journal, Windows Start Menu, and Windows Task Manager. The Tablet PC Input Panel turns on or off the Tablet PC input panel, Windows Journal opens the Windows Journal application, the other two are self explanatory. In between the task manager and the start menu is a light sensor. This sensor is used to brighten or dim the screen when the lights go on or off. Along the bottom the buttons are: Wireless Network, Function, ESC, Rotate, and Power. At the left of the screen is a set of speakers and in between them is a Fingerprint Recognition Device. On the far right and top and bottom of the tablet are the microphones that are used to record and used in the microphone array.
The bottom of the Tablet is fairly bare. On the left is the large battery, next to that is the latch that unlocks the battery. The bottom has two doors that hide the memory and hard drive. When I open the doors you can see the contents that are below them. To the far right is the only fan that the tablet has.
The right of the tablet holds the power plug, USB port, External Monitor Port, IEEE 1394 Port, Headphone Out, MIC in, and IrDA Port.
The top of the tablet is where you will find another USB Port, a LAN and Modem jack, and a PCMCIA Slot.
The stylus is also very nice. It is sensitive enough that you don’t actually have to touch the screen for it to move the cursor. There is a small button on the side that acts like a right click and the top of the pen can be an eraser for programs that support it.
Performance was very difficult to test on this Tablet for several reasons. First, this is not a performance machine and second the battery was not behaving, so I could not get a full battery test. The SC3100 is powered by a 1.6GHz LV (low voltage) Intel Pentium M CPU. This CPU has a 2MB secondary cache and is numbered by Intel as processor 778.
I did perform one performance test. I loaded on Doom, which was difficult because there is no CD or DVD drive, and ran a frame rate test. I ran the test several times to be sure and the average frame rate was 4.2. This confirms my original thought that this is not a gaming machine.
To test the battery I loaded on some software that is suppose to drain the battery by performing several different tasks with programs like photoshop, word, outlook and others. The only problem with this test is that the tablet battery would only get a max charge of 95% and would die when the battery got to about 10%. I figure that this particular tablet had been through other tests by other reviewers and the battery had lost some of its power. Even though it had problems I was still able to get about 4 hours of use before the battery ran out. This means with a good battery you could probably get as much as 6 hours.
The biometric fingerprint reader that is built into this tablet is really easy to use. Just start up the fingerprint software and it walks you through enrolling your fingers. You are able to enroll all ten of your fingers. Previous biometric fingerprint readers required you to swipe your finger. This one does not, you simply place your finger on the pad and it reads it.
The keyboard that comes with the Tablet is also used as the cover that protects the tablet screen. The keyboard itself is the same size as a standard laptop keyboard. The keys respond very nicely to light pressure. There is even a built in touchpad that can be attached to either the right or the left side of the keyboard.
Before you use the tablet you will want to make sure that you calibrate the screen. The process is exactly like a PDA and it only requires you to press the tip of the pen in the center of a cross that appears on the screen. After calibrating the screen I noticed that the edge of the screen was slightly off. The cursor would often appear slightly below the place I was putting the pen. I consider this to be a flaw in the screen, but not a flaw that is unique to the scribbler. Every touch screen device I have reviewed has had problems with the edge of the screen. The screen is slightly textured so that you feel like you are actually writing on something with friction rather then slipping across a slick surface. The colors are good and I did not notice any distortion along the edges, which is where most brightness distortion can be found.
The screen is pressure sensitive, but it only responds to the stylus. This is great because you can drag your hand on the screen while you write and you don’t have to worry about it moving the cursor. Using the stylus is simple, just point and push. When you want to do a left click on an icon or button you just press the stylus tip on the screen. If you want to perform a right click hold down the button on the handle and press the tip to the screen. If you have a program that supports it you can also use the button on the top of the stylus as an eraser.
The Tablet that I got already had a few scratches that you can see in the pictures below. These scratches where most notable when you were using the pen in that area and it would catch on the scratch. I would highly recommend that you purchase a screen protector before you start using your tablet. Also it would have been nice if the screen were recessed into the body of the tablet just a little so that a screen protector could be inside the body, this would make it less likely to snag on something and come off. One other thing you will notice with the screen is that the corners are raised. I don’t know if this was on purpose, but I doubt it. The raised corners are a bit annoying, especially when you drag your hand over them.
The Scribbler SC3100 has a pair of stereo speakers. The speakers are similar in quality to speakers you normally find in laptops and Tablet PC’s. They do a fairly good job with speech and some music, but on movies and stuff you only get the high end sounds.
This computer comes with a 2-year limited warranty. This is better than nothing, but could be improved. It would also be better if you could upgrade the warranty. Since this is not an option I have to say that I am disappointed. The battery has a warranty for six (6) months, and after my battery test showed diminished results from a used battery, I can see why they would not offer a longer warranty. Hopefully they will be able to improve the quality of their batteries and warranty offerings.
The Electrovaya Scribbler SC3100 Tablet PC is a good tablet PC. It is great for traveling with and is easy to use in cramped quarters, like an airplane seat, because it is so small. This model is fairly expensive, the high end tablet is retailing for $2342 and the lowend model is $1899. For that price you can get a much more powerful laptop with a much bigger screen. I just recently bought a 17″ Dell laptop with a dual core 1.8GHz CPU, 128MB Radeon GPU, 100GB hard drive and 1GB of ram for about $2000. If you don’t need a tablet I recommend a laptop instead. If you need a tablet be aware that you will pay a premium for one. With a few improvements, lower price, and better hardware, the Scribbler SC3100 will make a great tablet PC, for now it is only ok.
|JusTech'n editors' rating|