Storage Options Scroll review

11 Jul 2011

The specs look good and so does the price, but this tablet is slow, sluggish and generally horrible to use. Avoid

Price when reviewed 
160
2

Unlike the 10in variety, quality 7in Android tablets have been thin on the ground. The best so far have been the Samsung Galaxy Tab, now available for a reasonable £260, and the HTC Flyer with its innovative stylus. Storage Options hopes to change all that with the Scroll.

On paper, the Scroll bears quite a few similarities to the Samsung and HTC devices. It doesn’t run Honeycomb – just the smartphone specific Android 2.3 – and neither does it sport a dual-core processor, instead sticking with a single-core 1GHz ARM-based chip, backed up with 256MB of RAM and 2GB of integrated storage.

Storage Options Scroll

The chassis is reasonably nice: all matte-finish aluminium, topped with a multitouch capacitive touchscreen, which is unusual. In this price bracket, tablet owners usually have to make do with cheaper resistive touchscreens. There's also an HDMI output, another out-of-the-ordinary inclusion, plus 2GB of built-in storage and a microSD slot so you can add up to 32GB extra.

If it had been reasonably responsive under the finger, we’d be feeling quite excited by now. But we’re not, and the reason is that the Scroll is a horrible tablet to use. It’s slow and sluggish, and after about an hour of stuttering web page scrolling, sticky menus and typing on a keyboard as responsive as a hibernating hedgehog, we felt we’d rather stab ourselves in the eye with a sharp pencil than pick up the Scroll and continue using it.

Just look at the benchmark figures. In Quadrant the Scroll failed to achieve any kind of score; the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark completed in a very slow 22,766ms; and it took, on average, 26 seconds to load the BBC homepage over a fast Wi-Fi connection. Normally we’d advise owners of older, slower Android devices to install Opera Mini to mitigate this sort of issue.

Storage Options Scroll

But even that simple task is tougher than it should be, as the Scroll doesn’t come with Android Market preinstalled. Or at least it doesn’t look like it does: download a third-party app store such as AppBrain or the AndroidPIT App Center, both of which have links to Market-hosted apps, and Android Market magically appears when you tap a Market link. Oddly, after using Market to install several apps in this way, it still didn’t appear in the App drawer, so we couldn’t launch it on its own.

The scroll piles on the disappointment, with a screen measuring just 200cd/m2 at maximum brightness. That’s hardly inspiring: most Android tablets manage at least 300cd/m2 these days. Battery life is better, but again it’s below par. Our looping video test saw the Scroll last 6hrs 15mins; the best Android tablet for battery life – the Motorola Xoom – manages to double that.

All in all, then, we’re not very impressed with the Scroll. Although it looks fine on paper, in practice it’s a truly horrid device to use: too slow, too sluggish and too limited in its software. If you want a cheap 7in tablet, the £150 Creative ZiiO 7in (even with its resistive screen) is a far better bet than this.

Detail

Price ex VAT £133
Price inc VAT £160
Warranty 1 yr return to base
Overall rating 2
Performance 2
Features & Design 3
Value for Money 2

Physical

Dimensions 131 x 13 x 202mm (WDH)

Display

Primary keyboard On-screen
Screen size 7.0in
Resolution screen horizontal 800
Resolution screen vertical 480
Panel technology TFT

Battery

Battery capacity 3,400mAh

Core specifications

CPU frequency, MHz 1,000MHz
Integrated memory 2.0GB
RAM capacity 256MB

Camera

Camera megapixel rating 0.3mp
Built-in flash? no
Built-in flash type N/A
Front-facing camera? yes
Video capture? yes

Other

WiFi standard 802.11g
Bluetooth support no
Integrated GPS no
Accessories supplied Stereo earbuds
Upstream USB ports 0
HDMI output? yes
Video/TV output? no

Software

Mobile operating system Android 2.3