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Storage Options Scroll review

Verdict

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

Review Date: 11 Jul 2011

Reviewed By: Jonathan Bray

Price when reviewed: £133 (£160 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
2 stars out of 6

Features & Design
3 stars out of 6

Value for Money
2 stars out of 6

Performance
2 stars out of 6

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.

Author: Jonathan Bray

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