The Scroll Extreme 9.7” Tablet PC may not have a catchy moniker, or a spec sheet to make your jaw drop, but it is cheap...
Created by UK-based tech brand Storage Options, the Scroll Extreme 9.7" Tablet PC isn’t likely to worry the likes of the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime at the upper echelons of the Android 4.0 top table, or even rival the Acer Iconia Tab A200 for mid-level shelf space but, at a couple of pennies less than £180, and running Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box – it’s a tablet that can’t be ignored
Scroll Extreme : Build
At first glance you’d be forgiven for mistaking the Scroll Extreme with a certain other tablet. To call it an iPad-clone would be understating it. An original iPad that is. Okay, so it’s not quite as chunky at an acceptable 9.9mm but there’s no getting away from that almost identical brushed silver backing and the fact that it sports a 9.7-inch, 4:3 aspect ratio display with a thick black bezel.
Unlike the iPad though, there’s a merriment of port activity with no fewer than six sockets for you to explore, including microSD, mini HDMI, Micro USB and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Despite its obvious lack of originality the Scroll is still a nice looking machine with a build quality that exceeds its lowly cost.
Scroll Extreme: Screen
It’s only once you fire up the Scroll Extreme that you get your first real taste of the 'budget' flavour. The 9.7-inch, 1024 x 768, IPS display is more than acceptable for the monetary outlay but that doesn’t make its disappointing demeanour any easier to take.
It’s lifeless, with dull colours and is overly glossy. Viewing angles aren’t great and it doesn’t hold up well under bright lights. Thankfully, it’s capacitive and the multitouch response is okay.
Scroll Extreme: Usability
At 620g it’s not the sveltest tablet in town but it’s no chubster either. It’s curved edges make it easy to hold and, as mentioned, there are a multitude of connectivity options – although we’re not really sure what the double Micro USB is for. We couldn’t mount the Scroll Extreme as an explorable drive and charging is only capable using the supplied DC adaptor.
8GB of storage isn’t too bad – although you’ll probably have to make use of the microSD expansion if you want to store HD content.
There’s a 2-megapixel camera on the back which, weirdly, seems to be placed at the bottom when the Extreme is in its natural portrait position. We’re not sure Storage Options should have even bothered though; the test shots we took were some of the worst we’ve ever seen from a mobile device this side of 2005. There’s a VGA camera on the front that does the job for video calling.
Scroll Extreme: Performance
Powered by a Cortex A8 1.2GHz, Mali-400 dualcore processor, the Scroll Extreme is surprisingly nippy and handles itself pretty well with graphics-hungry games and HD video.
You may get the odd bit of lag when switching between homescreens or firing up apps but, on the whole, it’s a pleasant experience. Crashes are quite regular, however – let’s hope a software update sorts this out soon.
Worshipers of the Church of Android will be pleased to hear that Ice Cream Sandwich has been left in its natural state, just as God, sorry – Google, intended.
Scroll Extreme: Battery
There’s big battery life thanks to the substantial 7800mAH on board. You’ll comfortably get between 10 and 15 hours of regular use from it, and days of standby.
In our HD movie streaming stress test it lasted over seven hours before giving up.
Scroll Extreme: Verdict
In the ever growing battleground of the budget-tablet, The Scroll Extreme 9.7” Tablet PC holds a pretty nifty ace card up its sleeve. By offering Ice Cream Sandwich right out of the box, it means the most up-to-date Android experience - pretty much beating all of its cheapo competitors hands down.
And remember, at present it’s an experience that you can’t currently get from the likes of Samsung and Motorola in tab-form.
It’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination but, if you’re looking for a competent multimedia performer, are a fan of the native Android experience and you don’t want to dip too deeply into your savings then Storage Options may just have the, er, option for you with the Scroll Extreme.
Scroll Extreme availability: Available now
Scroll Extreme price: £180
Review by Paul Lamkin