Electrovaya Scribbler SC4000 Review

by Reads (13,180)

The Electrovaya Scribbler SC4000 is a unique slate. It doesn’t have a keyboard except for on the screen and is targeted toward the vertical market. It runs on a 1.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo ULV processor and has 1GB of RAM. The screen on the SC4000 is beautiful though. There isn’t much graininess and the colors are bright and vivid. Making this the perfect travel companion and great for note-taking in class.


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Electrovaya Scribbler SC4000 specs (price as tested $2,049):

  • Intel Core 2 Duo ULV 1.06GHz processor
  • 1GB RAM, upgradeable to 4GB
  • Intel 945 Express chipset
  • 60GB 5400 rpm hard drive, upgradeable to 160GB
  • 12.1" XGA TFT (1024×768) sunlight readable display with Wacom digitizer
  • 1 x DC-IN Jack
  • 1 x Headphone Jack (3.5mm)
  • 1 x Stereo Mic Jack
  • 2 x USB 2.0 Port
  • 1 x PCMCIA
  • 1 x D-Sub 15 Monitor out
  • 1 x LAN RJ-45
  • Built in 1.3MP web camera
  • Detachable Simple Cradle Connector
  • Bluetooth 2.0
  • 802.11a/b/g wireless
  • Windows Vista Business OS, XP optional
  • Weight: 3.3lbs
  • Dimensions: 12.2” x 9.8” x 0.9”

Design and Build

The SC4000 has a solid design. When I first saw it I thought it would feel cheap, but to my surprise it was lightweight and sturdy. There were no signs of flex and the chassis was solid. The SC4000 has a white bezel that goes around the slate and has a black trimmed screen.


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It hides fingerprints on a good day, but you have to remember it is a touchscreen and since there is no keyboard this gets used a lot. The Scribbler SC4000 reminds me of a text book. It is perfect for taking to class for notes or using in a lab.


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It came with a nice stand, which provides better viewing angles and gives your arm a break from carrying it around. Electrovaya also includes a nice sleeve with the slate for protection. In any case, you can always get the optional keyboard and a mouse to use the Scribbler with its stand as a display.

Display

The 12.1" display on the SC4000 is very nice. It has great viewing angles and the colors are bright and vivid. It even comes with the option of a sunlight viewable screen, which is great if you work outside often. I have to say I am quite impressed by the quality.


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The SC4000 would make a great second display if you need to hook up another notebook. The touchscreen is responsive and accurate as well. Taking notes was easy since the Scribbler has a Wacom digitizer. Even using my finger to navigate was simple. The Scribbler series doesn’t have keyboards, so you have to use the onscreen keyboard or use the pen to write with.

The screen can get full of fingerprints, so be sure to keep a cleaning cloth handy. There isn’t much of a glare to the screen either, so even though it is smaller it is easy to read.

Performance and Benchmark

The SC4000 was peppy. It booted up quickly and I had no problems performing normal tasks like email, Web surfing, taking notes and using Microsoft Office. Getting used to the slate design takes a bit of time, but it performs the same as many of the other ULV Tablet PCs. The Core 2 Duo 1.06GHz processor was fine and would be even better if the Scribbler was running XP instead of Vista and had the upgraded hard drive option.

Comparison Results for PCMark05

PCMark05 measures the systems performance as a whole. The SC4000 did well compared to other tablets with similar specs like the Fujitsu P1620 and the Gateway E-155C.

Notebook PCMark05 Score
Electrovaya Scribbler SC4000 (Intel Core 2 Duo 1.06GHz ULV, Intel 945GMS chipset) 2,299 PCMarks
DRS ARMOR C12 (Intel Core Solo 1.2GHz ULV, Intel 945GMS chipset) 1,606 PCMarks
Motion Computing F5 (Intel Core Solo 1.2GHz, Intel 945GMS chipset) 1,557 PCMarks
Fujitsu LifeBook P1620 (Intel Core 2 Duo 1.2GHz ULV, Intel 945GMS chipset) 2,113 PCMarks
Asus R1E (Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz, GMA 965 chipset) 4,679 PCMarks
Gateway C-140x (Intel Core 2 Duo 2GHz, ATI X2300 HD graphics) 4,342 PCMarks
Fujitsu LifeBook T4220 (Intel Core 2 Duo 2.2GHz, GMA X3100 graphics) 4,171 PCMarks
HP tx2000 (AMD Turion 64 X2 2.3GHz, Nvidia Go 6150 graphics) 3,738 PCMarks
Lenovo ThinkPad X61 (Intel Core 2 Duo 1.6GHz, GMA X3100 graphics) 3,473 PCMarks
Toshiba Portege M700 (Intel Core 2 Duo 2.2GHz, GMA 965 chipset) 3,399 PCMarks
HP tx1000 (AMD Turion X2 2.0GHz, Nvidia Go 6150) 3,052 PCMarks
Lenovo ThinkPad X60t (1.66GHz LV Core Duo) 2,860 PCMarks
Asus R1F (1.66GHz Core Duo, Intel GMA 950 graphics) 2,724 PCMarks
HP Compaq 2710p (Intel Core 2 Duo ULV 1.2GHz, GMA X3100 graphics) 2,453 PCMarks
Fujitsu LifeBook T2010 (Intel Core 2 Duo ULV 1.2GHz, GMA X3100 graphics) 2,334 PCMarks
Gateway E-155C (Intel Core 2 Duo ULV 1.06GHz, Intel GMA 950 graphics) 2,205 PCMarks
Toshiba R400 (Intel Core Duo ULV 1.2GHz, Intel GMA 950 graphics) 2,187 PCMarks

 

Super Pi

In the below results of Super Pi, where the processor is timed in calculating Pi to 2 million digits:

Notebook Time to Calculate Pi to 2 Million Digits
Electrovaya SC4000 (1.06GHz ULV Core 2 Duo) 1m 59s
Dell Latitude XT (1.2GHz ULV Core 2 Duo) 1m 47s
Fujitsu LifeBook P1620 (1.2GHz ULV Core 2 Duo) 1m 49s
Fujitsu LifeBook T4220 (2.2GHz Core 2 Duo) 54s
Gateway C-140x (2GHz Core 2 Duo) 58s
Lenovo ThinkPad X61 (1.6GHz Core 2 Duo) 1m 10s
HP TC4400 Tablet PC (2.0GHz Core Duo) 1m 13s
Asus R1F (1.66GHz Core Duo) 1m 20s
Lenovo ThinkPad X60t (1.66GHz LV Core Duo) 1m 24s
HP tx2000 (2.3GHz AMD Turion 64 X2) 1m 33s
HP Compaq 2710p (1.2GHz ULV Core 2 Duo) 1m 39s
Fujitsu T2010 (1.2GHz ULV Core 2 Duo) 1m 40s
LG C1 (1.2GHz Intel Core Duo) 1m 49s
Gateway E-155C (1.06GHz ULV Core 2 Duo) 1m 58s
IBM ThinkPad X41t (1.5GHz LV Pentium M) 2m 02s
Toshiba R400 (1.2GHz ULV Core Duo) 2m 10s
Dell Latitude D420 (1.06GHz Core Solo ULV) 2m 11s
Fujitsu LifeBook U810 (800MHz Intel A110) 6m 22s

 

HDTune Results

 

Touchscreen

The touchscreen on the SC4000 is very accurate. You can even calibrate it so the response time is faster or slower. You don’t have to push on the screen a million times to start an application. It senses your finger well. However, it is hard to open and close windows with your finger, so the pen comes in handy. Remember if you don’t like navigating with your finger the SC4000 has Bluetooth so you can connect a mouse.


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The pen is basic and plastic. It’s nothing to fancy just like the rest of the Scribbler, but it works just fine. It is great for taking notes. It even has an eraser on the pen, so those mistakes conveniently get wiped away. The pen is accurate and responsive, you really get the "pen-paper" feel when using a slate. The silo for the pen is awkward though and sometimes the pen gets jammed in there, so you have to pry it out.

Ports

When dealing with a slate tablet, you never know what you are going to get. Well, the SC4000 has a good array of ports and you can even get the optional dock for more. It has two USB ports, one headphone and microphone, a docking connector, RJ-45, VGA 15-pin and a PCI Express Card.


Left side view. (view large image)


Front view. (view large image)


Right side view. (view large image)


Top view. (view large image)

Heat and Noise

I didn’t notice any heat when using the SC4000. Yeah you can feel a little warm air coming out the top vent when running benchmarks or really working the machine hard, but that is it. It doesn’t get hot at all. It is nice because some other slate tablets I have reviewed get real hot, just like the ever so popular subnotebooks do. They have the ULV processors that overwork themselves. Not the SC4000 though.


The top of the Scribbler with air vent.(view large image)

The fan is annoying and runs a lot. I noticed it right away and then I couldn’t block it out of my head when I was working. The fan kicks on often and pretty much runs constantly. It sounds like a hair dryer, but I guess it helps keep the SC4000 temperature down, which is a bonus because it allows for comfortable carrying of the slate. No one wants to play hot-potato.

Speakers

The speakers get loud and don’t have much distortion. They aren’t loud like a standard notebook, but average for your typical Tablet PC. The headphone and microphone jacks come in handy when tuning out office noise.

Battery

The battery life on the Scribbler was average. I wasn’t impressed too much. It would be nice to have an extended battery for it. This way when you are on the go, you don’t have to worry about being plugged into the wall. I mean the form factor of the slate makes it great for traveling or taking to class. On Balanced Power setting I was getting about three to three and a half hours. If you punch it up to High Performance, you get closer to two and a half hours.


Back side view of the SC4000 on its stand. (view large image)

Wireless

Electrovaya equipped the SC4000 with 802.11a/b/g. I had no problems connecting to my office or home’s wireless. It picked up a strong signal and stayed connected in areas my Asus R1 gets kicked off, so the signal strength is a plus. The Bluetooth connection is convenient for connecting a wireless keyboard and mouse.

Software

I didn’t notice any bloatware on the SC4000. The review unit I tested had Windows Vista Business and not XP. I didn’t have any problems running benchmarks and was only annoyed by Norton a few times.

Conclusion

After testing out the SC4000 in my office, at home and even outside I have to say overall it is impressive. A little expensive, but it does have a good variety of ports and is portable. The touchscreen is amazing and the colors are bright and bold. No complaints in that department. The battery life was average and an extend battery would really help the mobility of this 3.3lbs tablet. I mean, it doesn’t get hot and is great for taking notes or giving presentations, but you don’t want to be plugged into an outlet all day.

Pros

  • Solid lightweight design
  • Beautiful touchscreen
  • Temperature stays cool even when overworking the processor
  • Comes with nice sleeve and stand

Cons

  • Pen gets stuck in silo
  • Average battery life
  • Expensive $$

Pricing and Availability

For more information on the Scribbler SC4000 check out Electrovaya’s website. This may be the solution for your mobile office needs.

 


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