Electrovaya Scribbler SC3100 Tablet PC – Our Full Review

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The Electrovaya Scribbler SC3100 Tablet PC is a compact, lightweight slate that incorporates unique features. An upgrade from the SC3000 model, the SC3100 boasts a new BOE Hydis display with a 180 degree viewing angle and a faster processor. Another plus is the custom option for a 120GB hard drive for those users who need to store a lot of data.

Specs:

Processor

Intel Centrino M–LV Processer

 

CPU Speed

1.6 GHz with 2MB L2 Cache

 

Chipset

Intel GMS915

 

Graphics

128 MB Intel GMCH-M915GMS Graphics Controller

 

Hard Drive

60 GB, 5400 RPM (upgradeable to 120 GB)

 

System Memory

512 MB (upgradeable to 1280 MB)

 

PC Card Controller

PCMCIA x 1

 

Audio

AC-97 Rev2.3 24 bit card complaint, integral Sisonic Silicon full duplex Mic x 2 (Mic Array)

 

Display

12.1″ XGA TFT BOE Hydis
(180 degree viewing angle)

 

Digitizer

WACOM PWB-A560-A

 

Fingerprint Sensor

AuthenTec AES3500 TruePrint Sensor

 

Networking

Built-in IEEE 1394, Intel 802.11a/b/g, 10/100/1000 Ethernet, 56K V.92 Modem

 

Power Management

Sleep and Hibernation

 

Power Mgmnt Modes

ACPI 2.0 Compatible

 

Light Sensor

Automatic

 

LED Indicators

Power On/Off
HDD Activity
Battery Status
Wi-Fi Connectivity

 

 

 

 

External Connectors

AC/DC Power Jack
USB 2.0 x2
VGA Out
IEEE1394
Headphone Output x1
Microphone Input x1
Infrared SMC IrCC
RJ-45
RJ-11
PCMCIA slot
Keyboard/Mouse Base
Docking Station

 

 

 

 

MIC

Dual Array Microphone System

 

Speaker

Internal x2

 

Buttons

Power On/Off
Rotate Screen Layout
Windows Security/Task Manager
Windows Start Menu toggle
Windows Journal – Open New
On-screen Keyboard toggle
Escape (Esc)
Function for Tablet Buttons
Wireless
Direction Ball + Enter

 

 

 

 

Stylus

Wacom Digitizer enabled (battery NOT required)

 

 

 

 

Battery Pack

Hot Swappable SuperPolymer Lithium-ion 75 Whr

 

Battery Charging Time

5 hours 15 min (Computer off mode)

 

Dimension

Keyboard/Mouse detached: 11.96″ x 9.16″ x 0.75″
Keyboard/Mouse attached: 11.96″ x 9.17″ x 1.00″

 

 

 

 

Weight

Keyboard/Mouse detached: 3.5 lbs
Keyboard/Mouse attached: 4.5 lbs

 

 

 

 

Operating System

Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition




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A “Gadget” of Practicality


Getting down to business (and the Scribbler is great for just that), there are some very unique features that make the Electrovaya SC3100 exude the very essence of coolness. In some respects this device comes straight out of a James Bond film. The Scribbler SC3100 is a significantly practical Tablet PC, yet it’s innovative design lends hints of ingenious engineering in the mobile space. This model is the first slate tablet I have worked with that incorporates all the necessary input devices I could want, but packs up into a nice sturdy and compact 4.5 lb. bundle.


Build & Design

The Scribbler SC3100 is encased in an almost “space age” type of plasic that feels rock solid. A reflective “off white” colored paint covers the entire unit providing an attractive yet professional look. The hardware buttons are easy to press and feel like they are built to last. Although the snap on keyboard and touchpad are very slim, they hold up just fine when used on a flat surface, but placing the device on your lap like a notebook does not work very well. If a user was to use a “lap desk” with a flat surface, then this type of setup would work just fine.

The SC3100’s design is unlike most any tablet you’ll see. The super thin keyboard doubles as a protective cover for the display. The touchpad also snaps into a designated space behind the keboard keys. An innovative plastic “stand” is built into the keyboard to safely support the slate itself and is accompanied by two latches that grab onto the side to seat the display firmly in place. The ports, indicator lights and hardware buttons are placed in appropriate areas. Overall the design of the SC3000 provides the user with a comfortable computing experience.



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The “left” edge of the SC3100 has a powered USB port, modem and LAN jacks and a PCMCIA slot


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The “top” edge has the AC in jack, USB, VGA out, firewire (IEEE1394), headphone and mic jacks, IR port and a Kensington lock


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Underside: The long flat “superpolymer” battery, hard drive, RAM slot and fan vent



Display


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The most notable upgrade to the SC3100 is a new BOE Hydis display which offers a 180 degree viewing angle. Sharing work on this screen with a colleage who is off to the side is no problem with the extra visibility of this display. The screen brightness is about 85% of what you’d see on the Toshiba or Acer convertible Tablet PC’s. On the flip side, this display is noticeably brighter than the Fujitsu ST5000 series slate Tablet PC. As a whole, the highest brightness setting seems just perfect for most any indoor lighting situation. Users who plan to use the SC3100 outdoors should opt for the Indoor/Outdoor screen option.

The outermost layer of the lcd is slightly textured, allowing some slight traction on the writing surface. The electromagnetic screen is very responsive to the pen and the sensitivity is balanced across the entire writing surface. The backlight illuminates the display evenly and the color saturation is excellent. The texture on these displays provides the user with a better writing experience, but this comes at a compromise for exceptional screen clarity. The SC3100 display is definitely more of a industry standard tablet-like display than the more consumer-oriented shiny displays found on the Acer C200 and older Averatec C3500 models. The 1024×760 resolution is adequate for the 12.1″ display size. Although some users may prefer a higher resolution, this opens up a whole new can of worms when we are talking about a 12″ display that functions as a writing surface as well as a screen.


Speakers

Electrovaya provides stereo speakers on this model. The speakers are about as good as it gets for those typically integrated into notebooks and Tablet PC’s. While the sound quality is much brighter than what you’d hear from a set of Altec Lansing satellite speakers, the volume is good and audio emerges with a clear and crisp quality.


Processor and Performance Benchmarks

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.

We used SuperPI to calculate the number Pi to 2 Million digits in this raw number crunching benchmark. This open source benchmark application allows the user to change the number of digits of Pi that can be calculated from 16 Thousand to 32 Million. The benchmark, which uses 19 iterations in the test, was set to 2 Million digits.

Comparison of tablet/notebook models using Super Pi to calculate Pi to 2 million digits (plugged in):

 Notebook Time to Calculate Pi to 2 Million Digits
Electrovay Scribbler Tablet PC
(1.6GHz Alviso LV Pentium M)
1m 58s
Toshiba R15 Tablet PC (1.6GHz Dothan PM) 2m 8s
ThinkPad X41 Tablet PC (1.5GHz Alviso LV PM) 2m 3s
Fujitsu ST5000 (1.1GHz Dothan PM) 2m 37s
HP tc4200 (1.73GHz Alviso PM) 1m 51s


We used Futuremark’s PCMark ’04 benchmarking softare to measure the SC3100’s performance in various tasks.

Performance Benchmarks for the Electrovay Scribbler SC3100 (1.6GHz) compared to the Satellite R15 (1.60GHz) notebook (simulating multiple computing tasks):

Futuremark PCMark04 Scores Electrovaya Scribbler SC3100 (Alviso LV 1.6GHz) Toshiba Satellite R15 (Dothan 1.6GHz)
Multithreaded Test 1 / File Compression 3.1 MB/s 3.08 MB/s
Multithreaded Test 1 / File Encryption 23.0 MB/s 23.84 MB/s
Multithreaded Test 2 / File Decompression 20.8 MB/s 20.39 MB/s
Multithreaded Test 2 / Image Processing 9.46 MPixels/s 9.49 MPixels/s
Multithreaded Test 3 / Virus Scanning 1674.23 MB/s 1602.26 MB/s
Multithreaded Test 3 / Grammar Check 2.34 KB/s 2.42 KB/s
File Decryption 47.51 MB/s 47.32 MB/s
Audio Conversion 2175.58 KB/s 2186.68 KB/s
Web Page Rendering 5.01 Pages/s 4.73 Pages/s
DivX Video Compression 41.55 FPS 42.84 FPS
Physics Calculation and 3D 82.83 FPS N/A
Graphics Memory – 64 Lines 361.39 FPS N/A
3DMark ’03 Score N/A N/A



Our review unit has a 60GB 5400 RPM Toshiba hard drive. As mentioned in the overview, Electrovaya offers a configuration for the Scribbler SC3100 with a large 120GB drive. Below are the results for the HD Tune performance benchmarks.




(Input) Keyboard, Touchpad and Pen


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The super thin keyboard is actually a pleasure to use. Although the keys make a “clicky” sound, the keyboard is solid and responsive. The snap-in touchpad is basic (with no scrolling functionality) and includes two mouse buttons. Scrolling can be easily achieved using the “trackpoint” type of controller the is located along the side of the display on the slate body. The pen requires no batteries and is comfortable in hand. (note: the Electrovaya SC3100 is a Wacom “Penabled” Tablet PC which provides the best writing experience).

please note: the SC3100 also has dual array mic’s on the front of the slate body. Speech recognition works great with this mic system. Even with the initial training session, the SC3100 was surprisingly accurate in recognizing my dictation.


Security



The SC3100 includes a biometric fingerprint reader. This is by far the best reader I have used yet. There is no “swiping” involved to use this reader. Simply place any enrolled finger on the reader surface and it reads quickly and accurately. We tested the reader with three “unenrolled” users and they could not fool the scanner. This extra feature not only provides the owner with a extra confidence in protection of sensitive data, but also improves the user experience by replacing the need for tedious retyping of  passwords when used in conjunction with the OmniPass software.


Battery

We stress tested the 75 watt hour lithium ion SuperPolymer battery. With the Wi-Fi turned on, the hard drive constantly reading/writing and the CPU busy making calculations, the SC3100 made it through 3 hours and 24 minutes. Real world runtime seems to be in the ballpark of 4.5 to 5 hours.

We experienced issues with charging the battery while the computer is in use. This is terribly slow and time consuming. We recommend that users plan to charge this unit overnight and with typical use, this tablet should make it through most of the workday without being connected to an AC outlet.

System Info
Manufacture
Model
ModelEx
OS Windows XP Service Pack 2
CPU Info
CPU Manufacture Intel Corporation
CPU Model Intel(R) Pentium(R) M processor 1.60GHz
CPU Frequency ~598Mhz
CPU Extensions | MMX | SSE2 | Enchanted SpeedStep
CPU Cache Info
Level 1 Instructions 32
Level 1 Data 32
Level 2 Data 2048
System RAM info
Total Memory: 759Mb
Memory slots 0 ( )
Display Device Info
Adapter Mobile Intel(R) 915GM/GMS,910GML Express Chipset Family
Resolution 1024×768
OpenGL render device Intel 915GM
OpenGL driver version 1.4.0 – Build 4.14.10.4250
Vertex shader version 0.0
Pixel shader version 2.0
Hard Disk Drive Info
S.M.A.R.T. Supported and Enabled
HDD Model TOSHIBA MK6026GAX
HDD Serial 559P0300T
HDD FirmWare PA202G
Main Battery Info
Device Name Tablet PC Battery
Manufacture Electrovaya
Serial #
Unique ID ElectrovayaTablet PC Battery
Chemistry Lithium Ion
Temperature Termal Control Not Present
Designed Capacity 32760mWh
Full Charged Capacity 8400mWh
Designed Voltage 648V
Current Voltage 4294967.295V
Manufacture Date 0/0/0
Cycles Count 0
Cells count 180
Force charge support Not Supported
Force discharge support Not Supported
Benchmark results
CPU BEmarks 0
GPU BEmarks 0
RAM BEmarks 0
HDD BEmarks 0
Work Done
Pi calculations 15806 Cycles
HDD readwrite 14063 Mb
Fames Rendered 620070 Frames
Benchmark Options
Resolution 800x600x32
FullScreen Disabled
Mode Classic
Results
Total time 3:24:21
Discharge rate (minimum) 2147483648 mWh
Discharge rate (maximum) 2147483648 mWh
Discharge rate (average) 2147483648 mWh



Software/Operating System

The SC3100 comes preloaded with Corel Grafigo, FarstoneVirtual Drive, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Softex OmniPass Security Software, a trial version of Franklin Covey Tablet Planner, Alias Sketchbook (trial) and Windows Journal.

The operating system is the feature rich Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005. As I have come exceptionally familiar with this flavor of Windows, I find that I feel like I am missing out when using any other Windows XP version! This platform (IMO) is simply the best.


Wireless

The SC3100 includes a built-in Intel Pro Wireless A/B/G mini pci card. The reception is good and we did not experience any “drops” while connected to wireless routers and hot spots. Electrovaya did not include integrated Bluetooth and this will be a disappointment to avid users of Bluetooth devices.


Customer Support/Warranty

Electrovaya offers support 24 hours a day via phone, email, “snail mail” or fax. The Tablet PC warranty is good for a period of twelve (12) months to the original owner. The battery has a warranty for six (6) months. For further information visit the customer support link on the Electrovaya website.


Final Thoughts

The Electrovay Scribbler SC3100 Tablet PC makes a perfect travel companion. This model is a good choice for users or mobile professionals who want a slate Tablet PC, but like the convenience of a touchpad and keyboard available for use at any time. This latest upgrade to the SC3000 offers a great new display and a bit more power, but comes with a minimal cost of battery life. If you are in need of a sturdy and well-equipped slate, the Scribbler SC3100 will make an excellent choice.

 

Pros

  • Innovative and sturdy build quality and design
  • 180 degree viewing angle display 
  • Excellent security via biometric fingerprint scanner 
  • Keyboard, trackpad and slate “snap” together as one compact package

Cons

  • Battery is very slow to charge while computer is powered on
  • No integrated Bluetooth radio

 

Note: The Electrovaya SC3100 is newly released, please check back for pricing information specifically for this model.




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