Storage Options Scroll Extreme 9.7-inch tablet £180
27th Jun 2012 | 08:30
Ice Cream Sandwich action on a budget
The Scroll Extreme 9.7-inch Tablet PC may not have the slickest name, or an awe inspiring spec sheet, but its modest price-tag makes it a viable option for anyone looking for a cheap ticket to the Ice Cream Sandwich party for between £180 and £200.
At first glance you'd be forgiven for confusing the Scroll Extreme with a certain other tablet; it's almost a double for the iPad. It's a fairly slim 9.9mm, but there's no mistaking that brushed silver backing and the fact that it sports a 9.7-inch, 4:3 aspect ratio display with a thick black bezel.
Unlike Apple's original tablet, there's a plethora of port activity going on, with no fewer than six sockets for you to explore. And it's a nice looking machine with a build quality that exceeds its lowly cost.
It's only once you boot up the Extreme that you get the first real taste of the 'budget' flavour. The 1024 x 768 IPS LCD display is more than acceptable for the money but that doesn't make its disappointing demeanour any easier to take. It's lifeless, with dull colours, and it's overly glossy. Viewing angles aren't great and it doesn't hold up well under direct sunlight. Thankfully, it is capacitive and the multi-touch response is okay.
At 620g it's not the sveltest slate we've seen but it's no slab either, and its curved edges make it pleasing to hold. 8GB of onboard 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 but we're not sure why the manufacturer even bothered; the test shots we took were some of the worst we've seen from a mobile device this side of 2005. There's a VGA camera on the front that does the job for video conferencing.
Strong ARM tactics
Powered by an ARM Cortex A8 1.2GHz dual-core CPU, the Scroll Extreme is surprisingly nippy and handles itself pretty well. You may get a bit of lag when switching between homescreens or loading up apps but, on the whole, it's a decent experience.
Crashes are quite regular, however - let's hope a software update sorts this out soon. Ice Cream Sandwich has been left in its natural state, just as Google intended, and battery life is fantastic thanks to the substantial 7,800mAH on board. You'll comfortably get between 10 and 15 hours' regular use of it, and days of standby.
In the ever-growing battle ground of the budget tablet, the Scroll holds a pretty slick ace card up its sleeve.
By offering Android 4.0 out of the box, it beats most of its competitors on the OS front. 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 into your savings, then the Scroll Extreme may be the tablet for you.