A 7in tablet with a price tag likely to entice those curious keen to try out the apparent attractions of tablets without paying a premium for the privilege, the Scroll costs around £100. As with the HTC Flyer, it runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread, rather than the made-for-tablets Honeycomb OS. The screen icons are therefore rather large and the interface less sophisticated than on most of the contenders here. However while the price is very compelling, the 256MB RAM allocation and interface leave much to be desired.
The Scroll sits in a solid aluminium case and tips the scales at 440g, but feels much more than 30g heavier than the Playbook. It is powered by a 1GHz Telechips processor and has 2GB of flash memory to draw upon, with supplementary storage possible via a microSD card. You don’t need to rely on touchscreen buttons for everything. The Scroll has a volume rocker and external power buttons. There’s also a TF (trans-flash aka microSD) card slot for importing music and photos, a non-powering mini USB port and an HDMI out port. Helpfully, the array of ports is discreetly labelled on the back, too.
There are even physical Home, Back and Menu buttons on the front. These are embedded in a blacked-out and rather deep non-functional area, leaving a small widescreen display. The resistive touchscreen attracts greasy fingerprints more than most and the limited memory allocation means it can take an age for the Scroll to respond to your input. Even simple stuff such as typing in a web address and browsing pages on a site is trickier than it should be. In landscape the onscreen keypad displays character keys as long thin strips – not ideal for accuracy. Switching to portrait mode really confuses the Scroll.
Accessing content and using apps on the Scroll isn’t much better. Angry Birds Rio came preinstalled, but didn’t play properly, while loading up popular lightweight apps such as Twitter client Tweetdeck caused the screen to blank out for ages. The screen resolution is fuzzy – even the favicon for the BBC home page doesn’t display properly. And the volume buttons operate in the opposite way from to most. Turning up the sound results in the tablet vibrating, which is quite a surprise given its bulletproof metal construction. The software also seems poorly coded – pressing the plasticky Back button within the App menu took us to a web page.
We really wish Storage Options had paid attention to ensuring the usability of the Scroll, as the hardware has potential and the inclusion of an HDMI-out port for hooking it up to a large-screen TV is appealing. Unfortunately, barely anything we tried on the Scroll worked with any degree of satisfaction. If you’d like to spend £100-£150 on a tablet, we suggest you look instead to the 7in Creative Ziio (with 8GB onboard and a price tag of £130, it’s a far better deal) or choose a Kindle instead.