Electrovaya SC3000 Tablet PC Review

Sunday, September 25, 2005

The Electrovaya Scribbler SC3000 Premium is a true "writing slate" style computer which runs on Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005. Based on Windows XP Professional, but with significant usability enhancements such as pen and speech input, this operating system has been billed for at least a few years as a glimpse at the future of personal computing.

According to a recent news story posted on this site, Tablet PC use in Canada has grown twenty percent. Maybe it is something in the water up here, but I have to admit to liking these things myself. I have reviewed a couple of tablet in the past and using each was a delightful experience. I won't go into the why's and why not's of the platform too much in this article. Suffice it to say if you have not played around with a Tablet PC you really owe it to yourself to test one out.

Recently we worked with Electrovaya's top of the line Scribbler SC3000 Tablet PC for a few weeks. Electrovaya is a company that has really staked a claim in the emerging Tablet PC market. They know the platform well, so when the FedEx man delivered our review unit I was anxious to get started.

The Scribbler is a uniquely designed computer and Electrovaya is clearly betting that the Tablet form factor will find its market. Right off the bat, we can say that someone who likes the form factor will like the Scribbler. It is a pretty good performer in a well-constructed package.

Out-of-the-box, the Scribbler comes with a lot of goodies in the Premium configuration. The included keyboard, wire stand, and folio case are nice touches. But I would gladly forego some of the extras here in order to have an optical drive. Its nice to have this much stuff in the box, but you pay for it and it isn't quite as useful as an optical drive would be. Sure, external optical drives are cheap, but should you really have to buy one separately? I feel the same way about Electrovaya skimping on a bundled virus scanner.

Electrovaya differentiates its products through innovative design. In the case of the Scribbler a cursory glance at the spec sheet reveals an uninspiring assortment of parts. This might disappoint some people who believe that they need to have the fastest CPU, but think about the market at which this device is targeted. An ideal Scribbler user would be someone who wants a quiet, cool-to-the-touch machine that they can carry around and use all day. For this person, I don't think that the internal specs will be a deal breaker. Maybe I am wrong, but keep in mind that I am someone who loves his 800 MHz Apple PowerBook, so your take on the Scribbler's performance might be different than mine.

A base version is available without some of the extras included in the Premium package. Electrovaya has an online configurator that might make it easier for you to find a combination that works for you.

The Scribbler gets "very good" grades, it is great at what it was designed to do. As a pen-based computer you can use it all day, carry it with you, and it won't distract you with heat or noise. And with a little tweaking of the price and bundle - it could earn it "excellent" marks. Heck, my concerns may not even bother some folks, so keep that in mind.

Pros:

  • Unique form-factor and good ergonomics
  • Good screen
  • Biometric security
  • Battery life
  • Lack of heat
  • Looks cool


Cons:

  • Software bundle not worth '$300' and lacks virus scan
  • Might be too expensive given the above point