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Electrovaya Scribbler SC 2010 Windows XP Tablet Edition Notebook

Posted March 2004 by Lisa Gade, Editor in Chief

If you want to read a brief intro to Windows XP Tablet Edition notebook features and specs, click here. Check out the newest Scribbler model, the SC 2200 here!

Electrovaya is a company that knows power, and their Scribbler SC 2010 will last you longer than any other consumer Windows XP Tablet Edition computer. Electrovaya is known for their work with Lithium Ion batteries and they've made a name for themselves in the XP Tablet market in the past year. The Scribbler 2010 has their own 9,500 mAh (that's huge capacity) SuperPolymer Lithium Ion battery and, as a second generation tablet, offers a fast Centrino processor and a bright, sharp display. It's currently the only tablet to offer a biometric fingerprint scanner for security. The tablet is an attractive and very solidly built product that exudes quality and durability. In March 2005, we reviewed the latest Scribbler, SC 2200 which has a faster processor, and outdoor viewable screen option and an even higher capacity. Do check out that review here.

Electrovaya Scribbler

Left: the cover with the keyboard. Right: the Scribbler SC2010.


Design and Ergonomics

The Scribbler SC 2000 series has a bright, brushed aluminum finish that's attractive and professional looking. The series sports a tablet design and can be held in the same way you'd hold an 8.5" x 11" pad of paper. Unlike convertible tablets, it doesn't have a permanently attached keyboard and standard clamshell notebook design. That doesn't mean that you don't get a keyboard. The SC 2010's .25" thin snap-on cover protects the display for travel and is also a keyboard! When you remove the cover, you'll see a full keyboard underneath. Not only that, you'll find a removable trackpad nestled into the top right corner of the keyboard unit. Remove the trackpad and connect it to either the left or right side of the keyboard's edge for use. Lay the cover keyboard side up on the table, pop up the plastic tablet support assembly and attach the Scribbler to the keyboard. The tablet sits in landscape orientation at an approximate 90 degree angle to the keyboard and table when attached. This design affords some of the benefits of a convertible design while avoiding convertibles' added bulk. While not as stable as a convertible or standard notebook (you can use it on a table, but don't try to use it while carrying it around or lounging in bed) it's great for desk use. The Scribbler also comes with a mini USB keyboard and a wire desktop stand. Users who spend a good deal of time at their desks will appreciate the sturdy stand as well as the ergonomics of the setup: you can change the Scribbler's angle to suit your viewing needs since the stand is adjustable and the keyboard's USB cable allows you to more comfortably locate the keyboard.




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The Scribbler weighs 4.1 lbs with the hybrid cover/keyboard and 3.1 lbs. without. The unit is one of the larger tablets and feels heavier than it really is. The large size and weight allow the unit to have generous 12.1" display and an extremely large battery. If you intend to carry the SC 2010 on your arm all day as you would a pad of paper, your arm may become tired— though this may be less of an issue if you're a strong fella.

Electrovaya Scribbler

The SC2010 docked to the keyboard that's integrated into the cover.



The SC2010 with cover snapped on.


Horsepower and What's Inside

The unit has a 1.2 GHz Centrino Pentium M processor, and Centrino has become the standard for small notebooks in the past 6 months. It's MUCH faster and less power hungry than the Pentium III used in past tablets and older notebooks. In fact it is a bit faster than notebook Pentium 4 processors while using much less power. In terms of performance and power consumption, Centrino is the way to go for non-desktop replacement notebooks. It comes with 512 megs of SDRAM expandable to 1 gig, a 40 gig Toshiba hard drive, built-in WiFi 802.11b using the Centrino Intel Pro Wireless 2100 controller, and a standard RJ45 Ethernet port along with a modem.

The Scribbler is fast, outperforming first generation tablets with Pentium III and Crusoe processors, and even beating other second generation tablets which have slower Centrino processors. Our unit shipped with 512 megs of RAM, and that does improve speed noticeably compared to those with 256 megs of RAM. WIndows XP likes memory, and the Tablet Edition is no exception! The SC2000 line uses standard DDR SODIMMs and can take up to 1 gig of RAM. It has one DIMM slot which comes pre-populated with memory, so you'll need to discard that DIMM to upgrade the tablet.

Built-in 802.11b WiFi worked well and had good range. The unit ships with Intel's networking control panel and we used that to configure and connect to wireless networks. Oddly when we let Windows manage the WiFi connection we had to manually turn on WiFi using the Scribbler's front panel button each time we rebooted and had to tell Windows to connect to our network each time. Intel's control panel allowed us to avoid that inconvenience.

The Scribbler has plenty of ports: two USB 2.0, one 4 pin unpowered FireWire, a type II CardBus PCMCIA slot, 10/100 Ethernet RJ45, RJ11 modem, standard VGA, 3.5mm audio in and audio out jacks and IR. The Scribbler doesn't come with an optical drive or docking station, but those are available separately. The $390 docking station has a DVD/CDRW Combo drive, 1 audio line-out; 1 audio mic line-in, a 10/100 Ethernet port, and 3 USB 2.0 ports. If you don't need a docking station, Electrovaya sells a reasonably priced USB 24X CDROM drive and a floppy drive separately. They currently don't offer an external DVD/CDRW drive, so you'll need to get the docking station or purchase your own optical drive separately.

Display and Sound

The SC2010 has a 12.1" XGA display running at 1024 x 768. As with all XP tablets, it comes with an electromagnetic pen which has a "pen" tip and an eraser. Like the ViewSonic V1250, it has an auto brightness feature that does an excellent job of setting the screen's brightness relative to ambient lighting. The Scribbler has a very good display by XP Tablet standards. While tablet displays aren't as bright, contrasty and sharp as better notebook LCDs, the Scribbler won't send you running back to your traditional notebook. The screen has very good color saturation, sharpness and contrast. Why don't tablets look as good? Because they must have a tough layer on top that can take repeated contact with the pen, and they have a digitizer layer which works in conjunction with the electromagnetic pen. With the proliferation of tablets, technology has improved in leaps and bounds in the past year, and now we have displays that don't make big concessions.

Intel's 855 integrated graphics controller, which is a part of the standard Centrino chipset, drives the display. I've been impressed with this graphics controller, now found on most Centrino notebooks. Though it's an integrated solution that uses 32 megs of shared memory, it has performed well, even for light gaming with recent demanding titles. We didn't test the Scribbler with games since ours didn't come with an optical drive, but it performed well using the included graphics oriented packages and when playing back videos from the web.

Sound is quite good from the stereo speakers and is easy to hear even in somewhat noisy environments. It's certainly good enough for video conferencing and watching web-based movies. Of course, you'll want to use headphones when listening to music or watching DVDs.

Battery Life, Biometric Fingerprint Scanner and Software

Needless to say, the Scribbler will outlast any other consumer tablet. The unit comes with Electrovaya's own 9,500 mAh SuperPolymer Lithium Ion battery. That should last an eight hour work day, while most notebooks will have you reaching for the charger after three hours of use.

If security is your thing (and isn't it always a good idea when using portable computing devices that house sensitive data), you'll be happy to know that the Scribbler has a biometric fingerprint scanner located on the front bezel. If you're familiar with the HP iPAQ 5555 Pocket PC, then you'll feel right at home with the Scribbler's system. If you choose to use biometric security, you'll enroll your fingers (more than one person can be enrolled). You'll swipe your finger across the biometric scanner several times so that the 2010 can recognize and record your fingerprint. You can then designate which finger will be used to authenticate yourself so you can log onto Windows.

The unit comes with Windows XP Tablet Edition, which includes MS Journal, a great virtual pad of paper application. Electrovaya includes full versions of two excellent pen-savvy apps: Alias SketchBook Pro and Corel Grafigo. In addition you get Farstone Virtual Drive and a demo version of Franklin Covey Planner. Electrovaya includes recovery CDs should you need to re-install the OS and applications. They also provide the bundled 3rd party applications on another CD.

The Pen and Voice Experience

Since handwriting recognition, digital ink technology, voice dictation and voice command are built into the operating system, don't expect much variation between competing brands and models. Machines with faster processors will translate handwriting into text more quickly, and might also do a better job of voice recognition. Also, a better built-in mic can help improve voice recognition, but you're really going to need a good quality headset mic if you want to successfully use voice dictation. Why? A good headset mic is always going to be of better quality compared to a built-in mic, and you won't have to worry as much about ambient noise.

Handwriting Recognition and Digital Ink

Handwriting recognition works fairly well . You can use handwriting recognition (HWR) with most any application. It's built into the OS, as is the on-demand on screen keyboard and voice command/voice dictation app. You can write in either print or cursive, and specify the delay before your writing is translated. If you're a Pocket PC user, you can also use the same character recognizer found on Pocket PCs. As noted with other tablets reviewed here, cursive and print writing using the standard input mode worked as well as character recognizer. Cursive writing in standard mode should be more demanding than character recognizer, but somehow they're equally accurate. Windows Journal, included with Windows XP Tablet Edition, allows you to doodle, draw, write free-form and later select handwriting to be translated into text. It is a very useful and neat app which has many templates including lined paper, graph paper, sheet music and outline format! Windows Journal allows you to write in ink notes to your heart's content, and later translate your handwriting into text if you so desire. This is very handy if you want to take meeting notes at the same speed you can write on paper, and later turn it into text for printing, emailing and etcetera. You can also do some nifty things like write notes on a web page and email it to someone else. Even if they don't have a tablet, they will see your ink annotations on the emailed page.

Voice Recognition

Windows XP Tablets don't have very good voice recognition capabilities. Before you use speech, you must spend approximately 10 minutes doing an initial voice training exercise with the machine. After that, you can choose to read aloud excerpts from classic works to put in more training time, which is supposed to improve accuracy. I did 3 training sessions, since the initial one yielded poor results. Additional training didn't improve recognition, but just as with other tablets we've tested, it did generate some really humorous sentences.


Pro: The biggest battery you'll ever find in a compact package! This unit should make it through an entire work day on a charge. Well-built, solid and attractive. A faster performer with a 1.2 GHz Centrino processor and 512 megs of RAM. Ingenious and highly functional cover that converts into a keyboard and mouse. Con: No optical drive included and you'll need one to install software.

Web Site:

Suggested list price for the Scribbler SC2010 Tablet PC: $2,599. The $2,299 SC2000 has 256 megs of RAM and a 30 gig hard drive.



Display: 12.1" TFT color active matrix LCD, 32 bit, 64 million colors. Resolution: 1024 x 768. Intel 855 GM (82852/82855) Integrated graphics controller (standard for the Centrino chipset). 32 megs shared memory.

Battery 9500 mAh Polymer Lithium Ion rechargeable.

Processor and Memory: 1.2 GHz ultra-low voltage Pentium M processor (Centrino) with 1 MB level 2 cache. 512 megs SDRAM, upgradeable to 1 gig. Uses DDR SODIMMs and has one slot for RAM (comes populated, so you'll remove the existing DIMM to upgrade the RAM).

Drives: Toshiba 40 gig MK4025GAS hard disk. Ultra ATA controller.

Size: 11.96” x 9.17” x 1.0" (.75" w/o cover). Weight 4.1 lbs with cover that has integrated keyboard and touchpad. 3.1 lbs for tablet only.

Audio: Built in speaker, mic, 3.5mm line-out and line-in jacks. Voice Recorder and command included in the operating system. Uses a Realtek AC'97 audio controller.

Software: Windows XP Tablet Edition operating system. Microsoft Journal application for word processing and support for ink notes and drawings. Voice Recorder, voice command and handwriting recognition built into the OS. Many demo versions of XP Tablet oriented software included.

Expansion and Ports: 2 USB (2.0), 1 FireWire 4 pin unpowered port, VGA, audio in and out, V.92 modem, 1PCMCIA type II CardBus slot, 1 RJ45 Ethernet port (Intel Pro 100 VM controller), docking port and built-in Intel Pro Wireless 2100 3B WiFi 802.11b.


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