I am delighted with my purchase of the Scroll Excel which I have had now for just over a week.
These are the things I have done with it in that week...after an initial long and patient full battery charge.
EDIT JUNE 2012: Parts of this review are no longer relevant to the current Scroll Excel as it now has a different specification and an extra 4 Gig of storage. The new Excel (Scroll Excel 7'' Tablet A4.0) now comes with ICS 4.0.3 stock ROM whereas the following review is about the 2.3.4 Gingerbread model. I have to say that ICS (Ice Cream Sandwich - or android 4.0.3) is much better than the earlier Gingerbread OS.
As time has passed the price of the Excel has dropped and the specification has gone up, so I definitely think it is very good value for money. However, the stock Rom is not optimised out of the box as it includes a lot of dead information about Phone text/SMS/GPS none of which is available in the hardware. This why I joined a forum dedicated to the Scroll range of tablets and have now upgraded my Excel using a custom built ROM ICS 4.0.4 which I am very happy with.
If I didn't already have an Excel then I would definitely buy one.
THE FOLLWING IS AN OLD REVIEW ABOUT THE ORIGINAL SCROLL EXCEL WITH 4GIG RAM AND GINGERBREAD ANDROID 2.3.4 - END OF EDIT #AUGUST 2012#
1. Put a tick in the box in the settings menu to unlock the 'hidden Google app'.
2. Gave a long press on the home-screen to bring up the menu and chose widgets
and then chose market. This gave me access to the Android Market.
3. Downloaded loads of free apps.
4. Played for hours discovering that not all free apps are worth having.#they are often badly
behaved, a security risk and keep showing you many adverts#
5. Watched MKV HD movies I installed onto a mini SDHC card which I put into the Scroll.
6. Watched BBC Click on the BBCi player catchup TV.
7. Installed and played an HD app called "Ashphalt" which is a racing game - this blew me away as
I never truly expected the Scroll Excel to be able to handle the demanding Graphics processing
but I was wrong and the game played faultlessly.
8. Installed an Android Firewall and Antivirus.
9. Accessed and interacted with my "Facebook" account - the Scroll audibly alerted me to comments
whilst it was turned on even when I wasn't on Facebook #just like a smartphone does#
10. Accessed my "Youtube" account and played some videos.
11. Found a GPS app #"1click direction"#which picks up your present location using WIFI and allows
you to key in a destination and then downloads directions to your destination and speaks the
route and instructions to you using the built-in Android text to voice routines.
Not quite a full Sat Nav but very impressive none-the-less.
12. Installed a local weather app which is very useful and graphically pleasing.
13. I have used the Scroll Excel with a wallet keyboard as sold on amazon from a third party
supplier. There are some potential issues with 3rd party keyboards I will explain later.
14. I have successfully connected my Scroll to my PC using the supplied lead - where it is seen as
a mass storage device allowing you to load and remove files/folder/films etc.
I must give the Scroll Excel a full 5 stars even though it is not totally faultless - but even with some minor niggles that are likely be sorted out by "Storage Options" in the future, this little Tablet really packs a punch for the remarkable pricepoint of £130.00 at which I would recommend it without question.
Due to the huge success of the Scroll Excel after being spotlighted on channel 5's Gadget Show it has been difficult for supply to keep up with demand and it has become evident since Christmas that there is a minor issue with streaming video lip-sync which is being looked into - and since Christmas the system build has been updated but the lip-sync problem remains. This is not extreme and does not prevent you keeping up with what is going on at "BBC News 24" live streaming video #as an example#.
My Excel came with Flash 10.2 installed but "Adobe" have since released Flash 11 and you can choose to freely upgrade to this if you wish. I have personally found the lip-sync problem worse on BBCi recordings than on live broadcasts but as I say this is a niggle rather than a fault and may simply be the result of a rushed unoptimised system build which I hope may likely be soon fixed with a firmware update. EDIT: Storage Options have announced there will be no firmware fix for the lipsync issue - So much for aftersales support....? END EDIT
EDIT 2: I have since joined a forum and upgraded my Excel to Ice Cream Sandwich version 4.0.4 which is an optimised unofficial ROM. #Doing this invalidates your warranty# This is now like a difffrent tablet and I am extremely pleased with the results. The current Excel now comes with ICS 4.0.3 but the rom is still not well optimised. However, this is a cracking little tablet for modding and Cyanogen Mod and Scrolltabletforum both have roms for the Allwinner A10 Cortex 8 based tablet. END EDIT.
Regarding using a wallet keyboard: The UK marketting supplier "Storage Options" offer such a wallet keyboard on their website and Amazon also offer 3rd party wallet keyboards which look identical for a third of the price of the official one. I have firsthand experience that unless you have the OTG #On The Go# adaptor lead that ships with the Excel - and that if you try to use an ordinary mini usb adaptor to connect one of these 3rd party keyboards #many of which come with a full sized usb connector# that they wont work on the Excel unless you use the OTG lead. As the Excel's little brother the Scroll Essential doesn't come with a supplied OTG lead some purchasers have had problems.
Having bought a 3rd party wallet-keyboard through Amamzon #linked to the Scroll advertising# I have discovered that I don't really need it other than it is useful to transport and protect the Scroll.
The Android on-screen keyboard is very easy to use even with my fat fingers. My 3rd party wallet-keyboard has the full-sized usb connector #too big to fit the Excel#but it does work through the Scroll Excel bundled OTG adaptor - but this is an ugly and bulky solution and you can't leave it connected and still close the case properly. Unfortunately after buying and trying 2, I discovered the keyboard will not work using a proprietory mini usb adaptor - which sticks out even more.
If you are a "Windows" user who #like me# has never used Android before, then be prepared to become aquainted with a very unruly operating system. The "Excel" currently uses the Gingerbread 2.3.4 variant which like its android predecessors and the later Honeycomb and Ice cream Sandwich android variants, start and run applications, gobling bandwidth, battery resources and generally try to slow things down without a by your leave - if you don't keep them under control. This is endemic with smartphones and other android devices. So be prepared to learn and find out how to get the best out of your "Excel" rather than complain when you fill it full of cheap apps which hog all the memory and processor power and stall things.
5 stars for the Excel. No stars to Google for not licensing such a worthy machine for it's apps Market - but using work-arounds the Android Marketplace is available on the Excel - you just have to do a bit of work to get there.
Finally, if you are completely new to Android be aware of the outrageous permissions you will need to allow some apps to download them for free. Some blatantly ask permission to write to and alter the system files. So be warned, especially if you use the tablet to access on-line accounts such as Amazon themselves, where you will need to give your security details. Many people will relax their vigilance on a Tablet, thinking it little more than a games toy, but you can all to easily allow it to do a lot of damage to your on-line identity and standing if you do not maintain a sensible level of safety and security. Free aps galore will temp you to say yes and simply click the accept button but remember if its too good to be true it probably is a scam.