Budget Android tablets like the Scroll Excel still come with significant compromises. Just two of these are battery life and camera quality.
Battery life we do mind about, camera quality not so much. The 3400mAh non-removable battery lasts for around four hours of video playback, which is well below what you can expect from a tablet of £200-350. And the sound quality you get from the internal speaker – whose grille is on the back – is pretty poor, with a tinny and harsh tone.
On the camera side, Storage Options has left out the rear snapper. There’s just a single 1.3-megapixel front sensor for video chat and the like. Taking it for a whirl, we found that its image quality was awful. It hardly captures any detail and images are so de-saturated you almost believe you were shooting in monochrome. But at least it works.
One missing feature worth noting is GPS. A 7in tablet is portable enough to take around with you in a small bag, but the lack of GPS rules it out as a navigation buddy. However, most budget Android tablets forego this luxury.
In many respects, the Scroll Excel is a typical budget Android tablet. It has a single-core CPU, a godawful screen and Android 2.x. However, it has cut itself free from the limitations that made us run away from such tablets as fast as we could. It has a mostly-good capacitive touchscreen and performance snappy enough to stop frustration entering day-to-day use of the thing.
If you’re as keen tinkerers as we are, you can make it almost-great within 20 minutes or so. The low quality of the screen stops the Excel from being able to grab the eraser to rub out that “almost”, though. With every month that passes, the screens used in Storage Options’s tablets feel more and more out-of-date. And they would have seemed conspicuously poor on day one of this supposed tablet “craze” we’re still going through (in spite of unremarkable or poor sales of almost all but Apple’s iPad 2 in the UK thus far). The good performance of the Excel makes it enjoyable to use in most casual situations, but the screen spoils too many of its good parts.
The Scroll Excel is a barebones budget tablet in some respects. It has no Android Market support, no fancy custom UI and a design very similar to Storage Options’s previous cheap tabs. However, its performance is surprisingly good, with smooth navigation, crashes a rarity and excellent video support. When the poor screen quality is married with its other limitations, though, we have to recommend spending a bit more.
Score in detail
Screen Quality 4
Battery Life 5