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Electrovaya Scribbler SC-4000

Latest Scribbler has less, not more, battery power
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)

Update 11/2011: While Electrovaya seems to almost totally concentrate on its battery technology projects, an updated version of the Scribbler SC-4000, the Scribbler 4100, is still listed on the Electrovaya website as availabel for sales. The 4100 is an elegant Windows 7-based tablet (see Scribbler 4100 page, though its Intel Core 2 Duo L7400 chip is now fairly obsolete.

Electrovaya is a Canadian company primarily known for its patented very high energy density SuperPolymer Lithium Ion technology which can provide superior battery power to any number of portable devices, ranging from cellphones to notebook computers. For several years, Electrovaya has been offering its PowerPads that slide underneath notebooks and provide up to six times the power of a standard laptop battery.

When Electrovaya released its initial series of Tablet PC slates several years ago, everyone loved the incredible battery life from the 120 watt-hour power pack, but not everyone liked the extra thickness and weight the large battery added. Electrovaya responded with the Scribbler 2000 Series which used the same Lithium Polymer battery technology, only a bit less of it. That was still good enough for up to nine hours of battery life, yet made the 2000 Series lighter and much slimmer. The company followed up with the superb SC3100, a slender and elegant tablet computer that weighed only 3.5 pounds despite still having a 75 watt-hour Super-Polymer Li-Ion battey (and optionally a 92 watt-hour one).

All those product lines are gone now, and Electrovaya only sells its latest, the Scribbler SC4000. Oddly, this new model carries on little of Electrovaya's legacy of superior battery power and battery life. The SC4000's battery is a comparatively tiny 45 watt-hour unit, and it's standard Li-Ion and not Electrovaya's patented Lithium Polymer technology. Thanks to a miserly 1.06GHz Core 2 Duo U7500 processor battery life is still good, but still is not what made Electovaya famous. Gone also is part of the wealth of onboard connectivity that differentiated prior Electrovaya models. There is no more FireWire (IEEE1394), and you won't find a modem port or IR. The latter two won't be missed, but FireWire was good to have.

On the plus side, the sleek and elegant SC4000's 12.1-inch XGA screen has a perfect viewing angle in all directions and there is a sunlight-readable version. You can now get disks up to 160GB and the unit has both an onboard 1.3 megapixel camera and a fingerprint scanner. And the whole thing still only weighs a minuscule 3.3 pounds. Whether that's enough to make up for the lack of the trademark Electrovaya battery power (an optional 70 watt-hour battery is available, though) is anyone's guess.

Added/changed: Added 07/2008
Form-factor Tablet PC slate
Processor Intel Core 2 Duo U7500
CPU Speed 1.06 GHz (ULV)
OS Vista Business
Chipset Intel 945GM for core logic; GMA950 for graphics
Standard/Max RAM 1GMB/4GB DDR2 SODIMM 533/667MHz
Disk/drive 60GB 5400rpm SATA; optional 80/100/120/160GB
Card slots 1 PC Card Type II/PCIe
Display type Wide viewing angle transmissive TFT, sunlight readable option
Display size/res 12.1-inch/1024x768
Digitizer/pens Wacom/1
Keyboard/scale detachable 85-key, 100%
Ruggedness Standard
Housing Magnesium
Size (WxHxD) 9.8 x 12.2 x 0.86
Weight 3.3 lbs.
Power Li-Ion, 45 WHr (70 watt-hour available)
Interface 2 USB 2.0, RJ45 (gigabit), audio, video, fingerprint reader, 1.3MG camera
Communications Bluetooth 2.0, 802.11a/b/g
List price Starting at US$2,049
Contact www.electrovaya.com
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