Consumer Reports: iPad 2 is rated the highest tablet

By on April 5, 2011, 11:05 AM
Consumer Reports bought the 10 most-promising tablet computers, tested them extensively, and gave the Apple iPad 2 the highest rating. It also concluded that the Motorola Xoom is the iPad 2's chief rival as it has a 10-inch screen but adds conveniences that the iPad lacks, including a built-in memory card reader and Flash support.

Consumer Reports evaluated tablets from Archos, Apple, Dell, Motorola, Samsung, and ViewSonic, against 17 criteria, including touch-screen responsiveness, versatility, portability, screen glare, and ease of use. The 32GB iPad 2 with Wi-Fi plus 3G ($730) scored Excellent in nearly every category. The first-generation iPad ($580), also outscored many of the other models tested but tied with the Motorola Xoom ($800). The largest performance gap was in battery life, which was measured by playing the same video clip continually on each tablet and timing how long it played until the battery ran down. The top-scoring iPad 2 lasted 12.2 hours, but the lowest-rated tablet, the Archos 70 Internet Tablet ($270), lasted just 3.8 hours.

Before choosing a tablet, Consumer Reports recommends that consumers consider the following:

  • Many features are almost universal. Easy-to-use touch screens based on capacitive technology are now widely available. All the models Consumer Reports tested feature Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, a front-facing webcam, and GPS capability. Android-based models can be expanded using built-in USB ports or slots for SD flash-memory cards, but the iPad 2 lacks both.
  • You get what you pay for. With prices for the best tablets still too high for many budgets, consumers may be tempted by lower-priced competitors. Don't be, says Consumer Reports, whose tests have found the performance of models costing $300 and under to be at best mediocre. Buying a tablet with a data plan may lower the initial cost of the device, but cancelling early may result in a stiff penalty. Otherwise, it might be cheaper to buy a 3G-capable model without a contract.
  • Future-proofing will pay off. Hardware specifications don't tell the whole story. Portability, storage capacity, and weight are important. But less obvious differences in software, connectivity, and upgradability are critical too. And with faster 4G data networks becoming more widely available, 4G capability (or at least the ability to upgrade to it) is also a plus.

Apple announced the iPad 2 last month. Less than two weeks ago, it released the device in 25 more countries. While competitors are eager to take on the company, Cupertino is making sure to be a moving target.

"So far, Apple is leading the tablet market in both quality and price, which is unusual for a company whose products are usually premium priced," Paul Reynolds, Electronics Editor at Consumer Reports, said in a statement. "However, it's likely we'll see more competitive pricing in tablets as other models begin to hit the market."




User Comments: 17

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lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Yay, more stuff that we already know!

djonsun said:

Wow, seriously!?!? That video does nothing to explain why I should choose an IPad 2 over the Moto Xoom when he states that the Xoom has features the IPad 2 doesn't offer. He states that the other tabs are more expensive when actually the Galaxy is cheaper than both the Ipad 2 & Xoom if brought from Verizon. I like to tell people to go into the stores and play with all the devices before making a purchase. For this consumer report to tell people that the IPad 2 is the best bet while stating that another device offers more features and then telling half truths about the price isn't very nice LOL. Bottom line don't listen to these reports, go to a mall that has stores that offer multiple devices and test them out.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Future proofing? LMAO.

You can't upgrade tablets, they're like laptops. You use it until it becomes too slow and then you buy a new one.

How many iPads are people expected to get if one comes out every year, each one faster and with better capabilities?

Guest said:

No USB slots... No Micro SD Slot...does not support Flash... yet it is the highest rated????

WTF!!??!!??

Guest said:

Oh Yippie Yeah! I'm gonna run out and buy one now...NOT

mario mario, Ex-TS Developer, said:

"No floppy disk, no telephone jack, no PS/2 port" some of those "Guests" are truly visionaries...

Xclusiveitalian Xclusiveitalian said:

Apple fans always believe their products are the best because there "hip." hip is paying $500 over market value for something that does what a $150 tablet does. My brother bought a nookcolor for $250 w/ wifi mind you and it does everything he could want including soon getting the android store. I have an ipod touch, and I like the many free apps for Ipods, however, having a big "app store" doesn't win you best tablet because the Ipad is definitely the biggest rip off in the tablet market.

Wagan8r Wagan8r said:

marioestrada said:

"No floppy disk, no telephone jack, no PS/2 port" some of those "Guests" are truly visionaries...

You're right. Nobody uses USB ports, micro SD slots, or Flash player anymore. Why, I'm sitting here using my Telekinetic port, pico SD slot, and Zippy player right now!

matrix86 matrix86 said:

marioestrada said:

"No floppy disk, no telephone jack, no PS/2 port" some of those "Guests" are truly visionaries...

......Apple fan? lol Do you realize how many people use the things Guest listed? Watch any youtube video on any tablet lacking any of these features and others, and look at how many comments say things like "what...no usb? No SD card reader? No HDMI? No flash?" I can go on. Your response...epic fail :P You make it seem as though the things Guest pointed out are outdated. I hate to break it to you, but they aren't. They are in high demand from tablet users. USB and SD card slots and flash are what a lot of tablet users want.

Jurassic4096 said:

I think its pretty sad after all this time, no one can make a better or equal tablet. whether they only want to make $600 tablets, or what, but as an entry level tablet, the iPad has it covered. for techies like us, me included, we would never touch this device (iPad), but what's out there for us that can offer equal battery life? nothing. these companies need to get the hell up off their asses and design a true competitor, and not always going to out there to "kill" it. i have no respect for any company that hasnt done that yet... NONE.

Jurassic4096 said:

edit:

i have no respect for any company that has tried and failed... NONE.

Guest said:

If Ipad was a failure then millions of people wouldnt but them standing in long q's. Dont under estimate any product, all have their own positives, no product is 100% complete. If it wasnt coz of Ipad then u wouldnt have either XOOM or Galaxy tabs or any other tablet.

mario mario, Ex-TS Developer, said:

To all of those who replied to my comment, Wayne Gretzky said it best:

"A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be."

And that's exactly what happened with the iPad and iPhone, Apple didn't wait for anyone to tell them what to do next.

And consumers do not want USB, SD Cards, HDMI or Flash. This is shown by the fact that is are two of the most successful products of the last decade and no other single Android phone or tablet have come close to its sales. By the way you can get a SD Card reader and HDMI with some optional accessories.

Talk all you want but Apple's success talks by itself, my original comment made reference to the launch of the original iMac, although it did have a telephone jack.

Arris Arris said:

The only things I like about the ipad2 over any other tablet is the IPS panel and battery life.

stewi0001 stewi0001 said:

matrix86 said:

marioestrada said:

"No floppy disk, no telephone jack, no PS/2 port" some of those "Guests" are truly visionaries...

......Apple fan? lol Do you realize how many people use the things Guest listed? Watch any youtube video on any tablet lacking any of these features and others, and look at how many comments say things like "what...no usb? No SD card reader? No HDMI? No flash?" I can go on. Your response...epic fail :P You make it seem as though the things Guest pointed out are outdated. I hate to break it to you, but they aren't. They are in high demand from tablet users. USB and SD card slots and flash are what a lot of tablet users want.

The high demand is not from NORMAL people ;P

matrix86 matrix86 said:

Sorry marioestrada, but i'm going with what I see and hear from real people. Not stats on what sells better. When I see people asking for USB, Flash, and SD Cards, I know it's what they want. It's the reason many Android owners a very picky about their tablets. They don't buy tablets that lack those features. And even when they do, they complain about the lack of those features. I personally have no need for an SD card slot, but I need a USB for all my data transfers (faster than over the air transfer) plus it gives me the ability to hook up my 1TB external drive so I can watch all of my movies and listen to all of my music without having to put them on my tablet and take up space. HDMI is more of a luxury that I like to have. And flash...well, that's pretty much a necessity for me.

I guess it really all boils down to personal preference. But from what i've seen, a lot of people like having flash and USB most of all. The other stuff varies.

mario mario, Ex-TS Developer, said:

In my opinion USB days are counted for the next generation of mobile hardware, the current connector is so big it won't even fit on an iPad. Flash is not something I'll ever find anyone I know asking for, most people that know it is missing is because they read an article somewhere saying it can't run on an iOS device. Flash is past it's glory days, it will live on but will not be a major component on the future of the web, most videos hosted online run perfectly on any mobile device without the need for a flash player and there's also the fact that Flash sucks for user interactions on the desktop and on mobile devices, yes it has other uses (some games and some crazy interfaces) but can you imagine reading and visiting TechSpot if it was a Flash site.

And of course there's also the fact that the Flash player currently sucks on mobile devices, performance is poor and it'll eat your battery life. Adobe was never able to develop a good and fast Flash player for OS X so there's no evidence they will be able to do so for iOS, also taking into account the fact that they can't get any decent performance on any smartphone or tablet.

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