updated 06:45 am EDT, Tue April 5, 2011
Original iPad ties with Xoom for second place
The Apple iPad 2 has topped the Consumer Reports tablet ratings. The iPad 2 outscored all-comers from Motorola, Dell, Samsung, ViewSonic and Archos. The next best tablet among the ten tablets tested according to Consumer Reports is the Motorola Xoom, or the original iPad, which tied for second. "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," said Paul Reynolds, Electronics Editor at Consumer Reports. "However, it's likely we'll see more competitive pricing in tablets as other models begin to hit the market."
Each of the tablets was judged against 17 criteria, including touch-screen responsiveness, versatility, portability, screen glare, and ease of use, and testers found several models that outperformed the rest. The Apple iPad 2 32GB with Wi-Fi plus 3G topped the ratings, scoring Excellent in nearly every category. The first-generation iPad, also outscored many of the other models tested but tied with the Motorola Xoom.
Consumer Reports also found the criteria that saw the biggest performance differential was the battery life of the various tablets. Using a looped video clip to run down the devices from a full charge, it was found the iPad 2 lasted 12.2 hours, exceeding Apple's own claim of 10 hours. The worst performance came from the much cheaper Archos 70 Internet Tablet that could manage just 3.8 hours. This helped Consumer Reports reach the conclusion that consumers will get what they pay for. It found tablets costing less than $300 to be mediocre at best.
Consumer Reports also arrived at the conclusion that hardware specs don't tell the whole story, which aligns with the angle that Apple has adopted with its new iPad 2 ads. It cited software, storage capacity and upgradability as important factors in ultimately determining the best tablet choice.