Apple’s iPad 2 tops Consumer Reports’ tablet ratings

Consumer Reports’ press release follows, verbatim:

After almost a year in which the Apple iPad has been virtually the only game in town in tablet computers, some serious competitors are finally hitting the market. Yet in Consumer Reports latest tests of the 10 most-promising tablet computers, the Apple iPad 2 with Wi-Fi and 3G topped the Ratings. The full report including Ratings of tablets is available at Consumer Reports’ website.

In Consumer Reports lab tests, the Motorola Xoom revealed itself as the iPad 2′s chief rival. Like the iPad 2, the Xoom boasts a 10-inch screen but adds conveniences that the iPad lacks, including a built-in memory card reader and support for the Flash videos and animations found on many Web sites.

“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.”

Consumer Reports tested tablets from Archos, Dell, Motorola, Samsung, and ViewSonic, as well as several models from Apple. Each tablet was evaluated on 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 with Wi-Fi plus 3G (32G), $730, topped the Ratings, scoring 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 gap in performance among the 10 tested tablets was evident in Consumer Reports’ battery-life test, 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.

Source: Consumer Reports

MacDailyNews Take: Even a blind squirrel can stumble across a nut sometimes, however this nut is typically rotten. Consumer Reports has zero credibility (see related articles below). In this particular case, look no further than the Xoom “tying” the original iPad despite Consumer Reports’ all-too-brief mention of the criticality of software. The publication also totally fails to account for third-party accessories, including protective cases, vehicle support, CE industry support, and much more; things that will actually really matter to end user; as would, of course, something as important as AirPlay.

The fact is that only a severely flawed ratings system could end up equating the original iPad and the Xoom. It’s a testament to the vast superiority of iPad 2 that even Consumer Reports couldn’t concoct enough “negatives” to knock it from the top of their totally worthless list. We wouldn’t recommend the rag to grandmas looking for vacuum cleaners, much less to tablet computing consumers. Consumer Reports remains a total joke, best left sitting on the newsstand and certainly not something to which we would ever subscribe.

Related articles:
Consumer Reports on iPad 2: We didn’t notice any significant speed improvement – March 15, 2011
Consumer Reports was wrong on Verizon iPhone 4; so-called ‘death grip’ fixed by Apple – March 2, 2011
Consumer Reports: Verizon iPhone 4 has antenna ‘problem’; not recommended – February 25, 2011
Consumer Reports continues laughable vendetta against iPhone 4 – January 14, 2011
Android sweeps Consumer Reports’ rankings as iPhone 4 is omitted – November 17, 2010
All of Consumer Reports’ ‘recommended’ smartphones suffer attenuation when held – July 19, 2010
Consumer Reports: Apple’s free Bumper case does not earn iPhone 4 our recommendation – July 16, 2010
Consumer Reports: Apple’s Bumper case fixes iPhone 4 signal-loss issue – July 15, 2010
Consumer Reports continues harping on iPhone 4 attenuation issue – July 14, 2010
Electromagnetic engineer: Consumer Reports’ iPhone 4 study flawed – July 13, 2010
The Consumer Reports – Apple iPhone 4 fiasco – July 13, 2010
Consumer Reports: Oh yeah, almost forgot, Apple iPhone 4 is also the best smartphone on the market – July 12, 2010
Consumer Reports: We cannot recommend Apple iPhone 4 – July 12, 2010
Consumer Reports: Apple Retail Store is the best place to buy a cellphone – May 11, 2010
Consumer Reports: AT&T dead last in service survey; 98% of iPhone users would buy iPhone again – December 01, 2009
Consumer Reports does their readership a disservice, says viruses target Apple Macs – December 13, 2005
Consumer Reports: Apple’s new iPod screens scratch-prone like iPod nanos – October 28, 2005
Consumer Reports dubiously finds 20-percent of Mac users ‘detected’ virus in last two years -UPDATED – August 10, 2005

29 Comments

  1. As always, Consumer Reports has absolutely no credibility whatsoever. The fact that they even bring up the Xoom in this article shows you that Consumer Reports is being paid off by Google.

  2. It’s funny how they mention “support” for USB storage and Flash when neither one is implemented as of today. Since they couldn’t test the Xoom running Flash, they couldn’t test the true real world impact to battery life that they Xoom will suffer.

  3. Consumers are voting by lining up & buying Up iPad 2 WorldWide 🙂
    Touching/trying by comparing the “other” tablets personally at Samsung store showed me that there is no one even close to Apple’s iPad 2 🙂

    * Buy AAPL stocks below $339 as it will go to $422 by December 2011 🙂

    ** 2nd quarterly report coming out in about two weeks!!!! Apple Cash will be about $66 Billion with Zero debt or viruses 🙂

  4. Back in the good old days, CR constantly ragged on Macs for the high price and lack of “programs” to run on them. This was the abiding theme for not recommending Apple.
    Not one word in this review regarding the Xoom’s really high price and no “programs” that run on it. Really?

  5. Future-proofing by buying a 4G capable tablet is idiotic. First, it’ll take a couple more years, at least, before 4G is widely spread. By then, you’ll be already eyeballing the iPad 5 with ARM A15 chips.

  6. Here’s the CR transcript:

    We have an iPad. We like it. This is me with the iPad at my granma’s house this summer. Then we took the iPad to Six Flags. We had fun.
    I think the iPad is good. It does fun stuff. I think the iPad is good because a lot of people bought it. I want to be an iPad worker man when I grow up.

    The End.

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