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Consumer Reports ranks Apple's iPad 2 best tablet on the market

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 
In a comparison of 10 tablet devices, Consumer Reports ranked Apple's iPad 2 the best product available, in contrast to its controversial refusal to endorse the iPhone 4.

Both the Wi-Fi-only and 3G-equipped iPad models topped the new ratings from Consumer Reports, which are available at consumerreports.org and in its May 2011 issue. The iPad 2 was pitted against a range of competitors, including the Motorola Xoom, which the consumer advocacy group found to be Apple's most formidable competitor.

The Xoom fell short, though, despite offering additional features like a built-in memory card reader and support for Adobe Flash. Also tested were tablets from Archos, Dell, Samsung and ViewSonic, and they were all evaluated based on 17 criteria that include touchscreen responsiveness, versatility, portability, screen glare, and ease of use.

"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."

The 32GB, $730 Apple iPad 2 with Wi-Fi and 3G topped the ratings, scoring "Excellent" in nearly every category. Also tested was the first-generation iPad, available for $580, and even that outscored many of the other models tested, though it tied with the $800 Motorola Xoom.

The iPad has the greatest advantage over the competition in battery life, the testing found. The iPad 2 lasted 12.2 hours in Consumer Reports testing, while one of the lowest-scoring tablets, the $450 Dell Streak 7, lasted 3.8 hours.

In addition to the results of its tests, Consumer Reports also provided a list of recommendations for consumers who are considering a tablet purchase:

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.

Consumer Reports made waves after the launch of the iPhone 4 last year, when the organization said it could not recommend Apple's handset due to reception attenuation that can result from covering the bottom left corner of the device. That was a change from an earlier stance, when the group said it could find "no reason" not to buy the iPhone 4.

This year, Consumer Reports also claimed that the new CDMA Verizon iPhone 4 suffered the same issue with the metal band on the perimeter of the device, which serves as its antenna. Its testing found that holding the handset in a certain way would cause it to drop calls in weak signal conditions.
post #2 of 46
It would have been priceless if CR had put a "not recommended" sticker on the iPad in comparison to the others.
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post #3 of 46
As of 12:23 ET, the link to Consumer Reports is wrong in the article.

The site is "consumerreports.org", not "consumereports.org" (note the double 'r' in the middle of the correct link).

The linked text is correct, but the link itself is wrong.
post #4 of 46
Consumer Reports can go to hell with their ratings. All phones have the same trouble Iphones do. I stopped reading them after the Iphone scandal was grossly overblown by them. I actually held off on getting Iphne 4 until I tried a friend's Iphone 4 and tried to replicate the problem and couldn't after numerous tries get the call to drop even when the signal went down.
post #5 of 46
Big whoop. Three years from now all these tablets are going to look like old Osborne portables. Garnering a fleeting moment of recognition by CR is hardly worth a mention.
post #6 of 46
CR finally endorses a product that's good! There's news. My iPhone4 never drops calls like they claim, and this Winter I bought a 2011 Nissan after all their rave reviews. The lemon stopped working after only 7 days! CR is not the independent magazine it was in the 80s! They have become meaningless.
post #7 of 46
I disagree. I put my iPad2 3g + WiFi in a safe, and it lost both signals almost immediately.

I would not recommend this device based on these deficiencies.
post #8 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by xSamplex View Post

Big whoop. Three years from now all these tablets are going to look like old Osborne portables. Garnering a fleeting moment of recognition by CR is hardly worth a mention.

These tablets look nothing like an Osborne portable, what's going to happen to them over three years to make them transform into that shape?
I still use iPods I bought 4-5 years ago, as well as my first iPhone, which my kids use to watch movies. These devices don't stop working when a new one comes out.
post #9 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by macinthe408 View Post

I disagree. I put my iPad2 3g + WiFi in a safe, and it lost both signals almost immediately.

I would not recommend this device based on these deficiencies.

Well played sir, well played. Thanks for the laugh, it's been a long Tuesday morning.
post #10 of 46
Just to clarify, CR gave the iPhone 4 a high rating, too, but just wouldn't endorse (recommend) it.
post #11 of 46
Like this was even a question before. Thanks for stating the obvious.
post #12 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by iLoveStuff View Post

These tablets look nothing like an Osborne portable, what's going to happen to them over three years to make them transform into that shape?
I still use iPods I bought 4-5 years ago, as well as my first iPhone, which my kids use to watch movies. These devices don't stop working when a new one comes out.

It's actually amazing that you're able to use your old iphone for more than a couple of years without having battery problem. My iphone 3G can't be used for more than 15 minutes without a charger after 2 years.
post #13 of 46
When did they test a Xoom with SD card support and Flash?
post #14 of 46
Of course iPad 2 is the best of them all.
post #15 of 46
should be interesting to watch the haters spin this - when CR says iPhone4 = flawed, CR is a credible source. When the iPad trounces every tablet on the market, CR is garbage.
post #16 of 46
Mr. Anderson: Whuuuut? There are other tablets on the market?

Agent Smith: Uh, oh ... ummmm ... yea, I guess ... Mr. Anderson.
post #17 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by axual View Post

Mr. Anderson: Whuuuut? There are other tablets on the market?

Agent Smith: Uh, oh ... ummmm ... yea, I guess.

Sounds like they had a hard time finding 10 tablets. I'm sure next year the options will be different and I'm sure CR will proclaim that te competition is catching up.
post #18 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by island hermit View Post

It would have been priceless if CR had put a "not recommended" sticker on the iPad in comparison to the others.

Just wait. They will be hopping on the "light bleeding" bandwagon next week.
post #19 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by xSamplex View Post

Big whoop. Three years from now all these tablets are going to look like old Osborne portables. Garnering a fleeting moment of recognition by CR is hardly worth a mention.

What a horrible analogy.

I can't think of any combination of features or future products or events which would make this a valid point. The two most famous "failures" of the Osbourne were pre-announcing a better product before it was ready for sale (the legendary cause of their collapse), and failing to come out with an updated model fast enough to beat the competition (the real cause of their collapse).

Neither of these hold true for Apple, or the iPad. In fact a very good argument could be made for the exact reverse situation being true in both cases.
post #20 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by drobforever View Post

It's actually amazing that you're able to use your old iphone for more than a couple of years without having battery problem. My iphone 3G can't be used for more than 15 minutes without a charger after 2 years.

I think the bigger surprise is that your old phone is holding up so poorly. I have an old 3G laying around which holds a charge fine. I know plenty of people with first gens still running around. I think maybe your isolated scenario shouldn't be used as justification to argue with a point that devices that are well designed now don't suddenly become poorly designed when newer technology is released.
32G iPhone 4, 32G iPad 2, late 2009 15" mbp
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32G iPhone 4, 32G iPad 2, late 2009 15" mbp
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post #21 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by drobforever View Post

It's actually amazing that you're able to use your old iphone for more than a couple of years without having battery problem. My iphone 3G can't be used for more than 15 minutes without a charger after 2 years.

If you were smart enough to get applecare you could have gotten that deficient 3g replaced. I have an original that still holds a charge pretty well.
post #22 of 46
Interesting that LAST YEAR's iPad still tops the ratings, just below the new iPad2.
post #23 of 46
Are they sure? I've heard that if you squeeze the screen it discolors slightly around your finger. Sounds like a fatal flaw to me. Can't recommend.
A.k.a. AppleHead on other forums.
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A.k.a. AppleHead on other forums.
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post #24 of 46
Did they actually recommend the iPad 2? The iPhone 4 was the best rated smartphone, but not recommended (thus showing what a travesty their entire ratings and recommendation process is).

It is the best tablet on the market, but CR's endorsement, or lack thereof, is entirely meaningless.
post #25 of 46
In other news, Earth wins the Best Habitable Planet in the Solar System Award for the 3 Billionth year in a row.
post #26 of 46
Yes, but it did endorsed other phones suffering the same issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cpsro View Post

Just to clarify, CR gave the iPhone 4 a high rating, too, but just wouldn't endorse (recommend) it.
post #27 of 46
I suspect your situation is uncommon. Nonetheless, companies including Apple will change the battery.

Quote:
Originally Posted by drobforever View Post

It's actually amazing that you're able to use your old iphone for more than a couple of years without having battery problem. My iphone 3G can't be used for more than 15 minutes without a charger after 2 years.
post #28 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by island hermit View Post

It would have been priceless if CR had put a "not recommended" sticker on the iPad in comparison to the others.

It does not matter, because Consumer Reports has no credibility. I couldn't care less for their take on which technology to buy. They should stick to rating blenders and washing machines.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #29 of 46
This CLEARLY shows that CR is biased against apple! Check to see if the editors have any short holdings!

iPad2 16 GB
iPhone 5 32 GB

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iPad2 16 GB
iPhone 5 32 GB

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post #30 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by macinthe408 View Post

I disagree. I put my iPad2 3g + WiFi in a safe, and it lost both signals almost immediately.

I would not recommend this device based on these deficiencies.

But wait... how would you know the device lost its signals after being put into a safe constructed with thick slabs of shielded metal if you could not observe it?
post #31 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

But wait... how would you know the device lost its signals after being put into a safe constructed with thick slabs of shielded metal if you could not observe it?

Easy.

It was in there with a dead cat.
post #32 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by freddych View Post

This CLEARLY shows that CR is biased against apple! Check to see if the editors have any short holdings!

I don't recall anyone suggesting that CR was specifically biased against Apple (except for the duct tape guy who clearly was).

The problem with them is that they simply don't know what they are doing, despite all the "scientific" pretense to the contrary.
post #33 of 46
I guess moto was right. We are all wearing those awesome white hoodies

iPad is essentially the only non-beta tablet on the market, so no big surprise here.
--SHEFFmachine out
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--SHEFFmachine out
Da Bears!
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post #34 of 46
That generous donation check finally cleared.
post #35 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

They (CR) should stick to rating blenders and washing machines.

Now that's funny! (And true, too!)

Best
post #36 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Easy.

It was in there with a dead cat.

So the cat was both alive and dead at the same time? Gotcha... this quantum stuff is quite easy once we have cats to experiment with.
post #37 of 46
Quote:
Consumer Reports ranks Apple's iPad 2 best tablet on the market

By Slash Lane

Love a good alias. This one sounds like a service road off of Infinite Loop.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by matrix07 View Post

Just wait. They will be hopping on the "light bleeding" bandwagon next week.

Actually I read the 3g antenna in the Pad is essentially the same as the one in the iPhone. How'd they miss that?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

So the cat was both alive and dead at the same time? Gotcha... this quantum stuff is quite easy once we have cats to experiment with.

Totally off the subject and not directed at the poster's clever ref to a classic physics analogy, I worked in a lab which used (and badly misused) experimental animals. It was my university Work Study job.

The things they did to cats in particular were sickening, and they only used cats because they wanted to play with a "higher animal" than their usual rats, and could trap them on the grounds and so get 'em for free. (I say "play with," because these studies lacked any number of rigorous controls which would've rendered the results publishable in peer-reviewed journals.)

They also refused to pay for humane killing means once experiments were finished. And left it to lowly undergrad serfs like me to figure out how to do the deed. I quit when they refused to spend $10-20 bucks on even Chloroform.

An iPhone, a Leatherman and thou...  ...life is complete.

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An iPhone, a Leatherman and thou...  ...life is complete.

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post #38 of 46
And once again Jobs gets to hit the "So suck it" button.
post #39 of 46
Screw Consumer Reports. They should stick to rating toasters and washing machines.
post #40 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigpics View Post

Totally off the subject and not directed at the poster's clever ref to a classic physics analogy, I worked in a lab which used (and badly misused) experimental animals. It was my university Work Study job.

The things they did to cats in particular were sickening, and they only used cats because they wanted to play with a "higher animal" than their usual rats, and could trap them on the grounds and so get 'em for free. (I say "play with," because these studies lacked any number of rigorous controls which would've rendered the results publishable in peer-reviewed journals.)

They also refused to pay for humane killing means once experiments were finished. And left it to lowly undergrad serfs like me to figure out how to do the deed. I quit when they refused to spend $10-20 bucks on even Chloroform.

I don't care for cats much, but if what you're describing is true, that's despicable on the lab's part.
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