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

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
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.
«13

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 45
    It would have been priceless if CR had put a "not recommended" sticker on the iPad in comparison to the others.
  • Reply 2 of 45
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 45
    adonissmuadonissmu Posts: 1,772member
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 45
    xsamplexxsamplex Posts: 214member
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 45
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 45
    macinthe408macinthe408 Posts: 1,050member
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 45
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 45
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 45
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,449member
    Just to clarify, CR gave the iPhone 4 a high rating, too, but just wouldn't endorse (recommend) it.
  • Reply 10 of 45
    whozownwhozown Posts: 128member
    Like this was even a question before. Thanks for stating the obvious.
  • Reply 11 of 45
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 45
    When did they test a Xoom with SD card support and Flash?
  • Reply 13 of 45
    nkalunkalu Posts: 315member
    Of course iPad 2 is the best of them all.
  • Reply 14 of 45
    applestudapplestud Posts: 367member
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 45
    axualaxual Posts: 244member
    Mr. Anderson: Whuuuut? There are other tablets on the market?



    Agent Smith: Uh, oh ... ummmm ... yea, I guess ... Mr. Anderson.
  • Reply 16 of 45
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 45
    matrix07matrix07 Posts: 1,993member
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 45
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 45
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 45
    bcahill009bcahill009 Posts: 163member
    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.
Sign In or Register to comment.