Consumer Reports has selected the iPad 2 as the top tablet available on the market.
The product research company tested 10 devices ─ from various companies including Archos, Dell, Motorola , Samsung , ViewSonic ─ on such subjects as touch-screen responsiveness, portability, versatility, 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,” Paul Reynolds, Electronics Editor for 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.”
In most of the categories the tablets fared well, except for one ─ battery life. Here, the iPad 2 excelled above the others, lasting a more than twelve hours. The Archos 70 Internet Tablet scored the lowest, clocking in at just less than four hours.
Although the competition is heating up, the iPad 2 dominated most categories . Consumer Reports deemed it “excellent” in each test, with the Motorola Xoom coming in a close second. The report did make note of some features that Apple’s device lack, including Flash support and a built-in memory card slot. However, the iPad 2’s overall quality and ease of use made it a clear-cut winner in the field of ten.
Though the iPad 2 won out overall, Consumer Reports still posted recommendation advice for users when it comes to purchasing a tablet:
“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.”
While the axiom “you get what you pay for” is generally true, prices for the best tablets still too high for many budgets, and 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 canceling 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 all important. But less obvious differences in software, connectivity, and upgrade-ability 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.”