The iPad 2 has beaten off competition to earn the top tablet rating in a recent Consumer Reports test. Devices tested along with the iPad 2 included tablets from Archos, Dell, Motorola, Samsung and ViewSonic. In a press release issued on Tuesday, electronics editor Paul Reynolds said that Apple’s device is ahead of its competitors on both quality and price:
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.
Each tablet was evaluated in 17 criteria, which included touch screen responsiveness, versatility, portability, screen flare, and ease of use. The iPad 2 topped the ratings, scoring ‘excellent’ in nearly every category.
Apple’s chief competition for the time being is the Motorola Xoom – which boasts the same 10-inch screen as the iPad but adds a built-in memory card reader and support for Adobe Flash. However, the Xoom’s $800 price tag doesn’t do it any favors.
The biggest difference between the 10 tablets tested was battery life. Obviously the iPad 2 came top with an impressive 12.2 hours of use, while the Archos 70 Internet Tablet could only manage an embarrassing 3.8 hours.
The first generation iPad was also part of the test, beating many of the other tablets but drawing equal with the Xoom.
So, it’s official – right now the iPad 2 is the best tablet available. But you already knew that.
Consumer Reports infamously loathes the iPhone 4, but if their latest list of computer ratings are anything to go by, that seething distaste doesn’t extend to Apple’s notebooks: not only do they highly recommend most of Cupertino’s current laptops over the competition, but they’re absolutely gaga over the new MacBook Air.
Over the weekend, Apple announced that they were ending their free iPhone 4 case program come September 30th, blithely quipping that “we now know that the iPhone 4 antenna attenuation issue is even smaller than we originally thought.”
Apparently, Consumer Reports remains unconvinced, though, because they are continuing to not recommend the iPhone 4 to customers, according to a recent update on their blog.
Our tests found the Bumper successfully mitigates the iPhone 4’s reception issue, which was a weak point in the phone’s otherwise-stellar performance in our tests. And we agree with Apple that not all iPhone 4 owners will experience reception difficulties with the device.
But putting the onus on any owners of a product to obtain a remedy to a design flaw is not acceptable to us. We therefore continue not to recommend the iPhone 4, and to call on Apple to provide a permanent fix for the phone’s reception issues.
It is arguably Consumer Reports’ scathing denunciation of the iPhone 4’s antenna problems that caused “Antennagate” to become as much of a public relations disaster for Apple as it was. Will Consumer Reports’ withheld blessing continue to plague Apple and re-open the issue once the bumper case program ends, or is the fire effectively put out? While I agree the iPhone 4’s external antenna makes it more susceptible to attenuation than other phones — no matter how much finger pointing and bar-fiddling Apple does — I think the fire’s largely been put out: even dropping one call more out of a hundred than the iPhone 3GS, the iPhone 4 is the best smartphone you can buy. At this point, Consumer Reports just looks petulant.
At least it’s now quantifiable: AT&T provides the worst cellphone service in the country, according to a recent customer satisfaction poll.
Consumer Reports hit the streets and asked 50,000 readers across 26 cities to rank cell phone service according to voice service, messaging, internet access and customer support. Verizon came out on top, achieving the top two ranks in customer satisfaction in every category. Then came T-Mobile and Sprint.
AT&T? Dead last. Their highest average rating in any service category was total ambivalence, with most categories rated as poor or terrible.
A free app from magazine Consumer Reports available on iTunes may help harried shoppers decide in a hurry which model is worth it in the coming holiday season. Categories include: cars, electronics, home and garden, babies and kids. Early adopters have a few complaints (centered around the search function, or lack thereof), it could still come in handy.