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Consumer Reports ranks iPad top among tablets

Dana Franklin

Apple's iPad 2 is king of the tablets according to a comparative review released by Consumer Reports (CR) today. The publication's lab evaluated 10 of the "most-promising" tablet devices from Apple, Archos, Dell, Motorola, Samsung and ViewSonic. The 32 GB iPad 2 with Wi-Fi plus 3G (US$729) scored Excellent in most of the 17 testing criteria, beating the second-ranked Motorola Xoom.

"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 at Consumer Reports said in the publication's press release. "However, it's likely we'll see more competitive pricing in tablets as other models begin to hit the market."

Notably, the iPad 2's strongest rival, the Motorola Xoom, tied with Apple's original iPad for second place. Critics admired the Xoom's 10-inch screen and extra conveniences, like a built-in memory card reader, support for Adobe Flash content and 4G wireless upgradability. Meanwhile, the iPad 2 trounced the competition in battery life, surviving 12.2 hours while looping a video clip. The inexpensive Archos 70 Internet Tablet landed at the bottom of the ratings.

The caveat-free, top-ranking results for the iPad 2 are a welcome departure from the publication's recent (and befuddling) stance towards Apple's mobile products. The iPhone 4 from AT&T and Verizon each received CR's best ratings. Even so, the publication recommended avoiding Apple's latest iPhones, citing signal attenuation issues caused by placing a finger over the gap between the device's outer antennas. Rather than revise its testing criteria to account for the "death grip," the independent buying guide simultaneously praised and pummeled the iPhone 4 with an it's-the-best-but-don't-buy-it ranking.

Fortunately, the iPad 2, which doesn't rely on antennas in the same way as its smartphone cousins, won its crown without any tarnishes. It's yet another reason to go out and buy one.

[via Boy Genius Report]

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