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Apple iPad 2 earns Consumer Reports’ top tablet rating

Apple iPad 2

Apple’s iPad 2 has beat out a flurry of increasingly difficult competition in the tablet market to earn top marks from Consumer Reports, the product testing and review publication announced today. Motorola’s Xoom tablet, which tied in the rankings with the original iPad, “revealed itself as the iPad 2’s chief rival,” says Consumer Reports, and even beats Apple’s latest creation on a variety of points.

“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.”

All tablets tested (10 in total) were judged on 17 different criteria, which included the responsiveness of the device’s touchscreen, versatility, portability, screen glare, battery life and overall ease of use. The tablets tested included devices from Archos, Dell, Motorola, Samsung, and ViewSonic, as well as Apple’s 32GB WiFi-only iPad 2, 32GB WiFi + 3G iPad 2 and the original iPad.

The $730 iPad 2 with WiFi and 3G connectivity earned an “Excellent” rating in nearly every category. In terms of “versatility,” which Consumer Reports defines as “the presence of useful features,” the iPad 2 scored the second highest rating of “Very Good.” This is primarily due to the iPad 2’s lack of a built-in memory card reader and the lack of Flash support — both of which the Motorola Xoom includes.

According to Consumer Reports, the most wide-ranging factor between the top 10 tablets on the market is battery life. While the iPad 2 boasts the longest battery life — 12.2 hours — the Archos 70 Internet Tablet could only stay alive for a mere 3.8 hours. Considering the entry level iPad 2, (16GB WiFi-only) costs $499 compared to the Archos 70’s price of $270, the iPad 2 seems like a bargain, even if battery life were the only factory taken into consideration. Of course, the iPad 2 wins on a variety of other levels as well.

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