Consumer Reports tests iPad 2 & other tablets

PHILADELPHIA - March 17, 2011

Consumer Reports has tested the new tablet and checked out how it stacks up against its competition, including the Motorola Xoom and the Samsung Galaxy Tab.

Consumer Reports' first look at the iPad 2 finds it is an improvement from the original iPad. The new model has two cameras - one on the front and another in the back - so you can video chat and take photos.

It also has a sleeker profile and weighs less, making it even easier to carry around. It processes graphics more quickly, which is most obvious if you play serious video games. With everyday tasks, you might not notice a big difference.

As for tablet competition, there are two tablets giving Apple a run for its money. The newest is the Motorola Xoom. It's about the same size as the iPad and has a built-in USB port, which the iPad 2 does not. However, the Xoom is thicker and heavier than the iPad.

The Galaxy Tab from Samsung has a smaller screen and is much lighter than the iPad 2, making it the easiest overall to tote around with you.

Both the Galaxy Tab and the Motorola Xoom include a memory card slot, something else the iPad 2 lacks. Keep in mind, some technology bloggers complain the Xoom's card slot is virtually unusable due to a lack of software support.

"Both of these tablets run on the Android platform and, unlike the iPad, they support the Flash videos used by many websites. But there are fewer apps in the Android market than there are in Apple's iTunes store," said Paul Reynolds of Consumer Reports.

Of course, price factors in, and at most configurations the iPad still costs less than these competitors.

Bottom line - Apple improved the iPad and kept the price relatively low - starting at $500 - making the iPad 2 the tablet to beat.

The iPad 2 also scored best in Consumer Reports' battery tests. The battery lasts 12 hours, longer than the original iPad, the Motorola Xoom, and the Galaxy Tab.

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