Despite a wide array of highly touted and heavily marketed iPad rivals, including Motorola's Xoom and others from Samsung, Archos, Dell, and HP, Apple reigns supreme in the Consumer Reports rankings. Citing quality and (perhaps surprisingly for Apple) price, the independent nonprofit magazine gives iPad 2 top marks. The magazine said in a statement today:
"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."
And that word, quality, may be the key. "Hardware specifications don't tell the whole story. Portability, storage capacity, and weight are important. But less obvious differences in software, connectivity, and upgradability are critical too," Consumer Reports said.
For my money, iOS is still the best mobile operating system on the market. Though Android may very well have more phones running it, iOS holds a dominant advantage in terms of quality of applications, ease of buying apps, and overall stability and usability. In its statement, Consumer Reports advises:
With prices for the best tablets still too high for many budgets, 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 cancelling early may result in a stiff penalty. Otherwise, it might be cheaper to buy a 3G-capable model without a contract.
What's the best tablet (and why) in your opinion? Let me know in the comments!