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New iPad ranked top tablet by Consumer Reports

Lauding the new iPad's Retina Display, 5-megapixel camera, and 4G support, the consumer publication gave the tablet top honors among the competition.

The new iPad geta a big thumbs up from Consumer Reports.
The new iPad geta a big thumbs up from Consumer Reports.

The latest iPad has a new fan, namely Consumer Reports.

Apple's latest tablet scored the highest ratings among its rivals in a report out today from the consumer publication.

The new iPad was commended for its 5-megapixel camera, battery life, and 4G coverage through Verizon Wireless. But it was the high-resolution screen that earned the sharpest praise.

Citing the detail and color accuracy of the Retina Display, Consumer Reports said that the screen "establishes a new benchmark in excellence" and is "the best we've seen" on a tablet. Specifically, the publication found that the colors are more saturated, more natural, and warmer than those on the iPad 2. As such, the new iPad will now be the only tablet to receive an excellent score in display quality, bumping the ratings of certain rival tablets down a notch.

On the minus side, CR said that the new display does highlight "imperfections" found on apps designed for a lower resolution. As one example, text in certain electronic magazines looks worse on the new iPad than on the iPad 2. That puts publishers in a tight spot of figuring out how to tweak their apps to take advantage of the new display without dramatically increasing their size and download times.

But overall, the display is still a "significant plus" as Consumer Reports expects more content to catch up to the higher-resolution screen.

Weighing in on the new iPad's alleged heat problems, CR echoed CNET's own results, finding little cause for concern. The new iPad was warmer in certain spots than the iPad 2, according to the publication's testing. But the heat rose only at specific times, such as when playing an graphics-intensive game with the screen at full brightness.

Tablet buyers not keen for the iPad have a few other choices based on CR's reviews.

Toshiba's Excite 10LE earned good marks as the lightest 10.1-inch tablet at just over a pound. Pantech's Element claimed the longest battery life among 8-inch tablets with the added bonus of being waterproof.

Sony's Tablet P was also on the recommended list as CR found the two 5-inch screens ideal for reading books and viewing photos though not so great for Web browsing. And kudos went out to Samsung's Galaxy Tab 7.7 for its OLED screen, deep blacks, and wide viewing angle.