Consumer Reports described the Apple iPad 2 as a "good choice" and an improvement over the original iPad, though its camera is not as good as that on the Motorola Xoom.
Consumer Reports has subjected the
Apple iPad 2 to its customary battery of tests and come back with a blah but positive
"The iPad 2 is right now a
very good choice in the tablet market," concluded Dean Gallea, an
electronics engineer, in a video on the publications' blog, emoting the least
amount possible while still moving one's lips.
Maybe it takes more than a
nine-times-faster graphics processor to get an engineer grinning. While noting
that Apple has made the iPad 2 thinner and lighter than its predecessor, and
included the company's proprietary A5 processor - all while keeping the
price the same - Gallea said the iPad 2's speed improvements aren't so
noticeable, unless you're maybe running 3D games that would otherwise really
tax the chip.
Opinions from other reviewers vary on this. The New York Times' David Pogue, in his review, said the
improvements in thinness, weight and speed "transforms
of using the tablet. And in the Wall Street Journal,
Walter S. Mossberg said he "didn't find the speed difference on the iPad 2
to be dramatic, but it was noticeable."
In other non-dramatic news, Consumer Reports found
the cover to turn the iPad 2 on when removed and off when clicked in place -
just as it's designed to - and the iPad 2's new display to match the fine
quality of the original version's. In Consumer Reports' tests, Jeff Fox
wrote in a
complementary (not to be confused with complimentary) blog post, the iPad 2's
Web cam "worked well," and either party can surf the Web during the call
or run other apps.
The iPad 2's rear camera, which at
0.7 megapixels of resolution and no flash or manual controls could hardly be
less impressive, warranted a comparison to the Motorola Xoom - which,
while pricier and not as thin as the iPad 2, Fox
wrote, features a 5-megapixel camera,
"which has a flash and controls for picture size (resolution), white
balance, picture quality, color effects, scene modes, exposure level and focus
While Pogue and Mossberg, in their
reviews, wrote that when placed beside the iPad 2 the Xoom looks rather hefty,
analysts generally consider it the iPad's greatest competition in an incredibly
crowded contest. Fox said as much - calling the Xoom the iPad 2's "chief
rival for now" - but added: "Still, many more tablets are expected to reach
market this year. The tablet race is far from over."
A knock against the Xoom has been
its price - Verizon now offers it for $600 with a two-year data contract,
or it's available without a contract for $800. But in the Consumer Reports
video, though in reference to the market's least-expensive offerings, Gallea
notes, "You do get what you pay for."
The review is the most positive
one that publication has given an Apple product in some time. In February
it said it was unable
to recommend the Verizon iPhone 4,
since testing found the smartphone to
suffer from low-signal conditions that could lead to dropped calls. In July, it
said the same about the AT&T version.
"When your finger or hand
touches a spot on the phone's lower left side - an
easy thing, especially for lefties - the signal can significantly degrade
enough to cause you to lose your connection altogether if you're in an area
with a weak signal," Consumer Reports' Mike Gikas wrote in a July 12 blog
post. "Due to this problem, we can't recommend the iPhone 4."
The publication later found the
problem to be abated when the iPhone 4 was used with a rubber bumper
- which Apple gave away free for a time, following a media to-do over the
connectivity issues that were quickly coined "Antennagate," but soon
after began charging for them again, saying that the antenna issue affected far
fewer devices than was originally reported.