Consumer Reports has famously not recommended the iPhone 4, because of the "death grip" issue, but it has no such issues with the iPad 2. Apple's latest magical tablet device came in first, while the Motorola Xoom
showed it's a true rival by finishing second, along with the original iPad.
The new ratings from Consumer Reports are available at consumerreports.org (subscription required) and in its May 2011 issue. The iPad 2
was pitted nine other tablets, including the Motorola Xoom, but also against lower-tier tablets such as the Archos 70 Internet Tablet.
The tablets were run through a gamut of tests, with a total of 17 criteria. The list of tests included touch-screen responsiveness, versatility, portability, screen glare, and ease of use.
According to Consumer Reports, the old adage that "you get what you pay for" includes tablets. An example was the battery testing done on the devices. CR used a looped video clip as a test of the batteries, with the the iPad 2 lasting 12.2 hours (which is more than marketing's claim of 10 hours). The much cheaper ($270) Archos 70 Internet Tablet lasted just 3.8 hours.
CR also noted that hardware specs don't tell the full picture. The Motorola Xoom out-specs the iPad 2 in many areas, yet fell short in the testing. Software, connectivity, and upgradability are crucial to a tablet decision.
One note to make there is that the Motorola Xooms which have already been sold will be upgradeable to the much faster LTE Verizon network soon, for free. The iPad 2 cannot be upgraded in that manner.