Consumer Reports recalibrates ‘excellent’ rating for new iPad

Consumer Reports didn’t like the iPhone 4. It warned that the new iPad was hot — literally.
But, as it turns out, the influential publication is a big fan of Apple’s new tablet.

The new iPad is so good that the nonprofit Consumer Reports said it had to redo the way it evaluates tablets. All other rivals, which previously had gotten “excellent” ratings were downgraded en masse to “very good.” The new iPad, at least in regards to its sharp display, is in a class by itself, the magazine said.

The iPad “establishes a new benchmark of excellence,” Consumer Reports said Monday.

Apple declined to comment.

The report further affirms Apple’s lead in the booming tablet business as competitors strive to catch up. Google, one of Apple’s primary rivals, is widely expected by analysts to sell a tablet directly to consumers this year. Google declined to comment.

Apple, already the most valuable company in the world, saw its stock rise about 3.2 percent to $618.63 in regular trading on Monday. Bolstering the price was a Topeka Capital Markets report that predicted the stock would reach $1,001.

Consumer Reports said a few weeks ago that the new iPad generates more heat than previous versions, especially when it runs graphics-heavy games. But the magazine “didn’t find those temperatures to be cause for concern,” reviewer Donna Tapellini wrote.

The review also addressed another issue it raised with previous versions of the iPad. In March, Consumer Reports said that in at least one testing scenario, the iPad lost battery charge while it was operating while plugged into an outlet.

But tests on the new iPad showed that only happened when “the device was playing a demanding game with the screen fully bright,” Tapellini wrote.

In 2010, the magazine said it could not endorse the iPhone 4 because it lost signal while held in a certain way. But the antennae issue was fixed in the next version of the iPhone, dubbed the “4S,” and the handset returned to Consumer Reports’ recommended list.

In regards to the new iPad, the magazine said the camera was good and its 4G network connection (tested on Verizon’s network) was very fast. Battery life was better than rivals.

But it saved its highest praise for the iPad’s new display, which is “the best we’ve seen,” the magazine said. In fact, Consumer Reports said it is adjusting its standard for excellence in tablet screens based on the new device.

The only problem with the display?

“The new iPad’s display does, in at least some applications, serve to magnify imperfections in content designed for lower-screen resolution,” Tapellini wrote. The magazine expects that this will change over time as
more content is developed for high-definition tablet displays.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



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