The Apple iPad was introduced last year, but 2011 is the year of the tablet: That statement was repeated often at last January's Consumer Electronics Show, as company after company announced that it would be shipping iPad competitors this year.
Many of these versatile new gadgets have already hit the market, and Consumer Reports has tested and rated ten of the most promising. We included the Apple iPad and iPad 2 (of course), the Motorola Xoom, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab, among others.
We evaluated the tablets on 17 criteria, and found several models--and not only iPads--that outperformed the rest. To test, we assessed features such as touch responsiveness (playing Angry Birds helped quite a bit with this test), versatility, and portability.
We also looked at the color, brightness, glare, and viewing angle of the display. And to assess the tablets' Ease of Use, testers perused the New York Times' website and ConsumerReports.org, and read several included e-books, among other tasks.
To measure battery life, we played the same video clip continually on each tablet and timed how long it played until the battery ran down. Here we saw quite a gap: Our top-rated tablet lasted 12.2 hours, but the lowest-rated lasted just 3.8.
Find out how individual tablets fared and which we recommend at Consumer Reports Online (Ratings available to subscribers).