Lack Of Options Or True Love? Consumer Reports Now Recommends iPad
April 2, 2012

Lack Of Options Or True Love? Consumer Reports Now Recommends iPad

Michael Harper for

Nearly two weeks after chiding Apple´s new iPad for running “hot” and not charging correctly, Consumer Reports has changed their tune, listing it as their top-rated tablet.

Consumer reports has a shaky, on-again-off-again relationship with Apple and its products. Apple watchers will no doubt remember the debacle two summers ago, dubbed insipidly by tech watchers as “antennagate”. As the iPhone 4 was released, some users reported a drop in network reception and quality when the phone was gripped in a certain way. Consumer Reports, as well as other media outlets and blogs turned this phenomenon into full-blown frenzy as some even called Apple to issue a recall for the best-selling device. Some called Consumer Report´s criticisms for the iPhone 4 overblown as the issue was only experienced by a small sampling of users. Nevertheless, the late Steve Jobs returned from his Hawaiian vacation early to address the matter and offer free iPhone Bumpers and cases to those experiencing the issue.

Fast forward to the release of the new iPad, and Consumer Reports´ testing and review of the device. Using a thermal imaging camera, Consumer Reports found the new iPad ran up to 13 degrees warmer than previous models. At the end of their initial review focused on the heat of the iPad, Consumer Reports then said the iDevice wasn´t uncomfortable to use or hold.

Much like the initial review of the iPhone 4, this review from Consumer Reports caused a stir among journalists, bloggers, and would-be customers. Now, Consumer Reports is listing the iPad at the top of their tablet ratings, despite their claims of the device running at “recorded temperatures as high as 116 degrees Fahrenheit” and conversely “not especially uncomfortable”.

Donna L. Tapellini, writing for Consumer Reports, said in the new review, “Responding to consumer comments on the new device, and to coverage from other reviewers, we also carried out further tests that confirmed the new iPad is warmer in its hottest spots than the iPad 2. But we didn't find those temperatures to be cause for concern.”

As for the battery concerns raised in their first review, Tapellini mentioned the problem was limited to times of heavy use, like when a graphics-intensive game was being played with the screen at full-brightness.

One of the high points of the new iPad, according to Consumer Reports, is the high-resolution Retina display. The new review hails the display as “the best we´ve seen” and having “remarkable fidelity.”

In fact, one of the only complaints detailed in the Consumer Reports review was the tendency for the Retina display to magnify imperfections in images not optimized for such a high-resolution display.

The review also praised the iPad´s LTE chip as well as a long-lasting battery . These points and more raised the iPad to the top of the ratings, beating out tablets by Sony, Samsung and a particularly interesting offering by Pantech (called the Element) which boasts a waterproof case. “Sun worshipers might need to set up their beach umbrellas, however,” warns Tapellini. “the Element is not as readable in bright sunlight as some other tablets.”

Perhaps Consumer Reports´ definition of “hot” is all that´s changed?