Consumer Reports: iPad 2 “More Than Competitive” w/Android Tabs

Apple’s iPad 2 is “more than competitive” with competing tablets based on Google’s Android operating system, according to noted iPhone critic Consumer Reports. In a first look piece posted by the magazine, the iPad 2’s pricepoint, size, and Smart Cover (Apple’s optional case) were all praised, while the magazine found the rear-camera on the Motorola Xoom to be superior to the one on the iPad 2.

“We found the new version to be an improvement over the original iPad—without any increase in price,” Jeff Fox wrote for CR. Those improvements were specified as the smaller size, a display that matches the original iPad, and the addition of front and rear-facing cameras.

The magazine also said that while the new A5 dual-core processor is touted as being faster, testing of tasks such as Web browsing and e-mail didn’t show “any significant speed improvement.” CR also said that there may not yet be any games on the App Store that can take proper advantage of the significant boost in graphics processing in the iPad 2.

On the slightly more negative side, the first look found that the Xoom’s 5-megapixel camera has a higher resolution than the .7 megapixel camera iPad 2 uses. Apple hasn’t specified what that resolution is (though it does specify it on the iPhone 4), listing only “720p” in the device’s spec — 720p is technically only 960×720, which is about .7 megapixels.

In any event, the report also cited the Xoom’s camera flash (none on the iPad 2), and on-screen controls to beat the options available on the iPad 2.

That one area notwithstanding, CR’s look at Apple’s newest iPad was very favorable, noting: “By keeping iPad 2 prices the same as those of the original iPad, Apple has kept its market-leading tablet more than competitive with the small-but-growing field of Android-based tablets. The Motorola Xoom seems to be the iPad 2’s chief rival for now, but it’s pricier than a comparably configured iPad 2, and it’s thicker and heavier as well.”

In addition to the written report, CR also posted a video look at the device, which you can see below.

Consumer Reports Video First Look at iPad 2