By Barry Levine / Mobile Tech Today. Updated April 02, 2012.
Consumer Reports is giving a big thumbs-up to the new iPad. The non-profit testing organization and publication, which had stopped Apple in its tracks with criticism over the iPhone 4, finds that reports of the new iPad running too hot are not a deal breaker.
On Monday, CR announced that it was awarding Apple's newest tablet its top ranking of "recommended." The magazine praised the camera, the speed of the device's 4G connectivity, and the battery life. CR mentioned its previous test and report about the heating problem, but said it "didn't find those temperatures to be a cause for concern."
'New Benchmark in Excellence'
In Monday's article, CR praised the new high-resolution tablet as establishing "a new benchmark in excellence," in large part because of the "best rendering of detail and color accuracy" they've ever seen on a tablet display. The organization gave the new iPad its only rating of "excellent overall" for display quality, and said that, as a result of testing the device, CR has recalibrated its standard of excellence for tablet screens.
In addition to discounting the hot spots that its earlier tests had confirmed, CR reviewer Donna L. Tapellini found that the issue of the device not recharging when playing a demanding video game "was limited to times when the device was playing a demanding game with the screen fully bright."
We asked Avi Greengart, an analyst with industry research firm Current Analysis, if he's experienced any significant problems with hotspots or battery charging on his new iPad, or if he knew of any people who had, and he said no. Greengart added that some consumers may not have realized that battery life varies by usage, and that the most intense mode of usage can affect how the battery responds.
Other CR-recommended tablets in the 9- to 12-inch model category include the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 and 10.1, Asus Eee Pad Transformer and Transformer Prime TF201, iPad 2, Toshiba Excite 10 LE, Motorola Droid Xyboard 10.1, Sony Tablet S, Motorola Xoom and Acer A200.
In March, in a report also written by Tapellini, CR found the new iPad could heat up to as much as 116 degrees when plugged in and running games. This was 13 degrees hotter than the previous iPad 2. Unplugged, the device hit 113 degrees. The report was prompted by a variety of consumer complaints online.
Apple recommends not using the iPad in environments hotter than 95 degrees. But the faster graphics processor and a larger battery had raised questions about whether there was a design or manufacturing flaw.
iPhone 4 Review Revisited
A few weeks after the iPhone 4's launch in the summer of 2010, Consumer Reprots announced that it could not recommend that device because it had confirmed a problem with the reception, a problem about which users had been complaining.
Apple had originally suggested that the signal-strength issue on the iPhone 4, which occurred when a user placed a hand or finger near the antenna on the lower left side of the device, was largely an optical illusion caused by faulty software that mistakenly showed more bars "than it should for a given signal strength."
But Consumer Reports wrote in its 2010 non-recommending review for the iPhone 4 that, "it's the company's responsibility to provide the fix -- at no extra cost to consumers."
In a hastily called press conference following that Consumer Reports evaluation, Apple's then CEO Steve Jobs said it would offer a free bumper case to every iPhone 4 customer, a refund for any case already purchased, or a full refund for the return of an undamaged iPhone 4.