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New iPads and Kindle Fire HD are big winners in our Ratings

Consumer Reports News: November 20, 2012 11:38 AM

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The results are in. Our latest tablet Ratings, which include nearly all of the hottest new models, find Apple's newest full-size iPad and iPad Mini, as well as the Amazon Kindle Fire HD, the biggest standouts. Here's a rundown on the victors.

iPad: Winner and still champ. With dozens of Android-based models nipping at its heels, the iPad managed to not only hold its own, but up the ante for performance in the 9- to 10-inch, Wi-Fi-only category. It boasted an unrivaled battery life. When you add to that the breadth and quality of its apps, the iPad is still the tablet to beat. Microsoft's new Surface with Windows RT came close to the iPad's performance in many respects, including the excellence of its display, but its lack of software is a major weakness.

iPad Mini: No small feat. Apple produced the best small general-purpose tablet on the market now by combining very long battery life with an excellent 7.9-inch display, while keeping weight down to an impressive 0.7 pounds, about the same as most 7-inch tablets.

For content, it's the Kindle Fire HD. Among Wi-Fi-only specialty tablets—those that lack access to the Google Play Store and emphasize the manufacturer's content offerings—Amazon's new 7-inch model offered the only excellent display and unmatched battery life. Its chief competitor, the Barnes & Noble Nook HD, while very good, came up short in both areas.

While these models topped the Ratings, other models offered fine performance at lower prices or features, such as GPS or a memory-card slot, that some of these lacked. To find the best tablet for your particular needs, check out our latest Ratings of nearly 60 tablets.

Jeffrey Fox

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