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New tablet computers give iPad competition

December 10, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
The iPad made quite a splash when it came out earlier this year and it's dominated the market ever since. But competition is heating up with several new computer tablets coming on the market.Liz Fogarty Foote bought an iPad as soon as it came out.

"I have the iPhone. I have a Macbook Pro. I love it, so as soon as I heard they were making this I wanted it," she said.

For a while, the iPad stood alone in the tablet computer arena. But other companies are starting to offer tablets too.

Consumer Reports tested several, including the Samsung Galaxy Tab and less expensive tablets, like one sold at Walgreens.

The iPad is the most expensive tablet computer, ranging in price from $500 to more than $800. But you get a lot of bang for your buck. On the iPad, you can create documents, browse the web and play plenty of games.

The less expensive tablets cost about $100 and Consumer Reports found you get what you pay for.

"One of the drawbacks we've noticed with some of the less expensive tablets is you don't get access to Android Market, which is where you get your third party apps from. That's a pretty big problem," said Donna Tapellini with Consumer Reports.

Another drawback is that the touch screens on some are less sensitive so it's hard to get where you want.

However, the Samsung Galaxy Tab has a lot to offer. It costs less than the iPad, anywhere from $400 to $650, and it's smaller and lighter, so easier to hold when reading books. Consumer Reports tests show the Galaxy's screen quality is comparable to the iPad. And while the Galaxy's smaller screen might make it less appealing for watching movies, it definitely gives the iPad some competition.

Consumer Reports battery tests show the iPad has more staying power. Its battery charge lasts a full 10 hours while the Galaxy Tab runs out at about the 7-hour mark.

"If you're in the market for a tablet computer, right now your only choices really are the Galaxy Tab or the Apple iPad," said Tapellini. "The one you choose really depends on what's most important to you."


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