Tablets: Ratings of Sources
The tablet reviews at CNET are thorough and hands-on. Each tablet is rated on a five-star scale, with pros and cons clearly noted. Benchmarking and comparisons to other slates are peppered throughout each report.
PCMag.com is among the more prolific technology reviewers. Testing of tablets is comprehensive and well explained. Tablets are rated, with the very best earning an Editors' Choice award.
Laptop Magazine reviews lots of tablets, with the best ones for specific users appearing on this frequently updated list. The very best tablets also earn an Editors' Choice award. Discussion is extensive, but written so that most is understandable even for non-techies.
ComputerShopper.com rates a wide variety of tablets at all price points. The reviews are long and testing-based, and often compare the hardware against competing slates. Each product receives an overall rating, with the best receiving various awards.
TheVerge.com's evaluations are detailed, illustrated and separated into categories such as hardware/design, internals and battery life, and usually include a supplemental video review. The site has relatively stringent rating criteria, with most tablets receiving only average ratings. Products really have to excel to score an 8.5 out of 10 or higher, and editors aren't bashful about handing out poor grades. Only a handful of recent tablets have been reviewed, however.
HotHardware.com doesn't review as many tablets as some expert sites, but still manages to hit most of the major releases. Reviews are incredibly comprehensive, but might be a bit of a handful for those not as technically inclined. Still, a bottom line assessment nicely cuts to the chase. Most tablets qualify for an award, though only the very best rise to Editors' Choice status.
PC World reviews many of the major tablet releases, though the quality of those reports varies. The best write-ups are very good -- stacking up well against other sources by providing the results of hand-on testing and presenting clear, balanced conclusions. Other reports are more superficial, based on either brief hands-on looks or without meaningful testing. Some reviews are pulled from sister sites and publications.
TechHive.com (sister site of PC World) offers hands-on testing-based reviews, but they aren't as detailed as our higher-ranked sources. Several tablet computers earn 4 stars out of 5 or better. Some major recent tablet releases have not been covered.
ConsumerReports.org tests an impressive number of tablets, though some are older or previous generation models. Tablets are rated and ranked, but discussion is brief. The report is only available to subscribers of the magazine or website. A rundown of kids' tablets is helpful, even though these are not rated.
DigitalTrends.com reviews tablets in fairly lengthy critiques that are based on hands-on impressions and formal benchmark testing. Many tablets receive lukewarm "Recommended" ratings, though a couple rise to the level of being named Editors' Choices.
TechRadar.com covers a lot of tablets, though not all are available in the U.S. Reviews are detailed and testing based. Recommended tablets and those that are a Great Value are identified. However, the Editors' Choice iPad Air is last year's model (the Air 2 had not yet been tested at the time of our visit).
Amazon.com offers a decent selection of tablets, and many popular choices attract hundreds of reviews. Most score similarly, about 4 stars out of 5. Some user feedback is detailed and provides information on long-term use that might be missed by experts. This is the best site to see owner reviews on the Kindle and Kindle Fire tablets.
BestBuy.com has hundreds of tablets, some of which attract hundreds and even thousands of user reviews. Reviews tend to be briefer than at Amazon.com but include a bottom-line assessment of whether or not an owner would recommend their tablet to a friend.
This is the sister site of NotebookReview.com, a highly respected source for laptop evaluations. Each tablet is subjected to extensive hands-on and benchmark testing, and rated on a five-point scale.
AnandTech.com has some of the most detailed technology reviews on the web, but they're very difficult to find. Lengthy reports -- which run alongside tablet news and discussion posts -- reflect a great deal of breadth.
ArsTechnica.com offers comprehensive reviews of tech products, including many major tablet computers. Editors cover every pertinent aspect of using a tablet, including performance, battery life and features. The slates aren't rated, but a lengthy conclusion section sums up editors' recommendations. Finding reviews can be a bit of a chore on this blog-type site.
While performance remains key to user satisfaction, the latest research from J.D. Power and Associates reports that satisfaction with value among tablet owners is on the rise. Among manufacturers, Amazon, for the first time, tops the J.D. Power Tablet Satisfaction Study ratings, followed closely by Apple and Samsung.