Generally, we look at aggregate scores for the vendors in our Readers' Choice surveys. As mentioned, we looked at specific products here, and these results brought some surprises, especially for Apple. The first is that, while the company does take the lead, it's not as wide a margin as one might expect. The mega-popular Apple iPad 2
, which is indeed the best on the market, scored only slightly ahead of the other Readers' Choice product in this survey: the Asus Eee Pad Transformer TF101
. Both have overall scores of 8.8 out of 10 and a likelihood to recommend of 9.2. The TF101 might have been helped along by being the most affordable Honeycomb-based tablet currently on the market.
Our Honorable Mentions go to Samsung for its Galaxy Tab 10.1
and Toshiba for its brand new Thrive, both of which scored an 8.6 overall. Samsung's tablet also got the highest rating for screen quality, Web browsing, and overall size, shape, and weight among all tablets.
Interestingly, the first-generation Apple iPad came in fifth, with a still respectable 8.4 overall and the second highest reliability score of 9.0 (second only to the iPad 2 with 9.1).
In our survey, we asked readers to gauge how easy their tablets are to use. These numbers pretty much fall in line with the overall scores, though Apple's and HP's tablets were deemed a little easier to use than most tablets. Obviously, Android could still use some work when it comes to tablet usability. In no cases did the overall score (which isn't an average of the other numbers, remember) exceed the score for ease of use.
We asked some questions about the extra accessories you might want for your tablet and got some interesting responses. Steve Jobs, in particular, might want to take note: Twenty seven percent of iPad 2 users said they've purchased a stylus to use on the tablet! Only Toshiba's tablet, the Thrive, had more stylus users (40 percent). Wireless keyboards are also a popular choice for Apple (24 percent of iPad 2 users and 26 percent of iPad users), Motorola (26 percent of Zoom users), and HP tablets (30 percent of TouchPad users). Asus (specifically, the TF101) had the fewest wireless keyboard users, but this may be because the $150 keyboard option isn't technically wireless. Cases are, naturally, the most popular accessory of all: at least two thirds of tablet users surveyed own a case.
What tablet manufacturers should you avoid? Acer and ViewSonic did not score particularly well. The latter had the highest percentage of products needing repair (8 percent) and a negative NetPromoter Score (-7 percent), meaning more people are saying bad things about it than good. And you probably don't want to invest in an HP TouchPad now that HP is getting out of that business
One anomaly to note: Many of our survey takers decided to rate the Barnes & Noble Nook Color as a tablet, rather than an ebook reader. The Nook Color is capable of doing a lot of what other tablets do. That said, it is not a tablet. At all. But PCMag reader's still give it a likelihood to recommend of 8.7, which is close to what the original iPad gets for likelihood of recommending.