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New iPad impressing more buyers, tops Consumer Reports tablet picks

Overall customer satisfaction with the new iPad, the only "excellent" tablet according to Consumer Reports, is slightly above the 97 percent rankings of last year's iPad 2, but significantly more users are now reporting they are "very satisfied."

A report by ChangeWave indicates that 98 percent of new iPad buyers say they are satisfied with their purchase, a one percentage point increase over iPad 2.

However, 82 percent report being "very satisfied" with the new Retina Display iPad model, a jump over last year's iPad 2, where 74 percent of users responded similarly.

Among the features of the new iPad that impress users were its high resolution Retina Display, which 75 percent of users listed as their top three favorite details, along with 22 percent liking its long battery life, 21 percent calling out its 4G LTE data service option, 20 percent citing speed, 18 percent its newly improved camera, and 13 percent citing the wide range of apps available.

Among the tops downsides of the new model, 26 percent said they'd like a cheaper iPad while 23 percent complained about the cost of mobile wireless service. Asked about iPad heat issues, 89 percent said they hadn't experienced any problems, and none reports it to be a "very big problem."

Consumer Reports says new iPad the only "excellent" tablet

Despite recording the highest temperature readings among a series of lab testers seeking to find if the new iPad was really running hotter than the previous model, or other similarly specced tablets or notebooks, Consumer Reports says it "didn't find the temperatures to be cause for concern."

The group has listed the new iPad as a "recommended" product, and describes it among 9-12 inch tablets as the only one achieving an "excellent" rating, saying the "high-resolution screen of the new iPad establishes a new benchmark in excellence, providing the best rendering of detail and color accuracy we've ever seen on a tablet display

"Performance on the new iPad ($500 to $830) was superb in virtually every other way as well," the site states. "The 5-megapixel camera took very good photos. Verizon's 4G network yielded very fast, dependable connectivity to a 4G-compatible version of the iPad in our informal tests. And despite the energy-intensive display and graphics, the iPad still has longer battery life than all other tablets."

Highlighting the "standout performance of the new iPad's screen," the site stated, "we have recalibrated our standard of excellence for tablet screens. The iPad alone now receives an excellent overall score for display quality.

"A number of current models, including the iPad 2 (which remains on sale and is a fine performer), that received excellent scores under the past standard will now be adjusted to receive very good scores overall. Likewise, some models that received good scores may also be adjusted downward, and some overall scores have changed slightly."

In 2010, the magazine generated some controversy over refusing to list iPhone 4 as a "recommended" product due to testing it ran that suggested the phone had a defective antenna design, after first stating that there was "no reason" to not buy an iPhone 4.

A year later the group began recommending the iPhone 4S to customers, stating that Apple's latest handset "doesn't suffer the reception problem we found in its predecessor."